Seiko is one of the most recognized watch brands in the world. The company sells an incredible amount of watches each and every year. Furthermore they have a bit of a reputation for being a disruptor in the industry. However, many people want to know if their watches are actually any good?
Are Seiko watches good? Yes, Seiko watches are good. Seiko uses high-quality materials such as stainless steel, titanium and sapphire glass. Furthermore they also produce their movements in-house and they are known for their reliability.
Now that you know this it’s time to dive into a bit more detail. First, we’ll have a lookg at what actually makes Seiko watches good. Furthermore we’ll discuss where the watches are made and how they compare to other comparable brands. Finally, we’ll see which are the best Seiko watches you can get your hands on.
Why Are Seiko Watches Good?
In order to assess whether a watch is actually good or not we’ll have to look at a few factors. First, we’ll see which materials Seiko uses to produce their watches. After this we look at their quartz and automatic movements to see how good these really are. Finally we’ll also have a look at factors such as innovation, reliability and price.
Use Of Materials
In order to see if a watch is actually good or not you will have to look at the materials that the watch is made from. Since Seiko manufactures relatively affordable watches you would expect them to use common materials such as stainless steel, leather and mineral glass only.
Now, it is true that a lot of Seiko watches are indeed made out of these materials. Luckily for Seiko they are known for having a very good quality control so these common materials will last a long time.
However there are also Seiko watches that use materials that you would normally only find in watches that sell at a higher price point. For example, there are watches that have a titanium bracelet and case. Also, many Seiko watches use sapphire glass to protect the dial which is the most scratch-resistant material watchmakers can use.
Furthermore there are also Seiko watches that have an enamel dial. These you can find in the Presage series which I wrote about here. Enamel dials are known for their distinct look. They have a radiant sheen and a creamy texture which makes the watch look very luxurious (as can be seen below).
At the heart of every watch there’s of course the movement. Many people consider the movement to be the part where a watchmaker shows its true skills. First of all that means a watchmaker will have to make its own movements in-house and luckily for Seiko they do.
These days Seiko produces quartz movements and automatic ones. Since Seiko has an astonishing amount of movements I have decided to outline their most famous ones in both categories: quartz and automatic.
Seiko Quartz Movements
First off there was the 7A-series. This was the first ever analog quartz chronograph movement with power reserve. What was special about these movements when they were first introduced was their accuracy.
They all claimed to have a 10-seconds per month accuracy (except for the 7A07 which had 20-seconds per month). Eventually the 7A-series was replaced by the 7T-series which was more affordable.
These days most Seiko quartz watches use 7T62 or a 7T92 movement. The 7T62 movement displays hours, minutes, small seconds, central chronograph seconds, split time, 60 minute counter, date and alarm. The 7T92 The 7T92 has a 1/20 second chronograph that measures up to 12 hours. Also, this movement does not have an alarm.
Furthemore, Seiko also produces the 8J and 9F quartz movements. These movements are considered the best quartz movements that the company produces and they are used in luxury Grand Seiko models.
Seiko Automatic Movements
Now it’s time to move on and see what Seiko has to offer on the mechanical front. The company has been around since 1895 so they do have a fair bit of experience in this field. Below I’ve compiled a list of automatic movements and their unique features. All of these movements are still produced by Seiko to this day.
- Seiko 6800: first introduced in 1969 and the first in a family of ultra-thin quartz movements. It’s still produced to this day.
- Seiko 7S26: considered to be Seiko’s most affordable line of automatic movements. All models feature sweep hour, minute, and seconds hands.
- Seiko 4R35: this movement is a step forward compared to the 7S26. It basically has the same features but it has hacking function and can be hand wound.
- Seiko 4R15: same as the 4R35 but with an extended 50-hour power reserve.
- Seiko 6R15: same as the 4R15 but this movement has 23/29 or 31 jewels compared to the 22 jewels of the 4R15. This means this watch is more accurate.
- Seiko 6S78: chronograph watch with 34/35/40 jewels.
- Seiko 8R28: almost the same ss the 6S78 though this watch is capable of resetting the three sub-dials simultaneously.
- Seiko 7R: A movement that’s only used in Grand Seiko’s. Depending on the one you get it has a 48 – 72 hour power reserve and a power reserve indicator. Also, it has Spring Drive technology which we’ll discuss in a moment
- Seiko 8L or 9S: this is the most high-end series that Seiko produces. It’s purpose is to compete with the best Swiss movement such as the ones from Rolex. The 9S-series you’ll only find in Grand Seiko’s. the 8L-series can also be found in Credor, Prospex, Brightz, and Galante models.
- Seiko 9R: These are the most accurate mechanical movements that Seiko makes. All Seiko 9R movements are rated to be accurate to within ±1 second per day, with the 9R15 listed at ±0.5 second per day.
Another trademark of a good watch brand is the need to innovate throughout the years. When you look at the history of Seiko it becomes clear that they’ve had no problem on this front. Seiko’s list of innovations is tremendously long (first ever pocket watch, first diver watch with titanium case, Japans’ first wrist watch with a stopwatch etc.).
Instead of listing everything I’ve made a selection of their most important innovations throughout the years. These innovations are still used in watches that they produce to this day.
First Ever Quartz Watch
On the 5th of December 1969 Seiko single-handedly started the so-called ”Quartz crisis”. They did this by introducing the first ever quartz watch which they called the Seiko Astron. This watch was revolutionary because of a few reasons.
The main reason being that all watches up until this point used expensive, mechanical movements. Quartz was a lot more accurate than mechanical movements ever could be. Also, it was a lot cheaper. This one innovation meant that a lot of Swiss watchmakers eventually went out of business because they simply couldn’t compete with Seiko.
Spring Drive Technology
Spring Drive technology is mainly used in Grand Seiko watches. It’s is a unique way of making a mechanical watch very accurate by combining a mechanical movement with electronics.
Seiko explains it as follows: “Spring Drive is a unique movement that combines the high torque of a mechanical watch with the high precision integrated circuit (IC) control system of an electronic watch.”
Of course that sound very impressive but you may still wonder how this piece of innovative technology works. The video below will explain this without a problem. Check that out if you’re interested:
Seiko watches that make use of the kinetic perpetual system are able to generate their own electricity. Furthermore they are also able to ”go to sleep” to preserve this energy. What’s even more impressing is that the hands of the watch will stop ticking.
However, when you pick the watch up and shake it from side to side it will ”remember” the correct time and reset. The video below explains how this work. Needless to say only Seiko watches that make use of the Kinetic Perpetual technology are able to do this.
Another aspect of a good watch is that it should also be very reliable. After all there’s no point in buying a watch that falls apart after a few months. A large part of this equation is of course the warranty that Seiko offers on their watches.
Seiko offers a 3-year warranty on all the watches that they sell. The first year this warranty is a global one while the second and third year it only applies on the countries in which the watch was bought.
As with every other watch brand this warranty is of course limited to a few factors. The warranty only applies if the damage was already caused during manufacturing. If you handle the watch in an uncareful manner and it breaks because of this then that’s on you.
Furthermore it must be noted that this warranty “Does not cover the watch band made of a material other than metal, crystal, glass, battery or any watch accessories“.
Besides the warranty you must know that Seiko’s have a reputation of lasting a long time. There are many vintage Seiko’s that are more than 25 years old. Because of this Seiko is seen as a very reliable watch brand.
The final reason why Seiko is considered to be good watch brand is because of the price at which they sell their watches and the value that you get for that. As we already discussed Seiko uses a lot of good quality materials and they also make their movements in-house.
Still though, most Seiko watches are sold in the $100 – $500 category which still makes them very affordable. Of course this doesn’t give you a timepiece that has had a lot of intervention in the production process but it will still get you a very good watch. Also, if you’re looking for a watch that’s more premium you can always see if their luxury brand Grand Seiko fits you taste.
Where Are Seiko Watches Made?
Where Seiko wathes are made depends on their price range. Generally all Seiko watches have a stamp that says the watch is made in Japan. This may sound like Seiko does everything in-house but this is not entirely true. Rumor has it that the Japanse government allows companies to stamp the ”Made in Japan” trademark on their products as long as the production process is overseen by Japanese officials.
It seems that this is also the case for Seiko. Since many of their products are very affordable they can’t afford to spend too much during the production process. Because of this watches that are less than $850 dollars are normally build and assembled in countries such as China and Malaysia.
Watches between $850 – $2.500 are believed to have parts that are build in these countries but they are still assembled in Japan. The only thing we know for sure is that Grand Seiko watches are assembles entirely in Japan. However, some of the quartz movements that are used in Grand Seiko’s are still made in Malaysia.
How Good Are Seiko Watches Compared To Other Brands?
How good Seiko watches actually are is of course difficult to measure. Also, it’s subject to personal opinion. At this point we’ve done a lot of reviews of different watch brands so in order to compare Seiko I’ve made a table which you can see below.
According to this table I would put Seiko, Casio, Citizen and Timex as the best watchmakers. Of course this is based on the price category in which they are in. It would be ridicolous to say that a $50 Timex watch is better than a $500 Hamilton. However, for the price Timex does deliver great watches.
In the end the most important thing to know is that Seiko is a respected brand by people who’ve owned one and people who collect them. The reason for this is the fact that they have a long history of innovation and quality. Everybody will agree on this.
|Brand||In-house movement?||Build quality?||In-Depth Review|
|Casio||Yes for digital ones, no for analog ones||Good||Click here|
|Citizen||Yes, made by subsidary Miyota||Good||Click here|
Are Seiko Watches Worth The Money?
Whether or not Seiko watches are worth the money depends on a few factors. First and foremost you should like the watch that you’re going to buy. After all watches aren’t very good at holding their value so if you’re going to buy one it’s important that you like the looks of it.
Besides this I would say Seiko watches are certainly worth what Seiko charges for them. Many people consider the watches to be under-priced. This is because Seiko has a very good quality control, they produce their own movements and some of their materials are quite exoctic for the price range in which you’re in.
A Review Of Different Seiko Models
Finally, I feel it’s important to have a look at the best Seiko watches that are available. This way you can get a better feel for how good Seiko watches really are and what they have to offer.
Seiko 5 Automatic (SNK809)
If we’re going to talk about the best and most popular Seiko watches then I have to include the Seiko 5 series into this list. Especially the black one that’s pictured below is considered by many to be a very good watch for a very affordable price.
The watch has a 37mm stainless steel case that’s attached to a black canvas strap. Furthermore it has Arabic, white numerals and a black dial. The black dial is protected by, what Seiko likes to call, Hardlex crystal. Hardlex crystal is basically a bit more scratch resistant than mineral glass (which is what you would normally expect in a watch that cost around $80).
Another unique selling point of this watch is that it has an automatic movement. This one in particular has a 7S26 movement with a 40 hour power reserve.
Seiko Two-Tone Titanium (SGG735)
As we already discussed in the beginning of this article, Seiko is also very well-known for using materials that you normally wouldn’t expect in the price range. One of these examples is the SGG735. That’s because this watch has a two-tone titanium case and bracelet. Titanium is a lot more durable than stainless steel could ever be so this is a nice surprise.
But that’s not all. The charcoal colored dial is protected by sapphire glass which is a lot more scratch-resistant than mineral or Hardlex glass. When we look at the movement of the watch it is seen that this is a Japanese quartz movement which is very reliable. Currently they sell for around $150 which is good value for money.
Seiko Divers Watch (SKX007K2)
Seiko also has an incredible longstanding history when it comes down to the production and development of diver watches. For example, Seiko was the first company to create a diver watch that was capable of going down to 600 meters in depth. This was the first watch in their Professional Diver’s series.
This particular watch is not as hardcore as the Professional Diver’s collection, though it’s still not a watch to look down upon. This second generation of the SKX007K has a stainless steel case and bracelet and is water resistant up to 200 meters.
Furthermore the dial is protected by Hardlex crystal and it has luminous hands and hour markers (which are very convenient when you’re scuba diving). Finally, the accuracy is taken care of by an automatic, self-winding movement.