Seiko Red Special, a watch that will rock you

By MyWatch

The Japanese manufacturer Seiko pays its respects to legendary Queen guitarist Brian May—and to his electric guitar—with a limited edition Seiko 5 Sports featuring a red dial that was directly inspired by the instrument.

Kassandre FRADELIN

During Queen’s first tour in Japan, May bought a Seiko watch that never left his wrist again. Today, the Maison launches a new model with a redesign that was heavily inspired by another one of this musician’s favourite objects: his famous ‘Red Special’ guitar. And he loves it: ‘I am delighted to see this watch come alive, and proud that the creation of me and my dad all those years ago has inspired this collaboration. I love my Seiko and it has served me well for many years. I will wear this new one with pride.’

And yes, this legend of a guitar that has paced the band’s most famous songs was handmade by Brian himself, with the help of his father. Acoustic guitars did not allow the artist to play as he wanted to, so he took it upon himself to create a new one tailored to his needs. The instrument’s fabrication began in the sixties. Its neck was hand-carved from the wood of an old fireplace. Its body was made from blockboard with an ancient oak insert, and covered with a mahogany veneer that Brian stained and polished himself. The inserts were made from mother-of-pearl buttons, and May chose a three-mic configuration. To complete the job, the innovative tremolo system featured a hand-carved mild steel rocker plate pivoting on a knife edge (hardcore) with the pull of the strings balanced by motorcycle valve springs (super hardcore). This particular last element is what makes the Red Special’s sound so unique and easily recognizable.

And today, the Seiko 5 Red Sports pays tribute to this music instrument that every guitarist in the world knows. The dial is housed in a 42 mm-diameter steel case, displays a crown at 4 o’clock, a date window at 3, and features a delicate wood-like pattern that is reminiscent of the body of the guitar. It is launched in a 9,000-limited edition that will be powered by a robust Seiko caliber, that has a 41 hour—power reserve to offer, along with a 100 metre-water resistance, and a see-through caseback that is signed by the rockstar himself. To complete this look, the Seiko ‘Red Special’ is served on a black nylon strap, just like the eponymous guitar’s. Last but certainly not least, the watch is presented in a casket designed after guitar flight cases. The presentation box also contains a commemorative sixpenny coin May used throughout his career as a plectrum.

540 euros –www.seikowatches.com