The 6105-8110 is one of Seikos most well known vintage dive watches. This model was worn on Martin Sheens wrist in the 1979 film Apocalypse now when he played the role of Captain Willard during the Vietnam conflict. The reason behind it being chosen for the film was because during the conflict Seiko watches were sold in the forces Post Exchanges (PX’s) and were bought by a lot of servicemen with wages to spend whilst on their tour, it was the first exposure for a lot of Americans to Japanese products.
Seikos 6309 divers watch comes in a number of variants ranging from the classic cushion cased 6309-7040/9 and the slim cased 6309-7290, to the blue and red bezel of the slim cased 6309-729A. The scarcest of all these is the slim cased orange dialled 6309-729B.
The Seiko SHC059P is more commonly known by it’s sawtooth nickname, so called because the bezels edge resembles a circular saw blade. I recently had one come in just needing a new battery so I removed the back to fit a new one. The existing battery was quite dusty with a big ball of fluff hanging off it, it must have been found down the back of the sofa and fitted!
Scuba diving became a huge leisure pursuit in the 1950’s and watch manufacturers were quick to offer timepieces designed to suit the activity. In 1953 Blancpain introduced the blueprint for future dive watches with it’s rotating “time elapsed” bezel, luminous dial and hands and screw down crown . Rolex were quick to follow in 1954 with their Submariner model and various other manufacturers followed suit soon after. In 1957 Omega debuted their offering the Seamaster 300 reference CK2913, along with it’s brothers the Railmaster and Speedmaster. The first generation Seamaster 300’s looked very distinctive with their broadarrow hands and narrow acrylic bezel.
Seiko’s SXK007 & 009’s are one of the companies most popular affordable dive watches and as such most collectors own or have tried one of these models at one time or another. They represent enormous value for money and are very popular in the modding community where different style dials, crystals, handsets, inserts even complete bezels can be bought and fitted to personalise it to your own taste. This particular example has been fitted with a domed crystal and thicker font insert.
Elgé Genève watches were produced by the French manufacturer Ets Yola based in the large town of Annecy in the French Haut-Savoie region, which has a strong watchmaking tradition, in fact Annecy’s just over the Swiss border from Geneva. They were in business from the mid 1940’s until the early 1970’s and other Ets Yola brands comprised of Yola, Elga and Elgé. This particular example is a dive watch powered by the A Schild 1712 movement housed in an ESPA Super Compressor case. It’s in remarkable condition and the owner just wanted a full movement service, the lume examining and stabilising (it appeared a little fragile in the hands) and if possible the case made waterproof once more.
Omegas Seamaster range of watches needs little introduction to anyone with even just a passing interest in vintage wristwatches. Introduced in 1948 to coincide with the brand’s 100th anniversary the line is still being manufactured today, all be it unrecognisable from the first incarnations which were loosely based on watches made for the British military at the end of World War II. This example dates from around the late 1950’s and is a stainless steel cased example.
I never pass up the chance to showcase one of these 1970’s Citizen dive watches, they do seem to fly under the radar somewhat, at least compared to the 1970’s counterparts from the Seiko stable. They come in many different varieties, far too many to go into detail here but well worth a read is Stephens blog section about the vintage Citizen divers of the 1960’s to 1980’s.
This particular one came in for a new crystal and insert. It’s one of the more sought after Citizen 150m dive models of the time as it has the red date numerals and “6000” on the caseback in place of the more usual “Citizen Watch Co”. These can be dated via the serial number using a similar system to that of Seiko. If you know the decade the watch was produced in the first digit represents the year of manufacture, the next two digits represent the month. This example starts 406, as these were produced in the 1970’s we can tell it’s from 1974, the 06 means June was the month it was manufactured. Stephen has produced a wonderful movement table for determining the date of production of vintage Citizen watches.
I make no apologies for the fact that the Seiko 62mas is my favourite vintage Japanese dive watch. For me, the case size at 37mm is perfect and the design is a classic. I’ve owned every variant and restored many more of these beauties so when I was offered a case, bezel and dial I thought they would be fine for spares at the least. When it all arrived the case had no tube so was essentially useless and the dial had no feet! The bezel was a nice example though. Well these parts were put in stock and I thought no more about it. As time went by I picked up a spare 6217a movement complete with the case ring and some NOS crowns, stems and crystals. In the mean time I was contacted by a friend of mine who mentioned he was actively looking for a 62mas diver and did I know any for sale? I remember I had this project tucked away so I said if he hadn’t found one by the time this was finished he could take it if he liked. This gave me renewed interest in the project and when I revisited the case I realised I had enough parts for a complete watch if it wasn’t for the missing case tube that had been butchered out. I thought I’d have a go at fitting a generic tube of the correct dimensions, after all I had nothing to lose! I reamed out the hole in the case to the size of a suitable tube, however there were still some rough spots in the hole that I couldn’t remove as the diameter would have ended up too large. Although the tube pressed in nicely I decided to smear some slow curing two part epoxy around the inside of the hole and on the tube to prevent the possibility of any moisture ingress. The pictures start here, I didn’t take any earlier ones because in my mind at that time they were essentially just spare parts!
Here is the new tube in place in the case.
The 300m 6159-7001 (and 7000) diver is Seikos first proper attempt at a “professional” dive watch. When I say the first there was of course the 300m 6215-7001 which was released a year earlier in 1967, and the 150m 6217-8001 released in 1965, but according to the Seiko parts catalogue of the time these two models are listed as a divers watches and the 6159-7001 is listed as a professional divers watch – so who am I to argue with Seiko? Of course another clue is the fact the 6159 has”Professional” printed on the dial and the 6215 doesn’t! The 6215 and 6159 cases are very similar, both are monocoque and both share the same dimensions but the 6215 has a larger diameter crystal and slightly different bezel. It’s inside where the biggest changes are, instead of the 6215’s 35 jewel 19,800bph movement it has the beautiful 6159a movement, the 25 jewel, 36,000bph masterpiece that allows the seconds hand to almost glide around the dial. The case style and distinctive lines continue to this day in Seiko’s SBDX001 more commonly known as the MM300.
The example featured arrived looking rather sorry for itself.