My new Seiko SBBN007 Tuna Can has just come up on its one month anniversary, so I thought that I would post up some observations and thoughts on this interesting watch. It’s been a wonderful month, and a long time since I’ve bought a new watch and fallen so utterly in love with it. This is truly a unique little tool, or maybe a not so little tool.
First off, I’ll talk about the movement. My particular sample is unbelievably accurate. I set the time on my Tuna according to the time on my G-Shock GW-5600J, on the morning the Tuna arrived. About three weeks later, I compared the times. The Tuna was off by about a half second. Very good. Then, for some reason, I checked it the following morning, and the Tuna was dead on. I have done this over and over repeatedly over the last week or so, and the Casio seems to be the cause for the change in perceived accuracy level. The G-Shock’s time gets updated in early morning. By the time that evening comes around, the G-Shock is already over a half-second off. So the drift that I was seeing in the Tuna’s timekeeping was actually a drift in the time on my atomic watch. The reality of the situation is that the Tuna Can is still almost dead-on accurate after an entire month. I guess that it could be a half-second off, due to the inherent inaccuracy of hand synchronizing two watches, but that’s it.
I have only one other watch in my collection that keeps as good a time as the Tuna Can, and that’s a St. Moritz Titan2. An interesting coincidence is that the Tuna and the Titan2 just happen to both be quartz movements (Miyota movement in the St. Moritz), and they also happen to be the two watches that I’ve paid the largest sums of money for. That may be just my good luck, but it is certainly heartwarming to know that my watches get more accurate as they move up in price bracket. What is admittedly odd is that my quartz watch choices cost more than my automatics.
I remember other people remarking how wonderfully the crown action is on the Tuna’s 7C46 movement, but I cannot corroborate this anecdotal evidence. I hastily set the watch during the first half-hour of ownership, and have not had to touch the crown since then. Given that February is a short month, I promise to notice the crown action when I reset the date at the end of this month.
One more thing about the movement. If I didn’t know what movement was inside of the watch, I might guess it was a Ronda movement. If you’ve had one of the less expensive Trasers or Luminox watches, you’ll understand what I mean. The Tuna has that same kind of jumpy second hand that athletically springs to the next second. There is no lazy second hand action here. And from reading the Seiko manual, the 7C46 has the same type of EOL indicator as the Ronda 515 also.
The face of the Tuna is positively wonderful. There is nothing particularly distinctive or stylish about it. No fancy design at twelve o’clock. No unusual hand designs. No odd colors. Just a well thought out design. The face is rather uncluttered and easy to read at a glance. The black is actually black on this watch, and not matte gray like an SKX-007. The minute hand reaches almost all the way to the minute markers on the chapter ring, and the hour hand extends almost all the way to the luminous markers on the dial. The hand sizing makes the watch very easy to read and adds no confusion during the darker hours of night.
The day and date are shown at the customary three o’clock position. The digits are not huge in size, but are definitely larger than on the Citizen Eco-Drive watches in my collection. Even with my failing eyesight, I can read them without having to don my glasses, which is a big plus in my book. For some odd reason, while the day has a white background, the date happens to have a silver background. I have no idea why this was done. I consider it as just one of those interesting quirks that you can find in any iconic watch design.
The Hardlex crystal is an interesting deal. It isn’t just domed, but it is REALLY domed. The upside of the domed crystal is that it looks super-cool. Cool beyond words. The downside, which I could kick Seiko for, is that the apex of the crystal sits above both the bezel and shroud, making it a magnet for scratches. I am admittedly harder on my watches than your average person, so I’ve already put a couple of small scratches on the Hardlex, right in the center of the crystal. I anticipate that it won’t be long before I order up a sapphire crystal for my Tuna. One other note about the domed crystal – It makes it unbelievably hard to take good pictures of this watch!!!! The Tuna is a photographers nightmare..… or an obsession.
I personally have a love/hate relationship with rotating bezels. I like the looks of them, and find them to be a quick and easy stopwatch for many daily activities, but I hate it when the pip does not sit at twelve o’oclock. Some bezels just leave the factory slightly off, and the ones with pips that are dead-on often rotate too easily, leaving me to rotate them back into position ten times per day. That drives me crazy. The pip on my Tuna bezel is dead-on to twelve o’clock on the dial, and of course has those buttery smooth 120 clicks like other Seiko divers. The one thing I love about the Tuna bezel is the fact that the shroud keeps the bezel from accidentally getting rotated. There is no rotation unless you want it rotated.
I’m not sure what to say about the lume. It’s fantastic, just like other Seiko divers. The lume is strong when I go to bed at night, and still very strong when I wake up in the morning. That is all that I need it to be. I will say that I prefer the bluish lume of the Tuna over the greenish lume of the Orange Monster, but that is just personal preference.
Another feature that I love about this watch, or the lack thereof, is the missing crown guard. I bought my first Seiko diver about 8 years ago. It was an SKX-171; the same case style as the popular SKX-007. The crown guard on that watch was, and still is today, a nightmare for me. For the record, I have problems with almost every analog watch that goes on my wrist. The crown digs into my wrist badly, bruising my skin, and eventually creating this ugly callous of dry skin. The SKX-171 was particularly painful on my wrist. It was the watch equivalent of a bed of nails, due to that pointy crown guard. I moved up to an Orange Monster a couple years later, and found it to be more comfortable. The OM was not perfect in this respect, but the crown guard at least was not as painful as the SKX-171’s. The Tuna is a revelation to me. There is no crown guard to gouge my wrist. And the crown itself, due to its position and height, never seems to contact my wrist uncomfortably. I have worn this watch for a month straight, and have not had any pain or irritation whatsoever. This fact alone brings the Tuna into my personal “Guinness Book of Records”. It is the only watch in my collection with a crown, that I can wear day in and day out, out of 20 or 30 analog watches.
Obviously, the shroud is the big design element of the Tuna. It is a nice piece of armor plating for an already very tough watch. The shroud lends itself well toward the purpose of my purchase (say that ten times fast). I bought the Tuna as an everyday beater type of watch. I’m tough on watches, so every watch so a beater. I’ll still wear one of my G-Shocks for truly sacrificial events, and the very roughest of my play time, but I want a nicer analog watch that can still handle the some spontaneous rough stuff. I think that the Tuna was a very good choice from this standpoint.
Aesthetically, the Tuna is interesting and very unique looking. It’s a big watch. Not huge for the sake of being huge, like an Ecozilla, but large. Smaller than the Ecozilla, but larger than my Orange Monster. The Monster may have been monstrous nine or ten years ago, but I’d say that today it is more of a medium size for a watch. The Tuna is a step up in size from my beloved OM. I’d say that the Tuna wears just a little large on my 6 7/8” wrist, where the OM is pretty close to perfect. The slightly larger wrist presence doesn’t bother me much though. It’s just a style choice that well fits my personality.
Once thing that Seiko did a very nice job on is the finish of the Tuna. The case, screws, lugs and crown are that typical Seiko diver shininess. The bezel is more of a brushed finish, and the shroud has more of a blasted look. All of the finishes combine to be something very nice in appearance. I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll swap out to a black bezel insert or not. Maybe I’ll have it done when I go with the sapphire crystal, and get both done at the same time. Either way, I love the look of the Tuna. It is very distinctive, and completely different than anything you’ll see anybody else wearing in the course of your day. It’s definitely a head turner.
The one area where the Tuna has confronted me is in the choice of which strap to use. The stock strap is very rough and tumble and strong. The problem is that the waved vent design makes it not the most comfortable strap in the world for a boney wrist. It’s not terrible, but not what I’d want to wear 24/7. I tried a 4-ring Rhino dive strap, but it was not the easiest fit. I had to really mash the strap down, in order to get the spring bars back into the lugs. There was no chance of pulling the Rhino strap between the lugs and spring bars. In the end, it looked very good, but I was worried that I’d have problems with spring bars popping under the pressure of the strap. Fortunately, the removal of the Rhino was a snap. The drilled lugs on the Tuna made spring bar removal very simple. If it were up to me, every watch would have drilled lugs.
I also tried a similar Maratac Zulu dive strap, which was slightly easier to install, but I did not like the fit on my wrist. One hole on the strap made the watch fit too loose, where the next hole was too tight. I am now wearing the Tuna on a Seiko flat vent Z22. This is the best that I’ve found thus far. The watch isn’t quite as stable on my wrist as the stock strap, but it’s much more comfortable. I’ve cut the strap short to accommodate my rather thin wrist.
I also tried some the new Maratac Elite straps. They are very nice straps, but they were far too long for my wrists. I have two new straps on the way. Both are Maratac Bond style straps. One is a NATO style, and the other a Zulu style. The thinner material of the Maratac Bond straps should make for an easy fit, and will hopefully both look good and feel comfortable. I also have plans in the works to make some of my own homemade straps. We’ll see how things work out.
All in all, I’m far more than happy with my Tuna Can. You could say that my interest and love for watches has been rejuvenated by the Tuna. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten a new watch, and been impressed far beyond my expectations. The Tuna is a wonderful watch, and a miracle that came around at just the right time. I finally found a nice analog watch that can handle the various rigors of my everyday life, as well as many adventures. The accuracy is extraordinary. The aesthetics are even perfect for my tastes. Comfort levels are off the charts. For the time being, for me, there is no other watch than the 300M Tuna. I love it that much. This could very likely be “The One”.