Seiko’s partnership with the U.S.-based sports clothing and accessories brand Rowing Blazers, announced earlier this summer, resulted in three colorful automatic Seiko 5 Sports watch designs. Two of the watches are limited editions and one model is an ongoing ‘special edition.’
The collaboration offers three distinctive bezels on a 42.5mm steel case with a black Seiko 5 Sports day-date dial with its crown at 4 o’clock. The collaboration includes an unusual red and white seconds hand alongside the Seiko 5’s characteristic wide hour and minute hands.
Also new here is the Rowing Blazers logo on the dial. Inside Seiko fits its ultra-reliable automatic Caliber 4R36 with 41-hour power reserve.
The collection, developed in collaboration with Rowing Blazers founder and creative director Jack Carlson and Seiko’s product development team, features three unidirectional bezel designs: a checkered rally pattern (SRPG49), a red zigzag Rowing Blazers motif (SRPG51) and a four-color red, blue, yellow and green design (SRPG53).
(See our interview with Carlson below for insight into how and why he designed the Seiko-Rowing Blazers collection.)
The latter design is on the special edition model that is not limited in number. Seiko includes a rainbow, green or black nylon strap with each steel bracelet watch.
“Collaborating with Seiko is a dream come true,” says Rowing Blazers founder Jack Carlson. “I have a small collection of both new and vintage Seikos, and I’m obsessed with the brand. This is our first real foray into the world of watches — though we often sell vintage Seikos on our site — and I couldn’t imagine a better partnership.”
As a bonus, each watch is emblazoned on its caseback with a skeleton as a reminder that time flies (a memento mori). Price: $495.
Seiko’s Seismic Shift
By James Henderson
By the time you will read this, what has been perhaps one of the most seismic shifts in the ever-growing watch subculture that is the Seiko 5 Sport series will have already happened. In fairness, there have been and will continue to be Seiko 5 Sports models put out in limited edition series. That being said, the majority of them are targeted to a decidedly wider, easier to sell-to demographic.
More to the point, Rowing Blazers has built its fan base (I am a proud member) by decidedly swimming against the current of the obvious. So while it would have been easy to take a basic watch and throw the Rowing Blazers name on it, the Rowing Blazers Seiko 5 capsule did something more.
Rowing Blazers founder Jack Carlson and vintage watch expert Eric Wind rolled up their sleeves and came up with not one, not two, but three unique watches that got watch fans in North America and beyond so worked up that they sold out faster than Wonka bars when everyone was looking for golden tickets.
Although your best chance to get one of these nifty time machines is to scour the various secondary market places, the powers that be here at Isochron Media thought you might enjoy a bit of background on what has proven to be the Seiko 5 equivalent of what happened when the guy said “What if we sliced the bread before we sold it?”
Not unlike when Smith met Wesson, you and Eric Wind have a bit of a story. How did you two meet?
Jack Carlson – Eric and I met on the first day of our freshman year in college, at Georgetown in 2005. We became fast friends. I even persuaded Eric to try out for the rowing team. Eric’s rowing career was brief, but we remained great friends. We were both in the School of Foreign Service; Eric was studying Farsi, and I was studying Chinese.
After Georgetown, I did a PhD at Oxford in archaeology, and while I was there, Eric popped over for a year to do a one-year MBA. I was honored to be the best man at Eric’s wedding to his amazing wife Christine. Aside from being a great friend, Eric has also been my watch consigliere and a great supporter of the Rowing Blazers brand since we launched four years ago. Eric sources and curates many of the vintage watches we sell at Rowing Blazers, and, of course, we also worked together on the Seiko collaboration!
What was the inspiration for the capsule?
I love Seiko, and I’ve been a vintage Seiko collector for a while now. So, it was an honor to have the opportunity to work together. I wanted everything we created to feel timeless, classic, and wearable. But I also wanted them to be fun, a little unexpected, and a little irreverent.
Color and pattern are very important to Rowing Blazers as a brand; and I wanted the capsule to reflect that. The four-color bezel was just something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s so simple, but also fun and unique. It’s a very ‘90s vibe, very nostalgic, like a lot of what we do at Rowing Blazers.
The Rally bezel is inspired by some of my favorite vintage Seikos. Whenever we collaborate with a brand with a rich history and heritage like Seiko, I always try to tap into that history, and to bring some aspects of it that might not be getting a lot of love or attention currently to the surface. And the zig-zag artillery stripe is one of our brand codes. We’ve never rendered it in a circular format before, but it came out brilliantly.
Why the Seiko 5?
The Seiko 5 Sports are a great canvas to work on. We can do a lot of fun things, and the result is still classic, wearable, and a relatively accessible price point, which I think is great for our first watch collaboration.
Are there possible future collaborations?
Yes! Several exciting things in the works! Stay tuned!
Specifications: Seiko 5 Sports Rowing Blazers
(Limited Edition of 500 pieces (SRPG49/SRPG51) and Special Edition (SRPG53)
Movement: Automatic Caliber 4R36, 21,600 vph, power reserve of approximately 41 hours.
Case: 42.5mm steel with limited edition screw-down see-through caseback, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Black with day-date, LumiBrite hands and markers, red-striped seconds hand, limited edition screw down see-through caseback.
Bracelet and strap: Stainless steel with tri-fold push-button release clasp. Additional green nylon strap included with SRPG49, additional multi-color nylon strap included with SRPG53 and additional black nylon strap included with SRPG53.