All of us here at worn&wound can say that we really appreciate the range of Seiko dive watches. We have talked about them here a handful of times in the past. They are robust and well built with well made and long lasting movements which make them a great choice for diving and beyond. A smart element of their design is the use of similar sizes, dimensions and parts to allow for easy interchange of dials, hands and movements for repair or mods making options nearly endless for these watches. Aside from us watch-nerds Hollywood has also shown some love for the Seiko diver watches. Here are just a few of appearances from the 70’s forward.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Let’s start right off with one of the most popular Seiko diver appearances from this Francis Ford Coppola directed classic. The film takes place during the Vietnam War when Seiko watches were popular among American G.I.’s so it is no surprise to see one here. In this case it is U.S. Captain Willard, played by Martin Sheen, who wears a Seiko 6105 on his mission to seek out Green Beret Colonel Walter Kurtz and eliminate him. Kurtz wears an interesting watch in the film as well: a Rolex GMT Master with a missing bezel. Fitting for the character played by Marlon Brando. One can still find the Seiko 6105 today, however prices have been creeping up on this popular vintage dive watch into near $1,000 territory. As an alternative Dagaz Watch has released the Typhoon and Timefactors the Smiths PRS-68 both homages to the classic 6105.
Ffolkes (North Sea Hijack) (1979)
Released in the UK the same year as “Apocalypse Now”, Ffolkes stars James Bond – er, Roger Moore as Ffolkes, the leader of a crack team of soldiers. When terrorists take over two oil rigs and threaten to explode them Ffolkes and his team are called in to end the dangerous situation. On Moore’s wrist during the assignment is a Seiko 7549-7009 600M “Tuna” model diver. This is a quartz diver with a PVD coated shroud. It’s a beefy watch obtaining it’s nickname by appearing like wearing a can of tuna.
The Abyss (1989)
Another classic and popular Seiko appearance is from James Cameron’s epic “The Abyss”. The film follows a civilian diving team as they are taken off their corporate assignment and given the task to work with the military to recover a lost nuclear submarine. During the time they encounter an alien presence that lives at the bottom of the ocean. Virgil ‘Bud’ Brigman (played by Ed Harris) wears a Seiko 6309 automatic dive watch. The 6309 is considered by some to be one of the most popular dive watches produced. Seiko has not made the model in over twenty years yet it’s popularity has not waned. 6309 models can still be found in varying conditions, some with original parts but many with redials and aftermarket components. As with the 6105, Dagaz Watches released a 6309 homage with the Tsunami as a modern alternative to the out-of-production classic.
A Soldier’s Sweetheart (1998)
With this more modern film we encounter a great example of proper usage by a movie’s prop department. A Soldier’s Sweetheart takes place during the Vietnam War, where soldier Mark Fossie decides to smuggle in his US girlfriend to his medic-post since it is so ignored by the passing VC. Shortly after her arrival, and after she takes interest in the local Vietnam wildlife, natives and culture, she disappears and Fossie must now search the Vietnam jungle for her. Fossie’s buddy, Rat Kiley (Kiefer Sutherland) wears a period appropiate Seiko 6105 watch in the film. A job well done to the props or wardrobe department for picking a very appropriate watch for the time of the film.
All Is Lost (2013)
With this Robert Redford acted film we leap into the modern age where we still see Seiko dive watches making appearances. In this water based action-adventure-drama Redford plays the character of the movie known only as Our Man. Our Man is deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean when his yacht collides with a shipping container. His navigation equipment is out and his radio is disabled leaving him sailing directly into the path of a storm without knowing it is in front of him. Throughout the film he fights the storm and the elements wearing his Seiko SKX175 dive watch. The SKX175 is a modern dive watch using the venerable 7S26 automatic movement. It is among Seiko’s affordable divers and is one of those watches that will just run and run and run.
Seiko knows what they are doing when it comes to making watches in the diver style. They are popular with divers, sailors, military personnel, the watch-nerd and as we have glanced at today, actors as well. If you need a robust, tough watch that will – assuming proper care – give you great bang for your buck, you could do a lot worse than a Seiko diver.
by James Enloe