This year at Basel, we saw something truly remarkable from the seminal Japanese brand, Seiko. A piece that we so boldly labeled to be an instant classic – the Grand Seiko 44GS reissue. 100 Years of watchmaking was the occasion, and with the Grand Seiko’s success in international waters, it was only fitting for Seiko to put a GS as its symbol for yet another hallmark… but is the Grand Seiko all there is to it…? Monochrome investigates…
Like a third-eye or the sixth-sense or whatever you want to call it, we knew something was up with the Japanese brand. It cannot be this simple, the 44GS was fantastic, but the GS was JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) no more. There is something amiss from their anniversary collection. And then we saw it, right at the very last section of the Japanese catalog (click here), a behemoth of a piece that Seiko hid so well. We stood silent staring into the photograph, and only three words were uttered – Spring Drive “Tuna”!
Yes that’s right, a new Prospex piece is coming, and one that is an amalgamation of classic heritage and modern design. It’s as if Seiko took a page from the “Heritage” guys at Tudor, and turned this Prospex into something the collectors have all been clamoring for. This here is the Marinemaster SBDB008, the first “Tuna” (notice the shroud) to be fitted with the awe-inspiring Spring Drive movement, which we covered plenty here.
The new piece will be made in full titanium (both case and shroud), unlike the ceramic shroud found in the Emperor Tuna (SBDX011). So no more worries in breaking the shroud into pieces. The biggest surprise (apart from the Spring Drive caliber) is its gold-coated bezel, crown and shroud screws. Fans of the Tuna case design will know that the gold coating was in fact a tribute to the rare “Golden Tuna” 7549-7000 600m quartz diver – the granddaddy of all Tunas as we called it in our report of the Seiko gathering here.
The SBDB008 (or the Spring Drive Golden Tuna as we like to call it) will don the fantastic 5R65 (30 jewels) Spring Drive caliber with a power reserve of up to 72 hours. Similarly, as with all Spring Drive pieces, a power reserve indicator will be shown on the dial. The text “Marinemaster Spring Drive Professional 600m” is shown above 6 o’clock, though not a first for the Prospex line, but a first for shrouded divers, and of course, in matching gold-colored font. The piece will sport a new set of hands and indices (most likely to be Lumi-brite painted) in comparison with most of the Prospex pieces out there. The bezel insert seems to be of ceramic material, which is yet another fantastic touch of detail by Seiko. The date aperture however is oddly placed, right at the 4:30 position, which I find to be confusing at times and hard to read. There were no mention yet on the diameter or size of the new Tuna, but chances are this will be as huge as the aforementioned Emperor Tuna (50mm case diameter).
The SBDB008 will again be a Japan-only piece and will be a limited edition release of only 300 pieces. So expect them to go out of stock extremely quickly. This piece here is listed at 380,000 JPY without tax, about 2,900 Euros. At that price, for a limited edition, this is shockingly affordable. Not to mention its collectability of being the first Tuna to don the Spring Drive System. So if you have the means to get one, I suggest you better act quick, because the next time you utter the words “Spring Drive Tuna”, it will be in the wrists of someone else.
As soon as Seiko provides more photos and/or info, we’ll of course inform you!