Throughout his career, rock legend Dr 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 of all time. This priceless guitar is the visual inspiration behind the limited-edition Seiko 5 Sports x Brian May, the second collaborative timepiece between the respected Japanese watch company and May, who is also a qualified astrophysicist, animal activist and author.
On the dial, a swirl of red and black recalls the fine details of the guitar and is crafted from special gold in a colour requested by May himself in homage to the newly released Gold Series reissue of his solo albums. The strap features stripes replicating taut guitar strings, and best of all, May's signature is emblazoned on the red glass caseback along with a serial number for each of the 12,500 watches.
The watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house automatic calibre 4R36 with its 3Hz balance, stop seconds, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m and a power reserve of 40 hours.
The guitar that forms the main inspiration behind the watch is more than deserving of being feted in this way when you consider the circumstances under which it was made. Made by hand in the early 1960s, its neck was carved from the wood of an old fireplace — already 100 years old at the time — and the body fashioned from blockboard with an ancient oak insert. It was then covered with a mahogany veneer that May stained and polished himself.
To get his signature sound, especially recognisable in Queen’s early releases, May designed an innovative tremolo system that featured a hand-carved mild steel rocker plate pivoting on a knife edge, the pull of the strings balanced by motorcycle valve springs and an improvised tremolo arm from parts of a bicycle saddlebag holder, capped with a piece of a sturdy knitting needle.
The Seiko 5 Sports x Brian May is the product of what seems like an unlikely partnership, but it is one that has lasted for many years. In actual fact, May has been wearing a Seiko since 1975 — a quartz-powered diving model acquired whilst on tour in Japan. He wore it faithfully for 40 years until his first collaboration with Seiko in 2020, which is also a diver’s watch — the man has a type, what can we say?
The just-released Seiko 5 Sports x Brian May will be available in March at a yet unspecified price, but we'd say whatever it is, it will be worth every cent paid and more.
The Seiko 5 Sports x Brian May is retailing at RM2,900.