In 1960, Seiko launched Grand Seiko, a collection of the finest watches Seiko could manufacture. Having been manufacturing mechanical movements since the company was founded in 1881, Seiko knew what was needed to create the best movements and this experience was directly applied to Grand Seiko.
“Grand Seiko was launched at a time when Seiko’s watchmakers were continually and rapidly enhancing the precision of Seiko mechanical watch technology,” explains Robert Wilson, European Marketing Director of Seiko UK Ltd. “The aim then, as now, was to make the ‘ideal’ watch. It was a deceptively simply objective – in reality it meant setting new standards in the precision, durability, comfort and usability of a luxury watch. Today, 55 years later, the idea that inspires each new Grand Seiko creation is exactly the same as was the case in 1960. And it always will remain so.”
For most of its life, Grand Seiko has been reserved for the Japanese market, yet it still gained fame around the world with the spread of information via the Internet. Seiko finally bowed to customer pressure and made Grand Seiko available outside of Japan in 2010.
“There was already great demand from all over the world for Grand Seiko, but we needed to increase the production capacity especially for mechanical calibers, which are assembled in the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio, and we were ready to launch Grand Seiko internationally in the autumn of 2010,” Wilson says. “Today, Grand Seiko is available in over 30 markets around the world and, just in Europe, we already have over 40 retailer partners, with more wanting to join us all the time. Of course, Grand Seiko is also presented at the Seiko Boutiques in Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid and most recently in our new boutique in Frankfurt, where Grand Seiko will be the focal point of the store.”
This year, Grand Seiko is celebrating its 55th anniversary with the introduction of the first of several limited editions, a chronograph powered by the ground-breaking Spring Drive movement. With enhanced accuracy (+/- 0.5 seconds a day, +/- 10 seconds per month), 12 hour elapsed time measurement, a vertical clutch and a column wheel and a power reserve of 72 hours, the Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary Spring Drive Chronograph Limited Edition is truly a special piece. The Seiko lion emblem in 18K yellow gold on the oscillating weight symbolizes the greater accuracy of this limited edition. Assembled by hand, the Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary Spring Drive Chronograph Limited Edition is limited to 400 pieces.
The Future for Grand Seiko
55 years old, Grand Seiko is poised for even greater things. “We will continue to widen the international collection of Grand Seiko, especially with more models using our unique Spring Drive calibers, of which the 55th Anniversary Chronograph is an outstanding example,” details Wilson. “Second, we will market the Grand Seiko brand more widely, expanding its appeal beyond the watch collectors who are the core consumers for the brand today. We will bring Grand Seiko to the attention of all those who appreciate fine watchmaking through more advertising and a higher profile at watch events.
“Slowly but surely, we will make Grand Seiko better known, all over the world, as one of the very best watches in the world,” Wilson continues. “Grand Seiko is absolutely central to the future of Seiko Watch Corporation. For several years now, sales have been increasing at double digit pace and the success of Grand Seiko in Japan is already beginning to be replicated in other markets, including the USA and Europe. In the long term, Grand Seiko will be one of the central pillars on which our company’s success is built.”