Queen legend bases Seiko design on famed guitar

Meet the Seiko 5 Sports Red Special

Watch, Watch accessory, Fashion accessory, Brand, Strap, Plucked string instruments, Guitar, Jewellery, String instrument accessory, Musical instrument,
Seiko

Legendary Queen guitarist Brian May is known for his many and varied interests. He’s a professor of astrophysics, passionate wildlife campaigner, Victorian stereoscopic photography enthusiast (aren't we all?) and apparently, as we discovered this week, a Seiko devotee.

According to the Japanese brand, May bought a Seiko while on tour in Japan with Queen in the 1970s, thought to be a Japanese domestic market 7548 quartz diver, and it still graces his wrist to this day.

Guitar, String instrument, Musical instrument, Plucked string instruments, String instrument, Electric guitar, Bass guitar, String instrument accessory, Acoustic guitar, Acoustic-electric guitar,
Seiko

The only item that has accompanied him for longer is his famed Red Special, a guitar made with the help of his father in the early 1960s from a piece of wood salvaged from a 100-year-old fireplace. May has played the unusually configured instrument almost exclusively throughout his career and it helped him create a sound every bit as recognisably Queen as Freddie Mercury’s vocals.

Now May is combining his enthusiasm for Japan’s most comprehensive watch brand with this near mythical guitar in the form of a limited edition watch under the brand’s newly relaunched Seiko 5 Sports banner.

Seiko

Seiko 5 reappeared as part of the official Seiko offering in the UK late last year after many years in the wilderness and represents the brand’s entry level mechanical watch collection, with 18 new automatic dive watch designs (read our pick of the best sub £5,000 dive watches here). Red Special makes that 19 now, temporarily at least until the supply is exhausted.

While the stainless steel case, with its signature crown at the four o’clock position, and unidirectional rotating dive bezel are the same as its Seiko 5 stablemates (as is the day/date 4R36 automatic movement), Seiko has worked with May to transfer the look of his guitar onto the dial.

Analog watch, Watch, Watch accessory, Fashion accessory, Silver, Platinum, Jewellery, Metal, Brand, Strap,
Seiko

The Red Special is not red as such, rather the name reflects the warm hue of the stained mahogany veneer covering the guitar body. The Seiko opts for a far more literal take with a vivid red dial and chapter ring and reflective 'wood grain' pattern. A curved section of jet black cuts across the left-hand side of the dial mimicking the shape of the guitar’s scratchplate.

Turn the watch over and the open caseback is signed by May with each piece individually numbered between 0001/9000 and 9000/9000.

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Seiko

The Seiko 5 Sports x Brian May is secured on a woven black nylon strap and presented in a replica guitar flight case along a commemorative coin based on the sixpence May has famously used throughout his career instead of a plectrum.

The watch costs £500 and will be available from May.


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