Seiko Watches Complete Review-Guide: Technology, Collections
Seiko History, Prestige, Prices,
Seiko is a Japanese watchmaking company that creates technologically advanced movements and timepieces. Established in 1881, the brand designated the word “Seiko” (meaning “success” in Japanese) as its official title name in 1924. In late sixties the company introduced the first mass production quartz watch, to be followed by a quartz chronograph and several other innovations.
Today, Seiko is synonymous with technological avant guard. Seiko make advanced watches that carry the latest technology, developed by in-house watchmakers; equally important is the relatively affordable price – below $1000, usually half that sum.
Seiko offer collections suitable for sports, casual and dressy occasions. The company's strength, arguably, lies in the sports watches. At least three Seiko collections can be categorized as sports oriented: Arctura, Velatura and Sportura.
While only the last manifests salient sports characteristics, all possess an unmistakable look that evokes associations of speed, function, power and resilience. Seiko partnerships with sporting events (such as the Olympics) also tells about the company's general contest direction. Premier and Le Grand Sports tone down the competitive edge of the pronounced sports collections and provide Seiko with style and confident elegance.
Seiko make four kinds of movements: mechanical, quartz, kinetic, and spring drive. This makes the Japanese company probably the most diverse watchmaker in the world. Undoubtedly, there are benefits to being at ease with both traditional and novel calibers; Seiko's expertise in the field of mechanical watches can help it avoid engineering traps while developing new time keeping technologies.
Seiko mechanical watches encase the most sophisticated calibers, some of which contain 29 jewels, which reduce friction, giving more precision.
Seiko pioneered quartz movements in 1969, when the company introduced the first mass production watch containing this caliber. It is probably since then that Seiko became associated with technological innovation – and rightfully so.
Quartz movements have evolved significantly since then, with Seiko always leading – even though the company made the patent accessible for all.
Seiko's kinetic mechanism followed quartz in 1988. The basic principle behind the movement consists of converting the kinetic energy generated by the wearer into the movement of the hands, thereby rendering the watches self-winding.
Kinetic comprises several various calibers: chronograph, perpetual calendar, GMT, and others.
Seiko's Spring Drive is the latest in watchmaking technology. Some of the main caliber additions include a tri-synchro regulator and a micro electro-magnetic break. Seiko set up a dedicated Spring Drive website that discusses the technology in-depth, and publicizes the specifications.
Spring Drive is also a separate collection that includes such complication as moon-phases – indicating that Seiko continue to challenge themselves.
Seiko are unique in that not all of their collections are available everywhere. Some can be purchased officially only in East-Asia, while others only in North America. This review aims to cover all collections currently in production.
Seiko Arctura is a casual-sports men's and ladies' collection that can gravitate towards the casual or the sporty depending on specifications. Arctura features kinetic and kinetic chronographs movements, while the ladies models may also incorporate diamonds.
Stylistically, Arctura aims to keep the dials as clean as possible, elevating efficiency and clarity as prime concerns. The collection derives its conception from nature. Arctura prices: from $500 to $900 for a new watch.
Seiko Velatura is a marine collection of watches that incorporate functions that make sailing easier. Velatura watches include various kinds of timers, chronograph, alarm and other additions.
These are professional time keepers, and they look like it: lots of functions, lots of buttons, markers and indexes; very busy dials with several indicators and colors to improve legibility.
Velatura is a real fun to explore, and, we don't
doubt, to own. Velatura prices: from $700 to $900 for a new watch.
Seiko Coutura collection combines sports aesthetic with fashion ambitions, resulting in sharp, characteristic timepieces. Coutura are most notable for their octagonal inspired cases, some with visible screws – a feature borrowed, apparently, from the groundbreaking Audemars Piguet Royal Oak design.
As befits a fashion collection, Coutura is made for men and ladies. Ladies' watches include such embellishments as two-tone bezels and bracelets, mother-of-pearl dials, and even diamonds. Coutura prices: about $500 for a new watch.
Seiko Sportura are the company's most adrenaline infused and explosive looking watches. Almost entirely black, Sportura watches show time using very bright colors. All pieces include a chronograph function; the additional hands have been colored to improve legibility in extreme conditions.
Seiko Sportura was inspired by racing and motor sports – and it shows. Sportura prices: usually about $600 for a new watch.
Seiko Premier is the watchmaker's dressy and fashionable collection. Sporty traits have been toned down; Premier watches show classic elegance and restraint required for the dressy occasion.
Appropriately, the dials inhabit Roman numerals (the collection derives its artistic ideas from Greek architecture), while the ladies models include dozens of small diamonds. Premier prices: from $700 for a new watch.
Seiko Le Grand Sport is difficult to categorize: even the company says these watches lead a “double life.” A closer look reveals that Le Grand Sports presents a balanced blend of dressy, sports and casual features; some watches combine all three, others tend towards one.
This package is especially useful if you wish to own only one watch, yet need it to be appropriate for all situations. Le Grand Sports prices: starting from $300
Seiko Spring Drive, a collection dedicated to demonstrating the company's latest technological achievement, includes several sub-categories: sports oriented, travel, and dressy. Spring Drive is a technology based collection, and strives to accommodate as many styles as possible, hence the variety.
Some new Seiko features appear in the Spring Drive – for instance, GMT and Moon Phase complications; chronographs are made in a limited edition. Spring Drive website provides in-depth review of the entire collection.