Seiko celebrates a legendary guitar, Brian May’s ‘‘Red Special’’

Text: Seiko
Photo: Seiko

Seiko is launching a special edition with the legendary guitarist of Queen, Brian May, based on his ‘’Red Special’’ electric guitar, which he designed and made with his father back in the 1960s

Throughout his long and continuing career, rock legend Brian May has relied upon his ‘‘RedSpecial’’ 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 1970’s since when his guitar and his watch have travelled the globe together, making great music and keeping great time.

The Red Special now inspires a new Seiko 5 Sports watch whose dial echoes the design of the guitar which Brian and his father built in the early 1960’s. The guitar was made by hand, with only hand tools. The neck was carved from the wood of an old fireplace, 100 years old at the time. The body was made from blockboard with an ancient oak insert, and covered 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 pull of the strings 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 a 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.

Seiko 5 Brian May Limited Edition SRPE83K1

The new Seiko 5 Sports watch is constructed in a very different way but is also built to last.
With the long-trusted caliber 4R36 at its heart, 10 bar water resistance, a Hardlex crystal and its robust steel case, it has all the qualities that have made Seiko 5 Sports so many fans down the decades. The dial has the same red and black color scheme as the ‘‘Red Special’’ and features a delicate wood-like pattern like the body of the guitar.

Seiko 5 Sports Brian May LE SRPE83K1

The watch is offered as a limited edition with Brian’s signature on the case back and comes with a special presentation box designed on the lines of the Red Special’s custom flight case. The presentation box also contains a commemorative coin that is based on the sixpenny piece that he has used throughout his career as a plectrum. The watch is presented on a black nylon strap, designed to mirror the strap that Brian now uses on his guitar.

Seiko 5 Sports Brian May SRPE83K1 box

Seiko is grateful to Brian for the opportunity to celebrate his creativity and his music with this Seiko 5 Sports watch. Brian commented “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.”

Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Red Special Automatic Limited Edition

Reference SRPE83K1

Stainless steel case

Nylon strap

Hardlex crystal

See-through screw case back

Diameter: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm

Caliber 4R36 (21,600 vibrations/hour , 24 jewels, 41 hours power reserve)

Water resistance: 10 bar

Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m

Limited edition of 9,000

Approximate recommended retail prices in Europe: €560