By now, our love for Seiko (new and old) is well known.
From the rare as hen's teeth Hi Beat 6159 to the film-famous 6105 and 6309 models to the economy workhorse SKX007, Japanese watchmakers perfected incredibly well-made tool watches decades ago- and at prices that make the most diehard Swiss watch fans bristle with jealousy.
Sometimes, it's important to have a watch that you feel comfortable roughing up if need be. Whether you're going hiking or shooting in the desert, a companion of this sort is important. With its bulky cushioned case, you won't ever have to worry about any scratches or marks - if anything, its the marks of adventure that make pieces such as this all the more special.
Luckily, not all great watches have an astronomical price tag. Case and point? Any Vintage Seiko under $2,000 offers tremendous value and all of the rough and tumble character you could ask for.
Seiko is a brand that you either know and love... or don't. Walk into any department store and you'll no doubt be confronted with a case full of them, with names like Astron, Coutura, Kinetic, Solar. They're all modestly-priced, perhaps even suspiciously so, because anything that inexpensive couldn't actually be good quality, could it?
That's where you'd be mistaken. From the foundation of its clock-manufacturing arm in 1892, Seiko is one of the only true manufactures out there, rivaling even Rolex in terms of vertical integration. They've manufactured everything from their movements to their cases, right down to the crystals that power their quartz watches. It's that almost total vertical integration that has allowed them to offer their products at all price points, from the department store models all the way up to the high-end Credor timepieces with hand-painted enamel dials and hand-finished movements. Their vintage pieces have certainly earned the respect and admiration of those in the know.
Their dive watches exemplify their mastery of anything they undertake. Seiko released its first dive watch in 1965, the Ref. 6217, which was soon eclipsed by what would come after: the Ref. 6105. Developed by Seiko in the late 1960s, the ref. 6105 boasted 150 meters of water resistance, a bi-directional bezel for dive timing and large swaths of luminescent material for high visibility underwater.
The ref. 6105 was released in two different case styles: the 8000/8009 with its svelte cushion case and the asymmetrical behemoth, the 8100/8119. Like Panerai, the 6105 also has a military heritage: during the Vietnam War, U.S. troops purchased the cushion-cased variety from Post Exchanges. They brought them back stateside, starting a trend for over-sized tool watches which has persisted to this day.
Used extensively in the field by soldiers and frogmen, the 6105 developed a reputation as a no-nonsense timepiece for professional use. This reputation has lasted through to this day and has inspired countless diving watches in the subsequent decades, including many of Seiko's current dive watches. Fans ofApocalypse Nowwill recognize the 6105 on the wrist of Martin Sheen's character Capt. Willard. Whether you "love the smell of napalm in the morning" or just want a damned dependable dive watch, the 6105 is what you need.
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