AK-01 Uemura Inspiration

For many who may be familiar with this watch will know that Seiko have released the SPB151 & SPB153 respectively.

The going rate of around £1200 ($1600)

Left: SPB151, black dial/bezel on steel bracelet. Right: SPB153, olive green dial/bezel on silicone strap, image courtesy of Monochrome watches
You may or may not also be aware that this style of watch has a certain 'cult' status and is more affectionately known as the 'Captain Willard' the original being the Seiko 6105, as worn by Martin Sheen in the movie 'Apocalypse now'.
The 6105 was commonly sold in Asia during the Vietnam war & one which American soldiers had access to as they paid in dollars and was a favourite amongst them for its' robustness & reliability.
Photo by United Artists/Getty Images
Photo by Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty Images
Please check out monochromes' blog on this, as they cover this genre really well.


Despite this being known as the 'willard' we draw our inspiration for this piece from the adventurer, explorer & gentleman Uemura.

Naomi Uemura (植村 直己, Uemura Naomi, February 12, 1941 – c. February 13, 1984) was a Japanese adventurer. He was particularly well known for doing alone what had previously been achieved only with large teams. For example, he was the first man to reach the North Pole solo, the first man to raft the Amazon solo, and the first man to climb Denali solo, doing alone what many do in groups, a man with unwavering desire & determination.

© Ira Block

Uemura was a pioneer in solo exploring & one of the ways he achieved these extraordinary expeditions was his ability to minimise the weight he carried with him, the average explorer would take a pack of 40kg whereas Uemura had got this down to 25kg.

Amongst the tools he carried with him was his beloved Seiko 6105, a companion that would be with him on his toughest journeys.

On February 12th, 1984 on Uemuras’ 43rd birthday he reached the summit of Mount Denali.

Uemura was spotted by plane a day later making his descent to base camp, this would be the last sighting of the adventurer Uemura.

An award named for him was created in Japan after his death.

He is remembered not only as a gifted climber and a driven adventurer but also as a gentle, self-effacing man who cared about others.

In the words of Jonathan Waterman, "[Just as remarkable] as his solo achievements were his sincere modesty and unassuming nature. Another part of his greatness lay in his deep interest in everyone he met."

An example of Seiko 6105-8110 – image by Fratello Watches