This time round I had the opportunity to handle the Seikp Prospex SPB151J1 aka “Willard-X” or “Captain Willard”. Below are some of my opinions on this watch.
Diameter: I feel that they should have made the Willard-X same size as the 6105-8110 or just 1mm smaller. I know the market trend is to make small watches but it should not be followed blindly. The 6105-811x is never a small watch to begin with and being a cushion cased diver, it is not a suitable candidate to do a down-sizing. If you want to make a small 6105, there’s always the 6105-8000.
Lug to lug: Honestly, 46.6mm lug to lug is a bit too short. It is even shorter than the lug to lug length of the SPB149J1 which is a 40.5mm watch.
Crystal: The slightly curved sapphire crystal comes with beveled edge which gives it the vintage feel. Refer to last few shots below.
Crown: The crown is smaller than those of the Turtle and most other Seiko divers. Hand winding or setting the date/time does not feel the same as other Seiko divers as it is hindered by the crown guard. The turtle does not have this issue because the side of the case around the crown is cut out to provide more access to the crown.
Diashield coating: Good to have scratch protection on a diver but it is not a must-have as it increases the cost of the watch.
Seiko SPB151J1 featured in this post is provided by K2.
845 Geylang Road, Tanjong Katong Complex, #03-K1.
Tel: 6746 0270
Text and pictures by Yeoman
Thanks for viewing
Interesting timepiece, Thomas. Did you end up buying one or are you considering purchasing the SPB151J?
I balked when I saw the MRSP tag – that’s almost two thousand in Singapore Dollars. Unlike the original 6105-811x divers these were certainly not made as an everyday tool watch or an average man’s beater. Ounce for ounce, one has to fork a lot more for the Willard-X compared to the 6105-8110 which was probably just US$150 or less back in 1971.
When Martin Sheen strapped on a Seiko 6105-8110 for his iconic role in Apocalypse Now, it was just an ordinary Seiko watch for that time period. Back in 1979 when Francis Ford Coppola shot the movie, no one could have foreseen that the humble 6105-811x would someday become a sought after collector’s item on online selling platforms. Couldn’t imagine Seiko making a close reproduction of this watch in 2020 and slapping on a price tag that would make a King Seiko Hi-Beat in its day blush. 😉
The 6105 movement only hacked and didn’t hand wind, which is why the 6105-8110’s crown sat comfortably between the crown guards. It was never meant to be hand wound and the crown was just pushed in to lock. The original 6306-7001 “Turtle” divers were designed years after the 6105-8110 first came out and the Seiko designers decided to make the 6306’s crown more accessible – hence the larger cutaway notches on the 6306 and the 6309 divers what followed.
I agree with you that Seiko should have followed the original 6105-8110’s dimensions and have no idea why the Willard-X has been slightly reduced in size. I had no inkling that vintage 6105 divers would cost more than what a brand new SBDX001 Marine Master was selling for in 2005! Looks like the Willard-X is destined to become more of a Seiko enthusiast’s prized collection piece than what Seiko had intended the original 6105-8110 for. Seiko’s use of sapphire crystal instead of traditional Hardlex and DiaShield scratch resistant coating are their convenient excuses for jacking up the retail price. I’m sure even sapphire crystals come in various grades but Seiko’s not divulging any information to justify their high asking MRSP.
All the same, I’ll keep my 1974-ish, 6105-8119 thank you. I was fortunate to have bagged one on eBay (all original except for the aftermarket bezel insert) back in 2007 for less than US$380. The dial and hands are original and near pristine but had been professionally relumed with blue Superluminova paint. They still glow fiercely in the dark to this day.
Thanks for writing this short article, I really enjoyed reading it. Hope all is well with you! 🙂
Hi Zami, I did not buy the watch. Not considering it either. Really too small for my liking.
Thanks for the reply, Thomas.
As you hadn’t posted a side by side comparison photo with the more well known Seiko divers, I had forgotten to ask you whether the Willard-X is even smaller than the SKX007K.
The 7s26-0020 series is the “smallest” diver I can tolerate so you can imagine how crestfallen I was when I discovered that the Prospex SARB017 Alpinist was smaller than the SKX007J that I have. 😦
I will post a comparison shot if I have the chance to get hold of the Willard-X and the SKX in future.
Similar sizes on the wrist although I would say that the SKX perches up on the wrist just a bit more than the Willard.
Great photos as always. With a 6.75″ wrist, I for one am grateful for the smaller dimensions.