Seiko’s Strange Watch Names

It Might Pay to Invest in a Tuna Can

The watch pictured (below) is unofficially called the Turtle. There’s another Seiko watch called the Alien; another called the Darth Tuna and another dubbed the Tuna Can. These are all Seiko fan-boy names for timepieces in the Seiko line of divers’ watches.

Fans, a lot of them apparently, have hoisted colourful names upon Seiko’s line of diver watches, giving them names like the Pogue, the Monster, the Turtle and the Samarui, to the point that the names have been universally adopted by the public. Don’t believe me? Google ‘Seiko Turtle’ and see what comes up.

Seiko Tuna Can
Come to think of it, it does look like a can of tuna

How each individual watch got it name is often amusing, in the way that wasn’t generated by a marketing department. So instead of a watch name along the lines of the Sea Explorer 6000, you get the Turtle, so called because of the cushion case resembling a turtle shell, or the Mohawk, a name derived from the odd-coloured bezel.

The Tuna Can, a watch that has been produced by Seiko since 1975, looks remarkably, well, like a can of Tuna. A lot of other variants of the Tuna nickname exist as well: The Baby Tuna (smaller in size), Emperor Tuna, Darth Tuna (all black) are popular variations of this model.

Then there’s the Pogue’s backstory. NASA selected USAF pilot Colonel William Pogue in 1966 as one of the original astronauts for the Apollo Program. He was actually chosen for the aborted Apollo 19 mission, but was then transferred to the Skylab program. And so it was in late 1973 into 1974 (the mission lasted over 84 days), that Colonel Pogue went into space as a part of Skylab 4 wearing what will be forever known as the Seiko Pogue.

Seiko Pogue
The Pogue

The list of names is endearing and a wonderful piece of customer-generated marketing for Seiko. If you get a nickname, it means you’ve been well and truly accepted by a group, so individual nicknames for a brand’s line is high praise, indeed.

The phenomenon is understandable, if you consider Seiko has been around for 150 years and over time its products have been intertwined into our collective culture, particularly for the last half a century. To give you some examples: There’s the Seiko Ripley (or Alien), a watch worn by Ripley in the classic movie of the same name, the Arnie, an analog/digital hybrid watch worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in five blockbuster action movies. And James Bond conspicuously wore a Seiko in several movies.

The after-market sales and collector’s market for these types of watches is very vibrant. So it might pay to invest in a Tuna Can or a Pogue or a Shogun and have a watch that lasts forever and increases in value.

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