Seiko’s are generally great quality watches at an affordable price. But are they actually considered luxury watches? Do they match the image of a Rolex or Omega? Let’s find out!
Is Seiko a luxury watch? No, most Seiko aren’t considered luxury watches. However, that doesn’t mean that the watch is of poor quality. Many Seiko watches are superior compared to their Swiss counterparts.
Now that you know that it’s time to dive into the details. Let’s first see if Seiko is even a good brand or if you should steer clear of these Japanese watches. Once we’ve done that it’s time to compare Seiko to what many consider to be the pinnacle of luxury: Rolex.
Is Seiko A Good Brand?
The fact that Seiko watches aren’t considered luxury watches does not mean that the watches are poorly made. Actually, quite the opposite. Many watch enthusiast will be able to tell you that Seiko makes watches that are more reliable, durable and simply better quality than their Swiss counterparts.
Take for example their kinetic watches which were first introduced in 1986. Seiko was the first to introduce these watches. By cleverly transferring kinetic movement into energy these watches charge themselves. Learn more about these kinetic watches in this article that I have written earlier.
Seiko even added a ”sleep-mode” to some of these watches which means they can hold a charge up to 4 years. This is a great difference between the automatic Swiss watches which are much more vulnerable to wear and tear. Or the general quartz ones of which you will eventually need to change the battery.
When it comes to innovation Seiko is unrivaled and arguably much better than Swiss watchmakers. Just because they don’t have a luxury image does not mean they don’t produce high-quality watches.
Price And Diversity
Another reason why Seiko is a good brand is because of the price of their watches and their diverse line-up. As I just said, Seiko watches are more innovative than Swiss watches.
Another advantage of Seiko is the fact that they produce superior watches but also do this at an affordable price. Seiko’s generally start at around $50 and normally won’t go above $500.
When you add it all up this means that you can have a watch that is better than the ones that are produced in Switzerland, but at a fraction of the cost. The only thing you won’t have is the ”luxury image” that most Rolex watches or Omega’s do have.
However, if you do want to have a luxury watch that is made by Seiko then you still have another option: Grand Seiko.
The Difference Between Seiko And Grand Seiko
First off all it’s important to understand that Seiko and Grand Seiko are two different companies that are owned by the same parent company. This means two things.
The first is that both watchmakers have the same quality standards which, as we have discussed, is excellent. Secondly, whether you buy a Seiko or a Grand Seiko, you will have a good deal no matter what price you pay.
The difference between the two companies boils down to two things: craftmanship and materials. Seiko produces watches on a mass scale and at a very affordable price. This means that most watches are produced by a machine. Handmade features are simply to expensive.
On the other hand, Grand Seiko does focus a lot on craftmanship. They build many parts by hand and the watches go through a thorough quality inspection. Furthermore the bracelet and case are polished until they shine brightly.
When you look at the materials that are used you will see almost the same difference. Most Seiko’s are made of some kind of stainless steel. This is a logical choice since this is a durable material that’s also affordable.
On the other hand Grand Seiko’s will either use a higher-quality stainless steel or you will find them in platinum or titanium. No matter the material, Grand Seiko’s simply use better quality materials than regular Seiko’s.
Price And Image
Ultimately the difference in craftmanship and use of materials leads to a price difference. Grand Seiko’s generally start around $2.000 and can go all the way up to $10.000.
Compared to your regular Seiko this is a big difference. However, Grand Seiko’s shouldn’t be compared to Seiko’s. They should be compared to other luxury watches such as Rolex and Omega.
When you compare them this way they are actually an incredibly good deal. You get a superior watch that still has incredible craftmanschip and great quality materials.
Is Seiko Better Than Rolex?
This can make you wonder if Seiko’s are better than Rolex watches. Objectively speaking Seiko watches are indeed better than the watches that Rolex produces because they A) use a more reliable mechanism and B) are much more affordable.
How can it be then that Rolex is still considered the pinnacle of watch making while their Japanese counterparts have been beating them since the 1980’s? Well, that has to do with old-fashioned marketing. In the case of Rolex we’re talking a lot of marketing.
Ever since Seiko invented quartz watches that didn’t need to be wound, Swiss watch makers were in trouble. Up until that point watches were a necessity (since there were no mobile phones to keep track of time). When the Japanese invented a superior product at a lower price point a lot of Swiss watch makers had to close their doors.
However, this is when Rolex pulled a great marketing move. Rolex figured that if there watches weren’t needed they had to be wanted. Rolex decided that they had to focus on their heritage (decades of watchmaking) and let their watches be associated with adventure and triumph.
This is why Sir Edmun Hillary wore an Explorer when climbing Mount Everest. Or why Daytona drivers wore Rolex watches. The same counts for James Bond and his Submariner.
Each generation of watches brought with it a hike in price and a deeper association with luxury watchmaking. Compared to Seiko, Rolex watches aren’t better quality, they are just more wanted because that’s what Rolex has been trying to achieve over the past decades.