Seiko 6105 8110/9. The beautiful beast.
This is the Seiko 6105 8110/9 dive watch that used asymmetry as a design element. The 6105 movement came in 4 watch models and was first released in 1968. The first 2 models (6105 8000/9) came housed in a traditional cushion case but during production the case changed to the asymmetric variant and, depending on the location, was given a new case number either 6105 8110 or 6105 8119. Final production was in 1977.This model above happens to be the 6105 8119.
image from WORN & WOUND
So, lets examine this burly broad shouldered beast. For starters, it has a lot of presence (meaning big) coming in at 44 mm wide by 48 mm in length. The matte black dial is offset with blocky definitions, easily meeting the criteria for dive watch readability. Further, the beefy rectangle induces are heavily lumed as too the reflective steel baton hands. The sweep second has an interesting and cool traffic light design tip. Originally the innermost light was a soft red.
The minute track is strongly defined and here it gets a little interesting because the markers are reinforced in a sort of elegant triumvirate. First those minute markers on the dial meet their reflection in a chapter ring that is angled up and away from the dial towards the bezel. Then again,those markers on the chapter ring find a further echo with the minute pips on the bezel.
The 6-slotted crown has a unique lock system that is quite the charming folly and plays its part in the overall appeal of the watch. Here's how it works...
Next to the crown tube sits a small post that locks into any of the 6 slots preventing the crown from rotating. A waterproof gasket sits inside the crown around the stem. When the crown is pressed home the gasket is compressed and the lock prevents and undue rotation and subsequent wear on the gasket. Seiko never used this system again and although it seems a screw down crown would have been much more practical it would have denied us the small delight of this idiosyncratic crown lock.
The 6105 was sold during the Vietnam war years and the military made them available via the army PX (Post Exchange) stores. In the seminal Vietnam war movie 'Apocalypse Now' the watch featured prominently on the wrist of Captain Willard played by Martin Sheen.
Despite the brawny 70's machismo there is a counterpoint to this beast in the beguiling beauty of the case. Beauty is easy to achieve with symmetry but asymmetry makes finding the aesthetic a test. Viewed from the top you can see the flaring on he lower right orchestrating the asymmetric pull. The designer constructed a serpentine edge by a reverse arc just after 3 creating a crown guard that sweeps around the case and harbours the crown in a bulwark of steel.
From the side, the coin edge bezel ticks the box on muscular tool watch looks, then suddenly it all falls away into a delicious shapely gooeyness. A visual pleasure as light plays on the almost liquid lines.The only right angles are between the lugs and the around the crown well.
Images from Watchuseek member humprj
I know the lead engineer and designer at Seiko during this time was Ikuo Tokunaga but did he design this case? I contacted Seiko directly and here is the reply...
Subject: RE: SEIKO 6105 8110/ 6105 8119
Dear Mr. XXXX,
Thank you for your inquiry.
We are investigating who the designer is.
Thank you for your patient.
If I get an answer Ill post here immediately. Asymmetric watches aren't new. Richard Arbib famously designed the Hamiltion Ventura in 1957. The Cartier Crash was released in 1967 and there is also the British Military chronographs from the 70's. To my eye the Seiko wins out. Whoever the designer, they managed a combination of hunky and soft, a tiny symphony of substance and style. Indeed, a beautiful beast.