The enduring legacy of Seiko

Salma Sikdar

Posted on December 22 2021

The enduring legacy of Seiko began in 1881 with one man, Kintaro Hattori. At the age of just 17, the young entrepreneur began repairing watches and clocks in central Tokyo, Japan. Just over a decade later, Hattori purchased a disused factory to establish what he called ‘Seikosha’ or ‘exquisite house’ and built a successful business selling wall clocks. Seeing the success and growth in his business, Hattori moved on to producing pocket watches such as the Timekeeper in 1895. It would later prove to be the pivotal moment of his own legacy as well as the birth of Japan’s first wristwatch.

In 1913, an era when Japan saw few imports of wristwatches, due to the popularity of pocket watches, Hattori introduced his Laurel, the precursor to the Seiko brand. Unperturbed by the destruction to his Seikosha headquarters and factory by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, Hattori launched another wristwatch in 1924, named Seiko. The name would later appear in his signature piece, a mechanical wristwatch built by the most skilled watchmakers in Japan to denote the attributes of accuracy, legibility and durability - the Grand Seiko. Yet, Seiko’s ambitions to innovate and push the boundaries of precision time-keeping did not stop there.

In 1964, Seiko became the Official Timekeeper in the Olympic Games held in Tokyo, and launched the first wristwatch fitted with a stopwatch in Japan. Seiko then went on to introduce the first diver’s watch to Japan in 1965, which withstood a depth of 150 metres. In 1969, Seiko went further to introduce the world’s first quartz watch that are in popular use today. In 1973 Seiko again introduced the world’s first six-digit LCD quartz watch cal. 0614. It was the first fully electronic watch that used a liquid crystal display to continuously show the hour, minutes and seconds.

To read more on the history of Seikosha visit h"ps:// heritage/

More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing