Seiko 6159 Diver
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Seiko 6159 Diver

The 1960s were a pivotal time in the history of deep sea exploration, in which new technologies enabled humans to dive deeper and remain submerged longer than they ever had before.

As recreational diving became more popular, the watch industry adapted to release watches that could withstand the rigors of deep sea use.

Soon, Swiss watch brands such as Blancpain and Rolex released specialized dive watches, the Fifty Fathoms and the Submariner. The success of these watches prompted another brand a continent away to throw its hat in the ring. That brand was Seiko, and the release of its first dive watch in 1965 would be just one in a long line of dive watches that Seiko would make its legacy.

The Reference 6217 was water-resistant to 150 meters. Like the Submariner and Fifty Fathoms, it had a rotating bezel, luminous hour markers, and a 17-jewel movement (Calibre 6217) with a beat rate of 18,000. Seiko designed the 6217—also know as 62MAS (for autoMAtic Self-dater)—to be a workhorse, but certain design flaws rendered the watch unsuitable for its intended use.

At 37mm, the case was intended to eliminate any potential weak points. However, the fickle nature of the 62MAS’s gaskets—as well as the lack of a screw-down crown—often led to a build-up of helium which in turn could cause the crystal to pop off. Faced with feedback from disgruntled customers, including deep sea divers and welders, Seiko sought to redesign its line of dive watches.

The Reference 6159-7001 was what resulted from that redesign, and would set the blueprint for the Seiko dive watches that would follow.

It was one of many watches powered by the Calibre 6159, a high-beat movement that Seiko also used in its high-end Grand Seiko line. Around the movement, Seiko built a one-piece stainless steel case that would, they hoped, eliminate the issues that plagued the 62MAS. With the 6159-7001, the addition of a screw-down crown, as well as the watch’s one-piece case construction, increased the water resistance to 300 meters. Manufactured for only a short period of time in 1969 and 1970, the 6159-7001 is considered Seiko's first professional-grade diver and and remains a highly sought after model in their storied history.

This particular 6159-7001 dates from 1969. Fresh from a recent service by a master of vintage Seiko, the hi-beat movement ticks away as sedately as ever. With more and more collectors learning of the value of these early Seiko divers, we don’t expect this one to last long—catch it before it’s gone!

Details

SKU: AS02289

Stainless steel monocoque case is approximately 44mm (excluding crown). Reference 6159-7001. Calibre 5159 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1969.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition with moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with signs of patina to the luminescent elements. Unsigned crown.

Includes one 18mm nylon strap with gold hardware.

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