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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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I have used various pictures to reference this investigation all obtained from accross the internet, They can be seen in the PDF version. Should anyone claim right to these pictures, please email or PM me and I will remove them.
I am currently off work with a broken shoulder having crashed my mountain bike into a tree at speed! While away from the office I have being trying hard to occupy myself. I have learned to type pretty quickly with my left hand and have written this investigation, that I hope provides a good hit at a question I have seen asked and discussed loosely a few times over the years.
What is the Seiko Diver worn by Brian May of Queen in the 1986 Magic Tour and often seen on his wrist since then?
This all started when I sat down and watched the Wembley gig a few weeks ago. It was performed in 1986 as part of the ‘A Kind of Magic Tour’ I could clearly see that Brian was wearing a Seiko diver on a rubber strap. After watching this gig, I watched a few others I have and found that in earlier shows he either has no watch on, or something that is clearly not a Seiko.
The next move was to search the forums to see if the question had been asked before, which it had been. Various answers were given; 6309 like **** Jagger’s, SKX007, 7548 and a few others to mention besides, but all that I read were guesses and assumptions.
So, with no definitive research to confirm the exact model, I set out trying to establish the evidence.
The first job was to search for good close up photographs, of which there are very few; they are normally of Brian or his guitar, not his watch – Well guitar is his forte!
The first good one I found helped massively, it is a black and white shot taken sometime in the 90’s/00’s I think. Brian’s watch can clearly be seen with what looks like SKX007 markings. You can see the meatball blob on the back of the second hand, hour markings and also a flat ribbed rubber strap, which could be a GL-831 or a Z22.
The second and third pictures show Brian on stage, less detail of the watch this time, but again clearly a Seiko and again the flat ribbed rubber strap is there. Both of these pictures show the crown at 4 o’clock not at 3:18 like a SXK007. For me this confirmed that Brian had not disposed of the watch he was wearing in 1986 and changed it for a new SKX007.
I reckon the strap is a GL-381 rather than the Z22. The GL-831s are slightly shorter and unless his wrists are really wide, the tail of the strap seems to travel less of the way round the strap when compared to my SKX cased watch, which is currently sporting the old flat Z22. More evidence of the old diver that he wore in 1986?
The sizing of the watch also confirmed for me that we are looking for a full size model and not a mid-sized version.
The final picture is a real gem, both in terms of Queen and in terms of the watch. It’s a picture used for a press story about Queen and Ben Elton’s ‘We Will Rock You’ show. In this picture you see that Brian’s watch still has the flat ribbed strap, a good confirmation of the 4 o’clock crown and very clear detail of the markings.
On the dial, it is clear that there is wording below the ‘SEIKO’ and having looked at how much space it takes up and estimated the vintage down to an early-mid 1980’s watch, I set about comparing the detail on the dial. The key areas to check are the wording, the number markers and the hands. When coupled with the bezel, colouring, crown position and strap choice the identification gets to be pretty accurate.
It says ‘QUARTZ’ and not ‘AUTOMATIC’: how do I know? Well comparing a number of dials on vintage release watches all have the sub wording taking up less width than the SEIKO working. All the watches with the SKX markings are actually based on the 7548-7000 watch of the late seventies and early eighties, all of which were quartz. The SKX007 is an AUTOMATIC re-birth of that design and the wording AUTOMATIC is a little wider than the SEIKO text.
Looking at the last picture of the watch on Brian’s wrist, you also get the idea that the bezel is slightly stepped, with the knurled upper ring being a slightly smaller circumference than the lower one and also when looking really closely a larger pip on the bezel ring. Not an auto SKX007 then…
So could it be a 7549-7000 or one of its variants? Well the age would be right, Brian starts to be seen with this watch around the 1986 tour. But no, the next thing to look at is the marking at the bottom of the dial. It is not that of a 7000 or 700Aetc. They are marked ‘Water 150M Resist’ all in one line of text with the SUWA mark underneath for a JDM model, or ‘SQ’.
Brian’s seems to have long text uppermost in a colour other than white with a larger font text underneath in white. This points towards the watch being a 200m diver not the older 150M diver.
At this point my mind turned to the 7c43-7010. It is hard to confirm on Brian’s watch whether the hands are finished in steel or white. The 7c43 is finished with white and is very striking in appearance. It was sold from 1986, so Brian would have had to get one of the very first ones out of the factory to wear it on tour that year. The evidence against this model comes from the dial again. Brian’s watch has wording under the SEIKO, the 7c43 does not!
I then decided I needed to find some more reference material to date the watch more accurately and to ensure that my assumptions were correct.
I looked through a huge amount of forum posts and watch pictures detailing Seiko Divers from the late mid-seventies right through to the late 1980’s. I wanted to be sure that I had not missed a model that could have been bought by Brian on an earlier trip, but just not worn on stage during the concerts. Nothing fitted the bill and came anywhere close to looking like the 7c43-7010 and of course I could not find any 200m divers from earlier years.
This was about to change, when I stumbled on a listing on the forum detailing the Japanese Seiko catalogues. They had every watch made by Seiko in them in very clear detail, all in a PDF – wow!
I started looking in the early ones just to confirm that I had not missed anything. Next I looked at the online PDF’s of Seiko catalogues for the mid 1980’s and bingo I found a watch that I was not aware of before, the Seiko 7548-7010 (middle line left). This is a quartz 200m watch, only sold in 1985/6 as a transitional model between the 7548-7000 line and the 7c43-7010 model. All the markings are correct, and there is a subtle dial change between the two watches, with the 7548-7010 having the QUARTZ wording under the SEIKO. The timing is perfectly right for the 1986 Queen tour and the strap matches being a GL-831.
So based on this condensed version of my weeks’ worth of research, I am sure that Brian May’s Seiko is a 1985 (bought in time to tour in 1986) Seiko 7548-7010 JDM quartz diver. Brian has apparently been quoted on a thread as having told a fan via email that he bought the watch on his first visit to Japan. This cannot be possible, as a watch such as those pictured was not produced when Queen first went to japan in 1975. Queen played in Japan in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982 and May 1985. Brian May toured with his band in 1993 and 1998 and Queen + Paul Rogers returned in 2005.
Given these dates I would hazard a guess that he bought his Seiko in May 1985, when the band played 5 concerts between the 8[sup]th[/sup] and 15[sup]th[/sup] May.
I have now found a DVD of the Tokyo concert and am awaiting its arrival, to see if the watch makes a guest appearance, I may get to narrow down purchase date even more!
It is also noteworthy that whatever watch Roger Taylor is wearing in the photograph is a few minutes behind Brian’s Seiko and is obviously losing time!!!
I hope this has been an interesting piece of trivia reading and that it may spur any fellow Queen fans onto finding the most understated fans accessory – A Seiko Diver 7548-7010 Quartz; fit for a Rock Star. All that is left to do is to find one!
 

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Nice!! I had no idea Brian May was a Seiko diver fan. Learn something new every day.

Great work on this!
 

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Yes i have seen that Brian May picture before and although a few years ago someone did comment on the old SCWF that he wore a Seiko.
Nice to see a Queen Wearing a Nice Watch. ;)
 

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jkchua said:
Great research Sir! Good to know that some of our famous rock stars wear Seiko diver's :great:
sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. Ever since Eminem was seen wearing a G-Shock, the prices of the watches just about doubled. Especially the DW6900NB-7

 

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Excellent detective work. This one is fit to go in the archives. great read. nice to see thta the vintage catalogs were of some use in this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Guys, good to provide a little light reading. I'll pop an update on if I get the purchace date narrowed down! :great:
 

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Great work, thanks for posting this! :bravo_2:


I listened to Queen all the time when I was younger and Brian May is an outstanding guitar player.
 

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G-Junkie said:
sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. Ever since Eminem was seen wearing a G-Shock, the prices of the watches just about doubled. Especially the DW6900NB-7
Then sellers call it the 'Eminem Watch'? ;D

I wonder what Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison wore? or did they wear watches?
 

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First-rate research there, a most enjoyable read!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Finaly got the DVD from the Yoyogi concert, no watch, so I am guessing it was bought at the back end of the tour, I mail email Brian May on his site and ask!!
 

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Very interesting read Simon, enjoyed it immensely ... did you have any luck finding one for yourself yet ?
 

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Thanks for a great read!


This is why I got into watches in the first place.
For the story hidden in these little pieces of metal.


Thanks again!


/// Christian
 
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