Are Seiko Watches Good?

Seiko has a long history that dates back over a century. Throughout this time, their watches have established a well-deserved reputation for being low-cost, long-lasting, and high-quality timepieces. I can personally attest to these attributes as the proud owner of multiple Seiko watches.

Seiko, on the other hand, often goes overlooked due to its Asian manufacturing roots and low price range. Some people regard Seiko watches as throwaway timepieces that lose value once they stop working properly. Nonetheless, we intend to investigate this impression and dispel any misconceptions about the quality of Seiko watches.

Without further ado, let’s take a close look at the Seiko brand, including its history and the quality it provides, and see why you should really consider purchasing one of its exceptional timepieces.

BACKGROUND & HISTORY OF SEIKO

Kintaro Hattori, a 21-year-old entrepreneur in Tokyo, founded Seiko in 1881 with a tiny jewellery and watch business. Seiko is thus one of the oldest watch manufacturers currently producing timepieces. Kintaro Hattori founded the ‘Seikosha’ factory in 1892, initially producing wall clocks.

In order to broaden their product line, Kintaro Hattori created the brand’s first pocket watch, dubbed “The Timekeeper,” in 1895. In 1913, Seiko made another crucial step forward by producing the first Japanese wristwatch, dubbed “The Laurel.” The first Seiko-branded wristwatches were manufactured in 1924.

The debut of the world’s first quartz watch, the Seiko Quartz Astron, in 1969 marked a watershed moment in Seiko’s history. This innovative clock, with an impressive accuracy rating of 5 seconds each month, prompted the “Quartz Crisis.” It wreaked havoc on the mechanical watch business, leading to the demise of numerous Swiss watch manufacturers.

Seiko has stayed committed to innovation over the years, accomplishing numerous important milestones:

  • In 1986, they created the world’s first diver’s watch with a ceramic outer case capable of reaching depths of 1000 metres.
  • Seiko was chosen as the Official Timer for the Olympic Games in 1992, demonstrating its precision and dependability in timekeeping.
  • They debuted the innovative Spring Drive Movement in 1999, which combined mechanical and quartz technology for improved accuracy and smooth sweeping seconds hand action.
  • Seiko’s dedication to quality was recognised in 2014 when they were awarded the renowned “Petite Aiguille” trophy at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, also known as the Oscars of watchmaking.

These achievements illustrate Seiko’s ongoing commitment to pushing limits and producing high-quality timepieces.

The information provided above barely scratches the surface of Seiko’s extensive history and accomplishments. I recommend visiting their official website, where you may examine the comprehensive timeline, for a more in-depth explanation.

After discussing Seiko’s extraordinary history, it’s important noting that affordability remains a defining feature of the brand. Even now, Seiko offers clocks that are affordable to a wide range of budgets.

Seiko has also built different tiers within its portfolio, such as the Seiko 5, Seiko Presage, and Seiko Prospex collections. Because of this versatility, Seiko can cater to a wide range of pricing points, making them a good choice for both novice and seasoned watch collectors.

ARE SEIKO WATCHES GOOD?

Below are some qualities that set Seiko watches apart from other Japanese and even Swiss watch brands:

DESIGN VARIETY

Because of the numerous models and collections spanning several decades, Seiko offers a diverse choice of watch designs. With such a wide range of options, there is a Seiko watch to suit everyone’s taste and style. Seiko clocks come in a variety of styles and sizes, providing a wide range of alternatives.

Some collectors even specialise solely in Seiko watches because the company offers more than enough variety to keep them interested. Seiko offers a diverse range of distinctive and renowned timepieces, including the classic SKX, Tuna, Turtle, Captain Willard, Pogue, and many more.

EXCELLENT AFFORDABLE TIMEPIECES

Seiko has a large range of watches, many of which have an excellent cost-to-value ratio. The Seiko 5 line is a good example, followed by the Prospex and Presage collections. If you look hard enough, you can get Seiko 5 clocks for as little as $100.

While the Prospex and Presage lines are more expensive, they also have a greater construction quality. This means that Seiko offers good value for money, guaranteeing that you get a timepiece that combines cost with exceptional quality.

DURABLE WATCHES

Let’s start with the basic Seiko 5 line, which has five main features, one of which is water resistance. Seiko has mandated that their Seiko 5 timepieces fulfil water resistance criteria suitable for everyday use. This function ensures that the clock can resist harsh conditions, especially when subjected to underwater atmospheric pressures.

Furthermore, several watches in Seiko’s Prospex collection have even tighter tolerances, with water resistance of up to 300m. You may be certain of having a tough and strong timepiece that can withstand a variety of difficult settings, depending on the specific Seiko collection you choose.

IN-HOUSE MECHANICAL MOVEMENTS

Seiko uses in-house movements in all of their mechanical timepieces, from the most basic to the most expensive. Their in-house movements include the 4R36, 6R35, and 8L35 calibres, among many others.

When compared to Swiss watch makers, this is quite remarkable, as Seiko possesses the technical prowess to produce movements for all tiers of their watch collection hierarchy. To obtain a Swiss or German watch with an in-house mechanical movement, one would normally have to consider brands such as Tudor or NOMOS, which start at around $1,500.

Thus, Seiko’s ability to manufacture their own movements throughout their complete portfolio gives outstanding value while also demonstrating their commitment to craftsmanship and innovation.

POP CULTURE STIGMA

Seiko clocks have appeared in a number of great films, adding to their attraction. In the film “Aliens,” Sigourney Weaver wore the Seiko Giugiaro, while Robert Redford wore the recognisable Seiko SKX009 in “All is Lost.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger wore the Seiko H558 in the film “Predator,” while Martin Sheen wore the Seiko 6105-8119 (known as the Captain Willard) prominently in “Apocalypse Now.” These film appearances have had a considerable impact on the public’s opinion of the Seiko brand.

As a result of such effective marketing, Seiko watches have gained in popularity, with certain models becoming more sought-after and difficult to buy than others. Seiko has achieved a stature that transcends popular culture and society thanks to the power of marketing. Even your average aunt or uncle has probably heard of Seiko and may even owned one of its timepieces.

NOTABLE SEIKO WATCH COLLECTIONS

Here are some of the most notable Seiko collections, each with a plethora of models to pick from:

SEIKO 5

What is the significance of the “5” in Seiko 5? Over 50 years ago, Seiko released this cheap range, which had five key qualities that were generally associated with more costly timepieces at the time. These features are listed in no particular order:

  1. Automatic movement
  2. Day-Date complication
  3. Water resistance
  4. Recessed crown
  5. Stainless steel case and bracelet

Seiko 5 watches were created to provide a combination of these desirable features, making them more affordable to a wider audience without sacrificing quality. These elements have been a distinctive aspect of the Seiko 5 line, contributing to its popularity and enduring appeal.

My Seiko 5 experience comes in the shape of the Seiko 5 SNKL23. I only had it for a short time before handing it on to another watch collector. The black dial with different textures and dauphine hands was really lovely during my time with it.

The case quality was remarkable, especially given the low price, with a combination of brushed and polished finishes. Furthermore, the exhibition case rear revealed the automatic movement.

The stainless steel bracelet was the expected letdown of the SNKL23 watch, which is common in low-cost timepieces. Watch companies frequently cut costs in this area. Hollow end links, folded-over steel links, and a pressed steel clasp adorned the bracelet.

Nonetheless, having the SNKL23 was a pleasurable experience, and incorporating a Seiko 5 into one’s watch collection is desirable. The SNZF17 (Sea Urchin), SRP series (5KX), and SNZH57 (Fifty Fathoms Homage) are some popular Seiko 5 models worth mentioning.

In conclusion, Seiko 5 watches offer excellent value for money, with prices starting at $100 (on the secondary market, of course). Where else can you get a watch with the five fundamental features, as well as unique styles and a strong brand history? The Seiko 5 truly distinguishes itself in the market.

SEIKO PROSPEX

Prospex is merely an abbreviation for “Professional Specification.” Seiko’s professional and tool timepieces are represented in this section. The Prospex series, according to Seiko, “challenges every limit, with a collection of timepieces for sports lovers and adventure seekers, whether in the water, the sky or on land.” I’m confident you get the gist of it.

The price of the Prospex collection has risen in recent years as Seiko has increased its positioning, and the Seiko 5 line has extended into territory previously occupied by Prospex. Prospex watches often start around $400 and go up from there, particularly for mechanical timepieces.

However, you can find them at a reduced price on the secondary market. Seiko has divided the Prospex collection into four lines: Sea, Land, Speedtimer, and LX (which includes higher-end clocks with Spring Drive movements). Seiko’s primary attention is on the first three categories, which have historical and artistic relevance for him.

The 4R35 or 4R36 movements are typically found in the more cheap Prospex models, while Seiko is gradually introducing more of the newer 6R-based movements into the collection. The 6R-based movements, such as the 6R35, have noteworthy features such as a 70-hour power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 beats per hour.

I have owned the most watches from the Seiko Prospex collection, out of all the Seiko collections listed, because I am particularly fond of tool watches. I still have the Seiko Alpinist SPB209 and the Seiko “Baby Tuna” SRP637, both of which were developed for specialised climbing and diving applications. In addition, I intend to wear my Seiko Alpinist when I travel to Japan in the near future.

The Seiko Orange Monster SRP309, Seiko Turtle SRPE03, Seiko Alpinist SPB121, and Seiko Marine Master SLA0 models are among those in the Prospex line.

SEIKO PRESAGE

The Presage Collection is a “combination of Japanese aesthetic sense, traditional craftsmanship, and Seiko’s mechanical watchmaking skills, resulting in an original collection that offers Japanese beauty, quality, and long-lasting performance,” according to Seiko.

Presage is a collection of dress timepieces that highlight Seiko’s distinct elegance and fine craftsmanship. The Seiko Presage collection is constantly expanding, resulting in collection subdivisions. Craftsmanship Series, Sharp Edged Series, Cocktail Time, Style 60’s, and Inspired by Japanese Gardens are among them.

Personally, I prefer the Craftsmanship and Sharp Edged Series since they are constructed to a better degree. They frequently use sapphire crystals and various finishing techniques on the watch casings. These clocks are visually appealing and seem more precious than their retail pricing imply, providing excellent value for money.

I previously owned the Presage Craftsmanship Series SPB047J1/SARX049, which has a white enamel dial, blued hands, and Roman numerals on the dial.

My sole issue of this watch (and most Presage watches) is that they are a little thick for a dress watch. Dress watches are often thin in order to fit easily beneath the cuff of a shirt. My Seiko Presage, while not too thick, would barely go under most cuffs, but the 12.4mm thickness became obvious when viewed from the side profile.

Presage timepieces typically cost $400 or more. These watches are wonderful additions to any collection if Seiko continues to incorporate sapphire crystals, timeless designs, and neutral case sizes (under 42mm).

The Urushi dial Seiko SARW013, the limited edition blue enamel dial Seiko SPB069, and the Seiko Cocktail SRPB43J1 are all notable models from the Presage collection.

SEIKO ASTRON

Because I like mechanical movement clocks, the Astron is the least familiar of the Seiko collections listed here. This collection, on the other hand, has been around since December 25, 1969. As previously stated, the advent of the Astron was a crucial milestone in quartz technology for watches and had a tremendous impact on timekeeping.

The Astron clocks include solar and GPS technology in their current editions. This combination of technology is extremely valuable. According to Seiko, “the Astron adjusts to your time zone at the touch of a button and, by harnessing energy solely from light, it never requires a battery change.”

Seiko created the Astron with technological precision in mind. These clocks’ GPS functions automatically adjust the time once a day, delivering remarkable timekeeping precision. Furthermore, the Astron is solar-powered, which means that exposure to sunshine is sufficient to keep the watches charged and operational.

A notable feature of the Astron is its ability to recognise all time zones on Earth using GPS technology. As a result, the Astron is an excellent choice for travellers.

With its outstanding build quality and unique technology, the Astron belongs to the more premium category of Seiko collections in terms of pricing. Astron timepieces are priced starting at $1,600. The SSH100 series and the octagonal-shaped SBXY061 are two famous models from the Astron collection.

DO SEIKO WATCHES HOLD THEIR VALUE?

First and first, watches should not be considered typical investments such as stocks or bonds. They should be enjoyed and experienced. While Seiko watches are not traditional investments, many models have gained in value and become highly sought after.

These are mostly limited edition watches, including the Zimbe editions and vintage Seiko watches. The burgeoning community of Seiko watch collectors, as well as the brand’s growing popularity, have boosted the demand for and collectability of these items.

I’ve owned several Seiko watches, including the Seiko Monster V2 (Made in Japan model), which I regret selling. Prices for this watch have risen in the secondary market since its discontinuation. The Seiko Monster V2 is widely sought after because to its unique orange dial colour and shark teeth-like hour markings.

Another Seiko timepiece that has appreciated in value is the Seiko 5 SNKL23, which Hodinkee described as “a seventy-five dollar watch that looks like a million bucks.” I sold it for a tiny profit. These examples demonstrate that Seiko watches may hold their value and be considered investments. However, it is critical to prioritise the delight of owning timepieces over their investment potential.

SHOULD YOU BUY A SEIKO WATCH?

My answer is an emphatic “YES!” Since 2014, I’ve begun collecting watches. In Drake’s famous words, I “started from the bottom” using Seiko and Orient timepieces. Seiko should surely be included in any watch collector’s collection and trip.

It enables collectors to gain a better understanding of their collection and the quality of watches available at various price points. Seiko can be viewed as a rite of passage for collectors as they curate and expand their collections through time.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Seiko watches are outstanding because of their low cost, durability, and iconic status in popular culture. Having owned several Seiko watches, including the more affordable Monster, Baby Tuna, and Alpinist collections, I can confidently tell that they make excellent daily wear timepieces.

However, it is critical to dispel the myth that Seiko watches are only cheap and lack technical expertise. While Seiko does provide affordable options, their collection also contains in-house movements, a varied assortment of timepieces, and exceptional durability. Seiko watches are a desirable addition to any collection because of these features, as well as their classic styles.

since a result, watch collectors should embrace and explore the Seiko brand thoroughly, since it offers as an excellent beginning place for anyone new to the industry.