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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,


Here is my 7549-7010 Tuna restoration and mod project. I've had this watch for about 15 years and was given to me as a bag of parts no less. Needless to say it is going to take a fair amount of work and replacement of most of the components to see it done. I decided because of the rarity of the movement and likely delay and cost to get the it running properly, to instead take a 6309 and use that as a primary source for the movement, dials and hands...or thereabouts. But it will be a free flowing project and each step may lead to a different direction, but that is the main gist to this project. I also wanted to keep as much use of Seiko parts as possible, so it takes on an air of a factory-esque modded Tuna.


Well here goes...


- Seiko
- 7549-7010
- "Tuna can", "Quartz Tuna" or for most of us just "Tuna"
- Restore and combine with 6309-7040
- 7549 Quartz 5-jewel (currently not working), to be set aside and use 6309 Automatic movement in its place
- Two part case housing in all stainless steel. Outer shell was heavily worn, nicked and scratched. Inner case and main gaskets is good-excellent condition.
- Crystal was heavily scratched and ultimately disgarded. Yobokie double domed
AR-coated sapphire crystal will be installed in its place.
- Bracelet/strap - yet to be determined. Lugs are 22mm.
- Bezel in decent shape and is of the early-style single level coin-edge bezel. Standard 7549/6309/7002 bezel inserts fit fine at 38.1mm outer dia. and 31.5mm inner dia. A Yobokie 6309 Flat bezel insert will be installed.
- Movement was completely missing the day/date wheel. So a new one will be installed, but it will be black with white numbers and hopefully Eng./Kanji text.

- Dial is in decent shape and have to determine if it can used with the 6309 movement. If not, then a PMMM may well find its way onto this one. Or a newer 300m Tuna dial might work too...we'll see. The hands are skeletons and missing all their lume. The second hand is broken and the long half is missing, a new one will be installed.
- This is the classic retro-Tuna diver, but is rare movement make it hard to work on. Fortunately there is a lot of cross over with other movements such as the more common 7458 (See Harry's diagnosis post), and the still common Automatic 6309 series. I wouldn't be surprised if other movements fit with little effort. The case design is bold, yet very wearable and when properly tested a superb divers tool watch.





The Tuna as I removed if from the bag and has been in storage for the past 15 years.



I decide to start with the clean up of the main case. I used a toothpick and a fiberglass brush to get the gunk out.



Next I replaced the older bezel insert with a new one. (This will NOT be the final insert, just a temp. so I can get a better idea of how it will look cleaned up). Insert removal is straight forward, I used a knife to pry the inner edge of the insert and then ran it around until it popped off. The new one is snap fit in, no glue as yet. The bezel itself was cleaned and sanded with firm sanding stick and the inner grooves were cleaned with the fiberglass pen.



The big surprise so far was that I decided to sand down the inner chapter ring and since it is brass (I believe it's not gold), the natural color came out. I think this will be a unique aspect to this project as of right now I am going to use it. Seiko has a precedence of having gold tones in their Tuna range of divers, so this can be an interesting play on the design.



Here is the main case after I've cleaned and removed the bezel, crystal and inner gaskets. I like the two-tone so far.



Here it is mocked up with the new bezel insert. I didn't like this insert because of the raised Lume dot, so order a new Yobokies 6309 Flat insert. The brass ring is talking to me now, I'm liking this direction so far.



Here is the outer shell after some serious sanding and clean-up. I did my best with the screws, which were mildly stripped, and I brushed the heads as well. I'll likely source new fasteners.



Here is the stock movement...note the broken screws holding the battery strap on. Just one of a few problems with it...



So then I turned my attention to hands. The second hand is broken in half, so a new one will be fitted, but after the chapter ring was sanded, I worked on the hands too and they had the same brass color. This sold me on the colors. I'm liking this color combo a lot and think it is a fresh take on this old Tuna. However, the 6309 fitment may well change it up because of what may or may not fit.











That is it for the first update. I won a decent 6309-7040 on ebay with a recently cleaned and functioning movement. That and my first order with Yobokies was placed today for the sapphire crystal and new bezel insert. Once these pieces arrive, I'll continue...till then.


Best,


Mike
 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Can't wait to see it finished, but it looks great already.

I was wondering what that little lollipop looking thing next to the hour hand was....
 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Most interesting project. Perhaps you might consider a bezel insert from a modern SKX011. The golden numbers should match the hands and insert nicely, while retaining the same look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Progress has been slow, still waiting for the donor 6309 to arrive, but I did receive the new Sapphire w/blue AR coating and Flat 6309 bezel insert from Harold, plus Andy's stellar new Torx screws. :eek: ;D


Plus I bought a nice 22mm Seiko rubber strap that gets it on the wrist to gauge the look (I've actually never been able to wear it before). I also ordered the retro 22mm Dive strap from Timefactors that may be the main strap once I get it in.

New photos...I'm finding out real quick how hard it is to shoot with a domed glass installed--double-domed at that. Talk about distortion! No, the chapter ring is not bent! ::) - it is only a result of the camera and the angle to not catch the light bulb in the reflection. When on the wrist it causes no issues at all with a quick flick of the wrist.


Best,


Mike








 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Wow, Mike - superb, what a great project! The brass chapter ring and skeletonised hands are excellent, that looks really good. There is probably a word for "changing appearance using original parts" - whatever it is this is really talking to me. The beauty of the iconic Seiko arrow hands is highlighted, the brass and steel combination is the epitome of the much-overused term "tool watch".

I have a 6309-7040 wreck which I have for years been pondering what to do with, but you have given me the inspiration I need: quartz transform, brass hands and chapter ring!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

OK, here is the latest update. The 6309 swap was successful and with new aftermarket dial, sanded raw hands, and now on an Orb yellow leather strap (with the option of the other two rubber dive straps), it can now be worn and enjoyed.


Steps taken to date:
1) Strip and clean case, crown and bezel. Remove original movement for repair.
2) Refinish outer shroud, bezel, chapter ring, hands, and lugs with new brushed surface.
3) Replace bezel insert with Flat 6309 style insert from Yobokies
4) Added new double-domed Sapphire w/AR coating from Yobokies
5) Added new 22mm Retro Dive Strap from Timefactors with new fat spring bars
6) Replace movement, dials and hands with refurbished 6309 donor parts
7) Added leather Orb strap to wear options



Phase 1 is complete... ;D


Next up is to repair the original movement, source a new second hand, relume original dial, add black day/date wheels, and eventually reinstall them into the case. "Possible" options to this may include SBBN007 dial, and bezel (if it fits).


Anyway, new photos...













Best,


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

This happened faster than I thought, since the SBBN007 bezel arrived today just after my last post. Yeah....


Here it is installed. The bezel snapped on the case perfectly and moves the same as the 7549 bezel. However, the grip indents didn't quite line up perfectly at 12--neither the cutout itself, or the ridge (it was just a hair off), so I decided to play it the other way and not have it line up at all with the bezel insert lume and 12. I prefer it way off and look random, then just a smidge off and drive me nuts every time I look at it. Such is the world of mods, but I'm only explaining for the sake of being thorough. I felt the new bezel really says Tuna, even though the original coin-edge is beautifully vintage in its appearance. I like this blend, a bit of both modern and vintage...it works well with the 6309 dial and hands too.


The 6309 insert was a hair undersized and would not stay in the new bezel (which also makes the SBBN007 insert slightly oversize to fit the 7549/6309 bezels without minor sanding). Thus, I glued it in with a few drops to hold it in place without making it overly permanent. That way I could change it out later if I had the urge.


Here is the bezel fitted to the naked case



And with the shroud placed back on. The same gaps and clearance was present as the 7549 bezel, so no issues with size on this swap.






New photos outside and its really starting to look presentable now...









Obligatory wrist shot.




Best,


Mike
 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

:13:
Great work and very nice progress documentation, I usually end up with just a before and a after shot and forgets all the steps in between.
 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Well, that about as good as a post gets -fanatastic mod, fantastic post - thanks! Now I'm gonna read it from the begining again!

BTW Here we have one of the great strengths of the new forum software, its great to have this update as well as the posts you made detailing your journey in a single thread!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Thanks guys...it is now back to the original bezel, fully working original movement and on a SOII bracelet. It gets on the wrist about every second day and not missed a beat yet. I'm still debating on the lume options and have to tweak the day wheel some more since it gets stuck every now and again.


Glad you guys like it. I learned most of it from Harry's blog, and hopefully this thread will the next guy out.


Best,


Mike
 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Dear Mike,

This is one of the most fantastic and most beautiful mods I have ever seen! :clap: Wonderful job you have done, my friend.

And the yellow leather strap really looks and matches with the brass chapter ring wonderfully :bravo_2: Absolutely gorgeous!

Enjoy it in good health, and we would like more and more fotos, please. It is never enough! ;)

Serdal
 

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Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Superb Mod :bravo_2: All I can say is WOW !!!!! :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great: :great:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: Project Franken-Auto-Tuna...7549 meets 6309

Thanks fellas...here it is currently. I'm sourcing a new second hand, but otherwise it runs like a top and gets lots of wrist time. In the end I love it on the bracelet the most.


Best,


Mike








 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
jadams55 said:
Mike --

Where did you end up finding the black day & date wheels?

Thanks,

Jerry

I kitbashed a black 6309 set with the original star center. It is not perfect and needs to be redone one more time. Fortunately finding black 6309 parts is still a possibility, I tried sourcing from the new black tuna's but black date wheels are next to impossible to get and may not fit either.


Best,


Mike
 
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