Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary Watches Review

Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary Watches Review

The legendary Seiko Captain Willard returns, this time in celebration of Naomi Uemura’s 80th birthday. Uemura was the first man in the world to climb the highest peaks of each five continents. Wonderfully reviving the 1970’s divers watch, let’s take a look at the two new Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary watches under references SLA049J1 and SLA051J1.

Naomi Uemura

Naomi Uemura is one of Japan’s greatest adventurers, renowned for pushing the limits of perseverance and accumulating an extraordinary list of accomplishments. He was born in 1941 and as a university student joined the alpine club at Meiji University. His first ever climb was with a group to Mount Shirouma and as a beginner, he struggled to keep pace with his peers. Encouraged by the experience, he threw himself into training and spent several months honing his skills in the field, quickly proving he had a natural talent for climbing. By the age of 29, he had climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

In 1970, he became the first Japanese mountaineer to reach the summit of Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world and then just three months later, conquered Denali in Alaska officially becoming the first adventurer to reach the tallest peaks in all five continents – all before the age of thirty. Following his climb of Denali in Alaska, he became captivated by the polar regions and decided he would learn how to drive a dog sled and set out on a solo-trip across the Arctic from Greenland to Alaska via the north coast of Canada covering 12,000 kilometres. The trek was a major triumph and once again cemented his reputation as a world class explorer. He returned to Alaska again in 1984 with the aim of making a winter ascent of the Denali mountain alone. He reached the peak on February 12th of that year, his forty-third birthday. Sadly, however, during the following day, amid rough weather, he went missing as he made his way down from the peak and has never been seen since. His unmatchable bravery, modesty and willpower remains inspiration for professional and amateur climbers to this day as well as for the new Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary watches.

Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary Watches

Seasoned Seiko connoisseurs will already be well versed in the legend that is the Seiko Captain Willard, but for those of you still warming your wrists to the luxury watch world, we’ll give you a brief introduction. Five years after the introduction of Seiko’s and Japan’s first ever dive watch in 1965, the watch manufacturer introduced a 1970’s divers watch with a distinctive cushion-shaped case with an asymmetrical extension to protect the crown at 4 o’clock, a 150 metre water resistant rating and a luminous dial. This watch was not only worn by Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura in the years 1974 to 1976 but actor Martin Sheen in the movie Apocalypse Now, where it earned the nickname the “Willard”.

The two new Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary watches under references SLA049J1 and SLA051J1 revive this historic aesthetic with the same asymmetrical case shape and crown position at 4 o’clock. Engineered from stainless steel and boasting increased durability thanks to a super hard coating, the cases measure to 44 millimetres in diameter and are carefully polished for a handsome finish. The cases are presented on a five row steel bracelet and equipped with a screw in crown, curved sapphire crystal treated with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface and a special screw down case back engraved with Uemura’s name and its individual serial number. Each Seiko Captain Willard watch also boasts an increased water resistance of 200 metres.

The duo of Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary watches follow suit in all aspects of design other than their bezel and dial colour. Reference SLA049J1 is dressed in a gorgeous nautical blue while model SLA051J1 opts for a dark anthracite grey dial and a black bezel. Both dial’s feature a gritty pattern inspired by the mountainous surfaces that Naomi would have seen on his numerous climbs alongside Lumibrite coated hands and indexes. The blue-dialled Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary SLA049J1 watch also differs in that it is a limited edition of 1,200 pieces and comes with an additional blue silicon strap detailed with the same track pattern as the 1970’s original.

At the centre of each Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary watch is an assortment of hands for the hours, minutes and seconds and an angled date window between the 4 and 5 o’clock positions. The seconds hand is also elegantly accented by a contrasting red tip for instant legibility. Powering each of these function is the Calibre 8L35, an automatic winding movement with a promise of 28,800 vibrations per hour, 26 jewels and a 50 hour power reserve. The movement also assures an accuracy of -10/+15 seconds per day.

If you’d like to learn more about the new Seiko Captain Willard Uemura 80th Anniversary watches under references SLA049J1 and SLA051J, head over to the Jura Watches website here. You can also get in touch with the team by calling 01335 453453 or by sending us a message at

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