Kintarō Hattori was one of the first and most important Japanese watchmakers in history.
In 1881 at the age of 21, Hattori established his first business 'K.
Hattori & Co.', opening his own watchmaking shop. At 25 years old,
K. Hattori initiated trade with the Swiss firms based in Yokohama,
focusing on wholesaling and retailing of imported Swiss timepieces.
After almost two decades of retailing Swiss watches from foreign firms,
Hattori decided to manufacture his own watches locally, establishing a
watchmaking factory in Tokyo called "Seikosha".
Following the great success of his first Japanese manufactured
timepieces, he travelled to Europe to inspect and purchase machinery
tools to keep up with western technology and productivity. With great
success, Hattori returned to Japan with new watchmaking equipment and
several new production lines were born as a consequence. At the age of
35, he launched a line of pocket watches called the "Timekeeper" and
just a few years later released his first line of alarm clocks, in 1899.
By 1905, K. Hattori had expanded his trading operations all over Japan
as well as Shanghai and Hong Kong, and becoming the largest watch and clock dealer in Japan. In 1913, aged 53, Kintarō Hattori manufactured and introduced the first Japanese wristwatch: the "Laurel."
In 1924, he created and launched the company Seiko, a brand that
would later revolutionize watchmaking with the introduction of the first
quartz movement, becoming the world's largest watch manufacturer. K.
Hattori died in 1934, at the age of 73, in Tokyo, Japan.
Kintarō Hattori’s words of wisdom:
One step ahead of the rest.
“Merchants must stay a step ahead of the rest, but just one step. If
they stay too many steps ahead they will be seen as prophets, too far
removed from reality. Merchants should not be prophets.” “I started
purchasing goods from foreign trading companies while others were still
doing business with their peers; I was importing goods directly while
others were only starting their transactions with foreign companies; I
was already producing goods on my own when others were starting to
import directly; and I was searching for something new when others were
starting to produce.”
Don't hurry, don't stop.
Kintaro touted “Don’t hurry, don’t stop” as his life lesson.
“You should aspire without limits and move forward step by step, neither stopping nor hurrying.
It is better to do something continuously, perpetually and untiringly than to hustle and fail.”
Customers always favor a quality product (a superior product is the basis of prosperity)
Kintaro was strongly determined to “make a Seiko (= precise) timepiece”
from the very beginning. His bold plan was expressed in the name of his
production company, the Seikosha Factory. He was convinced that only a
quality product could earn the trust of customers and form the
foundations for a business.
He knew that the “manufacture of precise products of the highest
quality” was the surest way to achieve his high aim of establishing a
timepiece industry in Japan and passing it down to future generations.
Keep any promise (whatever difficulties I suffer).
“Foreign trading companies were very helpful to me in my small shop.
They trusted me and came to me first when they had something rare or
unconventional to sell. This enabled me to offer an extensive lineup of
clocks and watches, replete with rarities seen nowhere else, which
attracted a number of customers… Why did foreign companies come to my
small shop first? Because I never fell behind in my bills.”
Common sense is a key to opening the door to profits
“Don’t get bogged down by discount pricing. Set your price a little higher and make profits from a quality product.”
On today’s offer: Kintarō Hattori “160th Anniversary” Astron SSH073J
Case back engraved with Kintaro’s famous words: “One step ahead of the
rest” and Seikosha symbol. Black titanium and ceramic, the latest 5X53
movement. Dual time zone, GPS, perpetual calendar. 42.8mm case size.