This Seiko 6119-8083 sat in my safe for about four or five years. I got it fully serviced upon arrival but never really wore it. Then it popped into my mind last week when I was thinking about what watches I would nominate for the perfect vintage watch collection for €25,000…

Don’t panic. I’m not suggesting that I wanted to shortlist it. I rightly selected its role model, Seiko’s first dive watch, the ref. 6217-8001 “62MAS.” To be honest, though, I also haven’t sported my 62MAS for a long time, so I decided to look at it. And that was the moment that inspiration came. When I opened the safe, I found the pair of my 62MAS watches sitting nicely beside their baby brother from the Seiko 5 family, the ref. 6119-8083.

Seiko 6119-8083 dial close-up

Our “first” encounter

I took out the Seiko 6119-8083, and it felt like I was holding it for the first time. Yes, I knew that I had seen it before, but we hadn’t spent any quality time together. I had no feelings or memories of it. I decided not to make the same mistake again and strapped it to my wrist right away. Please forgive me for what I am about to say, but the moment I looked at it on my wrist, I realized that it looked like a bastard son with the limbs (sorry, lugs) of his Grand Seiko mom and the face of his 62MAS father. I mean, it looks gorgeous!

Seiko 6119-8083 wrist shot

There is something to it

The Seiko 6119-8083 looks like a 62MAS that was in so much of a rush that it lost its bezel. I dare say that it feels a bit naked. If you agree, it’s just because we know the 62MAS a bit too well. That “problem” disappears when you refocus on the beefy lugs with lightly beveled edges. If you add the day-date window, you then start to feel positively dressy vibes, and even more so when you account for the case’s 37mm diameter and the small crown decently integrated into it at 4 o’clock. The charcoal sunburst dial looks stylish even today, despite it being over 50 years old.

Seiko 6119-8083 hour markers

One watch for 50 years

While studying the Seiko 6119-8083, I bumped into this forum thread. “I have a thing for the Seiko 6119-8083. It was my first ‘real’ watch at age nine, and until a few years ago, it was on my wrist continuously for almost thirty years. Quite literally, my wrist grew into/around this watch. I feel incomplete without one on. [M]y dad wore it for twenty years before me, so it accumulated fifty years of constant wear,” says the thread author. After a week on the wrist, I understand him completely.

Seiko 6119-8083

The Seiko 6119-8083 is light and relatively thin. The unusual combination of a diver dial in a dressier case makes it a surprisingly versatile watch. The movement is slightly more “acoustic” than what you might desire, but this is a 1960s/1970s watch. Oh, and I forgot to tell you the best part. You can get a solid example within a €200 budget, making it 10–20 times more affordable than a 62MAS. So, if you can live without a bezel and are lacking inspiration for what to buy next, here you go!

Some facts about the Seiko 6119-8083

The watch is powered by the Seiko 6119C automatic movement, which was produced from the late ’60s until the mid-’70s. As described here, “It features [D]iafix combined settings for the escapement wheel and a sophisticated excenter self-winding mechanism with just one gear stage.” The movement offers a sweeping seconds hand and includes a day and date display. Adjusting the day and date on vintage Seiko watches like this never gets old or boring. A light push of the crown quickly changes the date, and you can adjust the day by pushing the crown in a bit further. The 6119C offers the day in two languages. There is also the 6119A movement with a single-language day wheel.

The case back

In 1970, Seiko modified the wording etched on both case backs and dials, specifically regarding the indication of water resistance. This was primarily attributed to the necessity of aligning with pertinent regulations, particularly those enforced in the United States. As a result, the terminology shifted from “waterproof” to “water resist” or “water resistant.” Simply put, pre-1970 case backs appeal more to a watch collector’s eye.

Image: The Watch Site (user NevRo)

Last thoughts

If I were a Seiko collector, I think the entire 6119 family, in all its variations, would be on my list after this week’s experience. The picture above clearly shows this model’s attractiveness in different guises. At first, I was attracted to the blueish dial, but now I’m leaning toward the pearl-white dial. And the gold one doesn’t look bad either! Maybe I will get one for RJ to bring some levity to his sunshine collection of Breguet, Omega, and Rolex. Happy hunting!