Seiko 6106-6430 UFO and the Recraft ‘Reissue’
From 1969 thru 1971 Seiko produced the 6106-6430 (and later the 6119 6400): a lug-less, cushion-shaped 70 meter Sports Diver. Nicknamed the UFO due to its unconventional, saucer-shaped case; in many ways the 6106-6430 epitomises the style of the early 70s.
By the early 1970s, a counter-reaction to the psychedelic excesses of the 1960s was expressing itself in the form of a draber color palette featuring Avocado Green, Harvest Gold and Burnt Orange (aka Aztec Red).
This contradiction of drab earth tones and campy colors seems to reflect the cultural contradictions in early 1970s society: austerity vs. decadence, nature-loving hippiedom vs. high-tech futurism.
These two wonderfully detailed dials — one in drab “Sienna” Brown, the other in Harvest Gold and Avocado Green — well embody this early 70s aesthetic.
The Harvest Yellow dial model has a green enamel filled bezel, while the Sienna Brown dial model has with a black enamel filled bezel.
The inner dial ring is controlled by a small, recessed crown at 4 o’clock. Regrettably, the yellow model’s rotating dial ring is often faded from its original harvest gold to a dull yellow or white: a victim of UV light and time.
On the dial’s edge, before the rotating dial ring, is printed a silver and blue minute ring, which gives the dial a sporty look.
The luminous hour and minute hands are slightly tapered and compliment the red triangular second hand.
The 6106 movement it automatic, non-handwinding with 23 jewels, and it hacks!
The 6106-6430 was offered with the “razor” bracelet.
THE RECRAFT RPC**K1 “UFO”
In late 2017 Seiko came out with the RPC**K1, a Recraft series, re-interpreting the 6106-6430. It seems to be intended solely for the Asian (non-Japanese) market.
There are five different variants:
the SRPC13K (ss case with blueish green dial),
SRPC15K (ion plated black case with black dial),
SRPC16K (gold case with brown dial),
SRPC09 (ss case with blue dial), and
SRPC11 (ss case with black dial),
Seiko limited the production of the SRPC13K, SRPC15K, and SRPC16K (the three in leather) to just 1,969 examples each, a reference to the original year the 6106-6430 came out (1969).
The SRPC09 and SRPC11 (both in bracelet) are not limited in their production.
The transparent case-back of the limited production models all have the words "LIMITED EDITION" painted in gold lettering across the Hardlex crystal.
However, Seiko does not indicate the limited edition number on these watches or on the guarantee card itself. There is no indication of the total number of pieces produced other than a running serial number.
The dimensions are 44mm in diameter and approximately 13 mm thick, almost identical to the 6106-6430 of almost 50 years ago! Like the 6106-6430, Also like its predecessor it comes with a flat enamel filled black bezel ring (white for the SRPC15K).
The unsigned crown is larger than in the 6106-6430, and is only partially recessed at 4 o'clock. While the decision to include a larger crown does rupture the clean lines if the case, it is easier to use.
The hour and minute hands have a slight trapezoid shape, and in a departure from the 6106-6430, they both have are divided into two framed areas painted with LumiBrite. The bright red triangular second hand is unchanged from it’s 50 year-old inspiration.
The day and date aperture is framed in metal with black text on white background wheels (the opposite of the 6106-6439). The language option for the day wheel is either Roman numerals or English.
Overall the dial is very clean. There are only two visible lines of text. The top half of the dial has the SEIKO badge. The bottom half has the word "AUTOMATIC".
The minute ring comes with a frequency appropriate number of markers between the seconds, a feature usually found on much more expensive watches. It would have been much more in keeping of the style of the originals if these Recraft versions had a contrasting rotating dial ring, but instead have the stationary minute ring, which matches (as opposed to contrasts with) the dial color.
The lugs are 22mm, compared to 19mm for the 6106-6430. And like the other Recraft models, the two unlimited models comes with a plain, uninspired oyster bracelet.
This series uses the a 4R36 24 jewel automatic movement which is hand winding and, like the 6106, hackable.
Is it as good as the 6106? In about 50 years we should know.
In contrast to the earth tone palette of the 6106-6430, the RPC**K1 “UFO” seems to have no unifying color scheme at all. But maybe that is because there exists no defining color palette or even style for our time! Style has stagnated. Practically everything—cars, movies, music, men’s clothes, and haircuts, and watches—seems about the same as it was in 1990.
The watch comes in a shallow rectangular box. The inside lid of the box is printed in “Engrish” too awkward even to have been the result in Google translate.
No, this is definitely the work of an overconfident English language learner.
It reminds me of several other humorously bad translations I have seen.
I think the poor English provides a clue as to the thought (or lack of it) that has gone into this Recraft model. I doubt that the perfectionists in the Seiko corporate offices in Japan would have ever let this poor English wording ever get by them. It seems apparent that Seiko has farmed out every aspect of the production process — down to the unimaginative design and poor quality promotional materials — to its partners in China.
While some people may understandably be annoyed that Seiko's designs are increasingly being inspired by leafing through old catalogs, I don’t fault them for mining the past for inspiration. But why must they bring forward only the most mundane aspects of the old designs?
Why go to the trouble of recreating the UFO case and then not recreate the rotating dial ring? Why not print the silver and blue minute ring around the dial’s edge? Why not also recreate the funky color schemes, and razor bracelet?
Take away these sporty elements, and what remains is little more than disk-shaped dress watch.