My Dad's 6105 journey - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 05-21-2017, 01:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Dad's 6105 journey

Hi all,

I'm new on the site, but not necessarily new to Seiko. I grew up admiring my dad's "old dive watch" as a kid, and when I was in college, finally purchased my first Seiko, a 7S26-0029 with the Pepsi bezel. I used to wear it a lot when I first got it, but being in the Army, I needed something with more functions, so I went back to my Suunto most of the time. My dad recently passed away back in January at the age of 67, due to complications from cancer treatments. As I share this, I'm hoping for it to be a bit cathartic for me, as well as an interesting story about the journey in the life of a Seiko lover (he owned 4 at his death, and they were the only watches he wore).

My dad enlisted in the Air Force in late 1968, just before his 20th birthday. He was a Security Police dog handler. He spent several months stationed at Riverside AFB in California. He grew up in Lodi, California, and had tried to get stationed at Travis AFB, but ended up in Riverside. In early 1970, he bought a Seiko 6105 at the PX on base. Shortly after that, he was sent to Thailand. He spent 18 months there working sentry dogs and drug dogs, wearing his watch daily. I found several pictures of him this past weekend from his time there, and sure enough, there was his 6105 on his left wrist.

He returned home in early 1972, but while he was getting ready in the barracks one morning he left his watch on his bed and someone stole it. He never saw it again.

In early 1973, my dad married my mom. He became a deputy Sheriff in San Joaquin County, California that same year. In 1974, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's (lymphoma) and started going through radiation treatments at Stanford University. My mom was working, and he would often have to drive to Palo Alto from Lodi on his own, several days a week. He was given a clean bill of health in 1976. As a gift, my mom scraped up the money to buy him a new watch to replace the one she knew meant so much to him, a new Seiko 6105-8119.

The Hodgkin's was the first of many cancers that he would deal with in his lifetime, and is probably what ultimately got him. Back then, the full-spectrum radiation treatment wasn't as advanced or refined as it is today. It caused a lot of damage to his esophagus and throat.

I was born in 1984, and I can remember my dad wearing that watch very distinctly from an early age. He wore it every day. When he took me hunting as a kid, he wore it. I even remember him teaching me how to get the illum to shine while we were waiting to head out before sunrise. He went scuba diving for abalone wearing it, and taught me how to play golf in it. He even used it to time me running the bases in baseball practice, although counting seconds on it wasn't as accurate as a stopwatch. Point being, I remember how important it was to him, how much of a piece of him it actually was.

My mom bought him a Rolex Submariner after I was born, but he sold it a few years later. It never kept time, he claimed, even after he had to have it serviced twice in two years for $1000 each time. Too expensive for him, and not worth the trouble. He went back to the 6105...

My family went on a cruise in 2006, and of course he wore his 6105. We went to the Grand Cayman Islands, which is where I bought my 7S26. He helped me pick it out. I wore it all through my first deployment to Iraq in 2007-2008. He was undergoing chemo and radiation during my deployment for another cancer that came up right before I deployed.

Somewhere around 2011, he stopped wearing his 6105. He had a simple Quartz Seiko that he wore instead. When I asked him about it a few years later, he said the crystal was too scratched and he thought the seals were bad so there might have been some water in it. I asked if he was going to get it fixed, and he would. Then he was diagnosed with another cancer, had to have a tumor removed from the back of his tongue, and underwent a slew of other treatments. I got married right after his treatments ended and he was cleared. I guess somewhere in all of that, his watch got put away and he forgot to send it in for repairs.

He went in to the hospital right after New Years this year, and he never made it out. It was a bit shocking for us all, since it was unexpected, but cancer has a way of screwing up your life plans. My wife and I had just found out that she was pregnant, and before he died, I at least got to tell him that much.

Two weekends ago, I went down to help my mom and sister go through his things. They hadn't been touched in over 4 months since he died. His watch was what I wanted to find, and was really the one thing I needed to have. My sister found it, tucked into a small box in his bedside table. I immediately went to work researching the model and was amazed at what I found. The 6105 is true Seiko heritage, with lots of history behind it.

Monday morning, I sent the watch to Seiko to get the movement serviced. I also wanted a quote for a new crystal, O-ring seals, and possibly new illum, since it had died out long ago. The movement still ran, and I was surprised that it kept within 2-seconds over a couple of hours. (I know, I shouldn't have ran it after it sat for so many years, but I couldn't resist.) It arrived at Seiko on Wednesday, but they sent it back Thursday. When I called on Friday morning, they said they don't service them anymore, even though their website gave a price quote for the 6105B movement service. Whatever.

I should have the watch back in hand tomorrow morning. I will post pictures of it when it gets here. It is honestly in pretty good shape for being 40+ years old and having been worn almost every day for 30 of those years. He had it serviced once, probably around 1992 or 1993. The crystal is scratched up pretty good, but not terrible. I did purchase an aftermarket Sapphire Crystal that I would like to get installed (from crystaltimes.net), and some new rubber O-ring gaskets. When I find someone to service it, I will give them those to use.

My goal now is to find someone who can do do a good reillum job on it, as well as the servicing and crystal replacement. Not sure I'll find anyone in town. I've seen a few names pop up on different Seiko forums that I've read this past week. Hopefully none of them take too long, but I read the backlog can be as long as 6 months for one guy. He must be good, though.

I will post a picture of the watch tomorrow when I get it back. Thanks for reading my dad's story. I consider myself lucky to be the owner of his watch. Like most great timepieces, I'm now just the keeper of it, until I hand it down to my son...
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Old 05-21-2017, 01:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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well hello and welcome to the forum...great to have u with us...well that watch and that story is incredible...well i would highly suggest Duncan on here as he has restored many 6105's ...he is Cannop on here...https://thewatchbloke.co.uk/ is the link to his site...i would put that watch back to original like your Dad got it when your Mom bought it from him...Sadly Seiko no longer services these but this great forum has many people who have OEM parts and great service...please post some pics when u can too...God Bless,John
6105's are one of my favorite watches too...
do not send this to just anyone either...do your research and it will pay in the end....your watch just does not have just sentimental value...it has real value and it would be a shame to have someone ruin it...
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome and thanks for the story and your service.
You might check out Spencer Klein's youtube for repair assessment videos. They're very informative and may give you some ideas.


Good luck.
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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https://www.youtube.com/user/spkslk/videos
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, what a great story and indeed a great watch! I have one myself.

Do you know if his first 6105 was one of the first series (8000/8009) or a very early 8110/8119 example? The later one would have been pretty rare now.

Do you have some photos to see if reluming it would be really necessary? I would not advice it in general unless it is really bad.

All the best!
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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On the negative side I am sorry your dad passed away

On the positive side the 6105 is a great heirloom for you to wear and honour your dad so in some ways you are a lucky guy.
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Old 05-21-2017, 05:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing. I am really glad you found the watch and got it serviced.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I will post pictures tomorrow when it arrives (Tuesday at the latest).

Utrecht: I"m not sure if it was a -8000/8009 or an early 8110/8119. I only know it had some very high sentimental value to him.

AJKrik: I wrote Spencer the other day and he is going to get in touch with me about it. I have heard that his wait times are several months... May be worth it, but I also want to wear it! I have looked at IWW's website, as well.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi there ashbaugh, thanks for sharing. I would advise against having the watch re-lumed. The bright illumination (if you have it redone) would be pretty incongruous vis-a-vis its overall condition, don't you think? But that's just my opinion and nothing wrong if you feel otherwise.

On the other hand, a crystal replacement would be great, but also do consider if the scratches can still be buffed out. Or, better yet, try to refinish the crystal yourself, it will add to the already significant history of your watch. I've heard some members try diamond paste to reduce or buff scratches out.

Great watch and great history behind it. Shows the world why the 6105 is such a well-loved piece. I used to have one but it was a straightforward purchase, no unique stories behind it (unless you count the three times I was outbid for the watch, and the three times that each winning bidder backed out, with me finally getting it the third time it was auctioned).

Congratulations!!
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've heard that it's a long wait. But he seems very knowledgeable and conscientious. Whatever your choice it is a particularly special watch.
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Old 05-22-2017, 01:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default My Dad's 6105 journey

Hi Ashbau2. Thanks for sharing your story.
Like the others, I'd love to see some pictures.
The advice I'd offer is not to rush into anything. This is a very important item to you and you don't want to hand it over to just anyone. Spencer is considered one of the best in this game, as is Duncan who was linked to above. Both will do a really good job and will keep your watch as original as possible. Spencer has the benefit of being in the same country as you, which will simplify matters.
The crown gasket is the most common cause of water entry and not just anyone can replace the gasket. The crown needs to be pulled apart and then rebuilt. Again, if you want it preserved long term, these two guys can do that job.
You won't have much luck polishing the crystal unless you've the correct tools and experience. Have the sapphire fitted or get a good after market replacement Hardlex replacement - Spencer has the best of those you'll find.
As for reluming, most of us here would say not to unless the lume has black grunge on it. Reluming the 6105 isn't easy to do well so don't jump into it unless you're sure. Spencer does good reluming and Duncan has a good guy he gets it his reluming done by.
Lastly, several months is nothing in the context of how important this watch is. I've had watches take 6 months or more to get done, but it's not worth taking the risk of rushing it.
You're a lucky man to have a personal item that was so central to your dad's life.


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Old 05-22-2017, 01:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Great story and thanks for sharing. Sincere condolences. Sounds like you were raised by a fighter. As others have mentioned, be careful about how you go about getting this watch to where 'you' want it to be. From my personal experience, I have almost always regretted re-luming a watch. Even when it absolutely needed it, I never fully appreciated the watch again. Take your time on this one. It is special for many reasons.
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well your dad sounds like he was a really great chap and thanks for the story, you can certainly wear it with pride look forward to the picks
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing, it's tough loosing your Dad, mine also passed earlier this year.
On the plus, you're very lucky that his favorite watch is arguably the most iconic vintage Seiko diver, imo but many would agree. Try to keep it as original as possible, do not relume or have the case polished. You can easily find a NOS crystal, I've never had good results polishing a scratched up hardlex.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm going to add a bit to the great advice from everyone here -

Some watchmakers will attempt to restore these watches with aftermarket parts - it's best not to go down this route. I've seen a lot of these watches ruined by being polished heavily and stuffed with aftermarket parts - cheap dials, bezels etc.

The watchmakers referred on this site are generally excellent and will treat your fathers watch with the understanding and care it needs.

Personally, unless things are really bad, I prefer just to get the movement cleaned and serviced, replace the seals and put in a NOS crystal.

I'd rather see a watch with a bit of history and character than a watch sterilised with aftermarket parts.

These watches are very hard to seal properly (crown seals are hard to repair) so even after a service, it's best not to go in the water with the watch. The best you can hope for is a watch that looks good - but is probably not water proof.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi everyone,

I appreciate all of the great advice you have all provided. I got the watch back in the mail yesterday, so here are a few pictures, as promised. As you'll see, the crystal is quite scratched (gouged, even...). Not sure if it's the Seiko Hardlex that is the issue, or if it would be just as bad with Sapphire crystal. I think it's the original crystal, so it's seen years of abuse.

Looking at the face, it looks in great shape still, no discoloring at all. The Lum is starting to get some black at the edges, as seen in the pictures, but not too bad; I may hold off on the reluming for now. I guess the only thing I would like to see is the "stop light" red on the second hand, but I can honestly live without that.

20170523_070829.jpg

20170523_070857.jpg

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20170523_071016.jpg
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:43 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Replicant View Post
Great story and thanks for sharing. Sincere condolences. Sounds like you were raised by a fighter. As others have mentioned, be careful about how you go about getting this watch to where 'you' want it to be. From my personal experience, I have almost always regretted re-luming a watch. Even when it absolutely needed it, I never fully appreciated the watch again. Take your time on this one. It is special for many reasons.
I'll take this into consideration. I'm beginning to think just a crystal and movement service will do it well...

And yes, he was a fighter. Unfortunately, Agent Orange was a sunovabitch that comes back to haunt you years after you thought you won...
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:47 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The crystal looks to be a type 3, your call on the hands as they do look very wabi-ed, but the dial is in great condition I would definitely not get that relumed
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerdimus View Post
I'm going to add a bit to the great advice from everyone here -

Some watchmakers will attempt to restore these watches with aftermarket parts - it's best not to go down this route. I've seen a lot of these watches ruined by being polished heavily and stuffed with aftermarket parts - cheap dials, bezels etc.

The watchmakers referred on this site are generally excellent and will treat your fathers watch with the understanding and care it needs.

Personally, unless things are really bad, I prefer just to get the movement cleaned and serviced, replace the seals and put in a NOS crystal.

I'd rather see a watch with a bit of history and character than a watch sterilised with aftermarket parts.

These watches are very hard to seal properly (crown seals are hard to repair) so even after a service, it's best not to go in the water with the watch. The best you can hope for is a watch that looks good - but is probably not water proof.
Great advice, thank you. All of these responses are why I came to this site in the first place, because I knew everyone here would be able to point me in the best direction. Again, I'm leaning more to just a movement service and a crystal replacement. And probably a new strap...
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I wouldn't touch the Lume either.

You will grow to love the watch for what it is. I must have one of the most heavily aged looking dials going on my 62MAS and I wouldn't swap it for a minter to wear as it's just got so much charm on the wrist. The only thing that was slightly too much was my hands had lost most of their Lume and were a bit bent up so I managed to find some originals with aged Lume to match the dial and it's as much as I want aesthetically. It also lets you wear it without being too precious.

Just get a movement service and a new crystal, that alone will make it a whole lot better.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:51 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Reynaldo View Post
The crystal looks to be a type 3, your call on the hands as they do look very wabi-ed, but the dial is in great condition I would definitely not get that relumed
Yeah, the minute hand seems to have the worst of it... Relooking at it, I am surprised at how nice the bezel is. I've seen some 6105s with destroyed bezels. I think it is in such good shape because the crystal sits up above it and took the brunt of most of the abuse.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:56 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Just a little info,

http://www.watchsleuth.com/seikodive...?MOD=6105-8119

this is the sort of work that it might require to show what it could look like,

https://thewatchbloke.co.uk/2015/10/...o-6105-8110-5/
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:00 PM   #23 (permalink)
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What a great story, ash. I was very moved reading about your dad's journey, and how you have memories of him wearing that watch. I would like to send you a replacement strap for it at no cost. When you decide you are ready for it, shoot me an email and remind me of the story. [email protected]
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Old 05-23-2017, 05:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Wow, what a great story and an honor to your Dad. I lost my dad a few years ago, so I kind of understand what you are sharing. God bless.
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:21 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Welcome Ash. Sounds like your dad was a tough man and he needed a tough watch to wear!

I have a dad going through a hell of a lot at the moment, so thank you for sharing and I wish you and your family all the best.

As for the 6105, it looks great. Typical lume blackening to the hands but otherwise it's fortunate to have that rotating ring in such good condition. I'd consider replacing the lume of the hour, minute and seconds hands with a gentle cleaning and removing of the lume as best as possible. Maybe even a silver plating or a chrome plating paint pen. After that I think it would look great. The dial could benefit from it, too. It's not terrible and more often than not dials left like that is the correct thing. Depends on what you feel you'd want. It may well look like a different watch if you relume everything, but would that matter?

Personally I'd replace the sweep and then I'd replace the hands with originals if possible or aftermarket hour and minute hands which are pretty close. I would keep the original handset and relume the aftermarket versions to match the patina of the lume of the dial. I'd also be very tempted to remove the lume on the dial and redo it a crisp white so I could get everything to match. Initially, have it serviced, replace gaskets and crystal with a reproduction of the original type 2 crystal and then at a later date consider reluming? Bear in mind that the longer you leave that blackening the worse those parts will get and possible the lume plots of the dial will start to pit even more as a result, meaning a relume in time saves the dial from further wear.

Great watch and your father clearly had good taste.
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