Seiko’s 6105-8110 “Captain Willard” is one of the most recognizable and sought after vintage Seiko divers. The watch was worn on screen by the fictional character Captain Willard, portrayed by Martin Sheen in the cult-classic “Apocalypse Now”. The funky case shape is immediately recognizable. It’s broad, flat, and has a crown guard like no other. While the dial and bezel are busy, they remain legible and functional. It’s a perfect watch for a military character to wear, as it’s built like a tank and values both function and form. And let’s not forget that awesome “traffic light” seconds hand with its polygonal plot of lume and bright red dot sweeping around the dial. The watch is a classic for good reason. The mix of screen time, unique design, and solid feature set made the 6105-8110 a prime candidate for a modern refresh at a more accessible price point than the likes of the SLA033.
As soon as the new Seiko SPB153 aka “Captain Willard” hit the market, I was dying to get my hands on one. Seeing the funky case shape and hearing some positive buzz about the watch only made this yearning worse. Fortunately, I’m in the watch journalism business and we had one inbound. After a very professional process of “calling dibs”, the watch was in my hands for this review. Immediately, the case shape jumped out at me. The oblong shape and humped crown guard reminded me immediately of the humble ocean sunfish (I vote we nickname this one the “sunfish”). The fish gets a bad rap for being an odd shape, but in spite of that, they’re incredibly capable. They’re able to travel up to 16 miles per day, leap out of the water, and like the SPB153, dive to depths up to 200m. Resemblance to this funky fish aside, this modern interpretation of the Willard reminds me not to judge a book by its cover. Let’s dig into the nitty gritty of the watch.