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Old 27 June 2013, 10:40 PM   #1
fmc000
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The Seiko Gold Tuna: a brief history and a review.

Disclaimer: I'm not an English native speaker so please excuse my errors (if you let me know I'll do my best to correct them ). Also, all the information and the pictures in this post were found on the Internet, I hope that I'm not using any copyrighted material. Please let me know if there are problems with anything.

With this post I would like to tell the story of a watch that during its thirty-plus years of production has proved to be a real breakthrough in the diver's watch field.

The watch is of course the Seiko Gold Tuna, the first quartz professional diver's watch.

Let's start by saying that rather than a "watch" is more correct to speak of "a series of watches", as during the past 35 years Seiko has produced five different models of the Gold Tuna using two different calibers and defining five references.

The beginning is documented in the JDM - Japan domestic Market - 1978 catalog, second edition (JDM78V2).



This model is called SPYF018, reference 7549-7000. The caliber is therefore the 7549.



This model retains the 600m waterproofing declared by its predecessor with caliber 6159 (which, incidentally, retailed at 69,000 Yen when the quartz model was 120,000 Yen). For the construction we can rely on what the case back has to say:





The case is made of Titanium Nitride Plated Titanium. The two case backs above represent approximately the beginning and the end of production of this model (December 1977 - November 1985). The shroud is also made of Titanium and has a wrinkled appearance being powder coated.

Simultaneously with the SPYF018, or shortly after, the first model for the international market shows up: it's called S60583 and the reference is 7549-7009 .



The main differences on the dial side are the introduction of the SQ logo and the "DIVER'S" print at 6 o'clock. A more significant introduction at the case back level is the characteristic "Battery Change Ring":





This change also certifies the three-year battery life. The two photos above are the approximate period of manufacture of this reference (1978-1985).

The presence of the last SPYF018 in a Seiko JDM Catalog is inside the 1985 second edition (JDM85V2).



From now on there is the real revolution in the Gold Tuna series: the introduction of the SSBS018, reference 7C46-7009 .



The printings on the dial are new, the bezel insert has thicker and better refinished fonts, the Suwa logo at 3 o'clock disappears and, most important of all, the waterproofing is increased to 1000m. The shroud in this new model is made of ceramic and is smooth and velvety to the touch.

The two following schemes describe in detail the internal construction and the technologies used for the case and finish.





In addition, last but not least, Seiko introduced a new caliber, the 7C46, specifically dedicated to this series and more generally to the Tuna quartz models.

The case back also gives further information:



confirming that the case is made of titanium and that the shroud made of ceramic. In addition, the battery life is increased to 5 years.

Also in this case, simultaneously or immediately after a new model is introduced to the international market: it's called S23157. In this case neither the reference nor the design of the case back change from the JDM model. Instead, the dial presents the SQ logo at 6 and the Suwa logo at 3.



This reference is presumably produced until 1995.



From here on, the things begin to be less certain. We know for a fact that since 2000 a new reference appears on the market, the 7C46-7008, and that it's still associated with the same models SPYF018 and S23157.

Here the JDM version SPYF018:



and here the international version S23157:



The differences with the previous reference are essentially two: the hands are slightly different (the profiles that contain the luminescent material are thicker) and the Suwa logo at 3 o'clock disappears from the international model.

The case back instead has differences between the two models. This is the model JDM SPYF018. This is not the best picture but it helps document the existence of this model at least since 2000 (the serial is not readable but the battery change ring ends in 2015).



This picture from year 2004 is much easier to read.



This one is the international model S23157 manufactured in the year 2003:



The JDM version has the words "He-GAS Diver's 1000m" followed by the code SR43SW, which identifies the type of the battery to use for replacement.

Essentially these are only re-releases of the previous references and this is possibly the reason why in Seiko they have decided not to change the name of the model following the change of reference.

The latest documentation about these watches is within the JDM Catalog of 2004.



From the catalog of the following year we learn that the model SPYF018 is replaced by the Darth Tuna SBBN011; however, there are watches with serial that refer to year 2006:



so we can assume at least a couple of years of overlap between the older and the newer model.

But the story does not end here. Starting in 2006 another reference enters the market, the 7C46-0AB0 associated with the model S23611J1.







Unfortunately not much is known for this model; it is assumed that in the 2011 it was reissued for the Taiwanese market but we know for sure that is was produced at least since 2006 as this case back proves:



It's basically a reissue of the model S23157 with the addition of sapphire crystal. There is no JDM version to the best of my knowledge.

The dial code is different. These three pictures make explicit the differences well. This is a 7C46-700x with Dial Code 700LXB14



This is a SSBS018 with Dial Code 701LXB14



and finally this is a 7C46-0AB0 with Dial Code 0AA0XB14



This latest version has different wordings, with the word "DIVER'S" without the SQ logo.

-----------------

Let's get back to us. This long post is also meant to present my latest acquisition, a S23157 - 7C46-7009 made in July 1991.











The watch is in spectacular condition for being almost 22 years old; only near the lugs you can notice a previous misguided attempt to replace the strap.

The day wheel is English / French (can not be Kanji not being a JDM model).

For the purists: I mounted a original Seiko Z22 Wave strap, to which I applied the Titanium Nitride coated stainless steel buckle coming from the Z22 Long Flat that was originally supplied with the watch. This was just because that strap is really too long for my small wrist.



The watch is massive and imposing (49mm) but definitely portable and lightweight. The fact of having a titanium-made case helps a lot. It 's really a unique experience on the wrist.

For this watch I also have box and papers, various pressure test certifications, a receipt of a previous service, another NOS Seiko Z22 Long Flat strap, a spare gasket and a battery.



Thanks for reading. Please let me know if I made any mistakes, I'll appreciate.
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Old 29 June 2013, 01:44 AM   #2
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Very nice & informative, thank you very much for sharing!
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Old 29 June 2013, 02:49 AM   #3
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thanks for sharing
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Old 12 October 2013, 06:26 PM   #4
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Fantastic!! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12 October 2013, 08:37 PM   #5
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Wow. Really well composed article. The tuna is a great diver with tons
Of history. Thanks for the post!
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Old 13 October 2013, 12:03 AM   #6
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Great review, very interesting
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Old 13 October 2013, 12:26 AM   #7
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Very nice. Thanks for the review.
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Old 14 October 2013, 12:27 PM   #8
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Thank you for the very thorough review of this great watch!
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Old 14 October 2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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Really AWESOME Stuff....got me really tempted...been looking to add a Spring Drive to my collection.....heard the new model (2013) has a spring drive and only limited to 300pcs....
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Old 15 October 2013, 01:10 AM   #10
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Thanks guys!
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Old 19 October 2013, 12:40 PM   #11
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An interesting read. Have always had an affinity for the Seiko divers.
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Old 19 October 2013, 01:27 PM   #12
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Very informative review. Thanks for sharing this with us!
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Old 6 November 2013, 02:12 AM   #13
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Very informative. I am recently caught by the blue baby tuna and am thinking to pull the trigger on one.


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Old 13 December 2013, 10:06 PM   #14
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Good informations and thanks for the review sir.
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Old 13 December 2013, 10:35 PM   #15
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great read , many thanks
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Old 13 December 2013, 11:03 PM   #16
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what a great review, I thought I was reading a watch magazine article
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Old 21 December 2013, 05:13 AM   #17
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Superb review, thanks!
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Old 23 December 2013, 04:54 AM   #18
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Nice job. The "Tuna" is really an interesting watch with some history. I wonder if they introduce a "new" version at Basel this year?
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Old 20 June 2014, 05:48 AM   #19
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Simply superb post with massive info'. Thank you
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Old 20 June 2014, 05:07 PM   #20
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Very good write up! I just myself the original golden tuna. Waiting for it to come :)
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Old 1 January 2018, 09:30 PM   #21
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Wow!! Very good write up!!!!!! A new golden tuna is coming this year ; I will get one for sure.
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Old 5 May 2018, 10:47 PM   #22
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It's been a long time since I wrote this post but it seems that's still useful to someone. I originally wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by fmc000 View Post
From here on, the things begin to be less certain. We know for a fact that since 2000 a new reference appears on the market, the 7C46-7008, and that it's still associated with the same models SPYF018 and S23157.
and I've been contacted a few days ago by the forum member @Iechyd Da who has a S23157 which dates back to 1997, with the battery ring starting accordingly from the year 2002. This helps dating back that reference (and presumably also its JDM brother) three years.

Pics follow, many thanks to @Iechyd Da .
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG-1365.JPG (248.1 KB, 348 views)
File Type: jpg IMG-1364.JPG (259.0 KB, 348 views)
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Old 5 May 2018, 11:57 PM   #23
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Epic review Fabio. Thank you
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Old 6 May 2018, 01:26 AM   #24
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Fantastic! Thank you for sharing!!!
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Old 6 May 2018, 01:34 AM   #25
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Great review. BTW, your English is perfect.


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Old 6 May 2018, 02:13 AM   #26
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Very nice review! Thanks.

Can't wait to get my 2018 golden Tuna, should be here by Sept.
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Old 6 May 2018, 08:05 AM   #27
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Love it, but not the gold plating
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Old 7 May 2018, 08:05 PM   #28
fmc000
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Thanks guys!
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Old 20 May 2018, 09:54 AM   #29
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Icon7

Haha, the 2006 SEIKO S23611J 7C46-0AB0 #68000x you mention & pictorialize above is my Tuna (again) and it is in fact Production #8 that month, August 2006.

The Tuna was purchased 2009 and that is when I took the pictures - later on, I sold him to a guy in our local New Zealand watch club who 'has been looking after it for me' until just recently when I re-acquired it (May, 2018)

SEIKO S23611J 680008 has just visited SEIKO New Zealand for a full service & overhaul, yes, this purpose built QUARTZ Hi-Torque powerhouse of a calibre is serviceable & adjustable... it is very high quality, designed in particular to have the ability to drive very large indicators made heavy by the copious SEIKO Super Lumi-Nova by Nemoto & Co. Ltd.

2006, August, Production #0008

















These are legendary models, all of them are worthy of the highest praises - thank you Fabio for the really awesome write-up OP
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Old 21 May 2018, 10:52 PM   #30
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Amazing! Thanks for your contribution to this thread.
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