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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
And then there were three...
I bet you were all just as surprised (and blown away) back in 2017 when Seiko announced their 62MAS re-edition, the SLA017 (SBDX019). The timing however made a lot of sense, given it coincided with the 62MAS' 50th anniversary. An amazing tribute and to be sure, Seiko made a lot of WIS happy. Price was a bit higher than say, their SBDX017 "MM300", but quite in line, given the LE of 2000. Having reviewed the history of Seiko's divers, I had hoped they would bring out a tribute to the 6215-7000 or similar 6159-7000/1, the origin of today's MM300s. Sure enough, we saw the SLA025 (SBEX007) make its debut at Baselworld 2018. For those of us comfortable with the MM300's geometry, the SLA025 marked another great tribute. The pricing was not as appealing as that of the SLA017, however with the marked increase, we were getting the venerable Seiko Hi-Beat 8L55 movement.
Checking once again with Seiko's chronology, the next logical tribute could only be one based on the 6105-8000/9 or 8110/9 - the inspiration behind Seiko's popular "Turtle" series. So with less of a surprise but with just as much excitement, the first image of Seiko's SLA033 (SBDX031) was in circulation even before Baselworld 2019 rolled around!


click-the-pics for hi-res goodness


The SLA033
Of all the vintage Seikos out there, the 6105s are certainly up there in popularity. Apparently, it's not that hard (or even that expensive) to source one in relatively good condition. Hence many 6105 owners didn't really understand "the need for" the SLA033. The proposed retail price of the SLA033 (over $4K) certainly does nothing to counter their viewpoint. Nevertheless, the advantages of owning a new (and improved) iteration of the 6105 represents the other side of the debate. As a limited edition of 2500, I suspect it won't take long until each has found a home.



Speaking of 6105 owners & fans, I distinctly recall the disappointment when that first image of the SLA033 appeared. The biggest issue seemed to be the fact that Seiko didn't reproduce the case contours 1:1... . Another complaint had to do with the crystal; the SLA033 having a flush crystal (in appearance only*) whereas the 6105s had a box crystal, which gives the 6105 its pleasant optical (dial) distortion. Then we have the ultra-fanatics that are livid because Seiko "rounded" the dial-markers' edges... . As for me, my only wish would have been an applied logo, same wish I had for the first two tributes. Well I guess we can't have it all (... unless of course, we source a 6105... ;-) )

*The SLA033's crystal is actually "double domed" or curved on both sides. As far as I can see, it's the same crystal design used for the SLA025.

The SLA033 vs. 6105-8110 c/o Fratello Watches' M.Stockton



Regarding the case contouring; this is where we have to get more specific and assume that Seiko had the 6105-8110 in mind when they shaped the SLA033. The 8110 is much more rounded than the 8000 and resembles more of it's namesake, the turtle.

The 6105-8110 vs. 6105-8000 c/o Fratello Watches' M.Stockton

c/o Fratello Watches & M.Stockton

What the 8000, 8110 & SLA033 do share is the integral crown guard. The latter two are more "protective" with zero protrusion of the crown when fully screwed down. A bit overkill, if you ask me (or anyone that's tried to wind the darn thing...). One aspect of the case that caught me by surprise was the "thinness" of the SLA033. At 50x45x13mm, the SLA033 is a whole mm thinner than the SLA017, despite both having the same 8L35 movement. Or is that 1 mm simply due to the SLA017's domed crystal... ? Perhaps the thinness is perceived, simply due to the ratios (45mm width vs. 40mm of the SLA017)... . Not that it matters much in real-world use. Either you have it over a wet suit or on a sleeveless arm. A business-shirt's cuff will have a much harder time contending with the rubber / silicon straps than any additional 1 mm in height... :-d



As noted above, the SLA033 can indeed be considered the "new & improved" 6105; 8L35B movement, sapphire crystal, functional lume & an additional 50m of depth-rating. If you're feeling very generous, you can toss in the Dia-Shield coating (which I have come to hate with a passion) and while you're at it, the "Zaratsu" -polished bezel-rim (...at least that's what Seiko wrote; I'd like to think that the case sides are also zaratsu-polished... hmm).



It's not all good news, though. As faithful as it may be to the 6105, once again Seiko has stuck to the 19mm lug-width making the hunt for third-party straps a bit of a challenge. Fortunately I've a couple of years behind me, given that the 2017 SLA017 (as well as SLA025) are also 19mm... . As for the supplied silicon strap (same as supplied with the first two); it's definitely a love and hate relationship. Love the immediate suppleness, could do with a shorter length and can certainly do without the lint-magnetic properties of silicone... sigh :think:



Still... I can live with that. What's really an issue for me is that while the dial, dial markers, hour and minute hands have a high-quality finish, Seiko did the unthinkable and dropped in a second-hand similar in finish to their standard-production fare... ! Let me remind you we are talking about a $4K Seiko here, one that is produced (assembled) in Seiko's esteemed Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio. What a shame. Although it has no real-world impact (in other words, not visible to the naked eye), I have to wonder why Seiko skimped on this one component... . If you're now wondering what all the fuss is about, you will find an image of the culprit further below. I didn't want to "spoil" this section of the pictorial, particularly for those that only glance at the text and prefer to simply enjoy the imagery... ;-)




Captain Willard's Seiko
I know that most of Seiko's diver series have been given nicknames (..., Shogun, Sumo, Tuna, Turtle,...) but I'm not sure how many vintage Seikos have been associated with a person or film character (a la Newman & Rolex Daytona, McQueen & Heuer Monaco, Stallone & Panerai,...). Thus reading people commenting on their 6105 wristshots with "wearing my Willard today" or similar had me scratching my head. Sure, I've seen Apocalypse Now many times (and yeah, almost every version incl. the Director's cut, the uncut-director's-cut, etc.) but I'll be honest here, it took some Googling to make the connection. Speaking of which, although I've no "deep" connection with either Willard, the character or Martin Sheen, the actor, I'm fine with the 6105's nickname. However seeing as this is Seiko, the JDM (Japanese domestic market) may have even less of a connection. I would imagine their connection is with Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura who wore the 6105 during one of his major solo challenges. I certainly can appreciate a Japanese owner's preferred association with Uemura than Sheen-Willard; having personally met explorer Mike Horn at a recent Panerai event was certainly one of the event's highlights for me! The fact that Uemura "disappeared" on his final adventure, the solo-climb of Mt. McKinley (Denali) must make it all the more deeper... .


note the LE# has been masked


What's next?
Let's assume Seiko's adhering to actual original release dates - the 62MAS in '67, the 6215-7000 in '68 and the 6105-8110 in ...the 2nd half of '69 (the first iteration, the 6105-8000, came out ~6~12mths earlier). Thus all three would have been released on their inspirations' 50-year anniversary. That does make a further "re-creation" in 2020 rather tricky, given that the next diver references were released years later. The venerable 6159-7010 Grandfather Tuna came out in 1975 and the 150M 6309-7040/9, in 1976. Therefore, your guess is as good (or better) as mine... :-s

I'm pretty much set though, having the luck of owning the three 50th tributes. The SLA033 certainly holds it's own among these stellar references and anyone on the fence should make a move - and yes, imho, even die-hard 6105 owners should try to get a closer look at one. Maybe their stern opinions will soften once they catch a glimpse of that awesome lumibrite... b-)




:-!

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click-the-pics for hi-res goodness


The crystal's dual-curved profile becomes very apparent at sharp angles...










devil in the details ...well done, Seiko!











note the LE# has been masked

triple decker...




My four oh-so-awesome Seiko divers :)



:-!

~~~~


Sidebar
Regarding the It's not all good news paragraph above; as noted, a serious issue for me is that while the dial, dial markers, hour and minute hands have a high-quality finish, Seiko did the unthinkable and dropped in a second-hand similar in finish to their standard-production fare... ! Let me remind you we are talking about a $4K+ Seiko here, one that is produced (assembled) in Seiko's esteemed Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio. What a shame. Although it has no real-world impact (in other words, not visible to the naked eye), I have to wonder why Seiko skimped on this one component... .
The second-hand used in both the SLA017 and SLA025 have a polished finish, whereas the (not-even-that-cheap) $2K+ SBDX001/17 has a similar-finished second-hand. So yeah, for $4K+, I do expect better... !











:-!

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Outstanding write up and awesome pics as always - thankyou

Do you have a favourite among the three?

As a Tuna fan, I hope they do release an accurate Grandfather Tuna 6159-7010 with SLA treatment. They released a fabulous re-issue (although not with hi-beat mvmnt like the original) in the year 2000 but only with a very limited release of 1000, ref SBDX005. I would like to see another hi-beat Tuna reissue & the SLA treatment to a classic Seiko chronograph.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
^Thx everyone :-!

E... enjoyable read. I'm wearing mine as I type...
Hey, no review-reading and driving allowed!!! :-d Thx - glad you enjoyed it ;-)

...Your previous articles motivated me to take the plunge and buy my first SLA. Thanks mate...
My pleasure - I accept the role as "enabler" when it comes to such awesome watches :) Your photos are also a great addition to this community - plz keep them coming b-)|>

...Do you have a favourite among the three? As a Tuna fan, I hope they do release an accurate Grandfather Tuna 6159-7010 with SLA treatment. They released a fabulous re-issue (although not with hi-beat mvmnt like the original) in the year 2000 but only with a very limited release of 1000, ref SBDX005. I would like to see another hi-beat Tuna reissue & the SLA treatment to a classic Seiko chronograph.
I'm sure they will release that Tuna however I suppose you'll have to wait 'till 2025... :think: Ditto for the 6309 in 2026 :)

As for my favorite... honestly, once the SLA025 came out I knew there would be three and I knew I had to own them all. For me this is really a collection much like Omega's 1957 Trilogy (which at ~20K I couldn't afford). So unfortunately I don't have an answer to your question but fortunately I don't need one ;-) ;-)
 

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My four oh-so-awesome Seiko divers :)

Great review.

These four are also part of my collection.

,-)

An amazing quatuor.

My favourite is still the SLA017 on bracelet.

I love the size, the proportion, the dial, the bezel and the Oyster bracelet.

And it is less prone to show scratches.
 

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That was an exceptionally nice write-up of the SLA033. Thus far the only higher end Seiko diver that I own is the SLA021, although I do have a SLA033 on order. The primary concern that I have is the 19mm lug width and my rather flat 6.75" wrist. I would like to ask @Travelller which specific aftermarket straps have been the best option? There is one option for a 19mm Erika MN and Uncle Seiko makes a couple of 19mm rubber straps as well (tire tread and waffle, I think). Has anyone tried to squeeze a 20mm strap into place and if so which one(s). Any suggestions/input would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
That was an exceptionally nice write-up of the SLA033. Thus far the only higher end Seiko diver that I own is the SLA021, although I do have a SLA033 on order. The primary concern that I have is the 19mm lug width and my rather flat 6.75" wrist. I would like to ask @Travelller which specific aftermarket straps have been the best option? There is one option for a 19mm Erika MN and Uncle Seiko makes a couple of 19mm rubber straps as well (tire tread and waffle, I think). Has anyone tried to squeeze a 20mm strap into place and if so which one(s). Any suggestions/input would be appreciated.
Thx, much appreciated :) Good luck with your SLA033 order - I'm sure you'll be thrilled with it & looking forward to seeing a wristshot when you get it :-!

Regarding straps, @Leicashot managed to fit a 20mm OEM rubber strap (as found on the SBDX001 for example) and it "looks" like a perfect fit! I even asked him in a post and he says fitting it (without any alterations) was easy. I'm not sure what spring bars he used but maybe he'll chime in... ;-)

As for me, I've tried both the tropic and waffle straps from US. I have the tropic on the SLA017 - works pretty good :-! I have the waffle strap on my SBDX001 as a "test drive" but I'm still not sold. Neither one worked with the "tall" SLA025 because all US straps are too thin imho :think: I will keep the OEM on both the SLA033 & SLA025. When the lint gets on my nerves I'll just rinse it with some soap & water - it's not really that much of a hassle... ;-)

l-r: SBDX001 OEM, SLA033 OEM, U.S. tropic & waffle





p.s. The SLA017 came with a bracelet but I really love all of my four Seikos on rubber. However, it's 19mm and I'm sure it can be ordered separately if interested |>



They even included a "diver's extension"






Keep in mind that there's no guarantee that the endlinks will also fit the SLA033...
 

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@Travelller thanks so much for your well thought out response. I had also asked Uncle Seiko which of his straps he would personally recommend, and he responded he “would go with the chocolate bar, my personal fave and a bit more supple and comfortable.” So I’ll no doubt order a 19mm chocolate bar when my SLA033 arrives.

Surprisingly I found the most comfortable strap for my SLA021 to be an Erika MN and will likely order a 19mm MN for my SLA033 from her too. Erika will also sell a two-piece strap as well that should accept the Seiko fat springbars.


 

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...I found the most comfortable strap for my SLA021 to be an Erika MN and will likely order a 19mm MN for my SLA033 from her too.
Looking good! :-! I didn't know she has 19mm straps - T4S, I'll have a look at her website |>
 

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It doesnt stop scratches but once scratched you cannot polish it out (like you would a normal SS) and if you try it leaves a sorta smudge
 
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