If you’re a regular listener of the TBWS podcast, you’ll know that we’ve taken issue with Seiko’s recent trends and business strategies. From entry-level divers pushing well into four-figure price ranges to questionable marketing tactics, it leaves some Seiko fans digging really, really deep to find something exciting in their current catalogues. I have to admit that this recent release – the Seiko Prospex 1986 Quartz Diver’s 35th Anniversary Limited Edition – caught my eye as not only an interesting quartz dive watch, but as a more attractive deal, dollar for dollar compared to some of the newer mid- and lower-tier divers Seiko is pushing these days. I’ll explain.
As much as we love to rag on Seiko, they do have some seriously cool history to them and I think the shrouded “Tuna” divers represent a point where the brand valued performance above all else. The result is a family of watches that look like nothing you’ve ever seen before, with design traits that have a attracted a serious cult following. The Seiko Prospex 1986 Quartz Diver’s 35th Anniversary Limited Edition touches on the styling of the 1978 Golden Tuna, with gold hex screws along the shroud, but that’s about it. After that point, Seiko moves the needle to call back on what was done in 1986, with the introduction of a new shrouded diver featuring 1,000m of water-resistance and a bullet-proof quartz movement – all the overbuilt durability a saturation diver could ask for. This watch, however, takes those features and modernizes them in a high-tech package flushed with a ceramic shroud and a gorgeous blue-to-black transition dial.
Seiko Prospex 1986 Quartz Diver’s 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Specs
- Case Diameter: 49.4mm
- Case Thickness: 16.3mm
- Case Material: Titanium and ceramic
- Water Resistance: 1000m
- Movement: Seiko 7C46
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Strap: Rubber
- Price: $2,600
Blame it on my out-of-control quartz fetish but something about this combo – at $2,600 – makes it more exciting than the recent wave of 6R-loaded, stainless steel divers that have broken the $1,300 mark. You could pick up this watch, or the Seiko S23631 priced similarly, and essentially own what some find to be the pinnacle of Seiko dive watch tech. So maybe a high-performance Tuna is the only Seiko watch you need and a cure for the clutter this brand has brought to so many collectors recently.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.