6215-7000 Seiko 300m Diver
Of all the rare Japanese dive watches, this is doubtless one of the rarest and Japanese-est in its innovation and attention to detail. The 6215 is the second crack Seiko ever took at the dive watch problem and arguably their first very serious effort, taking full advantage of totally vertically integrated manufacturing in Japan for its design. The 6217 or 62MAS came first, but it utilized a general skin diver case for its water resistance. This took things more seriously and is more anabolic in proportion. The 6215 was a market leading diver when released, with a 43mm front-loading monobloc case which meant there was really only one point of failure, allowing 300m resistance. It was a massive success.
There are really three highly collected early Seiko divers and this is the overlooked, overshadowed middle child with the 62MAS ahead and Hi-Beat 6159 after. But this case was revolutionary and without a doubt significant in Seiko’s history. Yet, the 6215 was only made for two years, 1967 and 1968, before a new movement and reference arrived. They’re more difficult to hunt that the either of the others, and have a few fun quirks. It was really the start of the zero-fuss, technically advanced, elongated case Seiko dive watch with the crown at 4. There’s a Sea-Dweller or Ploprof level of seriousness about this thing, but done in its own way. I also love the simplicity of this design, which has a few lines less than the 6159 under Seiko and cleaner (to my eye) not fully-graduated bezel.
Interestingly, in Seiko’s own telling of their history, they count the latter 6159 as their first ‘Professional’ diver. In fairness, this does not have the word on its dial. Yet, the 6159 carried over its case design and water resistance from this forerunner, the ratings are identical. And I suspect Seiko, for branding purposes, overlooked this to pretend GS divers had always been technical marvel hi-beats from the start. But I’m here to sing the praises of a leisurely beating, yet very professional early Seiko effort. In wine, as all know, the second cheapest is always your best bet. I have an analog philosophy in tool watches. I’m starting to think that the second oldest is the way to go too.
These really don’t come up for sale often and when they do, as they were dedicated tool watches in period, they’re often abused and relumed. This example has a great sharp case with moderate surface wear, its dial is aged but well preserved, and all tritium applications look great. Side note, don’t you just love the shape of these applied indices? It comes from a small Italian retailer on Chrono.