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First introduced in 2020, the Seiko Captain Willard Reissues have garnered widespread recognition as one of the best Seiko divers available for relatively little money. Fitted with a new movement, a sapphire crystal, and the high ISO standards of their Prospex models, it is not hard to see why.
|Seiko Prospex Captain Willard "Save the Ocean Special Edition" Glacier Dial Ref. SBDC169 / SPB301
The Captain Willard draws its inspiration from a 1970s diver - the Seiko 6105-8110. Its iconic nickname results from Martin Sheen’s character, Captain Benjamin Willard, wearing the watch in the movie Apocalypse Now. The unusual case design of the 6105 is instantly recognisable. It is wide, flat, and has a unique crown guard. Despite the watch being a cult classic, the 6105 only had basic specifications. It was non-hacking and non-hand-wound and had 150m of water resistance.
The new Captain Willard release from Seiko is part of their Save the Ocean (STO) Series. First started in 2018, the STO series is part of Seiko’s mission to help protect the world’s oceans now and for future generations and secure this legacy for divers everywhere. Seiko donates a portion of all STO proceeds to organisations that study and preserve the seas - you’d directly contribute to saving the oceans (literally) by purchasing any Seiko STO timepiece.
Original applied markers and handset from the Ref.6105
The Captain Willard Ref. SBDC169 is made of high-quality 316L stainless steel and has finely-brushed finishing on the top of the lugs and case, with high-polished finishing at the sides. Coming in at 42.7mm in diameter and a lug-to-lug of 46.6mm, the watch is 13.2mm thick. Do not panic seeing the 42mm diameter! Thanks to its cushion case design, the watch wears very comfortably on the wrist and will also sit nicely on most wrist sizes.
Seiko fans are known for giving their watches cool nicknames like the Turtle, Samurai, and Monster watches that we all love. They have aptly coined the name “Glacier Dial” for this year’s STO series, and it is obvious why. The SBDC169 features an ocean blue, 120-click unidirectional dive time bezel with a lume pip at 12. The dial is a beautiful shade of ice-white with textures that remind one of the Arctic glaciers. The textures on the dial also give it an added dimension, helping it avoid becoming too flat and muted. Applied, square-shaped indices are used here, with a shield-like index at 12 for easy orientation. The 6 and 9 indices are baton-style, while a date wheel is at 3 - a useful daily complication that does not mess up the dial's proportions as it blends in like a regular index. Affixed atop the dial is a piece of curved sapphire crystal offering superb protection against scratches and great legibility thanks to its anti-reflective coating on the underside.
|Traditional cushion case gives it more inviting shape
As part of Seiko’s Prospex collection, this is an ISO 6425 certified dive watch. The screw-down crown and caseback combine to give the watch a solid 200m water resistance. The hands and indices are generously coated with Seiko’s proprietary Lumibrite, which provides the watch with a flawless glow in the dark.
Underneath the Seiko Tsunami engraved caseback lies the in-house Seiko 6R35 movement. It has 24 jewels, beats at 21,600 BPH, and has a power reserve of 70 hours. It's an upgrade from the old 6R15 movement and is reliable and robust. The improved power reserve is welcomed. You can put this watch down on a Friday evening and find it still ticking on Monday.
|Seiko's LumiBrite at its best
The watch comes on a 20mm oyster-style stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet tapers to a signed buckle with a diver’s extension, allowing you to wear the timepiece over a wetsuit if needed. It is a no-frills bracelet that offers great comfort and durability.
The Captain Willard STO Special Edition Glacier Dial Ref. SBDC169 is part of a brilliant 2022 STO series from Seiko. The textured white dial is a joy to look at, setting the watch apart from other dive watches that could get a tad boring after a while. Also, purchasing this timepiece contributes to the endeavors of scientists trying to preserve the oceans for generations to come. This way, you’ll be doing something good for our planet while simultaneously getting a hell of a watch - what’s not to love?