The history of Seiko is a 130 year story of innovation. From the very start, Kintaro Hattori was determined to be at the forefront of the industry and his oft-repeated credo was that Seiko should be “Always one step ahead of the rest.”
Kintaro Hattori was born in Tokyo in 1860. At the age of thirteen, he was working as apprentice near a clock store when he had the idea of opening a workshop; his thinking was that he could earn a decent living from the sale and repair of clocks. He learned the trade and at 21 opened a shop in his own name.
In 1892, Hattori founded the Seikosha clock factory. The firm’s first pocket watch came out three years later.
From 1910, Seiko was making its own balance springs and, in 1913, started to produce wristwatches, becoming the first company in Japan to do so.
Having won all the chronometer competitions in Japan in the 1950’s, Seiko looked overseas and won two European watchmaking competitions, gaining international acclaim. All the components in these chronometers were designed and made in house, and this led, in 1960, to the launch of Grand Seiko, a watch designed to be as perfect as any in the world.
Seiko continued to innovate: in 1969 it presented the Astron, the first quartz watch in the world, followed in 1973 by the world’s first six-figure LCD digital display watch. In 1988, Seiko presented Kinetic, a quartz watch powered by the wearer’s motion and in 1999, Spring Drive, a luxury mechanical watch with one second a day accuracy.
In 1964, Seiko had become official time-keeper for the Tokyo Olympics, marking the start of a partnership with major sporting events that still continues. Seiko will time the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, and has been the choice of the IAAF since 1985.
The Hattori family has remained at the helm since the start and, today, the Company’s President is Shinji Hattori, the great grandson of the founder.
From the outset, Kintaro Hattori determined that Seiko would be “Always one step ahead” and this vision has inspired the company ever since.
From the moment that Kintaro made his first pocket watch in 1895, he saw that the leadership he wanted would only come if Seiko developed the capability to build every component of every type of watch in-house.
Thanks to Kintaro’s vision, Seiko has always been at the forefront of watchmaking technology and has centred its watchmaking values on the real fundamentals : accuracy, durability and reliability over time. From quartz watches right through to the ‘manufacture’ Grand Seiko mechanical movements, the firm offers leading edge technology.
1881: Kintaro Hattori opens his watchmaking workshop in Kyobashi
1913: Kintaro produces Japan’s first wristwatch, the Laurel
1969: Seiko Astron, the world’s first quartz watch, is launched
1988: Seiko Kinetic, a quartz watch powered by motion, is launched
2012: The launch of the Astron GPS Solar, the watch that adjusts to your time zone
Astron: The world's first GPS solar watch. By connecting to the GPS network, the Astron adjusts at the touch of a button to your time zone and, by taking all the energy it needs from light alone, never needs a battery change.
Grand Seiko: Simply, the very best of Seiko. Grand Seiko offers luxury mechanical and Spring Drive and high-grade quartz timepieces, crafted and assembled by master craftsmen in dedicated watch studios in Japan.
Prospex: For true watchmakers, adventure sports – whether on the sea, on land or in the sky – present the greatest challenges of all. Since Seiko made its first diving watch in 1965, Seiko has been exceeding the expectations of those whose sports require watches with truly professional specifications.
Premier: This collection is a blend of tradition and modernity. The harmony between these opposites is the inspiration for a dress watch combining technology and design.
Sportura: The sport watch collection that proves the value of 50 years of sports timing at the highest level.
Ananta: Ananta is a hand-crafted watch collection of mechanical & Spring Drive watches that embodies the infinite quest for perfection and pays tribute to Katana – the traditional Japanese art of samurai sword-making.
Velatura: Velatura is Seiko’s sailing watch collection. For men and women who enjoy the challenge of the open ocean.
Astron: A luxury watch that adjusts to all 39 times zones on earth, using the GPS network and just the power of light.