Get to Know Seiko, One of the World’s Best Watchmakers

Seiko Flightmaster Pilot

Spend more than a few minutes doing some watch shopping and you’ll come across numerous Seiko’s. With options in most price brackets, but with a focus on quality watches with good value, Seiko’s are found in most watch shops and department stores.

Larger Than Wristwatches

Like many watch brands that date from the late 1800s, Seiko has manufactured more than just wristwatches throughout its life. According to Chrono24, Seiko’s 1946 invention of the mini-printer iterated and grew until it eventually became Epson, one of the largest printer manufacturers in the world.

A Legacy of Innovation

Seiko was one of the first brands to truly embrace the quartz movement, and in so doing they almost single handedly usurped the Swiss-made watch market.

Upon their initial introduction into the market, Japanese-made watches were considered inferior to their Swiss-made counterparts. Japanese movements were seen as unrefined and unreliable, and so it came with significant upset in 1963 when Seiko entered – and placed in the top-10 – at the Neuchatel Observatory event.

By 1968, Seiko would consistently place in the top-3 at that same event.

In 1969, Seiko introduced the first automatic chronograph and the horological world would never be the same.

Their spring drive movement, an innovation which took 20 years to develop, provides quartz-level accuracy… but without the battery.

See more: Seiko: It’s HIstory, Watchmaking Achievements, & More.

The Seiko 5 Series: Setting the Standard of Inexpensive Automatic Watches’

Seiko 5 SNK809 & SNK807

Our sister site, Watches You Can Afford, as covered Seiko’s entry-level models in-depth. The Seiko 5 sets the standard for inexpensive automatics. As the name implies, the 5 has 5 objectives:

  1. Automatic movement
  2. Day/date display
  3. 50m water resistance
  4. Recessed crown @ 4 o’clock position
  5. Acceptable durability and quality of build

Available for well under $150 – and in same cases (such as the SNK809), under $100 – the Seiko 5 series of watches is a long-running mechanical staple in the world of watches. Every collector or enthusiast should have at least one.

Popular the World Over

Seiko watches enjoy worldwide acclaim and appreciation. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wears Seiko, including the SARC013 automatic.

The H558 series was worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator, a watch that has gone on to earn fans worldwide. It is one of the battle battle-tested watches on the planet and 100% suitable for an action hero to wear. The H558 has been taken to the top of Mt. Everest and has been tested in temperatures that reach both extremes.

Of course, Seiko is no stranger to special circumstances and dangerous places. The G757-5020 was chosen by MI6’s Q Branch in Moonraker for James Bond to take with him into the field.

Then again, secret agents aren’t even the more daring of those to wear a Seiko. Not even close.

That distinction belongs to Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, in the 1980s sci-fi icon Aliens.

Colloquially known as The Ripley, the Seiko 7A28-700 is one of the most collectible vintage Seiko’s available today. Low four-figure sums are what collectors are currently paying in order to get their hands on one, but you can find the 2015 reissue available for around $400.

Today, Seiko is recognized as the horological heavyweight they are and is referenced heavily in popular culture.