When I think of Seiko, I think of all the people who couldn’t care less about watches and bought a Seiko just because of that. It tells time, and it does it cheap. Now, I know that this is not true in all cases. There are plenty of nice Seikos that I really like, but I (almost) never include them in articles. Actually, last few weeks I got a few mails (including hate-mails) from people wondering why I didn’t include Seiko watches in my buying guide articles over at Motoring Exposure (click here for the articles).

Picture by Stefan Molle Watch

My long time blog friend (a.k.a The Seiko Champion) Harry Bishop also wondered why I didn’t include a Seiko timepiece in my 1000 – 2000 USD buying guide article in his most recent blog post. What he actually writes, is the following:

“I would challenge those who exclude Asian (and other) high-end well known brands of watch makers from their lists. The perception of European dominance in luxury watches is actually just an example of successful marketing is not true, and it is a relatively recent perspective. Other countries including the US used to be considered the premier manufacturers of luxury watches, but that changed last century. Some of this changed for real, other parts of it just changed in belief.

I’m not talking about new Chinese firms with little heritage. Im talking about something like a Grand Seiko, which has the heritage, quality, accuracy, and aesthetics to more than hold it? head up high in this company. I guess this post earns me my Seiko Champion moniker.”

Why not turn it around? I believe this is the result of unsuccessful marketing by Seiko (and other Asian companies) that made me not include a Grand Seiko in one of my articles. I do not recall seeing a Seiko Spring Drive or (other) Grand Seiko model in a jeweller shop in The Netherlands, other than at Van Koningsbruggen in Zoetermeer (a city near The Hague). This is the only shop I actually saw one and held one in my hands. I’ve never seen them anywhere else in The Netherlands or in another European country. This, and this only, is the reason that I do not include Grand Seiko (Spring Drive) watches in my buyer’s guide articles or cover them at all here at Fratellowatches. I believe I would include them if they were widely available and when I had some hands-on experience with these watches. Because honestly, some of them just look marvellous!

Now, I have been looking around for Grand Seikos on the web, looked into dedicated Seiko forums at WatchUseek and TimeZone but one thing has become clear.. I am not the only one wondering where to get these Grand Seiko timepieces. Vintages models are the easiest to get here in The Netherlands. I have seen several on eBay listing for a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars but old-fashioned as I am, before spending over a 1000 USD on a timepiece, I would love to hold one in my hands and try one first.

One of the few nice ones I noticed is this one:

I guess I will keep following these eBay items for a while, just to get an idea about value and availability. As for the new models, where do I need to go? Tell me.

  • Not only the perception of European dominance in luxury watches is just an example of successful marketing.

    Everything about luxury watches is an example of successful marketing… There’s not such thing as the need for a luxury watch, so if people buy or want a luxury watch it’s about image and feeling. These two hardly can exist without successful marketing (in my opinion).

  • A very well-written reply RJ! 🙂

    I actually did not realize Seiko was so missing from the watch shops of Europe. Living here in Canada we are short of higher-end watch shops in general (and short on watch makers and repairers, but that’s a different story), compared to larger cities in our US neighbor to the south. However in what we do have, there is a fairly good representation from most global brands. Seiko actually opened a Seiko Boutique in Toronto just the other year (which I hope to write about soon), with a number of their higher-ends lines represented.

    So I have to admit after reading your post, I realize my perspective is very North American, looking over the oceans at both European and Asian brands. One of the most successful marketing here has actually been “Swiss Made”, when it comes to our continent’s brand perception of luxury watches. (I speak in general terms or course, there are always exceptions)

    Seiko has marketed their higher-end lines, but predominately within Asia. I guess that signifies they believe the European marketing message is too successful to take on in their home geography, at least right now. What you describe sounds more like a lack of any marketing at all. Unfortunate because some of their watches I think you would enjoy quite a bit.

    Although the perfect solution would be to invite you to a local Seiko GTG, or both of us to one in Asia, hopping on a plane for such an event over the weekend might be considered a challenge to my wife’s financial guidelines for my watch-related spending. 🙁 So for now, my thanks for showing me a part of the watch buyer’s world in Europe I did not know about, and hopefully you will have some change in the future to experience these watches.

    All the best from snowy Canada!

  • Francis

    In a world that prizes rarity and exclusivity, it seems surprising to exclude Grand Seiko simply because of its availability in western markets.

    In modern times, we are so connected to the world through the Internet, it amazes me that they are still so difficult to obtain, short of an airplane ride to Asia.

    This actually provides value to me, in that the watch now becomes a souvenir of your travels, a representative of the heritage of a foreign watchmaking tradition, considered exotic in our homeland.

    Personally, long ago, I decided to restrict my small collection of watches to only ones that were rare and interesting. If it was something I could find by just strolling to a local boutique, I would not have it.

    There are so many beautiful watches that exist, this seemed a more interesting way to decide what could fit into my small collection.


  • Mathi

    Hi There,
    Can you please share with me what is the Seiko Grand Model on your first picture? it looks like the classic look is that watch belong to you? are you able to share with me the model of that watch? beside that can I purchase that model watch near you place? appreciate if you could share with me with the info.

    I’m from Malaysia ( next to Singapore) even in Malaysia only Swiss made watches are popular but since I saw an ad about the new release of Seiko Grand 2014 series in news paper advertisement last week I really fall in Love in this Seiko Grand.

    Thanks & Regards
    Mathi – Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

  • anh seiko

    Dear All,

    firstly, I would like to thank to all writer on this forum which I read over. I always watch on some website about seiko watches but seldom leave a message.

    I can’t control my feeling when talking about GS Seiko, this is the most interest watch of mine. I am living in Vietnam and start collecting Seiko watch since 2004, I owned lots of vintage Seiko in variety models such as KS, chronograph, dress … but very few time seeing GS. for over ten years I saw only three GS and bought one of them. GS impressed me very much.

    Love to share collection information with all friends !