@vintagediver’s Top Ten Vintage Seikos (Part 2)

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Last week, we covered the first half of my top ten list for the best vintage Seikos money can buy. Today, we’re going through the rest of my picks, culminating in what I believe to be the ultimate watch from the brand’s historical catalogue. Any guesses before we get started? Let’s get to it.

5. 0624-5009 Quartz LC

This one may not make everyone’s list, but it is definitely a personal favorite. The sleek, space-age design of the case with its integrated solid steel bracelet and dual front buttons and yellow tinted LCD panel give this one a unique look that doesn’t just speak to me, it sings. I am partial to the Streamline aesthetic of the 1930s, and this watch borrows heavily from that era. It is truly a paragon of design, and every time I strap this one on it puts a smile on my face.

seiko-0624-14Produced for only two years in 1974 and 1975, the 0624 was the first digital LCD watch that Seiko marketed outside of Japan. It features a time-only display with hours, minutes and running seconds. The left button activates the back light for nighttime legibility, and the right button is used to set the time when the “crown” on the right is pulled out.

For a more in-depth look at the 0624-5009 Quartz LC, click here.


4. 6105-8110/9 150m diver

Probably the most iconic and recognizable vintage Seiko diver ever made, the 6105-8110/9 is an absolute must-own for any vintage dive watch collector. It is Seiko’s third generation 150m diver, and it was manufactured from 1970 through 1977.

The 6105 was famously worn by Martin Sheen in the Coppola epic, “Apocalypse Now,” and was very popular with soldiers during the Vietnam War.

The large asymmetrical cushion-shaped case is unique and recognizable from a mile away. It features an oversized crown at 4 o’clock that is signed with “LOCK.” The crown is protected by a large bulge acting as a crown guard, which also gives the case its signature look. As large as the watch is by the numbers, it sits comfortably on the wrist due to the saucer-like profile of the case. The matte black dial with lume-filled applied steel markers makes it easy to read underwater, so it’s a tool watch through and through.

SEIKO_6105_CASE2For a more in-depth look at the 6105-8110/9 150m diver, click here.

3. 5718-8000 Count Graph Chronograph

Image source: watchopenia

This is arguably the rarest Seiko, and is known as the “Seiko Grail” by many collectors. It’s a watch that is shrouded in mystery and there is little information available. What is known is that it was released in small numbers for–or in commemoration of–the 1964 Olympics. The Count Graph (as it’s called in one catalog) is a single register chronograph that has a special two-digit counter just below the 12 o’clock position. The single sub-dial located at 6 o’clock has two hands, one which is a continuous second hand and the other is a sixty-minute register for the chronograph.

The chronograph is used in a normal fashion via the two pushers on the right side of the case. The counter below 12, though it looks like a large date window, is actually thought to have most likely been used to count laps. This feature is activated using the two pushers on the left side of the case, with the top button controlling the ones’ spot and the lower button controlling the tens’.

Image source: watchopenia

The 5718 came in a 38mm steel case, and was available in both black and silver dials. There are only a handful of examples known to exist that I’m aware of, and as much as I’d love to own an example I won’t be holding my breath.


2. 5722-9990 Grand Seiko Chronometer

Otherwise known as the 57GS Self-Dater, the 5722-9990 was produced from 1963 until the late 1960s. It is the second Grand Seiko model ever made and definitely my favorite of the line.

seiko-5722_9990There are several variations of the 57GS, but that’s a rabbit hole I won’t plunge into today. Instead, I’ll focus on the 5722-9990 Chronometer. The large-for-the-era 38mm stainless steel case is clean and classic. The detailing is especially great–the unique, fat lugs feature an attractive, thin chamfer along the outer edge, and the case back displays the Seiko lion medallion. The silver dial features a radial brushed finish with faceted applied steel markers, two details that emphasize the classic beauty of this watch. At the bottom half of the dial, the text reads “Grand Seiko” in an ornate, printed script–a detail unique to this model.

This timeless classic is powered by the Seiko caliber 5722A, a 35-jewel Chronometer-certified manual wind movement.

Though the 5722 predates the Grammar of Design aesthetic of Taro Tanaka, it remains one of Seiko’s most beautiful watches.

1. 6159-7001 300m diver

And finally, there’s the 6159-7001. It was Seiko’s second-ever 300m diver, manufactured for a short time from 1968 to 1969. Their first 300m diver, the 6215-7000, was almost my number one pick here, but the 6159 won out because it has a better balanced dial. Nevertheless, both divers feature a robust, monocoque case (front loading without a removable case back), large screw down crown at four o’clock, and robust easy-to-grip bezel.

Image source: Watchuseek; user: Cannop

The 6159 is powered by a 25-jewel hi-beat 6159A automatic caliber, the exact same movement used in some Grand Seiko watches of the era. Rated to 300m, the 6159 was designed as a true professional tool watch. The elegant yet utilitarian approach to the one-piece case, legible dial (with excellent lume), and the inclusion of a high end Grand Seiko movement make this watch my number one vintage Seiko. Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the most highly sought after Seiko divers. Sadly, the 6159 is one that I have yet to acquire, but I aim to remedy that one day!

I should also note that the 6159 is the inspiration for the design of the modern SBDX001 Marine Master 300m diver, which has fast become a modern classic in its own right (and surprise, surprise, it’s also my favorite contemporary dive watch).

Well, there you have it–this collector’s choice for the top ten vintage Seikos. As I wrote before, this is definitely a subjective exercise, one tilted toward my preferences and watches that move me. With a history as rich and filled with horological innovation and firsts as Seiko’s is, there are definitely many other models worthy of consideration; watches like the 6139-6005 chronograph (or “Pogue,” named after William Pogue who wore it on his Skylab 4 space mission); the 06LC, Seiko’s first LCD watch and the world’s first six-digit LCD; and the 35SG Quartz Astron, the world’s first quartz watch. All of these, among others, are contenders in their own right.

Let us know about some of your favorites in the comments below.

Christoph (Instagram’s @vintagediver) is a long time collector and lover of all things vintage, starting with comic books when he was a kid (he still collects them). His passion for watches began in 1997 when he was gifted a family heirloom vintage Omega Genève by his step-father. That started him on the watch collecting path—buying and selling vintage watches of all sorts, with a special appreciation for vintage dive watches and Seiko.