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(3/3) BACK TO THE FUTURE, Seiko divers review – 6105-811x and comparaison with the SLA033 / SBEX031 reissue

hieraklion
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Previously :


Reminder: I cannot guarantee that this article is 100% complete or accurate. If you spot any issues, missing copyrights in the article, please add comments.
Enjoy.

Note: I’m French, so my English is unfortunately not a Shakespeare/W.Churchill/B.Obama/R.Parks one. But I did a lot of efforts!


Finally, I compare the
6105-8110 reference with the 2019 reissue.


PART 2b –  Comparaison with the SLA033 / SBEX031 reissue


Limited Edition

It’s important to notice that the JDM reference of the reissue is SBEX031. SLA033J1 (reduced to SLA033) is the reference for the global market. In the following chapter, I will just use the SLA033 reference.

The SLA033 reissue is a 2019 limited edition (LE) of 2500 pieces worldwide. To my understanding, Japan market just picks up the first serial numbers. The reissue is assembled by hand in the Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio, a Seiko (SII) “fully-integrated production of high-grade mechanical watches” including Grand Seiko and Credor. The vintage 6105 were assembled in the Suwa Seikosha factory.

Price

Let’s now speak about the price. The original was priced to $75-95. As I said, it was about 1-2 months of a regular US soldiers’ salary. Now, if we estimate this price with the US inflation from 01/1970 to 01/2020 using the USCPI31011913 index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (😉), it’s equivalent to $510-650 in 2020. The current price of the SLA033 is €4,350, JP¥450,000, US$4,250 or AU$7,000. I know that when Seiko announced this price, a lot of people, including Seiko fans expressed their disappointment, and for some of them, their anger, declaring the watch was overpriced. In the opposite, some people declared that the SLA033 worth it with reference to its history, its assembly … To be honest, I will not argue each argument. Personally, I consider that you bought an excellent diver and another iconic watch.

Main shape

The main shape of the SLA033 is closed to the 8105. For sure some differences exist, and I will try to note them in this chapter. 

First, the case size is slightly larger for the reissue, 45mm instead of 44mm for the original. But the thickness is the same (13mm). To be honest, to my mind, it does not really impact the design of this lovely shape.

The caliber has changed. The reissue features an 8L35 movement with 50h of power reserve (28,800 bpm, 26 jewels) and a magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m. As Seiko explains in the watch description, this caliber has been specially designed for use in diver’s watches. A main difference with the 6105 caliber is the hand winding possibility!

The new watch is 200m water proof vs 100m. It remains in the non-professional range.


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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)


Seiko decided to engrave the horseshoe case back in the reissue. The 6105-811x could have a plain case back too. The inscriptions are now laser engraved and not stamped.

The case back has changed. First, a kind of flat surfaces exist at the end of the lug (See A). In the original, we had a continuous surface from the top to the bottom. Next, the screwed part is bigger and less concave. Absolutely no impact on the wearing.


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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)


Lug and crystal

 The lug in the reissue are drilled in order to prevent water from remaining in the holes. The glass moved from a hardened mineral glass to a high definition dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

Surface

The upper surface of the bezel is Zaratsu polished to a perfect mirror finish. Contrary to some declarations you could find into the Internet, the stainless-steel case is not Zaratsu polished. It features a super-hard coating (aka “Diamond Shield” - Dia-Shield is the registered name in Japan). It is about twice stronger than stainless steel. The hardness of the surface is expressed in Vickers hardness (Hv). It is Hv350-400 where stainless steel is around Hv200. The polished and the brushed (circular brushing) parts of the case are the same. The super-hard coating probably explains the reason for the watch looks like greyer (titanium like) than the original 6105.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)


Crown

The crown area features clear improvements for sure! The reissue is equipped with a screw-down crown, replacing the lock mechanism. The “Loc ->” still exists and is thinner. I do think it is laser engraved.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

The top crown guard is a little bit different. It is thicker and sharper to my mind. Note that crown must be turned clockwise for locking. It was the opposite for the 6105 model.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

Bezel

In the SLA033, the bezel is unidirectional (ISO 6425 standard), 120 clicks (vs 60 clicks for the 6105). As I explained earlier, the upper part is Zaratsu polished. It features a hard-wearing painted glossy bezel insert and the color looks like titanium. Markers seems to me cream-colored.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

Dial

The SLA033 dial respects the 6105 one. It looks to me a little bit glossier, but I could not guarantee due to my 6105-dial sheen. Markers are embossed and not applied. The reason is simple: the markers do not leave the base and cause malfunctions.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

The date function did not change, quickset and rapid change. The shape is a little bit different and the printing looks bigger and thinner.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

The markers have a larger metal part and feature rounded corners. The lume is yellower to me.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

The “Seiko” logo is not applied anymore for the same reason than the markers… Sniff. It was one of my favorite detail of the 6105.


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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

No factory logo in the reissue, but I really appreciate that the Prospex logo has not been applied.  The vintage feeling is more pleasant. The “waterproof” or “water resist” printing has been removed from the reissue, replaced by “Diver’s”. I would say that it is coherent with the Seiko Diver’s collection printings, but, this time, it decreases the vintage aspect of the dial. The long space between the “s” and the “2” is weird.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)


Hands

No real difference for the hands. The salmon point is now red.

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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)



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6105 (left), SLA033 (right)

Strap and wearing

The SLA033 comes with a waffle pattern silicone strap (the original was in PVC). From a wearing perspective, I did not feel any change. It’s again a pleasure.

Conclusion

In fact, this is not possible to compare 6105 and SLA033. For sure, the DNA is the same, it’s obvious. But the reissue gives an immediate impression of beauty and efficiency. The finish is greater, the SLA033 takes advantage of the usage of modern technologies and materials, offering superior performances. The SLA033 is an upscale tribute to the 6105.

Yes, the watch is expensive, other brands offer very good alternatives in the same range price. But this reissue

Nostalgie, quand tu nous tiens!


Special thanks to Keiko Naruse from Seiko Corp. She kindly helped me for some SLA033 features clarification. The  remaining errors are mine.

Hieraklion
01/2020, Paris, France.




Some interesting readings, videos and references


Adventures in Amateur Watch Fettling: adventuresinamateurwatchfettling.com m
Fratello Magazine : www.fratellowatches.com /
Horology Crazy: www.horologycrazy.com m
Keep the Time Blog: www.keepthetime.com /
Plus9Time : www.plus9time.com /
Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum (SCWF): www.thewatchsite.com /
Seiko Club Singapore: forums.seikoclubsg.com /
Seiko Corp: www.seiko-watch.co.jp /
Seiko Diver Blog: seikodiver.blogspot.com /
Seiko Museum: museum.seiko.co.jp /
Seiko Shizuku-Ishi Studio : www.shizukuishi-watch.com www.morioka-seiko.co.jp l
Spencer Klein: www.kleinvintagewatchrepair.com m
The Grand Seiko Guy : thegrandseikoguy.com m
The Seikoholics Forums:
www.tapatalk.com /
The Sping Bar : thespringbar.com m
Vintage Time Australia: www.vintagetimeaustralia.com Haut du formulaire

Worn & Wound: wornandwound.com /
Wrist Sushi, A Japanese Watch Forum: wristsushi.proboards.com /


Comments:
Avatar
Bill January 29th, 2020-07:39
What an amazing review and comparison. You really captured all the minute details. Thank you. ... 
Avatar
hieraklion January 29th, 2020-09:33
Has your box a reference ? Merci ! Arrghh ... full set, my graal! Has your box a reference ? Merci Hieraklion
Avatar
Bill January 29th, 2020-12:40
These are the only markings.  ... 
Avatar
hieraklion January 30th, 2020-02:24
Merci.  
Avatar
descartes1 January 29th, 2020-08:07
Fantastic review! I would love to see something similar on the SLA 017 (MAS62 reissue), especially the comparison to the original. I do think not using an applied brand mark is a mistake.
Avatar
cazalea January 29th, 2020-08:08
A magnificent effort. Thank you.  I wish I knew so much about SEIKO divers! If we all study this perhaps we can catch up to Bill’s Seiko diver expertise. I’m going to go get my 6309. Thank you again, Cazalea
Avatar
Mary Anny January 29th, 2020-08:40
Thanks a lot! Such a great review for such a great site!
Watchlover78 January 29th, 2020-09:38
Excellent!  
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Ron_W January 29th, 2020-10:49
What a great review and comparison, may thanks !. It is a weird watch, i like it very much eventhough i think it is not very atractive and big ; it is always on my watch list.  
Avatar
Subexplorer January 30th, 2020-04:44
Very interesting reading! A big effort put in the comparison and in illustrations! Well done! Thank you so much for sharing with us! Cheers! Abel  
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