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History

OUR HERITAGE

The story of Seiko began in 1881, when a 22 year old entrepreneur, Kintaro Hattori, opened a shop selling and repairing watches and clocks in central Tokyo.

Today, after more than 130 years of innovation, Kintaro Hattori’s company is still dedicated to the perfection that the founder always strove to achieve.

KINTARO HATTORI OPENS A SHOP SELLING AND REPAIRING WATCHES AND CLOCKS IN GINZA, TOKYO

1881

KINTARO HATTORI OPENS A SHOP SELLING AND REPAIRING WATCHES AND CLOCKS IN GINZA, TOKYO

The story of Seiko began in 1881, when a 22 year old entrepreneur, Kintaro Hattori, opened a shop selling and repairing watches and clocks in central Tokyo. Just eleven years later, in 1892, he established the ‘Seikosha’ factory.

1892

SEIKOSHA WAS FOUNDED; STARTED PRODUCING WALL CLOCKS

SEIKOSHA WAS FOUNDED; STARTED PRODUCING WALL CLOCKS
In 1892 Kintaro Hattori bought a disused factory in Tokyo and Seikosha was formed (In Japanese, “Seiko” means “exquisite”, “minute” or “success” and “sha” means house). It was here that Kintaro Hattori produced his first clocks and these marked the beginnings of a company that was to become one of the world’s most important manufacturers of timepieces.
SEIKOSHA BUILDS THE FIRST POCKET WATCH

1895

SEIKOSHA BUILDS THE FIRST POCKET WATCH

Throughout the 1890’s, the success of Seikosha’s wall clock business increased, and Kintaro looked to broaden the range of his business. In 1895, he created a pocket watch, the Timekeeper. It was a vital step forward, without which the future of Seiko would have been very different as it paved the way for Japan’s first ever wrist watch.

1913

THE LAUREL, THE FIRST WRISTWATCH MADE IN JAPAN, MAKES ITS DEBUT

THE LAUREL, THE FIRST WRISTWATCH MADE IN JAPAN, MAKES ITS DEBUT

In the beginning of the Taisho Era, pocket watches were still very popular and there were only a few wristwatches imported to Japan. Kintaro, however, was determined to be ‘one step ahead’ and embarked on the arduous task of creating Japan’s first ever wristwatch. In 1913, he succeeded and the Laurel was produced. In the early days, the company was able to produce only 30 to 50 watches a day, but, for the first time, Kintaro had established a lead on the rest.

THE FIRST SEIKO BRAND WATCH WAS PRODUCED.

1924

THE FIRST SEIKO BRAND WATCH WAS PRODUCED.

In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck and the company’s headquarters and the Seikosha factory all burned down. A fresh start had to be made. Just after the Earthquake, the company had created an entirely new watch and it went on sale in December 1923. It was the first to carry the name Seiko, introducing to the world for the first time the brand name that was later to become synonymous with precision and accuracy, innovation and refinement.

1929

SEIKO POCKET WATCH IS APPOINTED AS JAPAN NATIONAL RAILWAY'S OFFICIAL "RAILWAY WATCH"

SEIKO POCKET WATCH IS APPOINTED AS JAPAN NATIONAL RAILWAY'S OFFICIAL "RAILWAY WATCH"
As its railway network expanded, Japan National Railways appointed Seiko as its official supplier. Train drivers often made wooden cut-outs on their consoles where the approved pocket watch would sit in line of sight as they drove their trains.
CONSTRUCTED THE WAKO CLOCK TOWER, THE FAMILIAR FACE OF GINZA

1932

CONSTRUCTED THE WAKO CLOCK TOWER, THE FAMILIAR FACE OF GINZA

The current clock tower was constructed in 1932. The building adopts a style called neo-renaissance.

1956

STARTED TO USE "DIASHOCK", A SHOCK-RESISTANCE DEVICE

STARTED TO USE "DIASHOCK", A SHOCK-RESISTANCE DEVICE
Diashock is a shock-resistance device. When a watch is subject to shock, as when it is dropped on a hard floor, the component most likely to be damaged is the balance-staff pivot, which is the balance wheel’s rotation axis. Even compared to other movement parts, this part is extremely thin, being only between 0.07 to 0.08mm in diameter, or about the same as a human hair. Protection from shock is therefore crucial and the Seiko solution was to create Diashock, a device that absorbs impact on one of the most vulnerable parts of the mechanical watch, the balance-staff pivot. Diashock also reduces friction to ensure optimum amplitude of the balance wheel.
1959 GYRO MARVEL

1959

GYRO MARVEL

This is the first self-winding watch equipped with Seiko’s proprietary “magic lever” system. The magic lever is an innovative self-winding mechanism that uses the simple “claw lever system” efficiently to transmit the power of the oscillating weight in both directions. Magic levers are still used in SEIKO’s self-winding watches on the market today. This low-cost mechanism with excellent winding quality instantly dominated the world market, pioneering the popularization of self-winding watches.

1964

INTRODUCED JAPAN'S FIRST WRISTWATCH EQUIPPED WITH A STOPWATCH

INTRODUCED JAPAN'S FIRST WRISTWATCH EQUIPPED WITH A STOPWATCH

Japan’s first wristwatch equipped with a stopwatch, introduced in 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Its smooth operation and durability were ensured by a column wheel.

PRODUCED THE FIRST JAPANESE DIVER'S WATCH

1965

PRODUCED THE FIRST JAPANESE DIVER'S WATCH

The first Japan-made diver’s watch, waterproof to a depth of 150 meters. The winding crown was designed with a double packing structure to withstand high water pressure. Designated for use by the 8th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition.

1967

NEUCHATEL OBSERVATORY COMPETITION AND GENEVA OBSERVATORY COMPETITION

NEUCHATEL OBSERVATORY COMPETITION AND GENEVA OBSERVATORY COMPETITION

In 1967, Daini Seikosha sent to Neuchatel caliber 45 movements that were being used in the Grand Seiko and King Seiko lines, and these were subsequently marketed as special pieces that has passed the tests for “specially calibrated timepieces”. They were known as the Observatory Chronometers and these VFA Seiko watches took second and third places in the chronometer competition. This was the last year of the Neuchatel competition held under the old rules. Seiko then entered the Geneva Observatory competitions and at the very first attempt achieved a fantastic result. Seiko’s entries were awarded every place from fourth to tenth, which was the best result achieved by any manufacturer of mechanical wristwatches. Seiko achieved first place overall.

INTRODUCTION OF CAL. 6139, THE WORLD’S FIRST AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH WATCH EQUIPPED WITH BOTH VERTICAL CLUTCH AND COLUMN WHEEL

1969

INTRODUCTION OF CAL. 6139, THE WORLD’S FIRST AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH WATCH EQUIPPED WITH BOTH VERTICAL CLUTCH AND COLUMN WHEEL

As the world’s first automatic chronograph with a ‘magic lever’, column wheel and vertical clutch, this may have been the world’s first such timepiece, and it was a milestone in Seiko’s journey toward pre-eminence in chronograph technology.

1969

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST QUARTZ WATCH, “SEIKO QUARTZ ASTRON.”

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST QUARTZ WATCH, “SEIKO QUARTZ ASTRON.”

The world’s first quartz watch, the Seiko Quartz Astron was introduced in Tokyo on December 25, 1969. It delivered unmatched performance. It was accurate to within 5 seconds per month, 100 times more accurate than any other watch, and it ran continuously for a year, or 250 times longer than most mechanical watches. The quartz revolution had begun.

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST SIX-DIGIT LCD QUARTZ WATCH CAL. 0614

1973

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST SIX-DIGIT LCD QUARTZ WATCH CAL. 0614

This fully-electronic watch used the world’s first six-digit liquid-crystal display to indicate the time. Capable of continuously displaying the hour, minutes and seconds on a field-effect liquid crystal display, this groundbreaking digital watch attracted wide attention when it was first marketed in October 1973. The internally developed LCD was long-lived (50,000 hours) and had good contrast. A lamp provided enough illumination to make the numbers on the display easy to read even in the dark.

1975

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST MULTI-FUNCTION DIGITAL WATCH CAL. 0634

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST MULTI-FUNCTION DIGITAL WATCH CAL. 0634
In 1975 Seiko launched the world’s first digital quartz watch with a chronograph, the 0634. It could record time to 1/10 of a second and had a lap time function. It also incorporated an internal light, so that it could be seen clearly in the dark. It became a huge hit and created the market for high-function digital watches.
INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST DIVER’S WATCH WITH TITANIUM CASE, THE PROFESSIONAL DIVER’S 600M

1975

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST DIVER’S WATCH WITH TITANIUM CASE, THE PROFESSIONAL DIVER’S 600M

One day in 1968, Seiko’s engineers received a letter from a professional diver from Hiroshima Prefecture. The letter shocked Seiko’s engineers with its vivid description of the stresses and strains put on a watch by professional saturation divers who dive to depths of 350 meters. Seiko took up the challenge. After seven years of research, the Professional Diver’s 600m, the world’s first diver’s watch with titanium case, was created. A gasket impervious to helium, legible at great depths and with a titanium case. It set a new standard for diver’s watches.

1982

INTRODUCED THE WORLD’S FIRST TV WATCH

INTRODUCED THE WORLD’S FIRST TV WATCH
The world’s first watch designed with both a tuner and headphone jack for watching TV at any time or place. Also equipped with an FM radio, together with all of the standard watch functions such as alarm, chronograph, and calendar.

1983

THE WORLD'S FIRST VOICE RECORDING WATCH 'VOICE NOTE'

Since 1973 when introduced world’s first six-digit LCD quartz watch, Seiko had developed wearable information devices. ‘Voice Note’ is the world’s first watch equipped with a voice recording function. The sound for maximum 8 seconds can be recorded and played as a voice memo. It also plays a voice alert at the setting time.

1983

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST ANALOG QUARTZ WATCH WITH CHRONOGRAPH

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST ANALOG QUARTZ WATCH WITH CHRONOGRAPH
Seiko’s mastery of quartz technology and of mechanical chronograph watchmaking came together in the creation of the world’s first analog quartz chronograph. It measured elapsed time to 5/100 second and offered split time capability and a tachymeter. It was designed by the celebrated Italian car designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro
INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST WATCH WITH COMPUTER FUNCTIONS UC-2000

1984

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST WATCH WITH COMPUTER FUNCTIONS UC-2000

After introducing the world’s first TV watch, Seiko introduced a wrist computer that stored data. It was the first of its kind. It had memory of up to 2,000 characters and could store telephone numbers and addresses as well as a diary or schedule for up to one month. The Seiko wrist computer marked the beginning of the age of portable information devices.

1986

THE WORLD'S FIRST DIVER'S 1000M WITH A CERAMIC OUTER CASE

THE WORLD'S FIRST DIVER'S 1000M WITH A CERAMIC OUTER CASE
The Diver’s 1000m was the first watch to use ceramic material for the outer case layer. The lightweight, corrosion resistant titanium case with a remarkable one-piece structure enabled this watch to withstand depths of 1,000 m.
SERVED AS OFFICIAL TIMER OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN ROME, ITALY

1987

SERVED AS OFFICIAL TIMER OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN ROME, ITALY

Seiko serves as Official Timer at the 2nd IAAF World Athletic Championships in Rome, Italy.

1988

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST “A.G.S.” WATCH CAL. 7M22 (LATER RENAMED AS “KINETIC.”)

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST “A.G.S.” WATCH CAL. 7M22 (LATER RENAMED AS “KINETIC.”)
From the moment that the quartz watch was born, Seiko strove to create ‘no battery change’ technologies. In 1977, Seiko introduced the solar powered watch and, in 1986, a quartz watch with hand winding generating system. In 1988 came the big breakthrough; Seiko KINETIC, a watch with an oscillating weight that converted the wearer’s motion into electricity and thus powered the quartz movement.
INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST COMPUTERIZED DIVER’S WATCH “SCUBAMASTER” CAL. M726 WITH DIVE TABLE AND DEPTH METER FUNCTIONS

1990

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST COMPUTERIZED DIVER’S WATCH “SCUBAMASTER” CAL. M726 WITH DIVE TABLE AND DEPTH METER FUNCTIONS

Seiko’s mastery of electronic watchmaking and long experience in diving watches allowed the creation of the Scuba master, that was equipped with a water sensor and depth sensor and that displayed diving time and depth, vital information for divers.

1991

SERVED AS OFFICIAL TIMER OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TOKYO, JAPAN

SERVED AS OFFICIAL TIMER OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TOKYO, JAPAN
Seiko serves as the Official Timer at the 3rd IAAF World Athletic Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

1993

SERVED AS OFFICIAL TIMER OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN STUTTGART, GERMANY

SERVED AS OFFICIAL TIMER OF THE IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TOKYO, JAPAN
Seiko serves as the Official Timer at the 4th IAAF World Athletic Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
INTRODUCTION OF THE ULTIMATE KINETIC CHRONOGRAPH CAL. 9T82

1999

INTRODUCTION OF THE ULTIMATE KINETIC CHRONOGRAPH CAL. 9T82

Seiko’s successful Kinetic watch was equipped with stopwatch function in a very unique design. It is equipped with zero resetting function using heart shaped cam and special movement construction that avoids dusts.
INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST THREE-BAND (JAPAN, GERMANY, US) RADIO WAVE ANALOG SOLAR WATCH

2005

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST THREE-BAND (JAPAN, GERMANY, US) RADIO WAVE ANALOG SOLAR WATCH

Seiko commercialized solar powered radio-controlled analog watches capable of receiving the standard wave of three countries (Japan, US and Germany), the first device of its type.

2005

INTRODUCTION OF THE KINETIC PERPETUAL

INTRODUCTION OF THE KINETIC PERPETUAL
Powered by the motion of your body, it is the first watch to generate and save its own electricity. It goes to sleep when not worn and the hands return automatically to the correct time when put on again. The perpetual calendar will be correct until February 28, 2100.
INTRODUCTION OF WORLD'S FIRST E-INK WATCH

2006

INTRODUCTION OF WORLD'S FIRST E-INK WATCH

Using, for the first time in a watch, electronic ink technology, time or any other data is presented on a wide display area, with perfect legibility at any angle. Furthermore, the display allows the wearer to choose from many presentation graphics for the time, including a “day and night” background that shows, in a dazzlingly simple graphic style, AM and PM. This watch won the Grand Prix de Geneve.

2006

INTRODUCTION OF CREDOR SPRING DRIVE SONNERIE

INTRODUCTION OF CREDOR SPRING DRIVE SONNERIE
Only Spring Drive presents the true natural and continuous flow of time, with no ‘tick’ as the hands move in perfect glide-motion. Only Spring Drive is so silent that time can be marked by the long, lingering chime of the Japanese Orin bell.
INTRODUCTION OF THE SPRING DRIVE CHRONOGRAPH.

2007

INTRODUCTION OF THE SPRING DRIVE CHRONOGRAPH

Thanks to its glide motion hands, only the Spring Drive Chronograph can measure elapsed time exactly, and not to the nearest fraction of a second. It redefines the accuracy of the spring-driven chronograph by offering one-second-a-day precision.
INTRODUCTION OF SEIKO SPRING DRIVE SPACEWALK COMMEMORATIVE EDITION

2010

INTRODUCTION OF SEIKO SPRING DRIVE SPACEWALK COMMEMORATIVE EDITION

This watch was designed specifically for a spacewalk. Both inside and outside the International Space Station, it performed flawlessly in space. It won the sports watch award of Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

2010

THE WORLD'S FIRST EPD WATCH WITH AN ACTIVE MATRIX SYSTEM

THE WORLD'S FIRST EPD WATCH WITH AN ACTIVE MATRIX SYSTEM
This new display system retains all the legibility benefits of Seiko’s first E-Ink watch, but allows for a much richer range of imagery and data to be displayed on the watch dial with 80,000 pixels, each capable of four different shades, delivering 300 dpi of display.

2012

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST GPS SOLAR WATCH, SEIKO ASTRON GPS SOLAR

INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST GPS SOLAR WATCH, SEIKO ASTRON GPS SOLAR
At last, the search for totally precise time, everywhere on the planet, is over. By developing our own, patented, low-energy-consumption GPS receiver, Seiko has been able to create a watch that can receive GPS signals and identify time zone, time and date data using the global network of GPS satellites. It recognizes all the 39 time zones on earth. This breakthrough timepiece is called Seiko Astron. Like its celebrated 1969 predecessor which was the world’s first quartz watch, the new Seiko Astron ushers in a new age of timekeeping technology.
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF SEIKO WATCHMAKING

2013

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF SEIKO WATCHMAKING

When, in 1913, Seiko built its first wrist watch, the company’s president called it the Laurel. It was not only a first for Seiko, but also a first for Japan and it was the beginning of a tradition of innovation that resulted directly from Kintaro Hattori’s determination that Seiko would always be “one step ahead of the rest”. Movie shows Seiko’s historical timepieces.

2014

THE SEIKO ASTRON GPS SOLAR 8X SERIES CHRONOGRAPH. THE ASTRON REVOLUTION GATHERS PACE

THE SEIKO ASTRON GPS SOLAR 8X SERIES CHRONOGRAPH. THE ASTRON REVOLUTION GATHERS PACE
Astron GPS Solar has been an outstanding success since its launch in September 2012, with its huge global acceptance giving proof positive of the global demand for a watch that adjusts to time zones. The new Astron caliber offers four new features, designed to attract new consumers to the fast-growing world of Astron.
History