“Game over man, game over”. Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we’re here to talk about Ellen Ripley’s futuristic Seiko wristwatch in Aliens. With little more available than her wits, will-power, raw strength, and a fair bit of firepower, Ripley is a survivalist who knows how to brave battles with bloodthirsty aliens. Far from Earth, surrounded by the cold vacuum of space, her return to fighting xenomorphs made for one of the best sequels in blockbuster history. With quotable lines, immersive set design, and the direction of James Cameron, it’s an exciting thriller—held down by the stellar acting chops of Sigourney Weaver. Ripley’s reenlistment alongside colonial space marines to fight back the xenomorphs, as it goes, comes with its challenges. One piece of gear she’s sporting that’s designed to take the heat is her Seiko “Giugiaro 7A28-7000”. Its subtle on-screen appearances might not be as bold as the front-end loader in the flick but—for the horologically minded—it’s an elusive exclusive that serves up tough sci-fi style.
Seiko Meets Giorgetto Giugiaro
In 1983, three years before the release of Aliens, the designer of Ripley’s wristwatch teamed up with Seiko. By trade, Giorgetto Giugiaro was (and still is) a designer of motor vehicles when he was approached by Seiko to create a new exclusive for their brand. When Seiko first dropped the Giugiaro 7A28-7000 it was not an explosive culturally-significant release. However, once James Cameron enlisted the futuristic timepiece (alongside other Seikos) for his film it became an overnight hit. Its look served as an example of how everyday watch-tech could appear in the not-so-distant future. As well, because of its partnership with a true badass—as she took down xenomorph after xenomorph—folks were enamored with its cinematic allure.
Despite its looks, the Giugiaro is a pretty straightforward quartz wristwatch. The two Black buttons on the side aren’t just there for prop aesthetics—they start, stop, and reset the watch’s chronograph. These chronograph pressers are what give this piece its futuristic silhouette. The simple, thin, three-divot links on the watch’s bracelet add an extra touch of visual flair. Although the style didn’t take off immediately, it’s become a popular piece for fans of Aliens and watch collectors alike. So much so that there are two reissue versions of the original 7A28-7000 available online. Models SCED035 (gray) and SCED037 (black) are available under the name “Seiko X Giugiaro Design Spirit Smart” (a mouthful).
It’s been a few years since the re-issue but all iterations of Ripley’s watch can be tracked down pretty easily. If you want a 1983 original they tend to sell around a grand. The re-issues are even more affordable, ranging from about $200-$300US. On a personal note: this particular writer believes the one in black is the coolest (what about you?). There is a difference to be noted between the original 1980s Ripley watch and the reissue. Both of the two new models do not have the additional presser and crown on the left side of the case. So if you’re an Aliens purist it’s important to note this key variation. Otherwise, they’re essentially the exact same watch—with a fresh coat of (hopefully face-hugger proof) paint.
The Franchise Continues
Weaver’s role in Aliens as Ripley further solidified her status as a sci-fi silver screen legend. With other films like GhostBusters, Cabin in the Woods, and plenty more under her belt, she’s still an a-list name for popular cinema. With the Alien franchise still raging deeper into space, it’ll be interesting to see if any new interstellar watch designs are imagined on the wrists of its characters. With computational technology on folks’ wrists these days it’s almost as if we live in some sort of sci-fi future, envisioned by the past. Hopefully the next steps in human technology don’t unearth a new evil—somewhere beyond the veil of our Earthly pursuits.
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