Seiko revives 1986 Tuna professional dive watch


It is easy to forget amid the current enthusiasm for mechanical timekeepers that quartz upended the Swiss watchmaking industry for three simple reasons: it is more accurate, reliable and less expensive.

Seiko, in its pursuit of perfection, mastered quartz and contributed to the crisis that engulfed Swiss watchmaking in the 1970s, a fact that is recalled to mind with the launch this week of a revisionist Quartz Diver, which first appeared 35 years ago in 1986.

That watch combined Seiko’s legendary 1975 Tuna design with the 1,000 meter water resistance required for saturation diving and a quartz movement that delivered an accuracy that no mechanical diver’s watch could match.


Seiko’s original 1986 Quartz Diver.

Like the original, this year’s anniversary recreation, in a limited run of 1,200 pieces, combines the design features of the 1975 mechanical and the 1986 quartz original, which made it such a hit with the professional diving community.

It has the 1,000m water and helium resistance that saturation diving requires thanks to a one-piece titanium case.

It’s graduated black to blue dial, with overtones of the deepest oceans, is protected by a zirconia ceramic bezel.

It goes on sale in July for $2,600.


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  1. As a air and saturation diver in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico from 1976 to 1986, and with almost 14,000 hours in saturation, I take exception to the statement that this early edition of this watch was a hit with professional divers. The only time I ever saw this watch was in a jewelry store in Aberdeen Scotland and not on any fellow diver’s wrists. Rolex, plenty including myself (5513 and 16660). Seiko, plenty but never this model. Mostly 200 meter quartz or automatics where the owner just unscrewed the crown on decompressing. In fact I saw more Rolex Day Dates in sat than this watch. Two, including mine that went to 470 feet for 32 days (Including decompression). I don’t know where it was a hit, maybe Japan, but it sure was not the North Sea. Also, at that time the North Sea was the largest saturation diving theater in the world. More specialized techniques and advanced diving and inspection methods were developed there than anywhere else in the world.


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