Seiko has released a trio of watches to commemorate 40 years of the Gundam anime franchise – building-sized robots firing missile storms as a porcupine would if it could shoot its quills, piloted by weepy juveniles, to the beat of furious techno. We could just run the watch pix and specs from the press release but that would mean very little to readers who’ve lived their recreational lives outside the embrace of the Gundam universe. Let us rather hijack this platform for a brief spell to explain why Gundam is anything but the above, while getting goosebumps listening to Gundam Seed sound track ‘Kimi wa Boku ni Niteiru’; we shan’t translate the title into English because the one offered by Google gives us unclean thoughts.

Gundam is a very diverse franchise with series like Gundam Build Fighters which fit the Saturday afternoon kiddie cartoon to a T, but in the main, it is a conglomeration of anime time lines that fall within the “space opera” genre. Quality varies, but the best Gundam series have some of the most poignant writing in any medium about war and peace, personal choices between aligning with larger powers or the possible futility of charting one’s one path, of friendship, death, competing loyalties, statecraft and the meaning of nearly everything. There’s food for thought aplenty; though one could simply enjoy the action and buy the figurines, and not forgetting the watches!

08th MS Team
08th MS Team

But if we have aroused your curiosity, the web is not short of listicles about which Gundam series to watch and avoid. We do have some favourites, and we haven’t watched them all: Mobile Suit Gundam — UC 0079 and Zeta Gundam for a comprehensive sweep; short series The 08th MS Team and War in the Pocket; Gundam 00 (avoid the second season); Gundam Seed and Seed Destiny.

April 12 Release: SLA029J1 based on the MS-06 “Zaku”

If the chunky, bulbous Soviet Army T-72 morphed into a mecha, it would become the Zaku, deployed by the Principality of Zeon in its war against the Earth Federation Force. And there’s no better model in Seiko’s catalog than the Tuna to make that Zaku connection, with massive build that is rated for depths up to 1,000 meters!

SLA029J1 based on the MS-06 "Zaku"
SLA029J1 based on the MS-06 "Zaku"

Technical Specifications

Movement

Self-winding cal. 8L35, undecorated and unregulated version of the Grand Seiko 9S55 movement; 50 hours of power reserve

Case

52.4mm x 17.2mm titanium case with ceramic outer-case protector; Zaku designation engraved on outer case; water resistance to 1000m

Strap

Silicone, with Zeon logo

Limited to 1,000 pieces

Price: SGD 5,350

April 12 Release: SLA031J1 based on Char’s Zaku MS-06S

Char Aznable is such an intriguing character, we forgive him for riding into war in a pink Zaku… actually a great way for enemy pilots to stay alive by avoiding the pinkie in a melee sea of olive drab. Utterly ruthless and charming, yet it’s difficult to classify Char as evil because there’s nothing moral/immoral there — he is as perfectly amoral as believably possible, an empty channel of political will.

SLA031J1 based on Char's Zaku MS-06S
SLA031J1 based on Char's Zaku MS-06S

Technical Specifications

Movement

Self-winding cal. 8L35, undecorated and unregulated version of the Grand Seiko 9S55 movement; 50 hours of power reserve

Case

52.4mm x 17.2mm titanium case with ceramic outer-case protector; Mobile Suit designation engraved on outer case; water resistance to 1000m

Strap

Silicone, with Char’s personal emblem

Limited to 1,000 pieces

Price: SGD 5,350

August 9 Release: SBDB 033 based on the RX-78-2 Gundam

Distinct from the Zaku which is shaped like a tank, the RX-78 is altogether more refined (aesthetically), the high tech fighter jet to the Zaku’s portly T-72. Quite fitting that this should model should have the Spring Drive with its quartz-level precision of +/-15 seconds a month and the most hypnotic, smooth sweep of the seconds in the industry. It can’t go as deep as the Zaku-inspired Tunas, but it’s the most technologically evolved of the lot, in the same way that the RX-78 is more technologically advanced than the Zaku.

SBDB 033 based on the RX-78-2 Gundam
SBDB 033 based on the RX-78-2 Gundam

Technical Specifications

Movement

Cal. 5R66 Spring Drive with date, GMT and power reserve display for 72 hours

Case

44.8mm, case material not specified, but should be titanium, being based on the Seiko Prospex LX SNR033; RX-78-2 engraved on caseband, Earth Federation mark on caseback and crown

Strap

In addition to bracelet, also supplied with white leather strap with red backing