|Seikō Gurūpu kabushiki gaisha|
|Type||Public (Kabushiki gaisha)|
|Founded||1881Chūō, Tokyo, Japanin|
|Headquarters||Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo, Japan|
|Revenue||¥239 billion (2020)|
|¥5.17 billion (2020)|
|¥3.4 billion (2020)|
|Total assets||¥299 billion (2020)|
|Total equity||¥103 billion (2020)|
Number of employees
Seiko Group Corporation (セイコーグループ株式会社, Seikō Gurūpu kabushiki gaisha), commonly known as Seiko (// SAY-koh, Japanese: [seːkoː]), is a Japanese maker of watches, clocks, electronic devices, semiconductors, jewelry, and optical products. Founded in 1881 by Kintarō Hattori in Tokyo, Seiko introduced one of the first quartz watches and the first quartz watch with a chronograph complication. Seiko was a wristwatch manufacturer for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
In 1881, Seiko founder Kintarō Hattori opened a watch and jewelry shop called "K. Hattori" (服部時計店) in Tokyo. Kintarō Hattori had been working as clockmaker apprentice since the age of 13, with multiple stints in different watch shops, such as “Kobayashi Clock Shop”, run by an expert technician named Seijiro Sakurai; “Kameda Clock Shop” in Nihonbashi; and “Sakata Clock Shop” in Ueno, where he learned how to both sell and repair timepieces.
Around the time of Seiko's founding, watchmakers in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya were studying and producing pocket watches based on Western products. Japanese wholesalers needed to purchase all the imported timepieces from foreign trading companies established in Yokohama, Kobe, and other open port areas.
In 1885, Mr. Hattori began dealing directly with these foreign trading firms in the Yokohama settlement focused on the wholesaling and retailing of western (imported) timepieces and machinery.
Over the years, Kintarō Hattori developed a close partnership with multiple foreign trading firms, including C&J Favre-Brandt, F. Perregaux & Co., Zanuti & Cie. and Siber & Brennwald, allowing him to obtain exclusive imported timepieces and machinery, which was not available elsewhere at that time.
Hattori's shop became increasingly popular due to the rarity of the imported watches the shop was selling, which couldn't be found anywhere else in Japan. The growing success allowed him to relocate the company to the main street of Ginza (Tokyo), still the epicenter of commerce in Japan to this day.
In 1891, 10 years after the establishment of K. Hattori & Co., the 31-year-old Kintaro was appointed director of the Tokyo Clockmaker and Watchmaker Association and member of Tokyo Chamber of Commerce.
In 1892, Hattori began to produce clocks under the name Seikosha (精工舎, Seikōsha), meaning, roughly, "House of Exquisite Workmanship." According to Seiko's official company history, titled A Journey In Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko (2003), Seiko is a Japanese word meaning "exquisite" (精巧, Seikō); it is homophonous with the word for "success" (成功, Seikō).
In 1895, the watch dealer purchased the corner of Ginza 4-chome (the present-day location of WAKO), and constructed a building with a clock tower (16 meters from top to bottom), setting up shop at the new address.
Seiko released its first pocket watch in 1895, first wristwatch in 1913, and first Seiko-branded watch in 1924.
In order to avoid an ill omen believed to be associated with the word "GLORY" in Japanese, Seikosha changed its trade mark to "Seiko" in 1924.
In 1929, the Seiko pocket watch was adopted as the official watch for the drivers of Japanese Government Railways.
Military watches produced for Japanese troops during World War II were manufactured by Seiko, which by 1938, produced 1.2 million timepieces a year. The scarcity of raw materials during the war diverted much of Seiko's production to on-board instruments for military aircraft and ships. In contrast to Japan, Germany utilized both domestically produced and Swiss-produced watches. (Switzerland maintained neutrality during the conflict.) Japan's isolation in the Pacific meant the country could not rely on importing foreign timepieces.
In 1956, Seiko launched the Marvel, its first wristwatch to be designed and manufactured entirely in-house.
In 1960, Seiko released the Grand Seiko, aimed to be the most accurate wristwatch in the world.
Seiko released its first chronograph watch in Japan in 1964 and its first diver's watch in Japan in 1965.
In 1967, Seiko won second and third place in a watch accuracy competition at a Neuchâtel Observatory competition; the competition was canceled after that year.
In 1968, Seiko took first place in a Geneva Observatory competition with a score of 58.19, surpassing all previous records. Swiss companies ranked first to third for their quartz movements and Seiko ranked fourth to tenth for its mechanical movements. In the competition, there were special movements for the competition.
In 1969, Seiko introduced the Astron, the world's first production quartz watch; when it was introduced, it cost the same as a medium-sized car. Seiko later went on to introduce the first quartz chronograph.
Seiko released the world's first TV wristwatch in 1982, the first voice recording wristwatch in 1983, and the first wristwatch with UC -2000 computer function in 1984.
In the late 1980s, Seiko produced the first automatic quartz, combining the self-energizing attributes of an automatic watch with quartz accuracy. The watch is entirely powered by its movement in everyday wear. In 1991, to increase popularity, the watches were relaunched under the name Seiko Kinetic.
In 1985, Orient and Seiko established a joint factory.
In 1998, Grand Seiko was released with the first new mechanical movement in 20 years.
In 1999, Seiko released Spring Drive, the first mechanical wristwatch with the accuracy of quartz.
The company was incorporated (K. Hattori & Co., Ltd.) in 1917 and renamed Hattori Seiko Co., Ltd. in 1983 and Seiko Corporation in 1990. After reconstructing and creating its operating subsidiaries (such as Seiko Watch Corporation and Seiko Clock Inc.), it became a holding company in 2001 and was renamed Seiko Holdings Corporation on July 1, 2007. Seiko Holdings Corporation was renamed Seiko Group Corporation as of October 1, 2022.
Seiko is perhaps best known for its wristwatches, all of which were at one time produced entirely in house, including not only major items such as micro-gears, motors, hands, crystal oscillators, batteries, sensors, and LCDs, but also minor items such as the oils used in lubricating the watches and the luminous compounds used on the hands and the dials. Seiko watches were originally produced by two different Hattori family companies (not subsidiaries of K. Hattori & Co); one was Daini Seikosha Co. (now known as Seiko Instruments Inc., a subsidiary of Seiko Holdings since 2009) and the other was Suwa Seikosha Co. (now known as Seiko Epson Corporation, an independent publicly traded company). Having two companies both producing the same brand of watch enabled Seiko to improve technology through competition and hedge risk. It also reduced risk of production problems, since one company can increase production in the case of decreased production in the other parties.
Currently, watch movements are made in Shizukuishi, Iwate (Morioka Seiko Instruments); Ninohe, Iwate (Ninohe Tokei Kogyo); and Shiojiri, Nagano (Seiko Epson). Its subsidiaries are produced in China, Malaysia, and Singapore. The fully integrated in-house production system is still practiced for luxury watches in Japan.
Main article: Seiko Group
K. Hattori & Co. (currently Seiko Group Corporation) was one of the three core companies of the former Seiko Group. Seiko Group consisted of K. Hattori (SEIKO), Daini Seikosha (currently Seiko Instruments Inc., SII), and Suwa Seikosha (currently Seiko Epson Corporation, EPSON). Although they had some common shareholders, including the key members of the Hattori family (posterity of Kintarō Hattori), the three companies in the group were not affiliated; they were managed and operated independently.
On January 26, 2009, Seiko Holdings and Seiko Instruments announced the two companies would merge on October 1, 2009, through a share swap. Seiko Instruments became a wholly owned subsidiary of Seiko Holdings as of October 1, 2009.
On October 1, 2022, Seiko Holdings was renamed Seiko Group. Epson still develops and manufactures some of the Seiko's highest grade watches, but is managed and operated completely independently from Seiko Group.
On January 10, 2014, on the eve of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Shinji Hattori, President of Seiko Watch Corporation, presented to Novak Djokovic a Seiko 5 limited edition worth $1700. It was launched worldwide with a million units, symbolizing Seiko's partnership with the world's no.1 professional tennis player.
Seiko – often criticised for quality standards that let misaligned chapter rings and bezels slip through – decided to move its brand positioning upmarket; in 2015, the Financial Times reported the Spring Drive movement’s enthusiastic reception prompted Seiko's launch of higher-end pieces. Harvard Business School reported: "In 2003, Shinji Hattori, a great-grandson of Seiko's founder, became Seiko Watch Company's president and CEO and felt that Seiko should raise its perceived image outside Japan. In management's view, Seiko could claim distinction as the only 'mechatronic manufacturer' in the world – a vertically integrated watchmaker that excelled in both mechanical watchmaking and micro-electronics." The company's marketing to move its image upmarket was hampered by its reputation for misaligned chapter rings, bezels, etc. from 2003.
Seiko Corporation of America distributes Seiko watches and clocks, as well as Pulsar and Lorus brand watches, in the United States. The models available in the United States are typically a smaller subset of the full line produced in Japan. Seiko Corporation of America is headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, alongside the Coserv repair center. In the United States, Seiko watches are sold primarily by fine jewelers, department stores, and 19 Seiko company stores.
Seiko produces watches with quartz, kinetic, solar, and mechanical movements of varying prices, ranging from around ¥4,000 (US$45) to ¥50,000,000 (US$554,000). Seiko has created many different brands in Japan and the international market including Lorus, Pulsar, and Alba.
Seiko has several lines such as the Seiko 5, luxury "Credor," "Prospex," "Presage," "Velatura" and the "Grand Seiko" series.
Seiko 5 is a sub brand that spawned with the introduction of the Seiko Sportsmatic 5 in 1963. Since then, many models have been introduced into the lineup, comprising a variety of different styles.
The name of the Seiko 5 sub brand is a reference to 5 attributes that any watch belonging to it would typically exhibit, those being:
In spite of their association with the brand, not all of these characteristics are universal across the lineup, as certain models have omitted the Day-Date display (such as the SSA333) and/or the 4 o'clock positioning of the crown (such as the SRPG31K1 and the aforementioned SSA333).
Seiko released many models under the Seiko 5 sub brand, including large and small divers; watches featuring different strap options, such as leather, nylon, or steel; transparent, or sterile case-back versions; and many other variations. Today, the Seiko 5 lineup mostly comprises entry-level mechanical watches as an affordable entry point for consumers entering the world of automatic watches.
NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz wore a Seiko 5 model 6119-8460. It was on his wrist when the Apollo 11 crew touched down on the lunar surface, when the Apollo 13 explosion occurred, and throughout the remainder of his career at NASA.
The Seiko Lord Matic series of wristwatches was a mid-range sub-luxury watch of the 1970s that featured design innovations such as faceted crystals, colorful dials and sporty bracelets.
The Seiko Presage series is an all-mechanical lineup, a step up from the entry-level Seiko 5 models. It has slightly more elaborate designs and complex movements, such as urushi-lacquer dials, and self-winding movements with power reserve indicators. The Presage line watches are usually priced between US$200 to US$3,000.
Seiko entered a cooperation with the traditional cloisonné maker Ando Cloisonné Company from Nagoya to produce the dial for the limited edition in 2018.
The Seiko Prospex series includes their professional series of watches such as their diving watches, which are typically ISO 6425 rated from 200 to 1000 metres of water resistance. Other watches in the Prospex line include field and pilot style watches.
In 2021, Akio Naito, President of the Seiko Watch Corporation, said that enthusiasts' respect for the brand can "influence the wider range of consumers." This influence can be seen in the Prospex range, where Seiko fans' nicknames resulted in the company eventually adopting these product names. For example, Seiko's own London boutique identifies the Prospex SPB191J1 watch using the fans' sobriquet: "Nicknamed 'Shogun' by fans, meaning Japanese 'Commander-in-chief', because of its strong looks."
Prior to 1960, to challenge the status of Swiss watches and change the perception of Japanese watches, Daini Seikosha and Suwa began the discussion of a product line that can match the quality of Swiss watches under the suggestion of the parent company. At the time, Suwa Seikosha Co. was in charge of manufacturing men's watches, so it was decided that Suwa would be producing the first Grand Seiko (GS).
The first Grand Seiko, released in 1960, was based on Seiko's previous high-end watch, CROWN. This Grand Seiko has a 25-jewel, manual-winding, 3180 caliber, and its production was limited to 36,000 units. The watch was also the first chronometer-grade watch manufactured in Japan and was based on Seiko's own chronometer standard.
Some Grand Seiko timepieces also incorporate the company's Spring Drive movement, a movement that is a combination of both automatic and quartz timekeeping methods, leading to unparalleled accuracy in the world of automatic wristwatches. The most famous example is the SBGA011 Grand Seiko "Snowflake", housing the 9R Spring Drive movement.
With the repositioning of Grand Seiko from a Seiko subbrand to an independent brand in 2017, Grand Seiko aimed to transition to a true luxury brand. In 2022, 'Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon SLGT 003', featuring the world's first combination tourbillon and constant-force mechanism on the same axis, was released, priced at 370,000 euros.
The design language of the Grand Seiko was set in 1967, with the creation of Grand Seiko 44GS. The 44GS set the ground for all future Grand Seiko with nine elements. These elements help improve the legibility of the watch under different situations, and create a sharp, crisp visual impression:
The King Seiko line was created by Daini Seikosha to compete directly with Grand Seiko. The first King Seiko was released the year after the first Grand Seiko, in 1961. The first King Seikos were made with unmarked, manual winding, 25 jewel movements, that were not internally tested chronometers. This was followed by the release of the '44KS' movement in 1964, a remake of the 44GS, a manual winding, 18,000 bph, movement with a screwdown case back. In 1968, the 45KS was introduced with a manual winding, 36,000 bph hi-beat movement – again meant to compete with the 45GS but generally less accurate and with less finishing. King Seiko Certified Chronometer and Superior Certified Chronometers were released between 1968 and 1970. These first two were produced by Daini Seikosha but one of the most impressive King Seiko’s, the 56KS, was actually made by the Suwa Seikosha. The King Seiko 56KS movements were the same as those used in Grand Seiko’s 56GS series, Seiko Lord Matic watches, and Seiko chronometers. It was also introduced in 1968 and featured an automatic, 28,800 bph movement with 25 jewels and a 47-hour power reserve. These watches were all marked ‘Hi-Beat’ on the dial despite being only 28,800 bph (instead of 36,000). The 56KS was made until 1975, when the King Seiko line was discontinued by the company.
The last King Seiko collection was made by Daini, and was the 52KS, starting off in 1971 and made until 1975. This line used the 5245 and 5246 movement. These were meant to be high-end chronometers, with some even marked ‘V. F. A.’ (Very Fine Accuracy) or ‘Special’ on the dial. Many of these were of the "Vantac" sub-line and featured colorful dial faces and faceted crystals. 
Seiko produces electronic devices as well; during the 1980s, the company produced a notable range of digital synthesizers, such as the DS-202 and DS-250, for use in electronic music. Today the music division (part of Seiko Life Sports) produces metronomes and tuning devices.
In 1968, Seiko introduced three ten beat (ten ticks per second) calibers, the automatic caliber 61GS, the manual winding 45GS and 19GS for women's watch. The 61GS was Japan's first automatic ten beat watch, and it was the most accurate mechanical watch due to the high beat calibers. The calibers are considered high beat because normal mechanical movements beat six to eight times per second, and higher beat makes the watch more resistant to shock, thus achieving the high accuracy.
In 2009, Seiko released the new ten beat caliber 9S85, which is a completely new design from the previous high beat caliber. The new caliber also met the Grand Seiko Standard, a chronometer certification that the company claims to be more strict than the Chronometer Certificate in Switzerland.
List of Seiko mechanical movements
|7S26||21,600||21||+40～-20||41||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
|7S36||21,600||23||+40～-20||41||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and day and date display|
|4R35||21,600||24||+45～-35||40||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
|4R36||21,600||24||+45～-35||40||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and day and date display|
|6R15||21,600||23||+25～-15||50||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
|6R20||28,800||29||+25～-15||45||6 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands), day and date display, power reserve indicator|
|6R21||28,800||29||+25～-15||45||6 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands), day and date display, power reserve indicator|
|6R24||28,800||31||+25～-15||45||6 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands), day and date display, power reserve indicator|
|6R27||28,800||29||+25～-15||45||5 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands), date display, power reserve indicator|
|6R35||21,600||24||+25～-15||70||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
|8R28||28,800||34||+25～-15||45||6 hands, time display (Hour, minute and small second hands), stopwatch display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
|8L35||28,800||26||+15～-10||50||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
|8L55||36,000||37||+15～-10||55||3 hands, time display (Hour, minute and second hands) and date display|
On December 25, 1969, Seiko released the world's first quartz watch, the Seiko Quartz ASTRON, marking the beginning of the quartz revolution. The watch used a crystal oscillator for accuracy, where the crystal generates steady vibration when voltage is applied to it. During the ten years of development at Suwa Seikosha, Seiko managed to create many parts which enabled the viable application of quartz in wristwatches. For example, Seiko cut the crystal oscillator into the shape of a tuning-fork, and developed an integrated circuit and step motor to operate with the signals from the crystal oscillator.
Although creating the parts that enabled quartz watches, Seiko did not monopolize the patent rights for the unique pieces, but decided to open them.
In 1973, Seiko announced the world's first LCD quartz watch with six-digit digital display.
In 1975, Seiko launched the world's first multi-function digital watch, the 0634.
In 1978, Seiko released the Twin Quartz watch to address the effect t of temperature on the frequency of the quartz crystal oscillator, which put a limitation on the accuracy of quartz watches. Seiko put a second crystal in the watch that is linked with a processor that detects the change in temperature and signals the main oscillator to compensate. The result was a huge improvement in the watch's accuracy from five seconds per month to five seconds per year.
Kinetic watches were introduced by Seiko in 1986 at the Basel Fair Trade Show. These quartz watches use the motion of the wearer's wrist to charge their battery.
The 9F quartz movement is used in Grand Seiko quartz watches.
The Grand Seiko's 9F quartz movement is assembled entirely by hand by two expert craftsmen.
Main article: Spring Drive
The Spring Drive was announced in 1997, developed by Yoshikazu Akahane and his team, and inspired by Yoshikazu's vision: "a watch wound by a mainspring and with one-second-a-day accuracy, a precision that only the finest electronic watches could deliver." The movement achieved high accuracy with one second per day, long power reserve (72 hours) with its unique developed alloy, fast winding with the "Magic Lever" design and glide-motion movement with the watch hands.
The movement uses a mainspring as a source of energy and transmits it through a gear train, just like a traditional mechanical watch, but instead of an escapement and balance wheel, Seiko used the newly developed "Tri-synchro regulator," which acts like a quartz movement. The Tri-synchro regulator has three main functions: controlling the mechanical energy of the mainspring, generate electricity for the low consumption (~25 nanowatts) quartz crystal oscillator and generate a magnetic force to regulate the glide wheel. By replacing the traditional escapement with a magnetic brake, the Spring Drive operates with lower noise and presents a glide motion hand that shows the continuous flow of time. The Spring Drive movement was also used as the basis for the first-ever watch designed to be worn by an astronaut during a space walk, the aptly named Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk.
Seiko has been the official timekeeper of many major sporting events:
Seiko also released official products for the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Japan and South Korea, without being the official timekeeper.
Currently, Seiko has an agreement with World Athletics to act as the timekeeper for the latest editions of the World Athletics Championships. The agreement started in 1985 and is set to continue until at least 2029.
Throughout the history, Seiko has been the official timekeeper for many tennis tournaments.
Seiko developed a digital watch styled after Venom Snake's timepiece in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain under its Wired brand. It was launched on September 2, 2015 with the Metal Gear installment. It was limited to 2,500 pieces worldwide and was sold out via pre-orders within 5 minutes of launch. The box of the watch was designed by Metal Gear Solid artist Yoji Shinkawa. Seiko is also named as the official timekeeper of the Gran Turismo racing game series, published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was also the sponsor of FC Barcelona from 2011 to 2014.
Seiko was the official timekeeper of the North American Soccer League during the 2014 season.
Seiko previously sponsored Honda F1 (formerly known as BAR [British American Racing] Honda). The Honda team driver, Jenson Button, was the brand ambassador of Seiko. The company name appeared on the team's clothing, Button's helmet, and on the pitstop lollipops. The sponsorship lasted until the end of the 2008 season, when Honda discontinued participating in F1 racing.
Seiko has a partnership with tennis player Novak Djokovic, which started in 2014 and is set to continue at least until 2020.
Seiko is the current major sponsor for the No. 20 Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore driven by Scott Pye in the Supercars Championship.
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