Throughout his long and continuing 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. 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 when his guitar and his watch have traveled the globe together, making great music and keeping a 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 1960s. 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 a 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.
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.
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.