In-Depth: The History of Grand and King Seiko

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In-Depth: The History of Grand and King Seiko

Post by koimaster » April 26th 2018, 8:36am

The Tuna cans and Pogues get most of the attention from collectors, but Seiko's dress watches are worth remembering.

Seiko often gets a bad rap from less experienced watch nerds who think Seiko are cheap watches for cheap people. Seiko does make some cheap watches (and some very expensive ones) but focusing on either is a disservice to their history. Two watches that Seiko made from 1960 to 1975 are some of the most interesting: the Grand Seiko and the King Seiko.

The history of Seiko begins with its founder, Kintaro Hattori.

The Meji period of Japan, 1868-1912, was a tectonic shift in Japanese culture. Prefectures replaced feudal domains, railways cut through mountains and the traditional seasonal calendar and time system was abandoned for the Western Gregorian calendar. The traditional clocks of the last 300 years became useless, so Japan began importing Western clocks and watches. In 1881, Kintaro Hattori started K. Hattori & Co. in Toyko, repairing and selling imported clocks and watches. After 9 years, Hattori opened the Seikosha factory so he could make wall clocks (In Japanese, Seiko means exquisite/success and the suffix -sha means company/business). During the Russo-Japanese War, the Seikosha factory was required to make munitions for the war effort. This experience taught Hattori about machine assembly and mass-production which he introduced into the manufacture of timepieces after the war. ... king-seiko


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Re: In-Depth: The History of Grand and King Seiko

Post by svaglic » April 26th 2018, 11:33am

The first Grand Seiko 3180 came out in 1960 and ended in 1964. It talks about the lion medallion being on every GS since then, that is incorrect. The Lion medallion was only on the first two to three versions of the GS, then the gold GS medallion came about. The remake of the first GS had a lion medallion, I'm not sure of other newer GS's having the Gold lion, but most vintage have the GS medallion.
An interesting thing about the 3180 GS is that the first dials were engraved with Grand Seiko. It was a difficult process though and a lot of dials were chipped or broken in the process, losing money on bad dials that went in the trash they started the gold attached emblem instead.
Mine is a 1962 and has the raised gold emblem. I would like to find a nice engraved dial, but have had no luck yet. I've seen them, but the dials are rough so I don't have one yet. Even though mine is called the first GS, it isn't because it isn't engraved. Sort of a second version of the first.
Finding a platinum version would be a dream come true. They are so expensive on the rare occasion I see them.
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