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Collaborative Projects With Seiko

6 min read December 11, 2019

Collaborative Projects With Seiko

Everyone has loyalties to their favorite brands, and sometimes, there’s a good chance your favorite products are the result of two separate brands working together. Crossover collaborations between brands can be a hit or a total disaster.

Runway collection in collaboration with Louis Vuitton and Supreme , original image from thecut.com

For instance, Supreme, one of the world’s coolest street wear brands that started as a skateboarding shop and street wear brand established back in the early nineties in New York, crossover collaborating with Louis Vuitton, an iconic luxurious fashion brand established back in the 1800’s. Seriously, who could of thought that two brands, where one is known for skateboarding/street wear for youth culture, and the other is known for high end luxurious brand known for the scarcity and exclusivity, that targets the elite and super rich who want to make a statement and be distinctive from others.

original image from thecut.com

Watches and cars are a match made in heaven when it comes to crossover collaborations. Tag Heuer, undoubtedly one of the watch brands with the most impressive history in motor sports, where they have successfully collaborated with several known auto makers such as Porsche, Tesla, and one of their latest partnership with Aston Martin.

WTCC announces partnership with Tag Heuer, original image from tagheuer.com

Its not only high end watches that had their success collaboration projects with another brand. Over the years, Seiko, a name that is well known for their watches that suits everybody from low end , mid range, to high end watches also had many successful collaboration projects with other brands.

Seiko Prospex PADI Tuna SRPA83 Ceramic on Hexad Watch Band Straight End Lug SS221803B040S

When it comes to divers watch, Seiko is perhaps one of the first names you’ll hear about. Seiko’s divers watch has a reputation of being the company to introduce the first of many diver watch technologies and designs such as the first titanium diver’s watch, first diver’s watch with a ceramic outer case, as well as the first nitrox dive computer watch.

Seiko Solar PADI Hybrid LCD Watch SNJ027P1 on Honeycomb Black Nylon Watch Strap 22B22DBR01N9A15

As a watch company like Seiko, with the reputation of being one of the best when it comes to divers watch, its only normal or expected when they finally announced a partnership with “PADI”, The Professional Association of Diving Instructors in 2016.

Seiko PADI Marinemaster Tuna Professional 300M Diver Quartz SBBN039 on 3 Rings G10 Zulu Watch Strap 22B22DZZ00N4B16

“PADI” is an organization that currently have approximately 6,300 Dive Centers and an estimated of 136,000 qualified instructors around the world. The organization initially started to raise the training standards for diving, and to date they have issued over 24 million certifications and introduced a great amount people into the world of diving.

Seiko Prospex PADI Special Edition SPB071J1 (SBDC055) on 3 Rings G10 Zulu Watch Strap SS201805P2S085

Earlier this year, Seiko had a collaboration with one of Japan’s iconic Japanese anime series, Gundam. To commemorate Gundam’s 40th Anniversary, Seiko released a series of three watches, the Spring Drive GMT SBDB033J1, as well as a pair of 1000m “Tuna” dive watches, the SLA029J1 and SLA031J1. To ensure success with Seiko & Gundam’s collaboration, one of Japan’s top industrial designer, Ken Okuyama, was hired to help with the project.

The Seiko x Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary Prospex watch collection , original image from gundamnews.org

Seiko’s latest series, the LX line, that was introduced earlier this year at Baselworld 2019, was also designed by Okuyama himself. Each of the three watch models represents an iconic mobile suit in the anime series. The colors and designs of the Seiko watches were inspired by several iconic mobile suits: RX-78-2 Gundam, MS-06 Zaku II, and MS-06S Zaku II Char custom mobile suit.

Seiko celebrates ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ 40th Years Of Success – Limited Edition SBDB033, SBDX27

The flagship watch of the series is the Seiko Prospex LX Spring Drive GMT Gundam Limited Edition of 300 pieces, SBDB033. The multi-color which consist of red, blue and yellow on the SBDB033 was inspired by the RX-78-2 Gundam mobile suit that was operated by the hero in the anime, Amuro Ray.

Prospex LX Spring Drive GMT Gundam Limited Edition SBDB033J , original image from watchesbysjx.com

Specifications:

  • Caliber 5R66
  • Spring Drive GMT
  • 72 hours Power Reserve
  • ± 15 seconds per month accuracy
  • Diamond shield coating
  • White and blue ceramic bezel insert
  • Sapphire Glass material with Super clear coating
  • 50.9 Mm x 44.8Mm x 14.7Mm
  • Lumibright
  • 10 Bar waterproof
  • Screw back
  • 24-hour hand (dual time display function)
  • Rotating bezel
  • Screw lock crown
  • Calendar function
  • 30 Jewels
  • Second hand stop function
  • Anti-allergy
  • Power reserve display
  • 300 Piece Limited Edition
  • White crocodile strap
  • 630,000 Japanese Yen (roughly $5,600)

The concepts for the two Gundam Tunas, where both are limited to 1000/piece each, are based from the Emperor Tuna, the SBDX013. The colors, fonts, and designs for the two Tunas were also inspired by the famous one-eyed Zaku Mobile Suits that are used by the villains of the series, the Principality of Zeon.

The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Professional Zaku II Limited Edition SLA029J1 is a 1000m diver inspired by the military green color.

The other limited edition Tuna in the series is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Professional Char’s Zaku II SLA031J1, which was inspired by the red Mobile Suit of Char Aznable, the main antagonist in the anime.

Left: Seiko Gundam Mobile Suit ZAKU II SBDX027
Right: Seiko Gundam Mobile Suit CHAR’S ZAKU Ⅱ SBDX029


Specifications for SBDX027/SBDX029:

Accuracy: -10 to +15 seconds per day
Manufactured: Made in Japan
Case material: Titanium in a single monocoque casing
Band material: Silicone
Glass: Sapphire crystal
LumiBrite: Hands and indexes
Power reserve: 50 hours
Water resistance: 1000 meters suitable for saturation diving
Magnetic reluctance: Magnetic resistance 4,800 A/m
Size: H53.5 mm x W52.4 mm x D17.2 mm
Lug width: 22 mm
Perimeter of strap: 210 mm
Weight: 165 gm


Additional details:

  • "LIMITED EDITION" engraved on the case back
  • 1,000/model
  • Serial number engraved on the case back
  • Unidirectional bezel
  • Screw-down crown
  • Date wheel
  • Stop second hand function
  • 400,000 Japanese Yen (approximately $3,600) 

Lowercase X Seiko-SBDJ025-FSC-BK MiLTAT 20mm G10 NATO Watch Strap, Waffle Nylon Armband 20A20PZZ00N1G10

As mentioned before, cross over collaborations between brands can either be a hit or a disaster. It can fail as easy with naming the product that means something totally different in a foreign language. Take Mazda for example, a car that was manufactured back in the late nineties, “Mazda Laputa” that failed miserably in Spanish speaking countries. The reason was because the word “la puta”, in spanish is “prostitute”. Mazda is not the only car company that made the same mistake. Mercedes Benz, a high end luxurious brand for cars, made the exact same mistake when they were trying to tap into the China market, not knowing the way “Benz” is pronounced in mandarin, “Bensi”, pronounced exactly the same as saying “rush to die”.

Lowercase X Seiko Prospex Fieldmaster Digital Tuna Solar SBEP003on a Grezzo Nato Strap

Fortunately, companies that have collaborated with Seiko through time have not failed. Even if the project was not as successful as expected, at least it did not become a disaster. For a company like “Lowercase”, who designs and manufacturers everything on their own, to be able to collaborate with Seiko certainly helps with their brand imaging. On the other hand, as watches are becoming more as a fashion accessory, as Seiko collaborates with Lowercase helps give Seiko a new whole image, not only a power house in watches, but also a fashion icon. Companies must think things through before proceeding with a brand collaboration. There are various important factors that companies should consider before they decide to try to globalize their brand. Brand collaboration can positively surprise your customers and attract new ones. Whether you are updating your brand image, entering a new market or launching a new product, brand collaboration can definitely help you to amplify what you are doing and advertise your goods and services in a new way to your existing and new consumers.

References:

KEN OKUYAMA (famous industrial designer) - Grand Seiko, LX series, issey miyake, Seiko * Gundam 40th Ann., (KEN OKUYAMA)

Prospex Boutique Ginza (4-5-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku) is a five-minute walk from Exit A10 of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Station. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Japanese, English and Chinese (Mandarin) languages are spoken - Seiko X Padi, GTR, Lowercase, Monster Hunter


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