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Seiko is an iconic brand in the world of watches and has managed to establish itself on the international scene thanks to unique know-how and impeccable quality. This article invites you to discover the fascinating history of this Japanese watch manufacturer.
The beginnings of Seiko: a watchmaking workshop in Japan
The birth of Seiko dates back to 1881 when Kintaro Hattori, aged only 21, opened a small watchmaking workshop in Tokyo. He began by repairing watches and clocks before specializing in the manufacture of wall clocks in 1892 under the name “Seikosha”, which literally means “the house of excellence”.
Expansion and first Japanese wristwatch
Success quickly came and allowed the company to prosper. In 1913, it launched the production of its first wristwatch, called Laurel. This novelty was an immediate success with the Japanese public and helped establish Seiko’s reputation as a manufacturer of quality watches.
Pioneer of watchmaking innovation
Throughout its history, Seiko has continued to push the boundaries of watchmaking innovation. She has designed and marketed numerous revolutionary models.
In 1956, the manufacture launched its first automatic watch model, the Seiko Marvel. This incorporates a mechanism developed in-house which allows the seconds hand to move without interruption, offering remarkable precision for the time.
The brand continues to develop its range of automatic watches with the creation of ever more efficient and innovative movements.
The advent of quartz
Seiko is also a pioneer in the development of quartz watches. In 1969, it presented the world’s first quartz wristwatch, the Astron, which revolutionized the watch industry. This major innovation allows for incomparable precision and opens the way to a new generation of electronic watches.
Conquering the international market
Building on its success in Japan, Seiko decided to attack foreign markets. In the 1970s, it began exporting its watches around the world and quickly acquired international fame. Its models were then recognized for their quality and reliability, putting an end to the European monopoly on the luxury watch market.
A brand synonymous with excellence
Today, Seiko is considered one of the major watch brands, just like its Swiss competitors. It is particularly recognized for the manufacturing quality of its watches, based on century-old know-how and cutting-edge technologies.
Seiko’s iconic collections
Over the years, Seiko has developed several flagship collections which have helped to establish its reputation on the international market.
Prospex: the sports range
Launched in 1965 with the first Japanese diving watch, the Prospex collection is dedicated to aquatic, land and air sports. These watches are appreciated for their robustness, precision and functionality, meeting the demands of the most demanding adventurers.
Presage: classic elegance
The Presage line embodies Japanese watchmaking art in all its splendor. It consists of automatic and mechanical watches with movements developed in-house, combining tradition and modernity. Presage models are renowned for their refinement and sleek design, reflecting the finesse of Japanese craftsmanship.
Grand Seiko: the pinnacle of perfection
Created in 1960, the Grand Seiko collection is the epitome of Japanese watchmaking excellence. These high-end timepieces offer an unrivaled level of precision, durability and finishes, rivaling the best Swiss productions.
Seiko today: between tradition and innovation
Seiko continues to evolve its offering to meet consumer expectations and stay at the forefront of innovation. It now offers ecological watches equipped with solar movements or automatic charging systems, as well as connected models adapted to modern lifestyles.
Ultimately, the history of Seiko bears witness to a constant quest for excellence and a pioneering spirit which has established itself on the global watch market.
From its modest beginnings in Tokyo to its current international reputation, this Japanese manufacturer has continued to push the boundaries of watchmaking to offer ever more efficient and elegant watches.