Seiko history through 12 Milestone Seiko watches

Acquaintance Seiko Even many who discover mainly low-cost quartz watches and high-priced Grand Seiko watches from Japanese brands may not know that Seiko’s watchmaking history dates back to the late 19th century and encompasses several worlds of watches. first. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Grand Seiko model, we highlight the 12 most important products.

1.Seiko Sha Time Keeper (1895)

Seiko Sha 1895 pocket watch

Seiko Sha’s Time Keeper (1895)

Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori was only 21 years old when he opened a K. Hattori watch and watch store in Tokyo’s Kyobashi district and started making and repairing watches and watches. He was only 31 years old in 1892 when he partnered with an engineer named Tsuruhiko Yoshikawa to establish the Seiko Sha watch factory, the pioneer of today’s Seiko. After producing high-quality wall clocks, Seiko Sha launched the first pocket watch, simply called a timekeeper. , 1895. The 54.9mm silver case is made in Japan, but most of the 22-ligne movement is imported from Switzerland. The English name “Time Keeper” was the product of Hattori’s clever business sense. He realized that such a name would expand the product’s future export possibilities.

2. Laurel (1 Top10Brands.online3)

Seiko: Laurel (1 Top10Brands.online3)

Hattori quickly recognized the growing popularity of wristwatches around the world and predicted that the demand for wristwatches would soon surpass the demand for pocket watches. Therefore, Laurel’s debut began in 1 Top10Brands.online3, 11 years after the first Hattori wall clock was released. Laurel has a silver case with a diameter of 29.6 mm, a porcelain enamel dial and a 12-ligne movement. Initially, the production rate was slow, from 30 to 50 pieces per day, because parts had to be imported, but by 1 Top10Brands.online0 Seikosha produced its own balance spring, and in 1 Top10Brands.online3 it produced its own enamel dial.

3. The first Seiko watch (1924)

First Seiko Watch-1924

The first watch called “Seiko” debuted in 1924.

The Great Kanto Earthquake hit Japan in 1923, destroying the Seiko Sha factory and inventory, and stopping watch production. However, the resolute Hattori decided to rebuild quickly, despite the enormous cost, and only a year later the first watch with the name “Seiko” on the dial was introduced to the world. (“Seiko” stands for “Seiko Sha”, of course, and roughly means “House of Fine Skills” in Japanese.) The use of a non-English name indicates that you have developed enough confidence in Hattori’s quality. His products to sell despite the widely known belief that Western-made products are of superior quality. The watch features a 24.2-mm case made of nickel and a 9-ligne and 7-jewel movement. The small seconds subdial was standard until 1950 when the Seiko Super debuted as the first Japanese watch with a central second hand.

4. Seiko Marvel (1956)

Seiko Marvel-1956

Seiko Marble has opened the era of the modern Seiko movement.

Seiko considers the Seiko Marvel to be a landmark watch in history. Because that movement is the first Seiko watch designed “completely in-house from scratch” without the influence of other watch movements made in Switzerland or elsewhere. The movement diameter (26mm) was larger than the Seiko Super. The accuracy and stability incorporating Seiko’s new invention, a “Diashock” shock absorption system, was far superior to its predecessors, like other Japanese watches of that era. The Seiko Marble was produced until 1959, when it was replaced by the Seiko Gyro Marble, which had a new automatic movement that used Seiko’s “magic lever” mechanism to increase winding efficiency.

5. First Grand Seiko (1960)

First Grand Seiko-1960

The first Grand Seiko watches set Seiko’s new standard for precision.

This was the watch Seiko made to become “the best in the world” in terms of accuracy and precision. The mechanical movement Caliber 3180 measured 12 lignes, had 25 gems and a frequency of 18,000 vph. The watch itself has a case filled with gold with a diameter of 34.9 mm and a thickness of 10 mm. Each Grand Seiko watch is certified to the original precision standards set by Seiko (currently more stringent than the Swiss authority COSC’s chronometer certification standards). With a clean dial, long hands and applied indexes, this watch has established a design code adhered to by Grand Seiko watches even today.

6. Seiko Crown Chronograph (1964)

Seiko Crown Chronograph-1964

The Seiko Crown Chronograph was inspired by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

It is not surprising that, along with all previous achievements, Seiko made Japan’s first chronograph watch. The story begins at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when Seiko was the official timekeeper. Seiko has provided more than 1,200 different types of stopwatches for the Olympic timer, and has also launched a commercial version of the wristwatch chronograph with a mono pusher system to commemorate the event. The Seiko Crown Chronograph features a 38.2mm diameter, 11.2mm thick stainless steel case and 30m water resistance. The movement was a 12-ligne, 21-jewel Caliber 5719.

7. Seiko Diver’s 150M (1965)

Seiko: First Diver's 150M (1965)

It was only a year after Seiko launched the first Japanese-made chronograph, the Seiko Diver’s 150M, the first Japanese diver’s watch. As the name implies, the stainless steel case is water-resistant to 150 m, with a diameter of 38 mm and a thickness of 13.4 mm. The watch has a bi-directional rotating bezel and is equipped with an automatic caliber 6217 (17 jewels, 18,000 vph). At the time, diving was a relatively rare hobby, so it was a very specialized product. As diving became more popular, Seiko continued to improve its dive watch. In 1968, a version with a high beat movement (36,000 vph) and a water resistance of 300 m was released. The first professional diver’s watch in 1975 was water resistant to 1,000 meters and was also the first diving watch with a titanium case. Another version of the 1986 Professional Diver (the first with a one-way bezel) increased its water resistance to 1,000 meters. Seiko’s in-house standards for dive watches helped set the ISO standard for dive watches that are still in use today.

8. Seiko 5 Sports Speed ​​Timer (1969)

Seiko 5 Sports Speed ​​Timer-1969

The Seiko 5 Sport Speed ​​Timer beat its Swiss rival in 1969.

1963 was an important touchstone for the watch industry because it was the year called “The Great Auto Chronograph Race”. A handful of Swiss brands and famous Japanese brands competed to be the first manufacturers to produce and sell wristwatch chronograph watches with auto-winding. The result of this competition has produced numerous watches that are considered icons today, such as Breitling Chronomatic, Zenith El Primero and Heuer Monaco. However, the first (exactly May 1969) of these automatic chronographs to actually hit the market was Seiko’s 5th Sport Speed ​​Timer. The 5 Sports Speed ​​Timer, the world’s first automatic chronograph with both a vertical clutch and column wheel, has a 30-minute counter, a tachymetric scale bezel, and a day-date display with an innovative bilingual system. Wearers can set. You can read it in English or Japanese. The movement caliber 6139 has won a high frequency of 21,600 vph, and the 30 mm stainless steel case is water resistant to 70 m.

9. Seiko Quartz Astron (1969)

Seiko: Quartz Astron (1969)

In the same year that Seiko won the automatic chronograph watch market competition, we also unveiled a watch that threatened to render all mechanical watches obsolete. Seiko Quartz Astron, the world’s first quartz wristwatch, represents a breakthrough in technology. The watch’s tuning fork-shaped quartz oscillator gives Astron’s movement Caliber 35A an incredible accuracy of +/- 5 seconds per month, far greater than any mechanical movement. The movement’s small, thin, stepping motor saves energy by moving the second hand only once a second, which is a new development for wrist watches. The oscillator is extremely shock resistant and operates at very low voltages, ensuring a battery life of one year. Interestingly, the quartz watch has earned a reputation as an inexpensive watch for the public, but the first ones were definitely luxurious, boasting an 18k gold case. This model celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special commemorative edition in 2019.

10. Seiko AGS “Kinetic” (1988)

Seiko Kinetic-1988

Seiko AGS introduced “Kinetic” winding.

Since the launch of the quartz watch, Seiko has not abandoned mechanical watchmaking innovations and other types of technology. The brand launched a solar watch in 1977 and a hand-wound quartz watch in 1986. In 1988, Seiko AGS (Automatic Generating System, Automatic Generating System, later known as “Kinetic”), a watch with a vibrating weight that converts the movement of the wearer’s wrist into electricity that powers the quartz movement. .

11. Seiko Spring Drive Space Walk (2008)

Seiko Spring Drive Space Walk-2010

Seiko Spring Drive Space Walk was built for the rigors of outer space.

Seiko introduced another new technology to the watch market in 1999, the first to introduce the “spring drive” movement, which has a quartz oscillator but is driven by a manual winding like a mechanical watch. Since its debut, Spring Drive has been applied to numerous Seiko watches, including some of the latest versions of the Grand Seiko. Perhaps the most notable iteration is at the Spring Drive Spacewalk, specifically commissioned by video game tycoon Richard Garriott. His father was a NASA astronaut and Seiko wearer, and he visited the International Space Station (Garriott’s initials) in October 2008. The unrealized goal was to become the first civilian to walk in space, and hence the name of the model.) The watch, limited to 100 pieces, was designed specifically for space travel and further made using specially designed gaskets. It is sealed even in cold temperatures, is equipped with a lightweight case made of high-strength titanium, a large dial with an easy-to-read chronograph subdial and three times more luminous material than a regular luminous watch. In addition, the large chronograph pusher is designed to be easily operated by a person wearing a spacesuit’s thick gloves.

12. Seiko Astron GPS Solar (2012)

Seiko Astron GPS Solar-2012

A game-changing possibility in the world of watches: Seiko Astron GPS Solar

Seiko CEO and President Shinji Hattori (a descendant of the founder) sent a bold and unmistakable message when they decided to revive the name Astron on Seiko’s solar-powered GPS watch, which was launched with a big fanfare at Baselworld 2012. Like the first Seiko Astron, bringing quartz timekeeping to the world, the new Astron GPS Solar unveiled a whole new and potentially game-changing clock technology. An analog solar clock that receives GPS satellite signals and adjusts to the exact local time on Earth. It recognizes all 39 time zones (mechanical world time clock only shows up to 37) and has a manual reset function. Astron first uses GPS to determine its location and then deals with the Earth by comparing that information to an onboard database that divides the Earth’s surface into a million squares. Each database is assigned a specific time zone. Astron’s system outperforms radio-controlled clocks that receive terrestrial radio signals from atomic clocks. It automatically recognizes the time zone. Click here to learn more about Seiko Astron GPS Solar. review.

This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.

Want to see more Seiko watches?
Check out the brand’s chronograph chronology here!






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