Seiko's Tough New Quartz Dive Watch Is No Cheap 'Beater'

The Seiko "Tuna" dive watch is legendary, and this premium version means serious business.

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If you want the toughest, most purpose-built dive watch you can find, look no further than the Seiko "Tuna." And if your reasons for getting the legendary diver are truly practical (presumably it's not for its elegant aesthetics), quartz is the way to go. Just because these are quartz-powered and made to withstand abuse, however, doesn't mean that a model like the new reference S23635 is anything like a cheap "beater."

Seiko's first hardcore dive watch that would later be nicknamed the "Tuna," due to its can-like case shape, was introduced in 1975, and the first 1000m water-resistant version came out in 1986. Now, 35 years later, Seiko is marking that very specific anniversary with a new, relatively high-end limited edition with a quartz movement just like the original had. Officially called the Prospex 1986 Quartz Diver's 35th Anniversary Limited Edition, it's full of premium features and new details.

Many Seiko watches featuring the Tuna Can case design look similar in pictures but, confusingly, often have different measurements — for example, the new S23635 measures 49.4mm wide and long, as well as 16.3mm thick. These dimensions sound chunky, but the design's lack of lugs makes it surprisingly wearable, and lightweight materials used in this limited-edition version make it even easier on the wrist: the case is in titanium and the outer "shroud" is zirconia ceramic.

Visually most notable about the new Tuna is a dial that fades from dark blue to black, reminiscent of diving deep into the ocean — but also of Rolex's Deepsea Sea Dweller. Other new design features include a yellow crown stem to alert the wearer when the crown is unscrewed, as well as yellow "lock" text on the crown with an arrow indicating the direction for screwing it in to ensure its 1,000m water resistance. The 7C46 movement inside is was designed by Seiko expressly for use in dive watches and made using exclusively metal components.

This is a lotta watch, but if you want Seiko's ultimate tough diver, it won't come at the prices of the affordable "Turtle" and "Samurai" watches we all love: Available from July 2021, there will only be 1,200 examples made for this limited edition at $2,600 each.

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