The Case of the Vietnam "SOG" Seiko - 6119-8100/6119-8101 - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Case of the Vietnam "SOG" Seiko - 6119-8100/6119-8101

Hi All,

About six or seven years ago I was sent a copied page out of a book called "Running Recon: A Photo Journey with SOG Special Ops along the Ho Chi Minh Trail", by Frank Greco. A militaria collector friend of mine thought I might like to see the military looking Seiko 5 which purportedly was issued to Recon teams members including Indigenous "Yards" who were working with the teams.

You know the saying don't get me started, well this little bit of information got my full, undivided attention and I spent quite a bit of time studying this model and all it's period variants and thought I would share my observations.

What I discovered was that the only two models that fit the pictured watch on page 94 were the 6119-8100 & 6119-8101. There was also an earlier model which was very similar, the 6619-8060 which is dated 7/66, and a 6119-8090 dated 8/69.

The 6119-8100 is dated 3/68, while the 6119-8101 has a D/68 date and between the two models I can't really see any differences. Could it be like on the divers that there is a 0 for domestic and a 1 for export? Since I can see no mechanical or cosmetic differences in either of them I think that theory has merit.

There was a discussion about these on another forum (MWR) at the time discussing this very thing. A member contributed to the discussion by showing us his father's 8101, which had been 'issued' to him as a Green Beret instructor while stationed in Vietnam. That was some pretty heavy duty additional evidence since original records were destroyed after the Vietnam war was over.

The other thing to keep in mind is that CISO supplied largely 'sterile' equipment to SOG team members so it's logical that an issued watch couldn't be the standard issued US military type so it's easy to see why this model Seiko 5 was chosen, since it so closely resembles a military watch.

In the book, "Black Ops, Vietnam", it is stated that the head of CISO, Conrad "Ben" Baker procured more common items of equipment through open purchase in Japan so this situation seems to jibe.

Additionally this Vietnam militaria site also shows this watch as an issued SOG item: http://www.lkmilitary.com/vsf.htm

My 1966 6619-8060 was a presentation watch and is inscribed on the clasp: 1968, USAJ (US Army Japan), Basketball Champions. It's possible then that since the general model was already known that when the need arose the current clone 6119-8100 was chosen for SOG requirements..

Further, these models do turn up but they are not common and frequently from US sources.

Cheers,

Konrad











Last edited by lambstew; 09-04-2014 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I want one! Very interesting.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for a great post. I have seen these show up infrequently and they definitely have a look that captures my attention. Your write-up has increased my interest.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Very interesting. I read a book called Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. It's the first of a series starring Bob "the nailer" Swagger who is a marine sniper who served in Vietnam. He describes his watch as a 'Jungle Seiko'. I wonder if this is the watch he is describing. Hunter was drafted in 1968, but served in Washington.

Good stuff, I love reading about these types of obscure finds in mil watches.

Cheers

Pete
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Very cool.

I do love that style of dial.

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Old 09-04-2014, 02:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Very nice thread, Nice Seiko 5 Militaru History......
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I picked up a 6619 a while back from a guy that bought it at a PX over here during the war. The pics weren't great, but I got it cheaply. I asked, and he provided a brief history. Unfortunately it's missing the chapter ring, so until I can source a replacement, it's in the parts bin.

From what I understand, there was also a 7005 used, though it was less common. I tracked one down this past spring (though I don't know this particular watch's history or military involvement) but it needs some work which I haven't gotten around to.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I also wanted to add this: The only differences between the 6119-8100 & 6119-8101 Is the bottom printing. The 8100 has a larger Suwa logo and also -8110R AD.




The 6119-8101 has: a squatter Suwa logo and -8100R:



It's difficult to tell which exactly which version is pictured in the book so if someone has a better image it might be worth blowing up..

The 8101 issued to the Green Beret in the original 2008 posting has a squatter Suwa logo:



Cheers,

Konrad

Last edited by lambstew; 09-04-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Cool!

I have a similar 6619, like this:



Interestingly enough that the purchase was inspired by this picture (from old SCWF posting, hope the owner would not mind I posting this, apology in advance):



Great military dial with Arabic numeral hour marks, that I like so much and subsequently bought a couple of more:

modern 7S26 based -


4S25 based -


and the latest purchase (Jan 2013) of similar style but a 1962 vintage:


I am so glad you brought it up, allowing me to show off a bit

Vincent
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vlin219 View Post
Cool!

I have a similar 6619, like this:



Interestingly enough that the purchase was inspired by this picture (from old SCWF posting, hope the owner would not mind I posting this, apology in advance):



Great military dial with Arabic numeral hour marks, that I like so much and subsequently bought a couple of more:

modern 7S26 based -


4S25 based -


and the latest purchase (Jan 2013) of similar style but a 1962 vintage:


I am so glad you brought it up, allowing me to show off a bit

Vincent

That's a killer dial..
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default very interesting...thanks for the post! Nt

werewsd
Quote:
Originally Posted by lambstew View Post
Hi All,
werewrw
About six or seven years ago I was sent a copied page out of a book called "Running Recon: A Photo Journey with SOG Special Ops along the Ho Chi Minh Trail", by Frank Greco. A militaria collector friend of mine thought I might like to see the military looking Seiko 5 which purportedly was issued to Recon teams members including Indigenous "Yards" who were working with the teams.

You know the saying don't get me started, well this little bit of information got my full, undivided attention and I spent quite a bit of time studying this model and all it's period variants and thought I would share my observations.

What I discovered was that the only two models that fit the pictured watch on page 94 were the 6119-8100 & 6119-8101. There was also an earlier model which was very similar, the 6619-8060 which is dated 7/66, and a 6119-8090 dated 8/69.

The 6119-8100 is dated 3/68, while the 6119-8101 has a D/68 date and between the two models I can't really see any differences. Could it be like on the divers that there is a 0 for domestic and a 1 for export? Since I can see no mechanical or cosmetic differences in either of them I think that theory has merit.

There was a discussion about these on another forum (MWR) at the time discussing this very thing. A member contributed to the discussion by showing us his father's 8101, which had been 'issued' to him as a Green Beret instructor while stationed in Vietnam. That was some pretty heavy duty additional evidence since original records were destroyed after the Vietnam war was over.

The other thing to keep in mind is that CISO supplied largely 'sterile' equipment to SOG team members so it's logical that an issued watch couldn't be the standard issued US military type so it's easy to see why this model Seiko 5 was chosen, since it so closely resembles a military watch.

In the book, "Black Ops, Vietnam", it is stated that the head of CISO, Conrad "Ben" Baker procured more common items of equipment through open purchase in Japan so this situation seems to jibe.

Additionally this Vietnam militaria site also shows this watch as an issued SOG item: http://www.lkmilitary.com/vsf.htm

My 1966 6619-8060 was a presentation watch and is inscribed on the clasp: 1968, USAJ (US Army Japan), Basketball Champions. It's possible then that since the general model was already known that when the need arose the current clone 6119-8100 was chosen for SOG requirements..

Further, these models do turn up but they are not common and frequently from US sources.

Cheers,

Konrad










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Old 09-07-2014, 05:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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In William F Owen's "Blackfoot Is Missing" - his account of his time serving with CCC Kontum in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, he mentions the fact that Seiko watches were a prized possession of the Degar/Montagnard troops.
In fact, they were presented Seiko watches as a bonus for capturing live prisoners.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hot diggity. Watch Acquisition Syndrome is setting in...
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing, fantastic information.

Mark
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Old 10-31-2014, 03:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Just picked this up for under a 10. Thought I recognised the dial, but not the case, and remembered there was a thread about SOG teams in Vietnam.
7009 movement and case, but a 6119 dial, like the one shown. I do like the hands it has come with, seem more military like than the originals.

Here's a better pic this morning

Were all the case backs on this model 6119 non screw down? Are there any other cases from the 6119 range that are similar to this particular model. Would like to rehouse the dial with correct movement and a case very similar to its original, albeit screw down case back and incorrect model number.
Regards, David

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Old 10-31-2014, 05:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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That is a great story and very interesting history on the Seiko watches. I have seen some Seiko 5 models that appeared to be designed with the military in mind but I was not sure if they were ever used by military troops. I have this Kinetic model that looks to be like a more modern day version of that watch. Its in rough shape. The crystal is smashed and the band is an aftermarket with the wrong ends but I for 15 bucks I figured why not. I have the crystal already I just have other projects in front of it so I have not gotten to it yet.
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Old 04-26-2015, 02:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default I have a Seiko 6119-8100

Wow. What a great backstory on this watch! I was trying to figure out how to price it and couldn't find a single thing about this model until you came along. Daddy was in Vietman as press for a while, right about when your recon-guys would have received theirs. I wonder if a soldier gave it to daddy. Or, maybe he liked them and bought one in Japan on his way home. In either case, great to know something about it. Thanks so much! Debbie
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Old 04-26-2015, 03:54 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing. It's the stories behind the watches which make collecting wothwile.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Nice interesting write up. Like the number style on those 6119 watches.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default The Case of the Vietnam "SOG" Seiko - 6119-8100/6119-8101

lambstew- Thanks for the great write up, so interesting and clearly written. Great writing style and descriptive photos. Thanks again for the great info !
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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excellent info. interestingly, i only used to like watches that had numerals on the dial - not just hash marks. i've since taken a liking to "non-numeral" dials, but i can see why i liked the arabic numerals so much. those watches are real beauties! now i'll keep my eyes peeled for something like those.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:57 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I came across a complete movement for one of these on eBay about 8 months ago. No one seem to pick up on what it was and I bought dirt cheap. It was a 6119-8110 RAD marked on the dial. It runs perfect and the lume is still in decent shape. I have been looking for a case to appear on eBay one day. I really like the dial design.
If it was not for this article I would have passed over it too.

Michael
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Very Nice....wait until Longbike sees it .....I bet it will bring back memories .
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Old 04-29-2015, 01:33 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Aloha ,
Yes they were there and I had a few also, today ... who knows where they went.
Yes these watchs were all over the place and the ... Degar -Montagnards had them.
They were the most dependable guys to have with you too. They were the guys we called ... " Halo's .
They watched everyone to make sure they did not get hurt or taken out. They were given these watchs and they prized them and kept them in good shape too. They would just sit and stare at them on their wrist and when you asked them ......
" Hey Whats Ups ", they would say .... I am a G.I too. We told them sure why not you are my Brother, and they would reply saying
..... " Yes ,Thanks Daiwi ". When around them I made very sure they were well taken off all around. I even gave them my hammock to sleep and I would sleep on the ground by the boat piers. If you ever needed protection
these were the ones to be with. They just despise the V.C. terribly.
" Professional Cross Bow "guys too. I have a few on the other Island at my Mom's house yet.
Aloha

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Old 05-02-2015, 02:07 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Good tale Longbike...Interesting for those of us who weren't there . Thanks...
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