Nearly fifty years since Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura (1941-1984) scaled several of the world’s tallest mountains – and crossed Greenland on a dog sledge with a Seiko on his wrist – Seiko introduces the Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation “The Naomi Uemura Limited Edition” (SLA069).
Inspired by the ref. 6105 “Captain Willard” that accompanied Uemura on his solo dog sledge run from Greenland to Alaska in 1976, the SLA069 has a mountain-motif dial and blue coating on the bezel and crown.
This limited edition makes sense philosophically since it’s a Japanese watch that pays tribute to a Japanese explorer who wore something similar on his expeditions.
The design is obviously based on the ref. 6105, a model commonly referred to as “Captain Willard” by enthusiasts after the lead character who wore one in Apocalypse Now. Seiko has done several ref. 6105 remakes in the recent past, including another Uemura edition, but the SLA069 has details that make it distinctive, like the textured dial and blue access on the case.
As a limited edition, the SLA069 is slightly priced higher than regular production “Captain Willard” divers, but not very much more, making it an appealing proposition for someone who wants a retro diver with a few modern details.
Uemura was a legendary explorer known for feats of mountaineering and exploration before disappearing in 1984 while descending Mount Denali after reaching the summit. Best remembered for being the first person to reach the North Pole solo, Uemura also scaled five of the world’s highest peaks, including Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, by age 29.
The tribute to Uemura is essentially a variant of Seiko’s “Captain Willard” remake that’s based on the ref. 6105 of 1970. It retains same design but dresses it up with a dial featuring the Mont Blanc mountain range that was created with pressing and etching.
Unlike previous variants of the “Captain Willard”, the SLA069 has a 42 mm case, but it preserves the original form of the ref. 6105 along with the crown at four. In addition, the case has been finished with “super-hard coating” that is scratch resistant according to Seiko.
The SLA069 is powered by the cal. 8L35, an automatic movement that shares the basic architecture of the Grand Seiko cal. 9S55. The cal. 8L35, however, was developed primarily to equip Prospex dive watches.
Key Facts and Price
Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation “The Naomi Uemura Limited Edition”
Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 13 mm
Water resistance: 200 m
Movement: Cal. 8L35
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Steel bracelet
Limited edition: 500 pieces
Availability: Starting May 2023 at Seiko boutiques and retailers
For more, visit seikowatches.com.
This was brought to you in partnership with Seiko.
Correction March 10, 2023: The inspiration of the SLA069 is the ref. 6105 “Captain Willard”, rather than the “Turtle” as stated in an earlier version of the story.Back to top.