Since producing their first timepiece in 1924, the name Seiko has been synonymous with fine craftsmanship, and Seiko watches are known worldwide for their superb design, elite performance, and legacy of style.
Originally founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori, a watch and jewelry shop owner from the Ginza area of Tokyo, the company first began producing wallclocks in 1892 under the name Seikosha: Seiko is Japanese for “success”, “miniature” or “exquisite” and Sha means “house”. Over the next few decades, Seikosha grew and began producing pocket watches and wristwatches, and in 1913 debuted the Laurel, the first timepiece ever produced in Japan. The first watches to be produced under the name Seiko began appearing in 1924, and in 1964, Seiko watches made history again by producing the world’s first quartz watch. Export of Seiko watches went from 1.6 million in1965 to 11.8 million in 1977. The quartz watch phenomenon allowed Seiko to expand rapidly. Production reached about 21 million in 2001. The company became recognized as the leader in timekeeping accuracy, and Seiko products were often used to time major sporting events including The World Cup, and the Olympic Games.
Since their early beginnings as the one of the world’s premiere watchmakers, Seiko has set many precedents, including sponsoring Japan’s first TV commercial in 1953, serving as the Official Timer of 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and producing the first TV watch in 1982, to name a few.
Seiko is also known for using state-of-the-art technology. From the early days in the Seiko history, Kintaro recognized the importance of having in-house parts and movement production in order to stay ahead of competitions. With the building of its first balance wheel in 1910 and the first dial in 1913, Seiko has sinced developed a unique line of quartz and mechanical watches including the Seiko automatic Chronometer series, the Bell-Matic, with a mechanical alarm, the luxury Credo, King Seiko, and the Grand Seiko lines. Seiko’s Kinetic watches account for the majority of the company’s watch sales because it combines the self-energizing attribute of an automatic watch with quartz accuracy, and recharges itself entirely by the energy and movement of the wearer. By now Seiko has 6 separate Kinetic movements including the Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay. It has a power saving feature whereby it hibernates when not used and wakes up again up to 4 years later to the correct time. The latest technological advancement from Seiko is the Seiko Spring Drive introduced in 1999. Spring Drive is a mechanical watch with the accuracy of a quartz watch. The mainspring in the Spring Drive powers a rotor whose electrical output induces a quartz crystal to emit a reference signal which regulates the speed at which the mainspring unwinds. It has a power reserve of 72 hours, one of the longest amongst all mechanical watches.
With innovation at the core of its company, Seiko is bounded to be at the forefront of new watch technology.