3 Reasons Why You Should Consider A Grand Seiko
Look, I am not here to tell you what to buy so go ahead and visit your local authorised watch dealers and go nuts. My recommendations here are purely based on my own experience and taste. So with that out of the way, here is a brief history into my own collecting journey. Now my first experience with a proper mechanical watch begun with a Seiko 5 and then a list of poor choices (they were cool at the time). It was not until I stumbled across some rather attractive photos on an international Seiko forum that I was first exposed to Grand Seiko. After months of research, I naturally became obsessed with the brand purely based on three reasons which I will cover below.
1. A History To Admire
David and Goliath. Ring a bell? The famous story told to celebrate the adversities of an underdog who finally defeats an unformidable enemy. Okay, enemy is a bit of a harsh term to use in this instance, how about rival? The Seiko watchmakers at the time were obsessed with accuracy and wanted to challenge the great Swiss powerhouses. In December 1960, the Japanese company developed an appetite to create the best watch in the world and soon, it was becoming a reality. And at last, the first Grand Seiko was born. By the end of the 1960s since it’s introduction, Grand Seiko had won multiple accolades at Swiss led organisations for accuracy. Furthermore, the reason why I love the brand so much is not because of their past and present glories, but the symbolism behind what they do. To never settle for second best and to always improve and disregard the odds, even if the “big guys” are rooting for you to fail.
2. The Value Proposition
The brand has always had a reputation for being respected by all watch aficionados. Why? For being made at an extremely high standard that some have argued to exceed the quality of top manufacturers, for a fraction of their price. For example, one look at the case polishing and you could clearly see why. Grand Seiko refers to this method of case finishing as zaratsu polishing for which by the way, this website has been named after. Moving onto the movements, Grand Seiko is completely in house. Yes, all the way down to making their own quartz crystals and hairsprings! Another feature of what makes this brand so respected is their dial designs. From the Snowflake to the Mt Iwate dials, all executed into a small neat little steel package. Note that these dials have been inspired by the natural environment for which the studio resides. How Japanese is that? In a way, looking through the sapphire crystal glass is almost like staring out through the windows of the Grand Seiko factory and for a moment in “time” (ha ha), you would feel like you are sitting in the Shizukuishi Watch Studio.
3. Grand Seiko Embodies Japan’s Proud Heritage Of Craftsmanship
The Japanese have long since built a strong image for themselves and have developed for centuries, a culture that does not cut corners and is obsessed with crafting things by hand to the point of perfection. They have an outstanding work ethic that is second to none and are extremely proud of this. In fact, any product they send out into the world, if labelled ‘Made in Japan’, represents an object manufactured from pride. So you can bet, that any goods purchased from the land of the rising sun, is built to last. One evidence of how proud they are of their countrymen and women, was recounted by a family friend of mine who for the sake of this article, I will refer to as John. A few years ago, he had worked in Japan and was called into the manager’s office for an error he had made. Predicting a lecture from the boss, he was instead surprised by how friendly he was greeted. The manager simply told him to not repeat the mistake again. On the other hand, his partner who collaborated with him on the project was called in shortly after. John was documenting to us how he honestly thought the manager was going to physically harm the poor guy as the manager was at the point of yelling where everyone on the entire floor was frozen in silence. John was confused. Why did his colleague receive verbal abuse while he was let off the hook with a slap on the wrist? He later found out, that because his colleague was Japanese, he was seen as embarrassing his people by being careless and therefore brought shame. As intense as that may sound, that is simply the Japanese mentality. If we bring this back to the Grand Seiko watches, you can bet that every component has been handcrafted with absolute precision. Heck, even the undersides of the dauphine hour and minute hands are zaratsu polished. How extra is that?
If those three reasons alone are not enough to help you consider putting down a deposit for a Grand Seiko, then Japanese watches are probably not your thing. To summarise my points above, you are not just purchasing a watch made from Japan, you are investing in both a handcrafted work of art and decades of engineering perfection that represent what Japan is capable of.