Among the multitude of emblematic dive watches created by Seiko over the course of its history, the so-called Turtle holds a very special place in the heart of enthusiasts. Unique in its shape, made for rugged environments, and also a movie star, this design has been used in many different watches recently, and in all price ranges. Today, following a Black Series edition and a Tribute to Naomi Uemura model, a new limited edition of the Seiko Prospex Diver 1970 Modern Re-Interpretation is coming, under the reference SLA063, and with a nice, subtle blue colour scheme.
Like all previous exclusive SLA versions or accessible models based on this design, there’s an important historic watch behind the scenes. Produced from 1968 onwards, the Seiko 6105 was a sturdy dive watch with a water-resistance of 150 metres. What caught everybody’s eye was the crown positioned at 4 o’clock (which was, in fact, used for the first time in the 1961 Seiko Silver Wave) and the bulky, lower crown protector, which was replaced in 1976 by the 6309 series. While quite similar to the 6105, the 6309 has an even more asymmetrical case design and also adds a day function and a dial with circular luminous plots instead of rectangular ones.
The watch is famous for two things. First, most of us will remember its appearance in the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now, worn by one of the movie’s main characters, Captain Willard – portrayed by Martin Sheen. Second, and more importantly, it was tested in real life by explorer Naomi Uemura, a very popular Japanese adventurer admired for having achieved solo feats. For instance, he undertook a one-man dog-sledge run from Greenland to Alaska, a journey of 12,000km that took 18 months.
He was the first to reach the North Pole alone; he was also the first to descend the Amazon river in a boat. Why it matters was because he was wearing a 6105 during most of his travels. Not as part of a marketing campaign orchestrated by Seiko; it was just a watch that was robust, reliable and durable enough to accompany Uemura on his adventures. He disappeared on 13 February 1984 while attempting to climb Denali (Alaska), and to this day, the disappearance of Uemura remains a mystery.
There have been several editions based on this model already in the past, and the new Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver SLA063 is technically identical to all its predecessors. This new limited edition is all about colours and textures. Being part of the SLAxxx series, we’re talking about the higher-end models in Seiko’s Prospex line, in the same vein as the original SLA033. As such, you can expect high-grade mechanics and an upgraded execution of the case and dial. The new SLA063 is housed in a 44mm x 13mm case in stainless steel, with the brand’s super-hard coating providing increased resistance to scratches. The shape is unmistakable, with its rounded profile, asymmetrical crown guard, and crown positioned at 4 o’clock.
The top of the case is circular brushed while the sides are polished using the Zaratsu technique. It is completed by a screw-down crown and caseback and is water-resistant to 200 metres. A unidirectional bezel with a 60-minute scale is, of course, part of the package. Here, the metallic insert is covered in a blue hard coating, which will make it more resistant over time. The essential 60-minute diving scale is white and entirely graduated. Specifications are the same as previous models, with a screw-down crown and caseback, a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and a water-resistance of 200 metres.
The dial of this new version of the Seiko Prospex Diver 1970 Modern Re-Interpretation follows Seiko’s recent take on textures, with a new three-dimensional pattern on the dial, which expresses “the aurora that shines in the polar sky”. Refined and discreet, it adds some depth to an otherwise classic watch. So does the colour of this SLA063, a rather light ocean blue with a subtle gradient effect. The hands and markers are filled with Seiko’s efficient Lumibrite material.
This new limited edition is delivered on a stainless steel bracelet with Super-Hard Coating. The bracelet is closed by a three-fold clasp with push-button release, secure lock and extender. Also included in the presentation box is a black silicon strap.
Inside the case of the SLA063 is Seiko’s finest automatic movement, the calibre 8L35. A 4Hz self-winding engine with a 50-hour power reserve, this movement was designed especially for divers’ watches by the watchmakers at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan. Its accuracy rating is +15 to -10 seconds per day.
The Seiko Prospex Diver 1970 Modern Re-Interpretation SLA063 is a limited edition of 500 pieces, available from 1 October 2022. It is priced at EUR 3,250. For more details, please visit seikowatches.com.