Collaborations in the watch world are often met with well-deserved exasperation. More often than not, they come across as shallow marketing ploys that, at best, result in some pretty forgettable watches. But every now and then, a collaboration, if sensible and honest, can produce something wonderful. Case in point, the offspring born out Bremont’s ongoing partnership with aerospace giant, Boeing.
Seiko is no stranger to the occasional collaboration, and the brand has in the past produced some iconic timepieces through their partnerships (Seiko’s work with Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro immediately springs to mind). They’ve also produced some stinkers, but I think it’s safe to say that Seiko is far from being the worst offender in this regard.
Not too long ago, we learned of a collaboration from the brand that went by relatively unnoticed, and one that we thought was pretty cool. Seiko teamed up with Japanese clothing retailer Nano Universe to create a collection of 6 limited-edition watches under their Spirit line. These watches, which some might categorize as “fashion watches,” are actually quite solid and feature some really great features not often seen from the brand. The collection is made up of six watches (SCVE021, 023, 025, 027, 029, 033) featuring a largely classic color palette alongside a few killer monochromatic designs.
Coming in at approximately 46mm, the watches are by no means small, but the lugs are short so they should fit with no overhang, even on those of us with smaller wrists. Sizing aside, the case is quite cool aesthetically. All six watches are stainless steel, with two of the six coated to achieve a colored finish (dark blue and black). The others are either brushed or bead blasted. The pressure-fit bezel is plastic and rotates in either direction. It’s the most interesting aspect of the case, but also a bit curious in its design in that it features a second time zone with ticks, normally found on diver’s bezels, for the first three hours. Not the most sensible in terms of utility for tracking another time zone, but not a deal break either. The crown, positioned at 3 o’clock, is the non-screw down sort and has an industrial looking knurled surface. The case back is fitted with a colored mineral crystal.
The dials on all six are familiar, borrowing designs from other watches in Seiko’s catalogue, specifically from the brand’s well-established diver range. That said, there are some great details that give each watch a fresh and modern look. The SCVE033, for example, boasts a great tonal blue with contrasting bordered hands and markers, along with matching date wheel and tonal lume. There is something very tactical the way the whole thing comes together, and it’s the best looking model in the collection by far.
Beating away inside is Seiko’s 4r35 movement, a date-only caliber with hacking and hand-wind functionality. It’s a step up from Seiko’s workhorse 7s26, but a notch below the higher end 6r15.
Price wise, the watches sell for 356,40 JPY, which is approximately $288 as of this writing. It’s a more than fair price, given the limited nature of the collaboration (each model is capped at either 300 pieces, or 500) and the upgraded movement. These are JDM models, so you’ll have to get them direct from a Japanese retailer.