Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited Edition SRPE83K1
Before Seiko officially revealed the Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited Edition SRPE83K1, a few, I guess, were aware of the connection between rock legend Brian May and the Japanese watch manufacturer. The relationship began in 1975 when the rock band (The Queen) first traveled to Japan to hold their first-ever Japanese concert. It was during that tour that Brian May purchased his first, not his last, Seiko wristwatch.
The uncovered story reaffirms how close is the association between passion for watchmaking and music; some rock and pop artists are among the most respected watch connoisseurs and collectors. This specific Seiko timepiece is named after the "Red Special," the guitar Brian May has played during his career, an entirely hand-made and hand-tooled guitar; Brian and his father built in the early 1960s. It is no coincidence the Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited Edition SRPE83K1 soon became popular among Seiko fans and music lovers alike when it hit the stores.
This limited series was the most extravagant variant of the new 5 Sports Series when it appeared in 2019. Once I received the press photos, I wouldn't say I liked the color combination and has not yet fully grown on me; it is unconventional compared to Seiko's quintessentially sports watches. Interestingly, it now looks understated as opposed to the newly released Seiko 5 Sports Street Fighter V Limited Edition, for instance, which are raising a lot of success too, so far. In either case, it proves how successful has been the Seiko SKX007's replacement, given its unbeatable price point also.
The Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited Edition SRPE83K1's central theme is the black-and-mahogany dial. Design and pattern mimic shape and materials adopted on the Red Special, including the mahogany veneer we captured via a macro photo, revealing the fine texture. The neck of the guitar was carved from the wood of a 100-year old, at the time, fireplace. The body was made from blockboard with an ancient oak insert, covered with a mahogany veneer that Brian himself has strained and polished. To build the tremolo system, Brian and father also took the valve springs from a motorcycle engine.
Customizations apart (the owner replaced the original NATO strap with a rubber one), the watch shares a standard Seiko 5 Sports layout: it adopts an Hardlex glass and the 41-hour power reserve caliber 4R36, housed into a 42,5mm large and 13,4mm thick case. As stated above, this is not my favorite Seiko watch, but I admit they did a great job from a marketing and story-telling standpoint.
By buying not one but two, Seiko watches Brian May has turned himself into an authentic brand supporter; the Red Special behind-the-scenes story paired with such an ambassador inspired rock music and Seiko fans altogether. Brian May's signature is finely printed on the case back's protective glass. A 560 Euro retail price along with a special package and limited production volumes quickly turned the Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited Edition SRPE83K1 into a hot piece, whose asking price is currently 40% higher than the official price list.
(Photo credit: Peter Tung for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®