Seiko Tuna Review SLA037

Our Seiko Tuna review showcases why this limited edition dive watch is so unique. This vintage release, the Seiko Tuna SLA 037, hits the mark.

The 55th Anniversary: Seiko Tuna - SLA037

The Seiko Tuna diver is a vintage release commemorating the 55th anniversary of the original Japanese Dive watch. In 1965 Seiko identified a hole in the watch market. It was producing quality watches that could handle dive depths and make them widely available. The original dive watch was rated for 150m which is only 50m less than what we see with the modern Seiko Tuna. At the time, these new dive watches by Seiko were engineered to be ultra legible and reliable. The original Seiko Tuna was so reliable that it accompanied the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition from the years 1966 to 1969.

Fast forward 55 years and we see almost a carbon copy of the original with the updated Seiko Tuna SLA037. Literally the only difference is the case design, 1.9mm wider, and an increased depth rating of 200m. The Seiko Tuna has also evolved with modern mechanical technology, incorporating the 10-Beat Caliber 8L55. We’ll go into more detail about the Caliber 8L55 later in this Seiko Tuna Review.

55th Anniversary Seiko Tuna Review SLA037

First Impression For Our Seiko Tuna Review

Finding one of these watches to inspect in person wasn’t easy. They were made with a limited production run of 1,100 and a Seiko rep told me that roughly 200 were sent to the United States. We did eventually get hands on with this watch at Moyer Fine Jewelers, which actually had the entire collection of vintage re-releases. The others in the Seiko divers set include the 1968 Professional Diver 300m and the 1975 Professional Diver 600m.
 
Upon first inspection it was clear why the Seiko Tuna SLA037 dive watch was so popular back in 1965. The resemblance to its original was just outstanding. It really amazed us that a watch from 55 years ago still competes and looks great compared to modern designs.
 
The Seiko Tuna gave the impression of a true tool watch that you could feel confident actually putting out in the field. The silicone strap felt comfortable on the wrist, the case dimensions felt just right, and the dial just pops. Believe it or not, I did not know the MSRP of the Seiko Tuna before I inspected the watch. I like to do this because the price of the watch doesn’t create any bias while I inspect the quality. When I finally asked about the price I wasn’t shocked but I was a little taken back that it wasn’t in the Grand Seiko collection.

Seiko Tuna Specs

CaliberIn-House 8L55
Movement TypeHigh Beat Automatic
Accuracy+15/ -10 Seconds Per Day
Power Reserve55 Hours
Case MaterialEver-Brilliant Steel
Band MaterialSilicone
CrystalSapphire
Crystal CoatingAnti-Reflective
LumeLumibrite
Water Resistance200m
Case Size39.9 mm
Lug to Lug47.9 mm
BezelUnidirectional
FunctionsHour / Minute / Second Hands, Date

Seiko Tuna 8L55 High Beat Movement

The Seiko Tuna is housed with the 8L55 high beat movement. The 8L55 has an impressive 36,000 vph which gives the second hand an almost true sweep. There are not many high beat movements produced today because they are hard to produce at scale economically which makes it all the more impressive Seiko has included it on this Prospex. The Caliber 8L55 is most commonly compared to the Grand Seiko Caliber 9S85 which is also a high beat movement. The common understanding between the two is that the 8L55 is the unfinished version of the GS Caliber 9S85. From what I have been told these movements are actually even made in the same factory side by side.

How Much Is The Seiko Tuna

The MSRP of the 55th anniversary of the Seiko Tuna is $6,300. The price of the Seiko Tuna is completely justified by its quality and heritage. What was a surprise to me was that it wasn’t part of Grand Seiko. It’s no secret that Seiko and Grand Seiko have been increasing the price of their watches, and to be fair the same goes for the quality, but the jump seemed out of place. If you can get past that the Seiko Tuna is not a Grand Seiko, there shouldn’t be anything holding you back from buying this watch. Especially since the Seiko Tuna has been released in limited numbers and is selling at or above MSRP on the pre-owned market. It is showing all the signs of a hot collectors item.

Where Is The Best Place To Buy The Seiko Tuna Dive Watch?

Well established Seiko authorized dealers are the best places to find limited edition runs like the Seiko Tuna SLA037. Right before the publication of this article, November 2nd 2020, I confirmed with my local AD, Moyer Fine Jewelers, that they still have one available in the case.
 
If you can’t find one new in the case, do not fear. If you truly want this watch I’m sure it’ll pop up in the pre-owned market soon. You’ll just probably have to wait awhile because I’m sure these new owners won’t want to be giving them up anytime soon.

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