Friday, November 20, 2020

Think Seiko, Think Big

The story of Seiko began in 1881, when a 21 year old entrepreneur, Kintaro Hattori, opened a shop selling and repairing watches and clocks in central Tokyo. Just eleven years later, in 1892, he established the 'Seikosha' factory.

In Japanese, "Seiko" means "exquisite", "minute" or "success" and "sha" means house. It was here that Kintaro Hattori produced his first clocks and these marked the beginnings of a company that was to become one of the world's most important manufacturers of timepieces.

The list of "Japanese first" is endless: first wristwatch, first Railway pocket watch, first mechanical chronograph, first divers watch. In 1969 Seiko releases calibre 6139 – world’s first automatic chronograph with both column wheel and vertical clutch. 

It was Seiko who would produce the world's first quartz watch: Seiko Quartz Astron was introduced in Tokyo on December 25, 1969. It delivered an unmatched performance. It was accurate to within 5 seconds per month, 100 times more accurate than any other watch, and it ran continuously for a year. The quartz revolution had begun!
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However, what impresses me the most, is the dedication and persistence of Seiko to cover the entire spectrum of watch and clock-making, producing a vast number of timepieces. From entry level battery operated watches to Grand Seiko and tourbillon; from domestic alarm clocks to impressive public clocks. An amazing range of products, all designed and manufactured ‘ in house' , in Seiko’s own  factories. There is no Swiss equivalent to Seiko, and the only Swiss brand that offered a wide range of watches was Omega, in it's golden days, half a century ago. 
Next time you are to travel to Japan, which I hope will be soon, keep an eye out for Seiko public clocks which range from high tech to simply art installations.
Tekko Building Clock
Seiko Shinjuku NS building Clock
Seiko Tokyo Tower Clock

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