Should You Buy Seiko's Tank Watch? A Review Of Seiko SUP880 - Exquisite Timepieces
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Should You Buy Seiko's Tank Watch?

Should You Buy Seiko’s Tank Watch? A Review Of Seiko SUP880

In the world of horology, few timepieces command the same reverence and admiration as the Cartier Tank. Like a bridge connecting the realms of art, design, and precision engineering, the Tank watch stands as an emblem of enduring elegance. 

However, owning one of the most distinctive dress watches ever made comes at a high price. There’s also the problem of limited availability due to high demand, and this is where the Seiko Tank watch steps in.

By creating its version of a Tank watch, Seiko pays homage to this uncharted horological territory. This allows a broader range of consumers to experience the elegance and charm associated with this historical timepiece at a more accessible price point.

Let’s take a closer look at Seiko’s interpretation of the iconic tank-style watch and whether you need one in your collection.

About The Seiko “Tank” Watch

The Tank watch design was born in the early 20th century when Louis Cartier was inspired to design an eccentric dress watch.

The geometric aesthetics of the watch were based on the utilitarian appearance of the tracks of an armored combat vehicle, such as the Renault tank. 

Cartier’s Tank pioneered the rectangular watch style, and other brands have taken inspiration from it to create their unique interpretations. One of these brands happens to be Japanese giant Seiko.

The particular date when Seiko started introducing rectangular watches similar to the ‘Tank style’ is unknown. However, it was in the 1970s that the brand gained significant attention for its watches with rectangular cases, such as the Ref.4120-5010 and Ref. 7830-5000.

These timepieces were successful because they offered a departure from the traditional round watch shape, allowing for creative and varied designs that appealed to different tastes and preferences.

Seiko continued producing these eccentric dress watches, and in the late 2010s, one of the brand’s most popular ‘Tank-inspired’ watches, the SUP880, was released. The SUP880, which will be our focus today, is heavily inspired by the Cartier Tank‘s design, leading to it being nicknamed ‘the Tank.’ 

The watch captures the essence of the Tank’s appeal while offering additional perks such as solar movement and affordability.

The Seiko SUP880 garnered a lot of popularity and appreciation among watch enthusiasts due to its timeless design, high-quality craftsmanship, and fitting case dimensions.

The Tank is a basic timekeeping watch with no additional complications. It boasts a minimalist and understated design, which makes it an ideal accessory for formal events or professional settings.

The watch features a stainless steel case and a minimalist dial with simple hour markers and hands. The rectangular-shaped timepiece is worn on a slim leather band and is powered by the reliable V115 in-house solar movement.

Since the Tank is primarily designed for dressier occasions, it has a limited water resistance of just 30 meters (100 feet).

History of Seiko Watches

Now that you know a bit about the Seiko Tank, let’s quickly take a broader look at the history of Seiko and its innovations in the watch industry. Seiko, founded in 1881 in Tokyo, Japan, started as a small shop by Kintarō Hattori that sold and repaired clocks and watches. 

In 1913, the young brand produced its (and Japan’s) first wristwatch, the Laurel. Eleven years later, the first watch with the Seiko brand logo was released.

The company continued to innovate, developing Japan’s first pocket watch with a chronograph in 1941 and the country’s first automatic wristwatch, ‘the Automatic’ in 1956.

Seiko made significant advancements in the 1960s and 1970s, too. In 1969, they introduced the Seiko Astron, the world’s first quartz watch, marking a significant shift in timekeeping technology. The 1970s saw the creation of iconic models like the Seiko Quartz Diver 7549 and the Seiko 5 series.

Other Seiko’s contributions to horology include the creation of the first digital watch with a six-digit display, the Seiko Quartz LC V.F.A. 06LC, in 1973. The Seiko Kinetic was launched under the name A.G.S. in 1988, a watch that converts kinetic movement into electrical energy. Seiko’s commitment to innovation continued, and in 1999, Spring Drive technology, known for its exceptional accuracy, was introduced.

The company’s dedication to precision led to Seiko’s involvement in various sports events as the official timekeeper, including the Olympics. The brand also played a pivotal role in the development of technical innovations, including several watches with computing capabilities.  

Seiko has maintained a reputation for precision, durability, and cutting-edge technology throughout its history. The company’s various lines, such as Grand Seiko (which is now fully an independent watch brand) and Prospex, cater to different markets and offer a wide range of designs and functionalities.

Overall, Seiko’s rich history is marked by continuous innovation, from its early days as a clock and watch shop to its status as a global leader in watchmaking, known for its exceptional craftsmanship and technological advancements.

Seiko “Tank” Watch: In-Depth Review

It’s over a century since the first Tank watch took the watch world by storm. Despite the ebbs and flows of fashion trends, the timeless appeal of ‘the Tank’ has not ceased to captivate millions of enthusiasts around the world.

The Seiko Tank is no different and resonates with thousands of consumers who value a unique and distinctive look compared to more common round watches.

But why the enduring appeal?  Let’s answer this by taking a closer look at the SUP880, which pays homage to the Cartier Tank watch while infusing unique Japanese craftsmanship.

Dimensions & Wearability

The dimension and wearability of the Seiko SUP880 is a fundamental element that contributes to its enduring appeal. The case profile is pretty low at around 38mm lug to lug and 28.4mm in diameter. Lug-to-lug is the distance from the edge of one lug (or horn) to the corresponding one on the other end of the case.

Historically, dress watches were designed to be thin so they could fit seamlessly under a shirt sleeve. This design principle has been carried through here, maintaining the association of thinness with formal elegance. The slim profile of 6.1mm makes it comfortable to wear, especially for extended periods, without feeling bulky or obstructive.

The lugs are straight, and there’s no curvature of the case back, so the proportions of the SUP880 are a bit larger. However, this doesn’t affect wearability as rectangular watches do provide a more snug fit on wrists due to their longer case.

It’s worth noting that the Tank was originally designed as a unisex watch, which means that its proportions are generally well-suited for both men and women. However, there is a smaller version, the SUP250, which measures 26 mm x 18 mm x 6 mm (LxWxH).

The strap width is 22mm, and the length is men’s standard. The watch is, thus, suitable for wrist sizes around 7 inches.

Build Quality & Durability

Seiko has a reputation for producing reliable timepieces that can withstand regular use and last for many years. While the Tank might not have the same level of craftsmanship as higher-priced models from the brand, the build quality and durability are spot-on.

As a matter of fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sturdy and reliable ‘Tank-inspired’ watch at this price point.

The SUP880 features a stainless steel case and mineral crystal for the protection of the dial. While not as scratch-resistant as sapphire, mineral crystal is still quite durable and can withstand minor impacts without easily shattering.

The case is made of 316L stainless steel, which offers good corrosion resistance and durability while maintaining an affordable price point. The case is further coated with gold to provide aesthetic enhancements and offer additional protection against scratches and tarnishing.

Even though the Tank is an entry-level watch from Seiko, the robust construction, high-quality materials, and reliable manufacturing technique make it a very durable timepiece. The case also shows off a radiant, polished finish and comes with a thick fixed bezel, which gives the watch a sturdy impression. 


Seiko’s Tank watch features a clean and uncluttered dial layout. The focus is on simplicity and elegance, with a balance of negative space and functional elements.

The dial has a railroad-style minute track below the Roman numeral hour markers, which lie along the outer perimeter. This detail enhances legibility, adds a touch of vintage charm, and further emphasizes the watch’s timeless and traditional aesthetic. 

The numerals are printed in a bold, black font, and two thin Feuille hands are attached to a gold-colored center. The absence of excessive embellishments, complications, and texts contributes to the watch’s timeless aesthetic.

There is also no seconds hand, and the white background of the dial is finished with faint gray horizontal stripes. These delicate gray stripes lend an air of sophistication and depth to the otherwise pristine composition of the dial.


One of the standout features of the SUP880 is its solar-powered movement, the in-house V115, with an accuracy rate of +/- 15 seconds per month. The V115 solar quartz movement works by harnessing light energy to power the watch. It has a solar panel on the watch dial that captures both natural and artificial light. 

This light is then converted into electrical energy, which is stored in a rechargeable battery within the watch. This eliminates the need for frequent battery replacements, as the watch can keep running for years with continuous exposure to light. It can last for up to 12 months when fully charged.


The Seiko SUP880 is paired with a black calfskin leather strap stamped with a crocodile pattern. The strap is made from high-quality leather, offering a luxurious and elegant feel. 

Most users complain that the leather strap is hard and stiff, but you can try softening it by using leather conditioner or oil specifically designed for leather goods. 

Just apply a small amount to the strap and massage it gently. Let it sit for a while, and wipe off any excess. This should help restore some flexibility to the leather, but be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive conditioning can damage the strap.

Back to the description of the strap, it has a smooth texture, meticulous stitching, and a gold-tone stainless steel pin buckle. The buckle matches well with the Seiko SUP880’s case and helps keep the watch securely fastened to your wrist.

Should You Buy A Seiko “Tank” Watch?

Whether you should buy a Seiko Tank watch depends on your style and preferences. I believe it’s better to invest in the authentic and original Tank that respects the craftsmanship and design of Cartier, which is the brand that created it. 

However, the SUP880 Tank watch is a good option for those who are looking for a more affordable alternative to the luxury Cartier Tank.

While Seiko Tank watches might not have the same prestige as those from Cartier, they offer good quality and value for their price. This makes them a practical choice for individuals who appreciate the tank style but have a more modest budget.

The Tank watch’s versatility, ability to complement both formal and casual attire, and its place in horological history make it a captivating choice for watch enthusiasts and those who appreciate enduring styles.

Seiko “Tank” watch Pricing & Availability

Seiko Tank watches are widely available and can be found in numerous retail stores, both physical and online. You can purchase the SUP880 from official Seiko retailers, authorized dealers, and various e-commerce platforms. 

At the time of writing this article, the Tank watch retails for US$180 MSRP on Seiko’s website. Prices for a pre-owned Seiko Tank watch depend on its condition and fall between 160 and 290 USD.


Seiko Tank watches combine a timeless design with reliable Japanese craftsmanship and offer an accessible entry point into the world of tank-style timepieces.

Those who value a blend of affordability and elegant design might gravitate toward Seiko, while enthusiasts seeking a prestigious statement piece would find Cartier Tank watches more appealing. 

Whichever path is chosen, both Seiko and Cartier have left an indelible mark on horological history through their respective interpretations of the iconic tank-style watch.

About Exquisite Timepieces

Established in 1998, Exquisite Timepieces is your one-stop shop for all things luxury watches! We are an authorized dealer for 60+ luxury watch brands including Omega, Hublot, Seiko, & Longines! We are proud to showcase one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch collections, including renowned brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Check out our brand new watch arrivals here and popular pre-owned listings here.

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