Seiko – at the frontier of watch innovation
Seiko is a very important watch brand for us to stock, as they have been at the forefront of horological innovation for decades. They build every part of every watch they launch, from the alloy and balance spring to the movement, dial, hands and case.
With our customers eagerly awaiting the sale date of the new Seiko Prospex Hi-Beat Limited Edition Divers Watch (pre-orders being taken now), I thought it would be a good time to tell you about some of the ground breaking areas of watchmaking that makes Seiko so special to me.
A brief history of invention
1881 - the start of it all in Japan when Kintaro Hattori opened a clock repair shop in central Tokyo. Originally called Seiko-sha, meaning ‘the house of precision’. Today Kintaro’s great grandson, Shinji Hattori is President of Seiko and ensures that precision and passion is maintained for this global brand.
1953 - a Seiko alarm clock advert was the first commercial ever to appear on Japanese TV.
[A cartoon cockerel winds up the Seiko alarm clock]
1964 - Seiko keeps super accurate time, which was why it was the official timer used at Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964. All Olympiads have been running against Seiko clocks since 1978 as it has been the timing choice of the IAAF at every World Championship since then.
1965 – Typical of an island nation with a rich heritage of deep sea oyster divers, Seiko built the first ever diver’s watch that was water resistant to an impressive 150 metres. It’s heritage of dive watches continues to this day.
[Japan’s first diving watch]
1969 – the first ever quartz ‘Astron’ watch was launched by Seiko. This wasn’t just a watch. It was milestone in electrical engineering and computing. It revolutionised the watch industry because the Seiko corporation refused to hold a monopoly on the patent rights of the unique technologies that created the watch – instead they opened them up to the world. They proudly set a world standard and maintain it still.
[The world’s first quartz watch on the market - Seiko Quartz Astron]
1978 – Seiko’s first solar-powered watch was issued which heralded in a greener way to approach horology. As if the invention of a quartz watch wasn’t good enough, they didn’t stop til they had harnessed the sun!
[Seiko’s LCD Solar alarm Chronograph]
The vintage dive watch tribute
When it comes to pushing boundaries Seiko still refuses to rest on its laurels even today. We have in stock at our Exeter watch room their 2015 Marinemaster (affectionately dubbed Emperor Tuna) watch, which is a recreation and tribute to their 1975 Titanium 6159-022 model. It is a dive watch like no other. It comes with many of the attributes of the vintage edition, as it is based on the same architecture, same case construction and same professional standards.
It visually packs a punch as is made to withstand a depth of 1000 metres and wrap itself around the thick wrist of a diving suit, with luminous hands that are visible in the blackest of waters. The outer case material is ceramic and titanium, making it extremely hard and protects the case from shock. However even on dry land this collector’s piece demands attention, with glass made of sapphire and a high-strength silicone strap with an accordion twist, that gives enhanced wearability both outside a wetsuit and directly on the wrist.
The dive watch for today’s collector
The next dive watch that will have pride of place in our new watch room soon (we are pre-ordering now), is the perfect gift for adventure seekers and collectors everywhere. The Hi-Beat Divers Watch has been made in a limited edition of 1500 and Doble Jewellers is proud to be one of the select stockists of this model. The watch is a modern tribute to the hi-beat diver’s watch of 1968, which was one of the foundation stones on which Seiko’s future diver’s watch development was based.
[The 1968 original]
Even if you are not a professional diver the watch is a statement article on any man’s wrist with a high raised bezel and coin edging. It’s bold and unique and I feel that the superbly executed design still has a vintage edge to it – you could wear this to a black-tie event with ease. It will remain ever faithful to you with its timekeeping as Seiko really do set the standard in watch accuracy today. Zoom in on the detail if you can, such as the larger hour hand and date window which has bevelled sides – so elegant and clear. It’s a Seiko that won’t disappoint.
The Doble Exeter watch room is open Mon-Fri 9-5.30pm and Saturday 9-5pm, tel 01392 272228