Seiko Nano Universe ‘Steve Jobs’ Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot

Seiko Nano Universe ‘Steve Jobs’ Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

An iconic black-and-white portrait of Steve Jobs from 1984 shows him sitting on the floor with a boxy early Apple Macintosh computer in his lap and a simple Seiko Chariot model watch on his wrist. Part of why the picture is so popular is because it appeared on the cover of Time magazine. How is it that until now that Seiko overlooked the opportunity to pay tribute to the watch, the man, and the photo? For 2017, in collaboration with Tokyo-based clothing and jewelry designer/retailer Nano-Universe, Seiko is doing just that by re-releasing a modern version of the same watch as a limited edition for the Japanese domestic market only (which means you will be able to buy them somewhere online soon enough).

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was not a known watch-wearer in his later life, but there are some interesting pictures of him prominently wearing timepieces in mostly the 1980s - and I'm pretty sure they were all Japanese. Given that, among other things, Steve Jobs is an icon of consumer appeal and creative design vision, I think it is safe to say a watch he so proudly donned in a publicity photograph will be of interest to both Apple fans and timepiece collectors, as well of overall Jobs devotees.

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

If the mere fact of Jobs' lionized status weren't enough, Seiko possibly identified the potential of a re-release of the Chariot when the very watch seen in the photos worn by Jobs was auctioned off for $42,500 about one year ago. Across the watch industry, historic brands are finding notable models for re-release, and Seiko certainly has more than a couple good candidates with cultural significance and nostalgic magnetism - take, for instance, the Seiko Giugiaro "Aliens Ripley" watch re-released a little while back.

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases
Actual Seiko Chariot watch worn by Steve Jobs and sold at auction in 2016.

The original watch that Steve Jobs wore was only 33mm wide. For the Seiko Nano Universe limited edition versions, Seiko is producing both a "true to 1984" 33mm-wide size along with a larger 37.5mm that, while still small, is a bit more aligned with modern men's watch tastes. The 37.5mm size is about as small as a men's watch can be these days but will give modern wearers that familiar vintage-sized look and feel. Its lug-to-lug distance is 43.4mm, with a sleek 6.6mm thickness and a weight of 35g (the 33mm version is 38.5mm lug to lug, 6.4mm thick, and 28g). From a design perspective, that Chariot re-release appears more or less identical to the original. In a 50m-water-resistant stainless steel case with a hardened IP black coating, the Seiko quartz caliber 7N01 keeps time accurate to +/- 15 seconds per month, and the dial is protected by... "glass."

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

There are actually quite a few images by photographer Norman Seeff that clearly show Jobs wearing the Seiko Chariot (which Seiko apparently treats like a French word, omitting the final t sound in their transliteration) watch, though the one of him in a yoga "lotus position" with the computer in his lap at his Woodside, California, home became famous as a Time Magazine cover. While it seems that anything associated Mr. Jobs is at least of cultural interest, it would be easy to read so much into his choice of watches. Without even a date indication, the Seiko Nano Universe watch is minimalist, functional, user-friendly, stylish... remind you of the products of any world-dominating tech giants?

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

We can't ask the late Steve Jobs now, but it is fun to imagine that the watch somehow influenced his design values. At the very least, it is safe to say it is representative of them - even though he was not known particularly as a "watch guy" and was often seen with bare wrists later in life. He possibly stopped wearing it when his own products became a more convenient and accurate way of checking the time. There are actually some Apple Watch clock faces that are close, if not identical, to the Bauhaus design of the Seiko Chariot's dial, but a specific tribute to it would also be cool.

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

Seiko Nano Universe 'Steve Jobs' Watch Re-Release Of 1984 Seiko Chariot Watch Releases

Given that Apple today is selling a smart watch (the Apple Watch) it might be interesting to consider Seiko's marketing tactics here. This is the fourth watch they have produced with Nano-Universe, so it doesn't look like Seiko is attempting to target Apple in any way by suggesting that a "real watch" is an analog one. With that said, it is legitimizing Apple's famed co-founder watch taste as iconic, so in a round-about sense, this release adds positive attention to the Apple Watch, which in many ways competes with a lot of watches Seiko sells today. Thus, you can look at this limited edition "Steve Jobs" Seiko watch as being either a jab at, or a nod to Apple. I tend to see it as the latter.

If you are reading this, there is about a 1.4% chance that you are in Japan where the watch will be sold exclusively. The white-dial versions, like the one worn by Jobs, will be limited to 1,982 pieces in each size (37.5mm version is reference SCXP041; 33mm version is reference SCXP051) to correspond to the year when these watches were initially released. There are also versions of the Seiko Chariot with black dials in each size (37.5mm version is reference SCXP061; 33mm version is reference SCXP071) that will be limited to only 300 pieces each as a Nano-Universe exclusive. It really seems like the watch could be successful even as a non-limited model. The price is ¥20,000 JPY plus tax, which is currently right around $180 USD, and it will go on sale March 10, 2017. seiko-watch.co.jp

What do you think?
  • I want it! (114)
  • Interesting (27)
  • Thumbs up (9)
  • I love it! (8)
  • Classy (4)
  • Sheez Gagoo

    Respect to Seiko. They did a great job with the alien watch and now with the jobs watch.

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    A nice clean historically-based watch. Good fpr SEIKO and good for Jobs fanbois (and girlz).

    • IanE

      Jobs for the boys, heh?

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Heh heh heh?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    A watch says a lot about the wearer, and to be honest, wither it be shallow or not, i tend to judge people, very unfairly on what watch they have chosen. Cost plays no part in the decision i make, As i mentioned before, for me it’s all about style.
    This is an example of someone too busy to bother about what they have on their wrist, they have other things to worry about like running a multi-billion dollar company from scratch. He could have chosen to wear some of the finest mechanical watches on the market. but opted for something simple and clear and that required little attention.
    I would never consider wearing something because Steve jobs, James Bond or some film star has been paid a fortune to back it in an advertising campaign but in this instance i like it and would happily wear it, now what does that say about me ?, i’ll leave you to judge.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I would never wear it as well. But in this (and the alien watch) it’s all about history. That’s it. A Speedmaster or an Oyster would never be that succesfull nowadays.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I have to say i think the alien watch is just awful.

    • SwissMatic

      I surely thought this watch would be “Clunked”.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        This escaped the bin purely because of its nice simple clear design. Yup, it’s nothing special verging on plain, but thats no bad thing. It’s connection to Mr Jobs means nothing, i can’t believe he gave a second thought to what he was wearing. One function, tell me the time…..job done.

        • IG

          Yeah, nice clean dial design. ????? Dieter Rams!

  • IG

    Braun knock-off from Seiko? Yeah Jobs was a big fan of Dieter Rams, it figures.

  • ??????

    Funny – it could have been any other minimalistic practical watch like Timex Weekender or some other. I don’t feel it was a choice of a “watch aficionado” kind of guy. Anyway, I’m a bit surprised it took so long for Seiko to re-issue these.

  • SuperStrapper
    • vmarks

      Nonsense. That person buys both.

      • SuperStrapper

        And likely wears both simultaneously.

  • vmarks

    Zen, it’s a fair point that Jobs wore this because it was similar to the Dieter Rams Braun watches – for that reason you can call it Bauhaus. But if it’s the Japanese school, it’s not Bauhaus, it’s more like the Japanese ‘Su’, meaning plain or unadorned—the idea that simplicity is not merely modest or frugal, but could possibly be more appealing than luxury. It’s the idea that there is beauty in living a modest life.

    • IG

      It’s the Japanese school of knock-off, I’m sure you got a kanji for it.

  • Jerry Davis

    I like the minimalist design but at 37.5mm I wouldn’t buy it or wear it.

  • BNABOD

    Is the watch complete? I mean finished? this one is one ugly duckling good thing it is cheap.

  • TrevorXM

    Ironically this Seiko knock-off is now more expensive than the Braun original.

  • Marius

    Can someone please explain me why both Hodinkee and ABTW are presenting these watches? What’s so interesting and exciting about them?

    Firstly, these watches have an utterly uninteresting and boring design. These look no better than the plastic watches one can find around Orchard Towers in Singapore aka The Four Floors Of Whores (I’ve never been there; all I know is from hearsay). If you like the design of Braun watches, why not just buy a Braun watch then? In fact, Braun watches are less expensive, so why would you buy a Japanese knock-off?

    Secondly, they are using some cheap quartz movement, so there’s really nothing special to see here.

    Thirdly, according to the article, all the models will be sold exclusively in Japan, and as a limited edition, so their market impact will be extremely small.

    Lastly, the Steve Jobs connection is completely irrelevant. Who cares what plastic watch Jobs wore? Let’s be honest, Jobs was neither a watch guy nor a fashion icon — that ugly striped sweater is proof of that. Sure, I understand when you are trying to look like Tom Ford or Gianni Agnelli, but Steve Jobs is not exactly a person you would want to emulate from a stylistic perspective.

    • rpste

      You need calm down Marius
      1. This is website and Hodinkee about watch-related. This watches isn’t great, without sapphire, non-rechargeable, and overpriced compared to regular Seiko Solar but has significance history for particular person, so it has potential as news to be read on every websites even when it has no impact for worldwide, including me.
      2. Seiko Chariot lineup are released between 70-80s, the design always minimalistic, with mechanical and quartz movement. And Seiko Chariot 6431 released on 1984. Based on this article http://designapplause.com/news/people/braun-watches-the-first-and-the-latest/14486/ and this article http://www.core77.com/posts/24660/a-history-of-braun-design-part-2-timepieces-24660 Braun are released similar looking watch after Seiko. Few watches from both brands are using Helvetica font, the reason why looks same
      3. 4564 units of this watches will gone quickly. There is so many Apple fans there in Japan. As big clothing retailer, Nano Universe is clever can read this trend while Seiko agreed to produce this watches for them
      4. Your rambling will not affecting potential Nano-Universe customer in Japan.

    • TrevorXM

      You are 100% correct.

    • I’m more interested in what Liberace was wearing. Wait! Did I say that out loud? My meds! Quickly! My meds!

    • BJ314

      slow week for ad revenue on watch blogs?

  • Watches

    Good work.. You can see luxury watches at https://www.watches.de/

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Do you mind not spamming !

  • IanE

    Dull, dull, dull.

    • DanW94

      Correct on all three points.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I hate to be pedantic but only the one point was raised,……….3 times.

        • DanW94

          What? How could I have missed that! Thanks Ray : )

          • Raymond Wilkie

            You’r welcome 🙂

  • Word Merchant

    Why now and indeed why bother at all?

  • Shawn Lavigne

    i think it’s pretty cool. i’d wear it.

  • nvfll

    Why make a low quality limited edition? For a limited edition Seiko could have used a dial and hands from their Grand Seiko design studio along with a 9F movement and priced it in the $3,000 range.

    A $30 quality design limited edition makes no sense.

    • BJ314

      making a $3,000 limited edition re-issue of a watch that originally costed $80 makes no sense.

  • DanW94

    I can see the first service repair order for one of these;

    Please Indicate – 1. Payment(warranty status) 2. Repair problem 3. Model of watch

    free. hand. jobs.

  • TrevorXM

    I’ve thought some more about this and what Seiko is doing here makes complete business sense. Look at the target customer for this watch: they are complete dorks with no common sense or critical thinking and zero interest in watches who blindly buy anything Apple related — if it has the Jobs “connection”, then doubly so. You need to make this watch affordable so that when they see it advertised online they will see fireworks and immediately buy it on a whim. You will also note that this watch is $180 US which is probably a $100 premium which Seiko pockets on every watch over what it would otherwise cost. Also, limiting it to Japan gives it an aura of exclusivity it really doesn’t have — ie. the dork has to “work” for it, and then imagines himself clever for overcoming the obstacle. His jealous dork friends follow his lead. Very clever for Seiko to re-market a dead Braun knock-off watch from yesteryear to a whole new audience.

  • Svetoslav Popov

    I’d buy one if I have a chance. It is so simple, clean and unpretentious.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      True. But in a way it looks like the bezel felt off.

      • Svetoslav Popov

        Yep, you are right 🙂

        • Svetoslav Popov

          Just bought the black 38mm, forgive me Jobs 🙂 I really like the sheer blackness and simplicity. So unobtrusive. Plus so limited 🙂

          • Johan N

            Hey svetoslav, where did you buy one? I thought they were Japan only?

          • Svetoslav Popov

            http://www.shoppinginjapan.net not 200$ unfortunately 🙂

  • Simon_Hell

    There will be time in the future when Jobs will be looked at the same way as Hitler or Truman. And we dont necessarily have to wait for the artificial intelligence to take over and wipe us out, already now his inventions are objectively making lives misserable for millions. A few people make a shitload of money, but all these mobile devices are a major step in human selfdestruction. This constant mastrubation over Jobs is just beyond me, when we already see the destructive effect of all the iCrap.

    • You forgot the ‘Sent From My iPhone’ sig at the end of your post.

    • Omegaboy

      Your identity photo is offensive. Why in the world do you use something that’s so degrading toward women?

      • Sheez Gagoo

        You once called me an ugly left.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Strange. Why didn’t you wrote your comment on pergament using a goose feather and ink from an octopus and sent it via pigeon?

  • Wearing this watch is a surefire way for you to have the ‘You know who used to wear this watch??’ conversation everytime you strap it on. Followed by rounds of ‘oh’ and ‘that’s nice’.

  • Omegaboy

    It’s too bad they made the white dial so white. Ivory or cream like Job’s watch would be less stark. And I’ll point out that though 33mm may be small, there are other men’s watches in this range, like the 34mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual (oh that they’d make that olive dial available in the 39mm!).

  • Bozzor

    I see a few comments here along the lines of “What the hell is ABTW doing covering this cheap non HAQ Japanese quartz watch that anyone can afford”. I think that there are many reasons to admire and desire a watch. These include:

    1) Historic milestone design (e.e Rolex Oyster, the Swiss railroad watch, anything designed by Gerald Genta)
    2) Unusual materials used (Richard Mille AluSiC case)
    3) Radical design (anything by Urwerk)
    4) Advanced movement (Seiko Spring Drive, Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari, first GPS watch etc)
    5) Worn by famous people or in historic situations (any watch worn by US Presidents, Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch)

    Just having an interesting mechanical movement is not the only reason to cover a watch. I dare say that this Seiko really qualifies on 1 and 5.

  • Ulysses31

    You’d have to really love Jobs to get this watch. It looks like a ten dollar watch to me, not particularly attractive or remarkable in any way.

  • Pete L

    Minimalist fine but this just looks cheap to me.

  • Fady337

    Being cased in China and having Japan movement this watch is a bit on the higher price tag.
    Though it is a brilliant idea to rerelease the watch as a tribute to a tech-giant