The last several years of Seiko Prospex dive watches has been studded with recreations of their own iconic watches from the ’60s and ’70s. From Turtles to Tunas, they’ve been steadily bringing their archive into the modern era (and you can see our reviews of many here) flaunting their history and showing that these old designs are still relevant today. Throughout, Seiko has taken two approaches to resurrect these models. The first is that they make a high-end, limited edition with an 8L series movement, often using finishing techniques typically saved for Grand Seikos. These re-creations tend to stay close to the details of the watches they are based on. The second approach is to create a watch in the spirit of the original but take far more liberties with the design, ultimately modernizing the watch. These models feature 6R movements and multiple colorways, some limited, but mostly open editions, and come in around $1,200. Today, we’re seeing the birth of a new, third approach with the SLA049 and SLA051 watches, combining the two approaches.
Based closely, yet not exactly, on the 6105, a.k.a. The Capt. Willard, from 1970, the SLA049 and 051 are grouped within Seiko Prospex’ highest tier of watches, featuring the 8L35 caliber, yet are priced somewhere in the middle, around $3,000, sitting next to the MM300s. You might recall that in 2019, Seiko unveiled the SLA033 at Baselworld (RIP), which is also a recreation of the 6105. That model was limited to 2,500 units, featured Zaratsu polishing, and had a price tag of $4,250. While that was meant to be a luxury replica of the original (despite there being some differences), these new models are both faithful and loose in their approach. They are closer than the SPB15X models, yet further than the SLA033.