The first Seiko x Rowing Blazers collection was something of a hype phenomenon. Now, the brands are back with a second collab featuring a colorful palette and unique design sense built, once again, on the popular Seiko 5 Sports foundation. Can it replicate last year’s success? We got our hands on one of the four new models ahead of today’s launch to find out.
Much credit goes to the watchmaker for the simply excellent product and value its Seiko 5 Sports collection offers: it’s a solid platform upon which to get creative. The first collaboration was based on the Seiko 5 Sports core model, which measures 42.5mm and features a sporty, dive-style rotating bezel — an easy crowd-pleaser. This time, however, they're going for a slightly different vibe.
A slightly overlooked line within Seiko 5 Sports forms the basis for this collection: that with a smaller, 40mm case and smooth bezel. It keeps the basic design and 100m of water resistance and other features that make the broader collection great, but its size and styling offer a bit more versatility.
But how to give this watch the Rowing Blazer’s touch? Founder Jack Carlson recently described his brand to Gear Patrol as “kind of just an extension of me and a reflection of the things I like.” One of those things that he likes is his own vintage Seiko 6101-7101 70m Sport Diver from 1970 with a bright orange dial. He also worked with vintage watch expert Eric Wind to reinterpret the design’s colors and vintage elements.
So, it started with the orange dial variant (SRPJ57), and two other models got similarly bright hues of green (SRPJ59) and blue (SRPJ61). Each is cool in its own way: the orange offers a vintage connection and some sportiness, and perhaps a nod to the Tiffany x Patek colorway in the eye-catching blue and green models.
But we chose the black dial (SRPJ63) to check out hands-on. It’s got the brand’s signature rainbow color palette on its indices (and some killer lume), and though not quite as attention-grabbing as the other three, it’s got a striking look that makes it — dare we say — instantly collectible. As with the best collaborations, you don’t even have to even know be a fan of either brand to find it attractive.
Each model sports the red-and-white-striped “candy cane” seconds hand from the first collaboration. Other common features include the Rowing Blazer’s wordmark on the dial, an “RB”-signed crown and the brand’s dancing skeleton logo printed on gold on the watch’s display caseback (through which you can also see the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement). Another fun touch that was important to Carlson: you can select between the day of the week being displayed in Japanese or English.
Each model comes on a solid steel bracelet, but also includes a NATO strap specially designed to match its respective dial. As other Seiko 5 Sports collaboration pieces and special editions, these are going to cost a bit more than the standard collection models. Each model is limited to 888 examples and available online from Seiko USA, Rowing Blazers and Hodinkee from 11am, Friday, October 28, as well as selected retailers including the Rowing Blazers flagship store in New York City. Each has a price of $495.