I’ve long thought that the legacy of Uemura and the 6105 is grossly overshadowed by the watch’s appearance in the movie Apocalypse Now, where it earned the nickname the “Willard” thanks to a prop master putting it on actor Martin Sheen’s wrist. I’ve even played into the nickname before. It’s a very Western-centric viewpoint, and I’ve been waiting for Seiko to lean into their history and spread the word about Uemura. I’d wager that before the release of this watch, more folks associated the 6105 with Captain Willard than Naomi Uemura. One is a fictional character in an iconic film, and the other was a real-life 20th-century explorer whose accomplishments are nothing short of incredible.
I’ve seen Seiko showcase Uemura’s history twice before. The first was at Baselworld 2019, with a small placard tying Uemura to the then-new SLA033. I thought it was odd that the Uemura connection wasn’t the focal point of the entire launch. With the release of the SLA049 and SLA051, we know why. The second time Seiko had showcased the Uemura connection was with a small display of Uemura’s personal effects that was briefly on display at Seiko’s Prospex boutique in Ginza last year.