How often have you heard “Oh, it’s nothing exciting – just a Seiko”? Perhaps because of a range that spans everything from everyday sub-$100 quartz tickers to haute horlogerie stunners like the Credor Eichi II, people mistake breadth of range for lack of innovation and interest. Big mistake. Not only is Seiko one of the few truly manufacture watchmakers (even developing their own alloys and lubricants), they’re every bit as historically significant as brands that collectors feel are more upstage.
Back in the late 1960s, Seiko was one of the first makers to develop an automatic chronograph, something we take for granted today. But look at who they were up against and where they started; their racemates were the Le Locle stalwarts, Zenith (1865) and a collective from heavyweights Buren, Breitling and Heuer. Seiko, on the other hand, only started making its own watches in the early 1920s and produced its first automatic as late as 1959. Yet within ten years they were nose-to-nose over the line with Switzerland’s finest.