Seiko is home to many iconic watches, each with its own very memorable nickname. In fact, one of the brand’s most well-known models is the Seiko Tuna, with its distinctive design and unique heritage. Hailing from the Seiko Prospex collection, the Seiko Tuna is a very popular timepiece amongst watch enthusiasts and continues to be quite relevant today. With all that being said, let us take a look at this renowned Seiko Tuna diving model and see what it has to offer.
Brief Background on the Seiko Tuna
Back in the 1970s, Japan was going crazy about both the diving sport and divers watches. It was around this time that the first-ever Seiko Tuna, known today as the Tuna Grandfather, was released to accommodate that hype. Seiko wanted to introduce a unique-looking dive watch that would display impressive functionality under any circumstances, which led to the creation of the Seiko Tuna.
The Seiko Tuna was nicknamed such by watch enthusiasts because of its case bore an uncanny resemblance to tuna cans. While not everyone loved the Seiko Tuna’s unconventional design right off the bat, it would eventually become one of the brand’s most popular diving models.
Since it first came out decades ago, Seiko has released numerous variations of the Seiko Tuna. It currently offers 13 different Tuna models in its catalogue. While all of these Seiko Tuna watches share a unique and robust build, each and every piece comes with a different vibe and varying mechanisms as well. We will delve deeper into the different Seiko Tuna models in a moment, but for now, let us focus on the classic Seiko Tuna S23629J1.
A Closer Look at the Seiko Tuna
The Seiko Tuna S23629J1 has a very thick, tough-looking, and distinctive exterior, which is a common denominator for all the Tuna models. As mentioned earlier, its rounded, stout build looks similar to tuna cans, which is why it has been given the Seiko Tuna nickname. Despite its peculiar appearance, you can tell with just one glance that it is a robust timepiece fit for serious divers and professionals as well.
The Seiko Tuna S23629J1 comes in an oversized stainless steel case with a diameter of 47.7mm, a thickness of 14.1mm, and a standard lug width of around 22mm. As a bulkier timepiece made of stainless steel, this Seiko Tuna timepiece has a certain degree of heft to it that makes it feel quite substantial around your wrist. However, Seiko also pairs it with a ridged black silicone strap, making it look sportier while also giving it a lighter profile. This bracelet ensures that wearers will not have too much difficulty toting the Seiko Tuna around, while also providing utmost comfort both on land and in the water.
Fitted on top of the Seiko Tuna S23629J1’s case is a unidirectional rotating stainless steel bezel bearing a black ceramic insert. This insert is very scratch-resistant and has large, highly legible white markers for the elapsed time scale, so wearers can track the amount of time they spend underwater. Finally, the watch face is protected by a layer of sapphire crystal that has been treated with anti-reflective coatings. This prevents any light glares from distorting the wearer’s view of the watch face, allowing for optimal readability.
On the right side of the case, you can also find a stainless steel crown, placed unusually at 4 o’clock. While the placement of the crown is not quite typical, it is actually more practical, since the angle ensures that the crown will not dig too deeply into the skin of your wrist. This crown is well-sized, with deep grooves that make it easier for wearers to grip and turn the crown.
The dial of the Seiko Tuna S23629J1 follows a very straightforward layout and is in keeping with the watch’s generally oversized look. It shows off a jet-black background that is contrasted well against large geometric hour markers and bold arrow hands, all of which are coated in Seiko LumiBrite and outlined in silver, so it is easier to read even in dark environments. At 3 o’clock, you can also find a sizeable day-date window with white text.
When it comes to Seiko Tuna S23629J1’s technical details, this model is equipped with a well-crafted, in-house 7C46 Caliber. This is a quartz movement that has an excellent accuracy rate of ±15 seconds per month and a superb 5-year power reserve. Lastly, as a diving watch, the Seiko Tuna S23629J1 also comes with an excellent 300-meter water resistance rating.
The Seiko Tuna S23629J1 retails at around $1,760 USD. However, the average price for the Seiko Tuna series as a whole range from $460 USD to over $4,600 USD, depending on the model you are looking at and the specifications it has.
5 Best Seiko Tuna Models
Now, let us take an in-depth look at some of the most outstanding variations of the Seiko Tuna.
Seiko Prospex Professional Diver’s Tuna SLA042J1
Starting off with the Seiko Prospex Professional Diver’s Tuna SLA042J1, this is a larger, bolder, and more luxurious-looking version of the Seiko Tuna. It has rose gold tones scattered all around, which really complements the darker black hues of the watch’s design.
This watch comes in a massive 52.4mm black stainless steel case, along with a black silicone strap and a rose gold rotating bezel with a black elapsed time scale insert. With its size, this Tuna variant is best suited to those who have thicker wrists, or people who love wearing big watches. The dial has a similar layout as the Seiko S23629J1, with a black backdrop against oversized luminous hour markers in geometric shapes and arrow-shaped hands. One difference is that, unlike the Seiko S23629J1, this watch only has a simple date aperture at 3 o’clock.
Driven by an 8L35 Caliber, this watch has both automatic and manual-winding capabilities. It also has an improved water resistance rating, which is capped at an incredible 1,000 meters, and a substantial 50-hour power reserve.
Retailing at around $4,670 USD, this is the ideal Seiko Tuna piece for those who want a classy dive watch that can truly go the distance.
Seiko Prospex Street Series Tuna Safari Edition SRPF81K1
Next, we have the Seiko Prospex Street Series Tuna Safari Edition SRPF81K1, which is just as rugged but also a lot more casual-looking than the previous model. This watch’s two-tone rotating bezel really adds a fun and more laidback vibe to the whole piece, which is great for those who want a dive watch for daily wear.
The Seiko Tuna Safari Edition SRPF81K1 is housed in a smaller 43mm stainless steel case and paired with a silicone strap in dark blue. As mentioned, it has a two-toned rotating bezel that flaunts an attractive combination of dark blue and muted yellow. This watch’s black dial is slightly different from the aforementioned Seiko Tuna model. It consists of thick luminous hour indices and large blunt hands, plus a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Running the watch is an automatic 4R35 calibre with a 41-hour power reserve and a solid 200-meter water resistance capacity.
If you want a diving timepiece that can double as an everyday watch as well, you should definitely consider this $589 USD Seiko Tuna model.
Seiko Prospex Street Series Tuna SNE541P1
Meanwhile, the Seiko Prospex Street Series Tuna SNE541P1 has a very cool and stylish exterior that is especially popular with younger audiences. While it looks just as tough and powerful as the other Seiko Tuna models, this particular piece has a very distinctive, modern-looking design that stands out from the rest.
The Seiko Tuna SNE541P1 is presented in a 46.7mm stainless steel and plastic case, an accordion-style silicone bracelet in black, and a handsomely brushed stainless steel rotating bezel. It also comes with a more contemporary dial. This dial showcases a textured black finish complemented by slimmer luminous hour indices, thick blunt hands, and a rectangular date aperture outlined in white at 4 o’clock. This watch has a 200-meter depth rating and is also powered by a V157 solar quartz movement, which means that it can be handily charged by any light source.
For just $460 USD, you can get your hands on this fashionable yet durable Seiko Tuna watch.
Seiko Prospex Street Series Tuna SRPE29K1
The Seiko Prospex Street Series Tuna SRPE29K1 is quite similar to the Seiko Tuna Safari Edition SRPF81K1 as they both exude fun and casual vibes. However, this model shows off more rustic-looking elements that are very reminiscent of the outdoors.
The Seiko Tuna SRPE29K1 comes in a 43.2mm stainless steel case with a two-tone brown and dark blue rotating bezel, and a dark beige silicone strap. The dial, which has a similar beige shade, possesses a straightforward layout with blunt luminescent hands, rectangular hour indices, and a day-date display. Underneath this watch face, you can find an automatic 4R36 caliber with a 41-hour power reserve and a water resistance rating of 200 meters.
This everyday Seiko Tuna model has a price tag of $569 USD.
Seiko Prospex Diver Tuna SBDX035
Lastly, we have the Seiko Prospex Diver Tuna SBDX035, which is easily the most marine-influenced model out of the five listed here. This is primarily because it is a limited edition piece that was created in celebration of the 55 years since Seiko’s first diving watch was released in 1965.
The Seiko Tuna SBDX035 is presented in an oversized 52.4mm titanium case in blue, paired with a matching blue silicone strap and a rotating bezel also made of titanium. Despite its large size, this Seiko Tuna watch is actually quite easy to carry around, thanks to its lightweight titanium profile.
The dial showcases a deep blue hue that is consistent with the rest of the watch and has bold hour markers in various geometric shapes, luminous arrow hands, and a date display outlined in white at 3 o’clock. Inside this watch is a self-winding 8L35 Caliber with a 50-hour power reserve. It also gives the watch strong anti-magnetic properties and an impressive 1,000-meter water resistance capacity.
If you want a truly reliable and robust diver’s watch, you should definitely get this $4,549 USD Seiko Tuna piece.
If you are having a hard time getting your hands on a Seiko Tuna watch, or you are looking for something similar from a different brand, check out these two alternative models that you should definitely consider.
1. OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M Ref. 18.104.22.168.01.002
The OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M Ref. 22.214.171.124.01.002 is a classic and more luxurious alternative to the Seiko Tuna. While it is not as robust-looking as the Seiko Tuna, it is just as cool and reliable.
This OMEGA Seamaster watch comes in a 42mm stainless steel and Sedna gold case, making it smaller than any Seiko Tuna piece. This is paired with a sleek black rubber strap and a rose gold rotating bezel. Fitted on top of the bezel is a gleaming, polished black elapsed time scale insert, with painted indicators in a matching shade of rose gold. The black dial features a wavy teak pattern with luminous hour markers in various geometric shapes, large sword-shaped hands, and a compact date window at 6 o’clock. Meanwhile, underneath this elegant watch face is an automatic Omega Caliber 8800 with a 55-hour power reserve and a substantial 300-meter depth rating.
If you are looking for a sturdy, high-end alternative to the Seiko Tuna, this $7,200 USD Omega timepiece should definitely be on your radar.
2. Ulysse-Nardin Diver Chronometer Ref. 3203-950
The Ulysse-Nardin Diver Chronometer Ref. 3203-950, on the other hand, is a more casual-looking alternative that would be great for everyday use. While it is also a luxury piece, this diver’s watch is packed with impressive features that will surely make people fall in love.
This Ulysse-Nardin Diver watch is presented in a 42.2mm stainless steel case along with a fabric strap and a rotating bezel that both come in black. The dial is slightly more complex than the other watches on this list, with thick sword hands, luminous geometric hour markers, a retro magnified date window, and a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. All of these functions run on an automatic Ulysse Nardin Caliber UN-320 with a 48-hour power reserve.
This is the perfect, vintage-inspired alternative to the Seiko Tuna, and you can get it for around $9,600 USD.
After seeing the diversity that comes with the Seiko Tuna, there’s no question why it is such a highly-regarded model in the watch community. Not only is it unique in terms of design, but it’s also a reflection of Seiko’s dedication to providing fans with a wide selection of well-crafted, sturdy diver’s watches. If you are just getting into diving or starting your collection of underwater timepieces, the Seiko Tuna is certainly one worth checking out.
Photo Credits: Watch Shopping Site & Official Seiko Site
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