February 5, 2013

Seiko: Japan’s Most Popular Watch Company

Say the name Seiko, and the immediate images that come to mind are those of watches and clocks. The Seiko Holdings Corporation, more known just as Seiko, is a Japan-based company under the Seiko Group that has been in business for over a hundred years. With its headquarters in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, Seiko makes precision instruments, watches and clocks, printers, jewelry, semiconductors, machine tools, optical glasses and eyewear, mechatronics equipment and other machinery. The company is headed by Shinji Hattori, President.

Originally founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori as a watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo, Seiko’s first name was K. Hattori. Hattori then went on to make clocks under the name Seikosha, then in the late 1960s, came out with the Astron, an expensive watch that was also the world’s first quartz watch. Seiko is known throughout the world primarily for its watches, with production of all parts originally done internally, from batteries to the luminous materials for the watch faces. Since the company’s growth however, Seiko’s operations have been outsourced to other parts of the country, maintaining Seiko products’ status as fully Japanese.

Seiko currently manufactures and distributes watches that are both mechanical and quartz, with prices ranging from USD 45 to USD 500,000, depending on the make and model. The quality and craftmanship of Seiko watches have made it a valuable name among collectors, especially the rare luxury models. The company sells internationally, with the Seiko Corporation of America handling its US operations, the headquarters of which are in Mahwah, New Jersey. Seiko has retained a reputation for fine watches around the world, with most of its products being sold by high-end shops and jewelers.

Seiko’s popularity as a brand has been exceptional. In fact, Seiko watches have been worn by famous actors in popular films such as Roger Moore and Sean Connery as James Bond. Seiko is also the official timer of popular world sporting events and a sponsor of sports competitions, proving that there’s nothing like quality to establish a name.