A watch snob would almost certainly not place the Japanese Seiko watch in among his or her collection of Swiss watches. Why? Well, because it is Japanese of course.
Are Seiko watches as good as Swiss Watches?
Since World War Two’s end, Japan has been at the forefront of advanced technology, miniaturisation, and cost reduction. While engineers in the Far Eastern Nation have been leaders in producing the latest and greatest of the modern age, there has always been a common misconception about the quality of workmanship which is being proven wrong every day. With robots building cars faster than man and machines churning out machines that no hand could make, quality, or a lack of, has always raised an eyebrow, But when it comes to watchmaking, the art of Bonsai and making things smaller and more perfect is perhaps no better demonstrated than with Seiko.
A Different Approach to Purpose
When is comes to measuring up a Seiko watch against a Swiss Watch one needs to understand the point at where Swiss watchmaking and Japanese watchmaking part ways. Both Swiss and Japanese watches are made to the same levels of excellence. Seiko has been making watches since its first pocket watch in 1895, and the founders knew then that quality workmanship was important. Despite the commonalities between Swiss and Japanese watchmaking, two distinct paths have been followed. Japanese watches are much more about functionality whereas Swiss watches are more about style and elegance, this is not to say that a Seiko watch is not elegant.
Japan is well-known for advances in technology, and Seiko has been at the forefront of this for watchmaking. With Seiko’s advances in watch technology, the Diashock in 1956 and the “Magic Lever” in 1959 Seiko watches made their mark as chronological masterpieces in the mod 20th century. With the launch of the first Grand Seiko in 1960, it wasn’t long before it was a recognised global luxury brand, the figurehead of Japanese watchmaking. In 1969 another defining moment moved Seiko in a different direction to traditional Swiss watchmakers. While the Swiss were focused on perfecting their mechanical movement, Seiko focused on the Quartz movement. Here functionality over form was absolutely clear.
Is a More Expensive Watch Better?
As Seiko focused on more modern Quartz technology the price of a quality Japanese watch began to drop. This price drop or reduced cost of manufacturing does not mean a Seiko watch is a lesser watch. Far from it, Japanese watches are of exceptional quality and many are equal to, or better than, the best Swiss watches. Swiss watches tend to be more expensive because of their luxurious finishes and refinements, soft leather, or higher quality precious metals. Japanese watches still, and always will, focus on functionality and purpose. While not totally ignoring refinements in style and class, there is a tiny, noticeable difference between the Swiss and Seiko that a trained eye will spot. So, which is best?
Bentley vs Lexus
Comparing a Lexus with a Bentley is perhaps the best way to answer are Seiko watches as good as Swiss watches. Both do the same thing, and both have a certain level of refinement. However, the leather in the Bentley is richer, there is a walnut veneer that you know is walnut and you are in a Bentley. The Swiss watch is the same whereas with the Seiko just like the Lexus, it’s not so much fake it till you make it but solid, affordable quality that serves a purpose and delivers the same result with perhaps a little more accuracy.