They say the death of something is the birth of another; the end of one thing is the start of a new beginning. In fashion, it can be the transition from form one trend to another; on technology, from an old gadget to a newly developed one. But for the brand Seiko, it was a tragic earthquake that opened an opportunity to have the timepiece brand born. And almost 100 years later, Seiko is a name most people know, especially by watch lovers and enthusiasts.
Best Places to Shop for Seiko Watches
Top 9 Best-selling Seiko Watches
From vision to reality
Seiko started with a man named Kintar Hattori who had the idea that clock shops can also earn income by fixing clocks. He started learning about clocks by working in a clock shop and then opened his very own shop called “K. Hattori” when he was just 21. The shop, which was based in Tokyo, eventually grew and developed as a successful store. Through a great relationship that Hattori built with its trading house supplier, his shop was able to sell the newest products even before the shop’s competitors got a hold of them.
Hattori then went on and hire an engineer, Tsuruhiko Yoshikawa, to establish a watch manufacture. This effort materialized upon the creation of Seikosha factory that started producing high-end wall clocks in 1892. At the same time, the K. Hattori shop continued to flourish and even opened another shop at Ginza. By 1895, Seikosha was able to create its own pocket watches. While its first few years were rough, by 1910, new machineries increased the profit of the factory. In that same year, the factory successfully imported products to China, which eventually made Hattori become the “Japanese King of Timepieces.”
In the midst of all the success, disaster hit the company when The Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed the entire Seikosha factory. The business had to start from scratch, and while it was a really daunting task, Hattori was able to do it. New prototypes and production continued, many of which were produced under the brand “Seiko”.
While the restoration of the factory and the brand was doing great, Hattori got sick and eventually died in 1934. His son, Genzo, stepped up and took reins as the new President of the brand, briFnging in major changes during his leadership. He allowed production of pieces from other manufacturing plants, and sold them under the brand, finally pulling Seiko out of the difficult times post-earthquake.
Seiko was able to expand to ofher countries, including the US during Genzo’s time. Genzo’s death allowed the step up of his son, Shoji, who became the next successor. Through Shoji, more visions of various areas of expansion have materialized.
Olympics and expansion
With the booming success of the brand, it was eventually chosen to be the Olympics’ official timekeeper when it was held in Japan. A total of 1,278 official stop watches, plus the first ever portable quartz chronometers were supplied by Seiko. Through the Olympics, the brand was able to be renowned internationally, boosting their image and fame even more.
Afterwards, Seiko heightened their marketing efforts, concentrating funds to their marketing campaigns. The brand then lowered the prices of their products in the Asia, leading to more prominence in the continent. This was the push that the brand needed to compete in a worldwide platform.
Seiko had proven its success for the first Quartz clocks it had made, prompting it to further develop other Quartz pieces for selling. Its goal was for Seiko to be known as the brand to ever make the first quartz watch for consumers…and it did.
The Seiko Astron 35SQ was made available in 1969, with Seiko claiming that someday, all watches will be made like quartz—and it came true. The Astron 35SQ was just the beginning of even more victorious stage in Seiko’s existence. It became a worldwide sensation—the watch brand everyone wore, enthusiasts and common people alike. By 1977, Seiko was able to open subsidiaries in various countries including the UK, Brazil, USA and Australia.
Until this day, Seiko has the reputation of having the affordable and high quality pieces that accommodate the masses. However, Seiko didn’t only want to be known in that way, as they have released a lot of luxury watches as well, some have even been standouts during Baselword.
The Seiko Prospex PADI Kinetic GMT Diver, for instance, features a chunky dial that looks really refined. It is a stylish watch that surprisingly matches even small hands and wrists. The Seiko Astron GPS Solar, on the other hand, is a high-tech watch that’s able to automatically adjust to any timezone the watch enters. Multiple functions on its dial is remarkable too, able to compete with other watches, especially with the addition of its 8X22 calibre movement. Other remarkable luxury watches from the brand include Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Chronograph, Seiko Marinemaster Prospex GPS Solar Dual-Time, and Seiko Presage 60th Anniversary Automatic Chronograph, among others.
Seiko has truly been a great part of the whole watch industry history, with its major milestones becoming remarkable points in the timeline of the progress of timepieces over the years. It remains to be a respected manufacture, able to integrate designing, developing, manufacturing, and assembling watches purly in-house. This approach us what enabled the brand to remain a respected competition in the market, with their variety of timepieces: kinetic, quartz, Spring Drive, mechanical, and GPS solar. Surely, with the continued effort from the brand, it will remain as one of the leading brands in the watch industry for the decades to come.
Seiko Watch Reviews