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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Review: The 6119-8120 and 8121: Seiko’s 1st 70m “Sports” Diver?

The 6119-8120 and 8121:​

Seiko’s 1st 70m “Sports” Diver​

In 1966 the film The Endless Summer earned a national release. Fueled by the Southern California surf culture, it documented two American surfers as they traveled the world during California’s winter in search of the perfect wave and an endless summer. The movie is often credited not only with launching the surfing craze of the 1960s, but influencing the wider youth culture in America.

Even if a teenager lived hundreds of miles from the nearest beach, he wanted in on the dream. While this led to such obvious things as the popularization of surfing themed music by The Beach Boys, the Ventures, Dick Dale and others, it also led to some very improbable marketing schemes. . . such as the selling of Japanese made, surfing themed watches to American teenagers.

Judging by their advertising, in 1968 Seiko was very keen to capitalize on the surfing craze as a way to crack into the US baby boomer market. This was the impetus for the development of a new line of watches: the sports diver!

The more expensive 62MAS was a genuine tool watch, ISO rated to 100 meters and marketed to an older, more serious-minded demographic.

The 1968 marketing campaign that heralded the release of the new 70 meter Sports divers however, was targeted to the growing youth market. A print ad announced, “Seiko on the summer surfing scene… Wherever boys and girls are hanging five, you’ll find a ready-made market for Seiko precision waterproof watches”. Even if you lived hundreds of miles from the beach, you could still buy a surfing watch and dream of being a surfer.

The 6119-8120 was not Seiko’s first Sport dive watch. That honor goes to the 6106-8100. But the 6106-8100 was really only a junior version the staid adult dive watches. So,in an obvious effort to appeal to young baby boomers, Seiko launched a new line of more colorful sports watches aimed squarely at America’s youth: The “Seiko 5 Sports 70 Meter” dive watch. And its first incarnation was the 6119-8120 and 6119-8121.

The 6119-8120 and 6119-8121 came out in 1968 and while it had a very short production run of less than one year, for many vintage Seiko collectors today, the “Seiko 5 Sports 70 Meter” dive watches of the late 60s and early 70s define the aesthetic of their hobby. Unfortunately, if any marketing materials were ever produced by Seiko to promote the Seiko 6119-8120 and 6119-8121, none have yet emerged. Unlike other models, nothing in the way of marketing scans or ads has surfaced as a guide to correct bracelets etc., leaving the collector to make deductions based on intuition and the very few clean specimens that survive.


At 38mm, the case of the 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 is very similar to the first of the 70m “Surfers Watches”, the 6106-8100, but with hidden 19mm lugs.

Because the lugs don’t require endpieces, a large variety of 19mm bracelet or strap options are possible.

Another important difference with the 6106-8100 was the watch crystal. While the 6106-8100 use a 31mm acrylic crystal, the 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 use the same 320W10GN glass crystal as the 6105 and innumerable other Seiko models of the era, so replacement is cheap and easy.

The 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 did not use the convex crown of the 106-8100, but instead employed a concave crown that would be used on the Sports line of divers and some chronographs as well.

Since There is no obvious difference in the dimensions between the 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 cases, the last digit may either refer to different periods of the production run, or refer to their intended geographical marketing region.


The 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 came in black, silver, and navy blue and was the first dial to have the SPORTS logo. The earliest specimens have a square-shaped 5 shield logo, and a distinctive font for both the word “Sports” and for the 70 meter depth rating.

The earlier dials also lack any code numbers on either side of the 6 o’clock marker.

By October of 1968, dial numbers have been added and the font for “Sports” has been changed.

More interestingly, the 5 shield logo has gone from being squarish to being the same rectangular design that we see today.

In addition to colored dials, the 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 may have been the first Seikos to have colored bezels, coming in black and two shades of blue.

The markings on the bezels are unique to the 6119-8120 and 6110-8121. Unlike most other Seiko bezels of the period, instead of dots, the indices are marked with hash marks.

Can you spot the incorrect bezel in this lineup?

(It's the silver one)

While the coin-edged bezel does rotate in both directions, it does not ratchet. The bezel ring is attached with a simple wire spring. This system makes it simple for any restorer, since the inexpensive aftermarket bezel springs designed for Vostoks are a perfect fit.

The 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 are perhaps Seiko’s first models to be powered by 6119A. The caliber 6119A can easily be identified by the two screws which hold the rotor. The later calibers 6119B and 6119C hold the rotor only with a thick center screw.

The 6119A movement uses 21 jewels does not hack. The day indication can be advanced by pressing the crown, but the weekday (only available in English) is not quickset and must be advanced by setting the time forth and back a few hours between the 9 and 3 positions.

Most of the 6119-8120s and 6110-8121s can be seen with the basic handset comprised of straight lumed hour and minute hands paired with a red lollipop sweep hand. This handset would become standard across much of the Seiko Sports line over the next ten years.

There were some later rare variants however, that came with tapered striped hands.

While no marketing scans of 6119-8120s or -8121s have emerged as a guide to their original bracelets, photos of a 6119-8121 from an Indonesian auction site clearly show what bracelet would have originally come with the later versions.

It is an unusual combination of slotted pieces near the wrist tapering to round links closer to the buckle and seems to be unique to this model.

And here is another probable original bracelet type:

There may have been other bracelets used on earlier models.

THE 6119-8120 and 6110-8121 LEGACY

The 6119-8120 and 8121 70m Sports Divers were a stylistic bridge between the conservative styles of the early to mid 60s, and the Peacock Revolution of the late 60s and early 70s. By 1969 Seiko embarked on producing much more flamboyantly designed Sports watches in orange, green, and gold with such things as rally motifs and racing stripes on their dials and bezels, all encased in imaginatively shaped cases. The first step down that road were the 6119-8120 and 8121 70m Sports Divers from 1968.

Premium Member
1,743 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I know very well that I may be the only one on this forum who owns a 6119-8120 or 6119-8121. The purpose of this writing exercise was to be of some use to a future collector who happens upon either of these pieces and wishes to know what he has bought and maybe gain a bit of information to help with the restoration.

Many times I have been the beneficiary of information supplied in threads that were more than a decade old, written by people who had ceased to post years ago.

If anyone has any corrections, comments, or criticisms, I would appreciate your input.


2,415 Posts
Im also a big fan of those sports divers. I was really surprised by how thin the 8100 was.

What month where those 812x's introduced? I know they also released the 5126 sports diver in 1968. Mine is 87xxxx but i believe there are older ones. Which of the two do you think were introduced earlier?

i just saw this 83xxxx on the bay when i dived further into it (yes a very bad pun)


Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)

I have three of these. Yesterday I examined the casebacks for their manufacture dates. I assumed that the above dial would have come from the earliest case since the font for the 70m depth rating and the "Sports" was so very different than any other dials I have seen. In addition, the 5 shield is square, matching the early style logo from the early Sportsmatic 5s that ran from 1963-67. Not the rectangular shield that ran from 1968 to the present.

However the above dial (with the square 5 shield) did not come from the earliest case (May 68) but instead came out of a case from March 1969!

Nevertheless, it is still obviously an earlier rendering of this dial design.

I believe that a likely scenario was that in early 68 a production run of these early dial designs was printed up, but they were not installed in completed watches until early 1969.
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