Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation CAPTAIN WILLARD SLA033 Limited Edition
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This is something to quicken the pulses of Seiko dive watch enthusiasts: a modern version of the famous 6105, also known as the “Willard,” as that was the model worn by Martin Sheen in his portrayal of Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. The original 6105 came in two versions – one was the standard cushion cased 8000/8009, and the other was the larger 8110/8119. The later is the model worn by Sheen in the film, and it’s a classic of dive watch design of the era – big, with an eye-catching asymmetrical case that features substantial crown guards and the crown at 4:00, with 150 meter water resistance. As with other dive watches of the era, the problem is not so much finding one as it is finding one in good condition; they were affordable and reliable, and were bought to be used. Used they were, under sometimes very harsh conditions (the 6105 was produced from 1968 to 1977) and this new model offers a chance to enjoy the broad-shouldered appeal of the original, with up-to-date materials and a modern movement.
The movement is the caliber 8L35, with a 50 hour power reserve, and water resistance is now 200 meters. SLA033 features a Zaratsu-polished bezel (Zaratsu polishing is the hand-polishing technique used for Grand Seiko cases, in general) and it’s being offered as a limited edition of 2,500 pieces, at a slightly-higher-than-1968 price of $4,250.
This is the latest in a line of limited edition dive watches from Seiko which are based on historic models, but updated with modern 8L series movements. In 2017, we had the Prospex Diver SLA017, which is a new take on the 6217 and which uses caliber 8L35; this was followed in 2018 by the SLA025, which is also based on a model from the 1960s and which uses caliber 8L55. Both are higher-end takes on the originals and are priced accordingly, at just over $4,000 and $5400 respectively. SLA033 also has a double-curved sapphire crystal with AR coating, and, says Seiko, a “super-hard coating” on the 45mm stainless steel case. The watch is also hand-assembled in the Seiko Shizukuishi Watch Studio, where mechanical Grand Seiko and Credor watches are made.
The new SLA033 looks like a fantastic dive watch in many respects and gives up nothing to the original in terms of aesthetics, however I’ll admit to some sticker shock every time Seiko comes out with a higher-end version of one of their classic divers. That said, the two predecessors to SLA033 struck me in person as very handsome watches and, given the higher quality construction and the use of much higher quality movements than the originals, the cost is justifiable. I think we may be forgiven for wishing these three watches had been more affordable, but the intention in all three cases was not to do a re-issue of the originals, but to use their design as a foundation for something better qualitatively. The previous two models were very successful and given the fact that SLA033 comes straight from the same playbook, it seems very likely it will be just as avidly sought as its predecessors.
Brand: Seiko (Prospex)
Model: The 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition
Reference Number: SLA033
Case Material: Stainless steel with “super-hard” coating
Dial Color: Black
Lume: Yes, on hands and indexes
Water Resistance: 200 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Waffle pattern silicone strap
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
Pricing & Availability
Limited Edition: 2,500 pieces worldwide (SOLD OUT)
MOVEMENT: Japanese – Automatic – 50 Hours Power Reserve
CASE: Stainless Steel
CROWN: Screw Down Crown
DIAL: Black Dial
BEZEL: rotating Diver
CONDITION: Pre-Owned – Excellent Condition!
BOXES/PAPERS: Yes/Yes – 100% Complete Box Set – comes with everything as shown in pictures!
WATER RESISTANCE: – 200m
STRAP/BRACELET: – Original Seiko Black Rubber Dive strap with Seiko Steel Buckle.
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