The ghost of the famous who died do come back to tease. Who would have guessed that an unremarkable watch that Steve Jobs used to wear before Apple even thought of the possibility of wearables would be the timepiece to have in the age of the Apple Watch. The irony is compounded by the fact that the black turtle-neck fan is not known to love wearing watches.
Seiko announced recently that they will be reissuing that watch—then called the ‘Chariot’—in an updated version with Japanese fashion retailer Nano Universe, whose collaboration with Seiko on the Prospex diver’s watch is on many Japanese hipsters’ wish list. This came about a year after the Apple founder’s watch was sold in an auction for a mind-boggling USD42,500, a figure that probably startled the folks at Seiko. This was not a timepiece designed to capture the hearts of ardent horologists. Steve jobs probably bought it in a shop such as the always packed May May Watch Dealer at The Bencoolen, wearing it without much thought about the impact it might have on fashionable wrist wear in 2017.
The October 17, 2011 issue of Time on which the Seiko Chariot appeared the Apple Mackintosh. Photo: Norman Seeff/Time
The original mid-’80s ‘Chariot’ was not an exceptionally noted watch at that time, not even when Steve Jobs wore it for the sitting shot by Norman Seeff for Time in 1984. Mr Seeff later wrote in 2011 for the magazine that the image “was completely off the cuff, spontaneity that we never thought would become a magazine image.” The ‘Chariot’ was powered by quartz, quite the type watch snobs will sneer at. Yet, because of the photograph, which was used as a Time cover following Steve Job’s death in 2011, the watch is desirable to the point that it deserves a re-issue.
We’re not sure if the allure of this watch is restricted to fashion folks or gadget geeks with a weakness for memorabilia associated with tech greats. There is always appeal in stuff that is low-tech, anti-fashion, and starkly simple. However hard Apple may try with the Apple Watch, sometimes the imperfect tick-tick movement of a quartz timepiece is more charming than the changeability of a digital watch face. Nondescript can sometimes beat glamour with its own dull-face magnetism.
The Seiko X Nano Universe watch will be issued on 10 March in Japan in two sizes: the original 33mm and the new 37.5mm. Now news yet if either one will be available in Singapore