Everything you need to know about Seiko

When our generation was in our childhood, Seiko was considered a middle of the line watch brand together with fellow Japanese watch makers. They were better known for their quartz timepieces, people being conscious of their budgets. And when they thought about mechanical watches, the first things that the adults think about are the Swiss watches. But the fortunes of Seiko now are changing… for the better.


It was all started in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori who was just 22 years old. He sold and repaired watches until he decided to open a factory in Seikosha in 1892.

This is where he started creating various timepieces ranging from wall clocks to The Timekeeper, which is the first pocket watch. It was from the design of The Timekeeper that Hattori created also the first Japanese wristwatch.

It was 1913, and the first wristwatch made in Japan was born. It didn’t yet bear the name Seiko. It was called The Laurel. It was the year 1923 when the brand name Seiko was embossed on a watch.


They are made all over Asia. In Japan, China, Malaysia and Singapore. But the luxury variants like the Grand Seiko are made in Iwate, Japan at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio.

Seiko watches made in Japan are sometimes more expensive than the same models made elsewhere. For example, the Seiko SKX007 has two variants, the SKX007J made in Japan and the SKX007K made elsewhere. They are almost the same in all aspects, but the former is priced at more than $500 while the latter will set you down for only more than $400.

Talk about being nationalistic, there are reports that Seiko products made outside of Japan are still considered Made in Japan. The important thing is, they are made under the auspices of a Japanese inspector. They do trust their own.

Times have changed. Actually, watch lovers took a second look at Seiko when they came out with their mechanical watches and also their Diver’s Watches which are also mechanical. The year was 1923 when the brand name Seiko was first used to represent these quality but affordable timepieces.

During the 1960s, mechanical Diver’s Watches that were available were overpriced but were surely of good quality, but they also lacked the deepness in meters that mariners and divers want that these watches can sustain so they can be able to dive into the inviting waters with their waterproof watches still working.

Seiko changed all that perception. Seiko designed medium priced quality mechanical Diver’s Watches that can withstand up to 200 meters in depth and still keep on working accurately.

Here comes the Seiko Diver’s Watches that contain in its internal organs the sublime 7S26 movement which has made many master watchmakers and enthusiasts swoon and admire. It is reliable, accurate, has longevity in life span and has excellent serviceability.

Furthermore, it’s in the confines of Seiko watches that are as durable as they are as affordable.

They are the Toyotas of the horological world.

Seiko top brass management also have this somewhat mischievous habit of suddenly stopping production in the middle of the popularity of a watch in its fold. Is it its way of making the value of limited edition watches higher in the secondary market? Seiko knows that it can’t compete with Swiss watches in the luxury segment which we feel it wants to achieve.

Seiko has not yet achieved a marketing wizardry that can change the mentality of people to buy only Swiss watches when the price range concerned is well above $3,000. Why buy a Japanese watch when you can buy a Swiss watch that’s tested and proven?

Japanese watches, yes, are trademarks or reliability, functionality and affordability. But not luxury – it has not achieved this stellar status, at least on a marketing frame of mind. But we all know they’re quality time watches, but admit it, when you’ve got $3,000 to splurge on a watch, you would want a Swiss watch.

That’s what Seiko is striving to do, because its quality is uncompromising, as of the moment.

Japanese watch company Seiko is one of the most respected but underrated watchmakers in the world.


This super brand which started out as a small shop in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan in 1881, has come a long way. It consistently churns out new quality timepieces, stops the production of old models, then also resurrects old models in new editions.

When you purchase your first Seiko or simply adding up to your existing collection, read on about the different watch collections of Seiko:

1) Seiko Astron

Seiko names it as Possibly The Most Intelligent Watch Ever Made. It is the world’s first GPS solar watch. They don’t need a battery change and they can be automatically adjusted to a specific time zone.

This collection has in its fold a limited edition sports variant. One of them was designed in partnership with tennis celebrity Novak Djokovic. This watch has a black and gold color theme. It has minute markers that reminds us of the tennis scoring system (Love, 15, 30, 40). It also has UTC codes right on the bezel for the 4 Grand Slam cities in the world : Paris, London, New York and Melbourne.

2) Seiko Prospex

The first diving watch of Seiko was launched in 1965. The venture of the company into this watch niche started with the idea that cropped up when a professional diver requested for a watch that can resist the underwater pressure of up to 300 meters.

This resulted in the creation of a team that did research, resulting into watches that are designed for underwater use. In 1975, Seiko have created watches that represented the most advanced diver watch technology during this time.

Watches like the first Professional Diver’s 600M with a very durable titanium case. It was shock resistant, anti corrosion, and has an airtight case.

At present, Seiko’s expertise in diving and sports watches are embodied in the Prospex collection. Now, it’s not just for diving but Prospex is now a collection encompassing use for Sea, Land and the Sky. Prospex is now for any adventure sport.

3) Seiko Presage

This collection symbolizes Japanese horological craftsmanship which showcases exquisite (up to the minute details) and meticulous mechanical watchmaking.

Under Presage, are an array of cocktail watches, inspired by, of course, cocktail bars. The dials have elaborate pressed patterns. The curved hands reach up to the applied indexes at the edge. Presage is available in 33.8 mm sized cases which have coloring based on wine sourced cocktails. One such model is the Seiko Presage SRP852J1 which drew its inspiration from the Bellini cocktail.

4) Seiko Premier

It features both men’s and ladies’ watches that portray the Kinetic Direct Drive, which is a motion powered mechanical technology. This collection also has a model done with tennis star Djokovic called the Premier Automatic Skeleton.

This watch is truly a tennis watch : its mesh dial looks like a tennis racket and the skeleton window where you can view the balance wheel that mimics Djokovic’s patented slice shots.

5) Seiko Solar

No need for change of batteries forever, for this Seiko collection. There are variants – from chronographs to dress watches. Its dress watch collection for women is excellent, such as the Solar V115. It has a mother of pearl dial and 31 crystals.

6) Seiko 5

It is a very popular line for Seiko which has rendered the brand to stick in the consciousness of watch enthusiasts worldwide. It receives consistently rave reviews even though it has variants that cost less than $100 but are still superb in performance. Even though these variants are so affordable to the common working man, Seiko shows its appreciation to the ordinary folks by still applying excellence in these watch editions.

They are the watches that are referred to as The 75 Dollar Watch That Looks Like A Million Bucks. They are extremely well made with 5 major characteristics : automatic winding technology, day/date display in one window, water resistant, recessed crown located at 4 o’clock and a sturdy bracelet/case.

7) Grand Seiko

This is the luxury collection of Seiko. They will set you back by thousands of dollars. The craftsmanship and the technology executed here are handled by master artisans in Seiko’s special studios. The Grand Seiko is so advanced but it is simple in form and has understated elegance.

They are connoted as watches that will last a lifetime and even beyond. It was started way back in 1960 with the goal of constructing a watch that is precise, durable, convenient to wear and beautiful in the human context.

This was a sign that Seiko wanted to go beyond the clutches of the mentality of people that Swiss watches are always on top, in term of luxury. The other Seiko collections were doing well, and for sure, Seiko was already well entrenched in the lower and middle range segments of watches. But it wanted to reach into the upper fringes of the watch industry… And it’s making inroads now.

At present, Grand Seiko is one of the best in watch technology for both electronic and mechanical watchmaking. In due time, the luxury segment will be ripe for the picking for Seiko.

Actually, Grand Seiko is being discussed in the same vein as Rolex and Omega. It has 3 main categories : The Elegance, Heritage and Sport Collections.


For now, Seiko is most known for its quartz movement watches. They produce the best quartz watches in the world. They are accurate within 5 to 10 seconds per year, so they ensure you will have reliable timekeeping for years without paying so much.


1) Steve Jobs

He wore a Seiko Quartz 6431-6030. He was so frugal, obsessed with minimizing everything down to the simplest parts. He wears to work a pair of New Balances, faded Levi’s and a black Issey Miyake turtleneck. The Seiko he wore on his wrist represents these principles of simplicity – it had no frills – a black round design with a white dial and Arabic numerals.

Because of this Seiko watch’s connection to Steve Jobs, it was sold on auction in 2016 for $42,500. The following year, Seiko reissued the watch in a limited quantity.

2) Arnold Schwarzenegger

He wore a Seiko H558-5000 (The Arnie) in at least 5 of his movies: Commando, Twins, Raw Deal, Predator and The Running Man. It was a big watch for an equally big man. This Seiko was intricately linked with the man who was going to be the governor of California, that it was eventually known as The Arnie.

This Seiko has a usual diver design but with lifting elements – clear dots, lines and triangles represent hour markers. There’s a digital display on top with the day and date. But this Seiko looks pudgy, just like Arnie.

Along with Sylvester Stallone and other celebrities, Arnold helped bring in the era of big watches. Seiko stopped production of this model but reissued it in 2019 at $525 each.


Watch modification, or Modding as we know it now, is an interesting subset of the watch enthusiast sector.

Watch fans will do tinkering with their watches to build new versions to wear. The most popular watch brand in the Modding crowd is Seiko because of its affordability and widespread access to quality parts. These characteristics make Seiko a perfect canvas for self expression for horological aficionados.

Some of these amateur watchmakers have even evolved into micro manufacturers who offer services to fellow watch crazed buddies, for a fee.

Most watches can be modified, but the basic watch for the Modder is the Seiko 5 or the Seiko SKX collection. The affordability of each watch, the probable risk of destructive mistakes, and the high skill requirement make for a perfect combination for these Seiko models to be ideal Modding platforms.

Modding’s risky nature makes it rely heavily on lower priced watches, like the Asian watches, led by Seiko. You wouldn’t want to do Modding on your Rolex or Omega, don’t you? Seiko is affordable and has interesting mechanical movements and has vast access to spare parts.

Modders are the auto mechanics of watches, fond of experimentation – removing dials, hands and bezels and replacing them with parts to make the facade of the watch look different. Just about the only things that the Mod can’t change are the movement and the case. They are the only constants in the game of Modding.

In technical automobile terms, Modding is the application of a custom body kit without changing the frame and the drivetrain and engine.


Master Modder Nick Harris shows you the steps on how to convert a $60 Seiko SNK809 (a Seiko 5) into an elegant custom watch in less than 2 hours.

Step 1. Clean the work area, the watch and then your hands.

Step 2. Remove the back of the case.

Step 3. Get the crown, stem and the movement from the case.

Step 4. Replace the crystal with a domed mineral type. It reflects light and looks great.

Step 5. Remove the hands.

Step 6. Get the dial and replace it with a new one of your choice.

Step 7. Apply the new hands.

Step 8. Remove the stem and insert back the movement into the case.


The new Seiko 5 Sports/SRPD lineup was announced in 2019. It is teasingly called the 5KX because of its striking similarity to its older sibling, the SKX007/SKX009.

Yes, they are compatible for Modding, in some aspects. Namely :

1) Bezel. The SKX bezels are like Legos to the new Seiko 5. They are exactly the same.

2) Bezel Inserts. Just as the Bezel works seamlessly, so does these inserts. There are actually 27 Bezel insert designs and colors to choose from.

3) Crystal. The new Seiko 5 Sports has a stock Hardlex crystal, just like the SKX007. Upgrade to a sapphire crystal, and you’re in business!

4) Dials, Hands and Chapter Rings. These three SKX007 and SKX009 components are all compatible with the new Seiko 5.


1) Crowns. The new Seiko 5 doesn’t have a screw down crown. So, it’s not compatible with the SKX crowns.

2) Fat Springbars. You can’t directly swap the fat springbars from the SKX models to the new Seiko 5 which has slightly smaller tips when compared to the OEM Seiko fat springbars.


First announced in March 2020, 9SA5 is the newest high beat mechanical movement from Seiko. It is developed for the new offerings from Grand Seiko for a whole new generation of mechanical watches. This new advanced mechanical movement took 9 years of development and took all the experience and skill that Grand Seiko has gained for the past 60 years of the existence of Grand Seiko. Its stainless steel case and dial in a deep glittering blue, will be launched this month through 1,000 limited pieces that will be displayed at Grand Seiko boutiques and selected retailers globally.

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