The story of Seiko begins in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori founded a clock repair store in central Tokyo.
Just eleven years later his company made its first clock and, in 1895, its first watch.
Today, with Kintaro's great grandson, Shinji Hattori as president, Seiko Watch Corporation is still dedicated to the perfection that the founder always strove to achieve.
In 1929, the Japanese railway network (JNR) was expanding rapidly, and the lines were becoming more and more crowded.
Precise timing became imperative for maintaining a punctual schedule which ensured safety and efficiency.
The Seikosha Pocket watch was the only one approved by the JNR. Many drivers carried their watches on the console in front of them, in their line sight, so as to be on time and to ensure the safety of the passengers.
The latest Seiko railroad watch will be used in the new generation of high speed trains in Japan. The “super-conducting Magnetic Levitation” Shinkansen can reach speeds of over 580 kph. It’s a good thing that the new watch’s anti-magnetic rating is 200 gauss.
On August 28, 1953, Japan entered the age of commercial television and aired its first TV advertisement. At precisely 7pm immediately following the hourly signal, SEIKO became the very first TV advertiser. The station was Nihon TV, or NTV as it is known, and the commercial promoted a Seiko alarm clock.
In fact the brand was Seiko- sha, the company’s original name. It means ‘The house of precision’. The name of the chicken remains a mystery to this day!
The highly esteemed responsibility of making Seiko’s finest pieces is shared by just 240 craftsmen, who work in the beautiful mountainous areas of central and northern Japan.
At the Shizuku-ishi Studio near Morioko, 60 craftsmen where 19 of whom have earned ‘Master Craftsmen’ status, manufacture mechanical watches of extraordinary beauty and precision.
Located near the Japan Alps, the Shinshu studio in Shiojiri creates mechanical and Spring Drive timepieces including the Spring Drive Sonnerie and the Spring Drive Spacewalk that have attracted huge interest and demand at the Baselworld Fairs of recent years.
Let’s meet some of these very skillful craftsmen:
Green issues are today playing an increasingly important role in consumer choice in the watch market. Seiko has long been the pioneer of an ecological approach to the production of watches.
Our production facilities stopped using CFC gas as early as 1993 and achieved full compliance with the EU Nickel, packaging and waste Directive in the early 2000’s.
In 2006, we eliminated minute traces of lead from our soldering in quartz watches on IC boards, an achievement that many very celebrated brands in Europe have yet to match.
Seiko set the standard for environmental protection again in 2008. Seiko was the first watch company to offer mercury-free batteries, and the company made this possible by making these themselves.
Now Seiko have completed a shift in production and all Seiko quartz watches produced since 2008 use mercury-free batteries.
But Seiko knows that it needs to go further. Seiko are expanding the production of Spring Drive, mechanical and Kinetic watches so as to reduce the damaging environmental impact of discarded batteries. Moreover, Seiko are adding solar technology to much of Seiko’s quartz watch production to further reduce the use of batteries.
Seiko is proud of it environmental policies, and we intend to remain in this area as well as in pure timekeeping technology: “one step ahead”.
Seiko first served as the official timer at the Tokyo Olympic games in 1964. Flawlessly, Seiko built no less than 1,278 timing and scoring devices from scratch and had made several advances in timekeeping technology. This included an entirely new type of mechanical stopwatch that was more accurate than any other of its generation and the Crystal Quartz Chronometer, with an accuracy of 0.2 seconds a day, represented a vital stage in the development of the quartz watch.
Since then, Seiko has kept accurate time in 5 more Olympiads and has been the choice of the IAAF at every World Championship since 1978.
On September 1, 1923, the Great Kanto earthquake wrought devastation throughout the whole area around Tokyo.
Seiko’s headquarters and its only factory were completely destroyed, with the fire that followed the earthquake reducing everything to rubble and dust.
Within a few months production had resumed on a different site. In November an advertisement appeared in the Tokyo newspaper, apologizing to the 1500 Seiko owners, whose watches and clocks were in the factory for servicing, had been destroyed. It invited these owners to come forward and receive a new replacement. The reputation of Seiko was greatly enhanced by the speed and generosity of this response.
In September 2009 the Ananta collection was launched worldwide.
Ananta, the Sanskrit word for ‘Infinite’, was a collection that expressed Seiko’s dedication to infinite perfection and that paid homage to Katana, the ancient Japanese art of sword-making.
since 1895 to 2008
Since its first mechanical watch in 1895. Seiko has continuously developed and refined its mechanical watchmaking skills.
In pursuit of the perfect watch, Seiko entered its timepiece into the chronometer competitions in Neuchâtel and Geneva. By 1986, Seiko had won in Neuchâtel and had gained more points than any other brand had ever scored in Geneva.
Today, Seiko builds every part of every watch. From the alloy, SPRON 510 and the balance spring to the movement, dial, hands and case.
In 2008, Seiko built 8R caliber automatic chronograph with a ‘magic lever’, column wheel and vertical clutch that inherits these advances made by its predecessor of 1969. This time the new three-pointed hammer was invented, which ensures instant reset of the chronograph hands.
For further details go to
*SPRON is a registered trademark of Seiko Instruments Inc.
As early as 1965, Seiko had built Japan's first diver’s watch, which was water resistant to an impressive 150 meters. This watch was used by the 8th Antarctic Wintering Team in 1966-1968.
1965 Japans first diver’s watch
Ever since, Seiko has brought to the diving community innovative new watches that solve the very real problems of working at depth. In 1990, the first Scubamaster was the first computerized diver's watch.
1990, the Scubamaster, worlds first computerized diver’s watch
One day in 1968, Seiko’s engineers received a letter from a professional diver from Hiroshima Prefecture. The letter shocked Seiko’s engineers with its vivid description of the stresses and strains put on a watch by professional saturation drivers who dive to depths of 350 meters. Seiko took up the challenge.
After seven years of research the world's first diver’s watch with titanium case, the Professional Diver’s 600m, was created. A gasket impervious to helium, legible at great depths and with a titanium case. It set a new standard for driver’s watches.
1975 World’s first titanium diver’s watch
Patented case construction
2005 Spring Drive diver’s watch
In 2005, the Spring Drive Diver’s 600m watch brought new levels of accuracy to the harshest environment on the planet.
In addition to satisfying the needs of professional divers, Seiko has also brought a new standard of performance to watches for the amateur diver. In 1976, Seiko launched an automatic diver’s watch that would go on to become extremely popular worldwide.
1976 Popular and long selling automatic diver’s watch
In 2000, the Automatic Diver's 200m SKX series was launched; this series has been highly appreciated and nicknamed “Monster” for its unique and impressive design by Seiko diver'ss watch fans.
Seiko’s heritage of diver's watches continues with innovative technologies and designs.
December 25, 1969. The world was astounded by the revolutionary size reduction of the Quartz clock. Seiko Quartz Astron was born and Quartz Revolution started.
Five years prior to this event, Seiko introduced the first portable quartz timing device and it was used in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Tsuneya Nakamura’s Quartz project team invented the tuning fork shape for the quartz crystal, the ‘open’ design, the stepping motor and step motion of hands. These were the key inventions that subsequently became the industry standard.
The achievement was recognized by IEEE in 2004 with the Milestone Award.
Today, Seiko’s advanced quartz technology has made possible a watch that has an alarm, a chronograph and Perpetual Calendar.
1977. A young Seiko engineer, Yoshikazu Akahane, started to wonder how he could make a watch wound by a mainspring and with one-second-a-day accuracy.
He was a persistent and dedicated man, and it took him 28 years, countless set-backs and over 600 prototypes. In 2005, Seiko Spring Drive came of age.
The escapement is replaced with an entirely new kind of regulator, Tri-synchro regulator, which resulted in dramatic increase of accuracy and longevity.
The hands glide smoothly, with no ‘tick’. Seiko Spring Drive is the only watch in the world to perfectly reflect the natural, continuous flow of time.
For further details, go to Spring Drive Website