BY DHANANJAY PATHAK
Seiko is a brand that is known for making some of the best dive watches in the world of Horology. During Baselworld 2019, the brand introduced the SLA033, a modern limited-edition re-issue of its famous reference from the 1970S, the 6105. In 2020, Seiko released two more accessible re-editions of the 6105 in the form of the SPB151 and SPB153. And, now, the brand has once again dropped two new modern variations of the 6105 to commemorate the 80th birth anniversary of Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura, who wore his 6105 during a 12500km solo dogsled which he completed between 1974 and 1976.
Like the SLA033, the new SLA049J1 and SLA051J1 inherit the design DNA of their vintage inspiration but are modern in their execution. Crafted from stainless steel the case measures a large 44mm in diameter and, like the original 6105, bears an intriguing lug less design to make the watch sit comfortably on a wide variety of wrists. The asymmetrical case design gives the watch a distinctive look and helps protect the screw-down crown at 4. Sitting on top of the case is a uni-directional dive time bezel, which still features an aluminum insert (blue or black) that is slightly shinier compared to the insert on the original. Other modern upgrades include better overall finishing, the use of a domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal instead of acrylic, and higher water-resistance of 200 meters compared to the 150 meters of the original 6105.
The dials like the case stick to the good old vintage recipe for the most part, but also come with a few noteworthy updates. Presented in blue and gray, the biggest change on the front of these new watches is the texture on the surface that is inspired by the mountainous terrain that Uemura loved. In addition to this, to make the dial more symmetrical, the date window has now been neatly tucked away between the markers at 4 and 5. Apart from this, the layout looks quite familiar. You still get chunky applied lume filled hour markers, a white printed minute track, baton-style hour and minute hands, and the peculiar second’s hand with a hint of red.
Powering the SLA049J1 and SLA051J1 is Seiko’s calibre 8L35. A high-quality and reliable automatic movement, the 8L35 ticks at a frequency of 4 Hz and provides an autonomy of around 50 hours. The movement hacks, hand winds, and can keep accurate time with a deviation of -10 to +15 seconds a day. And while the movement is modestly decorated, it has been hidden behind a closed case back to keep the retro vibe of the watch intact. The case back has been deeply stamped with a high tide motif, and the one on the SLA049J1 also features a serial number, Naomi’s full name, and the text ‘80th-anniversary limited edition’.
The new Seiko Prospex SLA049J1(Blue dial) is limited to 1200 pieces and would come packaged with an oyster-style stainless steel bracelet and a blue silicone strap. The SLA051J1(Gray dial) is a regular production model and comes attached to a steel bracelet. The SLA049J1 would retail for USD 3,100 and the SLA051J1 would cost USD 2,900.