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Who Makes the Best Seiko 6105 Captain Willard Homage?

Posted on June 14 2021

Captain Willard Homage Watches

Watches used in movies can achieve cult status. And few companies have repeated this as often as Seiko.

Arnold Schwarzenegger wore the Seiko Arnie in Predator and Commando. The Aliens movies included two very distinctive Seiko watches - the Ripley and Bishop models.

And don't forget about James Bond. Roger Moore's Bond regularly wore Seiko.

But none of those watches achieved the fame of the Seiko Captain Willard. It was a more authentic and attractive model that really was used by military personnel.

It's proven so popular that Seiko has released a modern version - but it's not a very affordable model.

So let me show you the best alternatives to this iconic vintage Seiko.

What is the Seiko Captain Willard?


The Seiko Captain Willard was a real Seiko watch that was first released in 1968. Officially known as the Seiko 6105, it was a tough dive watch that was on sale in Vietnam during the war.

It's a great watch in its own right. It had 150M of water resistance, an in-house automatic movement and a very distinctive 'turtle' case.

Why the Captain Willard nickname?


The watches real fame comes from Hollywood. In Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen's character - Captain Willard - wore the Seiko 6105.

It was a great choice as the watch was used by American soldiers in that conflict. The original watch is now highly desirable and one of the best known Seiko vintage dive watches.



What options are there for a Seiko Captain Willard now?


The Seiko 6105 is quite an expensive watch. A used example is well over £1000.

Over the years Seiko has reissued the design. The most recent version being the Prospex SPB151 and SPB153 models. But again, they're over £1000 each.

I want to show you the more affordable options.

The Best Seiko Captain Willard Affordable Alternatives


The cushion case dive watch design is still a popular look. It's not unique to Seiko. However, the 6105 model has been mimicked by other watch manufacturers.

Some of the watches featured are blatant homages to the Seiko original. Others merely take inspiration from the Captain Willard. I've included examples of both in this piece.

I've also highlighted a variety of colour palettes.

You have the option to get a watch that looks exactly like the vintage Seiko. Or if you'd prefer, a colourful modern interpretation that shares a similar aesthetic to the earlier piece.

Either way, all the following watches are inexpensive and well-regarded.

Nethuns Aqua Captain Willard Watch


Nethuns does a couple of things that I really like with the Aqua model. They have some variations that are almost identical to the Seiko 6105 and they do some colourful modern versions.

You can buy the Aqua with a bright orange dial, a black PVD case or with a Skull on the dial.

But for me, this Captain Willard homage with tasteful gold accents is the best. It's faithful to the Seiko, down to the bold markers and stop-light second hand.

The basics are all here. It has a cushion case with the signature crown guards. It also has the correct dial and bezel.

In terms of specs, they're what you would expect from a Hong Kong-based microbrand. The Aqua has a Seiko automatic movement, domed sapphire crystal and 300M of water resistance.

If you want the Captain Willard look, without any modern updates, try the Nethuns Aqua.

Nethuns Aqua AS304

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 15.7mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Steeldive SD1970 Seiko 6105 homage Watch

Despite the bright green colouring, the Steeldive SD1970 is very close to the Seiko. Like the Nethuns, the DNA of the Captain Willard is obvious.

Check out the hands for example. They're exactly like the Seiko 6105. The case too. It has the exact same vintage charm and 4 o'clock crown.

But the Steeldive infuses the watch with a bright green dial and bezel. It's not too dissimilar to Seiko's modern reissue. The Seiko SPB153 is also green - more khaki than the bright green of the Steeldive.

Still, the Steeldive is sticking to the ethos of the original. So, the rest is also as you'd expect. A 44mm case and again, a Seiko automatic movement.

It's bright, bold but still oozes vintage chic. The Steeldive is a great choice if you're looking to make more of a statement with your watch.

Steeldive Turtle SD1970

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Heimdallr Sharkey 6105 Homage Watch

Heimdallr advertises this watch as a Seiko 6105 homage. That's the exact wording that they use on their site. And the watch does what it says on the tin.

There's no great brand story or complex watchmaking history. Heimdallr is a small Chinese brand that specialises in dive watches - many of which are homages.

Once more, this watch is available in a number of variations. These range from replica's of the Seiko, to different coloured models.

They're all the same beneath the colour schemes. Each model has the ubiquitous Seiko NH35A movement and is legitimate dive watches.

Realistically, there isn't much to set the Heindallr Sharkey apart from the Steeldive. It's a matter of price and personal preference. Like the previous two watches, it's a great homage from an inexpensive brand - made in China.

Heimdallr Sharkey

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 13.8mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Armida A13 Captain Willard Homage Watch

Armida is another Hong Kong-based brand. And once more they've made their name producing high-quality homage models. Among the best of these are their Rolex Explorer 1 and Seiko 62MAS models.

They're a bit pricier than the previous watches despite very similar specs. The main difference with the Armida is the case size. It's 41mm wide - 3 or 4 millimetres smaller than the others.

And that's the USP of the Armida. It's a slightly trimmed down version. The modern Seiko SPB153 is 42mm which is close. But most of the others are 44-45mm.

Aside from the case size, the Armida is a faithful recreation of the Seiko. As a brand, Armida tends to steer clear of the big e-commerce sites, so they're more niche.

The A13 is the less obvious choice and more appealing to microbrand fans.

Armida A13
  • 41mm Diameter
  • 13.8mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


San Martin Seiko 6105 Homage Watch

San Martin is a young Chinese watch brand, founded in 2016 by industry veteran Liao JiaMing. They also specialise in recreating classic watches.

From their range, I've chosen a colourful watch. A watch that uses colour and a distressed leather strap to give another option for a vintage diver.

It's less military but still all Captain Willard.

I shouldn't need to run through the specs, as I'm sure you know the drill now. The San Martin homages are all Seiko movements, sapphire crystals and decent water resistance.

This San Martin differs only in its styling. The distressed leather strap and blue dial make this model more sporty. It doesn't look like a Vietnam-era military watch.

Instead, it's more casual and more versatile. It's a great watch to close out this list.

San Martin SN047

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 13.5mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 


Conclusion


Seiko has made several watches that have featured prominently in movies. The Captain Willard is the most iconic. This military-style divers watch was featured in Apocalypse Now.

It's a much-imitated classic watch.

But the original is expensive now and Seiko's own modern reissues aren't any cheaper.

That has led to brands producing their own homages. Of these, I've highlighted the best five.

I'd like to say that there is a good mix of watches, including a variety of specifications and prices. But there isn't. Most Captain Willard homage watches are Chinese made, fairly inexpensive and powered by Seiko movements.

That's not a bad thing. The watches on this list are great value for money. And there should be enough variety that you can find one that works for you.

If you know of any others, let me know in the comments below.


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