Over-due thoughts on the Heimdallr Tuna and Turtle

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Several of you have asked for an evaluation/opinion/after thoughts regarding my recent Heimdallr posts. My apologies for taking so damn long to get back to you!   So, here it is—bottom line, in a nutshell, cut to the chase, long story short…these watches are the goods!
  • I’m very pleased with all three: two Tuna Cans (one bronze, one steel), and one bronze Turtle.
  • Yes, I would buy/order again from Heimdallr (there are several others I like).
  • Shipping was very fast, everything was nicely packaged, individually cased, warranty cards included for each.
No doubt everyone is curious about the build quality and value of these watches—a reasonable concern because frankly, the prices they’re selling for are, to my mind—a steal! So let’s talk about that. First I have to say one of the reasons I was dragging my ass about writing this was because I was concerned about what to compare these watches to. It’s a little easier with the Turtle homage (I have a couple real Turtles) but I’ve never seen or handled a true Seiko Marine Master "Tuna Can”. And I have to be honest here; I was never particularly interested in one. A) they cost a fortune, and B) they look funny. So why did I just buy two homage (knock-off) Tunas? A) the price, and B) I guess the Tuna Can design kinda grew on me? All of that is to say, I can’t really compare my sort’a Tunas to real-deal Tunas I’ve never owned. My thoughts on the Turtle comparison are more head to head. So here goes… First it should be said that the attraction to buying half-price Seiko homage watches, is that all of these watches are Seikos, in as much as all of them use Seiko SII NH35A movements. I mean, wouldn’t you buy a fake Rolex if it had real Rolex movement in it? Don’t answer that! But each of these watches do contain a genuine, decent quality, Seiko movement—that certainly checks a box. Another plus is that all of them use real-deal Sapphire crystals, no Hardlex to piss and moan about on these watches
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Now, on to build quality… On the Turtle, build quality is good. Case is bronze ("...an alloy consisting mainly of copper combined most often with tin”). The upper portion of the cushion style case is brushed, while the sides are polished. In comparison to my real Turtles, the Heimdallr brushing is smooth, but shows grain. On the Seiko Turtles, the brushing is more of a soft, mat finish. I like the slight grain effect on the bronze case—no need to compete with the shiny gold PVD finish on the Seiko SRPC44. Another case detail worth mentioning: all lugs, both models, are drilled through for easy strap/bracelet changes. The crown on the Heimdallr is spline cut and just a little too sharp for my fingers tips. My guess is that wasn't an oversight—as with the bezel's edge, a more aggressive cut simply gives a better grip when hands are wet. Speaking of the crown, if there’s an obvious difference between the real Seikos I own (all flavors) and the three Heimdallrs, it’s most noticeable here: each of the Heimdallr’s employ screw down crowns and all of them have a slightly gritty feel when unscrewed or tightened back down again. That's not a big knock-the threads do feel precise and the stem assembly pops out with sufficient authority (and then reseals snugly). My sense is that the gritty feeling will lessen over time. Winding the movements, all models, feels exactly as it does on any other NH35A; very smooth. By the way, the crown on the Heimdallr is unsigned, just as they are on the Seiko’s version. The Heimdallr Turtle bezel differs from the Seiko bezel in two respects: it's double-stack coin edge is more pronounced, and more sharply machined than either of my Seikos. By that I don’t mean uncomfortably sharp, I mean easier to grip, and affording more purchase as you spin the bezel (same idea perhaps as the machined crown?). Seiko bezels work, but my fingers tend to slip more on their much smoother surface. And speaking of all things bezel, here’s the answer to a question I imagine more than a few of you are curious about: YES, the bezel insert, lines up with the damn chapter ring, and both line up with the 12:00 o'clock marker. Can't beat that...
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There are some significant differences when comparing the real and homage Turtle dials. Heimdallrs only provide a DATE window, the DAY window you see on a real Turtle is missing in action (remember Heimdallrs use the NH35A movement, and real Turtles use the 4R36, DAY/DATE movement). Giving up the DAY complication is a minor or major sacrifice, mostly depending upon your point of view—I like to know what day it is, but I can generally figure it out, even if my watch is mum on the subject. Indicies differ quite a bit, but neither version works any better than the other; both are clear and easy to read, same holds true for the hands—all of which (hands, and indices) are framed in gilt/gold outlines. Like the Seikos, all of the Heimdallrs have excellent lume. In daylight the fill on the Heimdallrs has a slight yellow/green tint to it compared to nearly white fill on the Seikos. Both brands glow torch-brite when fully charged. Something I really like about the all of the Heimdallr dials is the logo; a sketchy-styled shark that looks good, isn’t overpowering and balances well with the rest of the markings. Tacky logos on micro brand watch dials are flat-out deal breakers for me. I'm happy to report Heimdallr gets that detail right. Okay, on to the Tunas! As mentioned above, I’ve never seen one in the flesh so I’m strictly shooting from the hip here. First impression: for a design I thought was kind’a ugly not too long ago—these Heimdallr Tuna Cans really knock me out! Do I wish I would have paid somewhere between $800 and $1,200 for the genuine article? Hell no, I don’t! I'm plenty pleased with Heimdallr's sub-two-hundred dollar version, thank you! Heimdallr's Tuna cases (both Bronze and Steel) are brushed, as are the bezels. I ordered an un-filled bezel on the bronze and a filled bezel on the steel watch. Filled on my watch means, black paint, but I think lume fill was available as an option (check the site to see if I’m lying). Crowns on the Tunas are signed, and more or less as sharply machined as on the Turtle. Case backs for all three watches are screw down and polished steel (no bronze used there). EDIT: I realize I omitted my impressions of the bezels on the Tuna Can models. Let me say this about that: I hate 'em--they are nearly impossible for me to operate. Could be because I'm left-handed (the portions of the bezel not protected by the raised case, seem to be set up for the thumb and forefinger of the right-hand. Second, the bezel is very difficult to grip, and nearly impossible for me to turn--it does turn, it's just not worth the effort it took, for me. I'll never use that feature anyway, so I'm not going to aggravate myself with it again. As mentioned above, the bezel on the Turtle works without issue--no problems there. The hands-down, stand-out feature on these Heimdallr Tunas are the amazing, double dome, AR coated, sapphire crystals! Especially on the steel model, that deep blue highlight dancing across the landscape of the chunky case really grabs me. As a matter of fact, without that double-dome, and blue AR coating—these Tunas might well be winging their way back from whence they came (Shenzhen, China, by the way). It really makes that big of a difference. As you’ve seen in the photos I’ve previously uploaded, I ordered each watch with a rubber strap and I’m glad I did. First, I like the newer generation of soft, rubber straps—they’re easy to wear and and adjust when need, and they feel great against the skin. That said, Heimdallr’s straps are not quite in the same league as Seiko's. Heimdallr’s are close (more than acceptable) but their surface is a little more porous and they really grab lint, fuzz, cat hair, and little flecks of anything that isn’t black. Seiko straps aren’t as “magnetic” and come with really nice, signed metal keepers (gold or silver, depending). Heimdallr’s straps employ two, floating, rubber keepers. That said, the Heimdallr straps do come with very nice, signed (bronze or steel) buckles. I suppose one could change the straps out to Seiko versions, but I won’t—the Heimdallr’s are fine as is. Okay, there you have it—everything you need to know to make an informed Heimdallr purchases decision. In my book, these things are a definite bargain. If you already have a Turtle, buy a Tuna. If you don’t have a Turtle, you can save a bundle with one of these—and watch it develop a nice gold/green patina over time—can’t do that with Seiko Turtle! If anyone still has questions, you know where to find me ;- )
(Edited)
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RayF
22424

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VintageWIS
1
Jan 26, 2021
Great write up. I snagged one of these in the Tuna variety second hand to see if I like it. Looks like I may be pleasantly surprised.
RayF
22424
Jan 26, 2021
Hard to beat the quality to price ratio--fun watches too. Don't forget to post some shots when you get it!
Edigital23
56
Jul 17, 2020
Hi Ray. I literally just found out about this company today. Like this morning and have been pondering on pulling the trigger on the 1K tuna and or the Bronze Tuna. Also have been looking at strapcode strait link bracelets for the tunas. Was thinking of going Black PVD Hexad or Engineer 2, but the Seiko rubber straps you use look good. I saw some video reviews on the Heimdallr stock rubber straps and they were not good. You may have just sold me. They look great from your pictures, and your review is pretty convincing.
(Edited)
RayF
22424
Jul 29, 2020
Damn—too bad about the Strapcode bracelet! I wonder what bracelet (or method) Seiko uses? I’d see if Heimdallr has any suggestions as well. Still, without the shroud, it’s a nice looking Bottle Cap!
Edigital23
56
Jul 29, 2020
According to strapcode, this model tuna used a special size lug to allow clearance. 21.5mm. I also watched a video of a youtuber demonstrating the 21.5mm and 22mm on the Seiko Marinemaster Tuna can. Starpcode did not have the hexad in stock for the 21.5mm nor have I found it anywhere else. Rolled the dice with the 22mm hexad and came up on the losing end. Made my bed, I'll just deal with it shroud less. IMO still looks real nice. Ill send pics of the two piece canvas strap with shroud when it arrives.
clwnbaby
8
Sep 26, 2019
Ray - how do you think the turtle would look on smaller wrists? I have a 6.5" wrist and really like the turtle but think it might be too much. So how is it in person?
RayF
22424
Sep 27, 2019
That's kind of a tough call--to me everything wears like what it is, and Heimdallr says the case size is 45.6mm so it's kind of on the beefy side. Holding it up to a Seiko Turtle doesn't make it look any smaller--which is kind of the point right? They're supposed be the same size.
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Here's a shot of mine next to a 40mm Invicta 8926OB (smallest watch I've got) on my 8" wrist (damn--gotta cut down on those Anabolic Steroids!). To my eye, they're not all that different (dial-wise) but case-wise, there's just no get'n around it--Turtles are a little on the porky side. Here's a thought: how about one of Heimdallr's Willards? Great looking watch (the precursor to the modern day Turtle), very comfortable to wear, and maybe slightly smaller than a standard Turtle. They come on a 20mm strap which tends to give them a smaller wrist presence. Looks like this:
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Hope some of that helps, and hope you find a Heimdallr you like. From my perspective they're a lot of watch for the money and I'm certainly dig'n mine!
Phly
850
Aug 13, 2019
Thanks Ray, great review! And like the others, I'm probably going to pull the trigger on the bronze (aluminum bronze, btw) Tuna Can. You should be earning a commission! edited to add: Yikes, 47mm... nevermind. I do like some of their other homages though, the Trident in particular.
(Edited)
RayF
22424
Aug 13, 2019
Commission? Ha--then people would think I was shilling for them ;- ) Excellent point regarding the Aluminum bronze alloy--guessing that's going to keep these from developing the heavy patina associated with traditional bronze? A plus in my book. Good explanation of the differences and characteristics of each flavor here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_bronze PS: don't forget to post pics when the watch arrives; they ship quick.
(Edited)
Mr_Ling
978
Aug 12, 2019
I’m trying to lay off on new watches for the rest of the year but, now you had to show me this! If all the dimensions are the same as the original turtle this would make a nice bronze edition to my collection.
RayF
22424
Aug 12, 2019
I believe they are--exact, but haven't done any measuring myself. Check their site, lots of specs there.
VinaigreDeRiz
185
Aug 12, 2019
I bought a couple of watches from what seems to be the same plant (on the WR Watches website, you can find these Heimdallr, as well as San Martin, Hruodland…). They all seem to share the build quality. I also think they are a steal! Their only problem I see is the brand names and their — somewhat obscure — origin/meaning.
VinaigreDeRiz
185
Aug 12, 2019
Don't get me wrong, I don't have any trouble with the fact that it is an "unknown brand", I was more directly refering to the weirdness of the names themselves. I couldn't care less about the "recognition" of a brand name, because, as you said: a brand name means, in this case, the same watch, but with a "marketing tax". My point was: "how do you pronounce Hruodland?" 😂. I would have prefered something clearer, like: "Shenzhen watches", but it doesn't change anything about the fact that we are getting screwed out of our change by the big names 👍🏼.
RayF
22424
Aug 12, 2019
Funny how the big names are all easier to pronounce too. Could be a conspiracy? I don't care what they call 'em--I'm renaming all of my watches: "Ted" --easy to remember, easy to pronounce. "Hey, hand me my Ted watch. Not that Ted, the other Ted watch!"
Elky
885
Aug 11, 2019
Thanks for the post - indeed I was waiting for it. To sum this up: you gave me no other option then to buy one of Heimdallr's. I don't have tuna yet so probably I'll go with it. Sill: plenty is no plague... they say. I wish the rosegold one had hands of the same color i/o silver. So gold one or silver... decisions, decisions.
RayF
22424
Aug 11, 2019
I'm sure you'll make the right decision. Shipping is quick; post your pics!
A community member
Aug 11, 2019
👏👏 Pulling the trigger on the turtle with green dial, and a bronze tuna can... Soon... (Btw glad to have pointed you in the way of these beauties! Now I know what I'm going into).
(Edited)
Elky
885
Aug 12, 2019
I was thinking about the green dial too but what bothers me is the white chapter ring. It should've been green too. It looks strange in my opinion and makes the dial look smaller. They did it right on the black dial with black ring imho. Just sayin'...
A community member
Aug 13, 2019
Hmm, doesn't bother me as much: a bit of contrast I think. Also: these thing are very easy to mod: If it really bothers me, I can always replace it ;-)
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