Throughout his career, rock legend Brian May has relied upon his “Red Special” Guitar to create the sound that helped make Queen one of the world’s most admired and celebrated rock bands. He has also relied on Seiko. For more than 40 years, Brian has worn a Seiko diver’s watch whose enduringly popular design is the inspiration for the latest Seiko 5 Sports collection. Brian bought his Seiko watch while first on tour in Japan in the 1970s. Since then, his guitar and watch have travelled the globe together – making great music and keeping great time.
As with the first collaboration model, the dial recreates the fine details of the legendary guitar with a pressed pattern reminiscent of the texture of the wood, its glossy finish and gradated coloring. This case is a special gold-color version, requested by Brian himself, inspired by the newly released ‘Gold Series’ reissues of his solo albums.
The nylon strap is decorated with vertical stripes designed to resemble guitar strings. The watch is offered as a limited edition with Brian’s signature on the case back alongside “LIMITED EDITION” and the serial number 00001/12500 – 12500/12500.
The presentation box which accompanies the piece is reminiscent of a guitar case and comes with a replica of the ‘lucky sixpence’ coin which Brian uses instead of a guitar pick. Both highlight this timepiece as a special watch to be worn and enjoyed as well as an ideal collector’s piece.
Seiko Watch Corporation will donate a proportion of the sales proceeds from this timepiece to The Mercury Phoenix Trust with Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in mind.
The MPT is a charity organization founded by Brian May, Roger Taylor and Queen manager Jim Beach, in memory of Freddie Mercury, to help fund the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide. More details here
The "Red Special" guitar
Brian and his father made the guitar entirely by hand, using only hand tools. The neck was carved from the wood of an old fireplace, already 100 years old at the time. The body was made from block board with an ancient oak insert, coated with a mahogany veneer that Brian stained and polished himself. The innovative tremolo system, designed by Brian, featured a hand-carved mild steel rocker plate pivoting on a knife edge, with the strings’ tension balanced by motorcycle valve springs. To complete the job, the tremolo arm was improvised from part of a bicycle saddlebag holder, capped with a piece of his mother’s sturdy knitting needle. The Red Special is a labor of love that has uniquely served Brian on stage and in the studio for over half a century, being repeatedly evolved and refined till this day.