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Seiko Exciting Clock School Seiko Exciting Clock School

Learning, Knowing, and Creating Time

Seiko’s personnel visit elementary schools to conduct special, fun classes in a program called Seiko Exciting Clock School.
“Time” is the invisible, universal language that links all people and societies around the world.
Seiko continues to run this program with the hope that students will appreciate the enjoyment and importance of learning, knowing, and creating time.
They learn about the wisdom acquired by humankind in methods of telling the “correct time,” which we now take for granted.
They get to know about the fascinating aspects of time and timepieces through a hands-on experience of the roles and technologies of timepieces as well as the techniques of watchmakers.
And they create rich future times by thinking initiatively about what we need to do to reach that goal and cooperating with those around us to achieve it.

Purpose of lessons

Learn how the pendulum principle taught in science classes is applied in society.

Think about the roles that timepieces play.

Experience the fun of building something.

Lesson outline

The lessons consist of a lecture on the evolution of timepieces through history, an experiment in measuring time accurately, an activity in which students make their own original clocks, and a workshop for experiencing the amazing work of a watchmaker.

The students listen to the lesson and carry out the work activities in groups of 3 to 5. One of the Seiko personnel acts as the teacher for the overall lesson, while the other personnel are assigned as teaching assistants, one to each group.


The flow of the Seiko Exciting Clock School lessons


Learning about the roles and history of timepieces.


Actually trying to measure 10 seconds.


Learning about the mechanisms of timepieces.


Making an original clock.


Taking on the challenge of a watchmaker’s work.

Related school units

Grade 5
- Science
"Pendulum movement"

Grade 6
- Japanese
"Clock time and heart time"

Grade 5
- Social studies
"Industrial development"

Grade 3
- Math
"Moments and intervals in time"

Grade 4
- Japanese
"Comparative reading of advertisements and instructions"

Part of comprehensive learning time and special activities

Lesson form

・Target grades: Elementary school grades 5 and 6
・Lesson time: 90 minutes (two 45-minute sessions)


Seiko teacher and assistants

One of Seiko’s personnel acts as the teacher for the overall lesson, while other personnel are assigned as teaching assistants, one to each group. The teacher this time is Ms. Wakamaru.

Ms. Wakamaru Photo

Seiko teacher for this lessonMs. Wakamaru

Today only lasts for today!
Mr. Suusan Photo

Mr. Suusan

Precious time is more important than money!
Ms. Kamiyama Photo

Ms. Kamiyama

Look into the “why?” of things!
Mr. Maccho Photo

Mr. Maccho

Asking “why?” is important.
Ms. Otaka Photo

Ms. Otaka

Let’s get to know a ton of things we “don’t know!”
Mr. Furuya Photo

Mr. Furuya

Delve deep into the things that you become absorbed in!
Mr. Shumai Photo

Mr. Shumai

Professor Seiko

Professor Seiko illustration


Digita-kun illustration


Haguruma-chan illustration

Details about lessons

The students can learn about “Pendulum movement” and “Industrial development” that they learn in school, but by experiencing them from a different perspective through familiar objects, they can personalize the lessons without feeling like these are difficult subjects for them. There are also workshops where the students can build things with their team, so the 90 minutes is over before they know it. The students also get to experience the renowned craftsmanship of Japanese watchmakers. Let’s take a look at an actual lesson.

The roles and history of timepieces

First, the students are asked to think about what times they look at a clock or watch. They think of various situations such as “when I go to school,” “when I’m at cram school,” or “when I want to know how many minutes until a test finishes.” This helps them to realize the roles that timepieces play in social life.

Such convenient timepieces were not things that existed in the world to begin with. What kind of searching did humankind have to do to know the time? The students learn about the history of the evolution of ancient methods of measuring time using the forces of nature, beginning with humankind’s invention of the first sundial some 7000 years ago.

7000 years ago (5000 B.C.)   The sundial—the original clock
3400 years ago (1400 B.C.)  The emergence of the water clock
700 years ago (around the year 1300)  The hourglass—useful almost anywhere
Each method had its own shortcomings, like the sundial not working when the sun wasn’t out, but time-keeping devices evolved as people found ways to overcome such problems.

Try to build a mechanism to measure 10 seconds, using things around you.

If the clocks and watches we now take for granted were to suddenly disappear, how could we measure time or know what time it is? The students conduct an experiment using things around them, such as a scrubbing brush, sand, water, string, a tape measure, a fidget spinner, or bath salts, to build a mechanism that can accurately measure 10 seconds.

The students try a variety of methods. Some pour sand or water into a plastic container, adjusting the amount to measure 10 seconds, while others suspend a scrubbing brush from a string and let it swing back and forth. Based on the results of this experiment, the students learn the principle of correct time-keeping, i.e., multiplying intervals by the number of repetitions.

Mechanisms and evolution of timepieces

Humankind continued to search for ways to create more accurate clocks. In this lesson, students learn about the history of evolution of timepieces: how the pendulum principle studied in Grade 5 led to the development of accurate clocks, the emergence of portable timepieces, and the development of even more accurate timepieces.

The pendulum principle

An ideal principle for producing accurate intervals

According to this principle, if the length of the pendulum is the same, the time it takes to swing back and forth will be the same, whether the width of the swing is wide or narrow.

Pendulum clocks

ふりこ式時計 Photo
Compared with clocks that worked by the forces of natural elements, a pendulum clock was a vastly more accurate mechanism! But a pendulum clock will stop if it is tilted.

Portable wristwatches

Using a “balance wheel” instead of a pendulum to keep time
The invention of the balance wheel meant that timepieces could keep working even when tilted, and could be made small enough to carry about!

Looking into the mechanism of an actual watch, the students observe the motion of the balance wheel: the device that made portable timepieces possible.

Looking into the mechanism of an actual watch, the students observe the motion of the balance wheel: the device that made portable timepieces possible.

Also, by observing a model of a watch movement, the students learn that a watch contains many parts. The students can see first-hand the numerous mechanisms, invented through humankind’s trial and error, that are contained behind the watch hands that keep time so accurately.

Also, by observing a model of a watch movement, the students learn that a watch contains many parts. The students can see first-hand the numerous mechanisms, invented through humankind’s trial and error, that are contained behind the watch hands that keep time so accurately.

Even more accurate timepieces

Using quartz instead of a balance wheel to keep time
Quartz watches brought accuracy more than 100 times that of watches up to that time! Seiko was the first in the world to market these quartz watches.

Making an original clock

While considering the question first asked—“what times do you look at a clock or watch?”—the students come up with ideas for their own original clocks, based on the question “what kind of clock would you like to have?”
For the mechanism of their original clock, the students choose from one of four types, with revolution times of 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes. They then complete the design of the clock face to match the movement of the clock hand.
Numerous fun ideas are thrown about, such as “a clock that measures the time of a soccer match,” “a 30-minute clock to measure lunchtime,” “a clock that shows how much time is left on a test,” “a clock that measures your night routine,” and “TV time.”
Each team produces an original clock, as the team members carry out the 3 roles of appearance design, advertising, and technical design and assembly.

Appearance design


Technical design and assembly


Each group gives a presentation of their completed clock.

The advertising slogan for the “school lunch employee clock” the students have made in this workshop is “school lunch championship: if you eat fast enough, could you too become president!?,” which draws laughter from everyone. Other examples are the “time-killing clock,” the “hurry! morning preparation clock,” the “30-minute morning clock,” and the “curry clock.” Each idea is full of humor.

Watchmaker workshop

The final task is to take on the challenge of a watchmaker’s work. “Pick up the tiny screws that are actually used in watches and try to insert them in the holes. See how many screws you can put in by yourself in 30 seconds.”

The components actually used in watches include parts thinner than a hair.
The students focus on the work with serious expressions.
As mishaps occur, such as screws popping out of their grip, they learn that it does not always go as they hope. With the best result of 6 screws in place, and the average of just 3, the students’ expressions show respect for the technical abilities of watchmakers in assembling such small parts.
The students learn while experiencing how, along with the development of modern technology, the renowned craftsmanship of Japanese watchmakers is also something important that is being kept alive.


A message from Seiko teachers

Ms. Wakamaru, the teacher Photo

The message of Ms. Wakamaru, the teacher of today’s lesson, to the students preparing to graduate from elementary school, is “Dream big!”
By having big dreams, people can come up with various ideas in order to achieve those dreams. The technology in the evolution of clocks that we learned about today also came out of somebody’s dreams.
For example, in the Age of Discovery, at a time when there was no way for sailors to know their exact position on the open seas and shipwrecks were common, the marine chronometer, an accurate clock for use on voyages, was created to realize the dream of being able to safely voyage around the world.
Once you have an idea for realizing your dream, the next step is to put it into practice.
This is where you can develop relationships with other people. It’s hard to realize a dream by yourself. It’s by engaging with all sorts of people and overcoming various obstacles that you can achieve your dreams. And the relationships that you build along the way will also continue to support your life after that.
Please, dream big and spread your wings.

Students’ comments

Students Photo

“Measuring 10 seconds was harder than I thought. It made me realize what an important role timepieces play.”

“I learned how timekeeping devices gradually progressed from sundials and water clocks and so on, until they developed into the form we know today. It made me think how amazing the accumulation of ages is.”

“Inserting screws into a watch was such a delicate job, it made me think how amazing watchmakers are.”

“I found the history of timepieces so interesting. I also came to understand just how amazing timepieces are.”

“I was really happy how the teacher offered comments to each group when we presented our original clock creation.”

“I’m also going to find my dream.”

Teacher’s comment

Teacher’s comment Photo

I was grateful that those things the students have learned in science and math classes were utilized in a natural way. Although this class is rather reserved and has difficulty with presentations, they had so many ideas tucked away in their heads, and they seemed to have a lot of fun today.

Even after returning to the classroom, they continued to talk enthusiastically, saying things like “that clock design was really good.” After they had their school lunch, I heard them saying things like “I didn’t make president today,” having fun using the idea behind the original clock design of the “school lunch employee clock” (the concept of “if you eat fast, you too can become president”). This is the creativity of students, to come up with things I could never think of.

I got the feeling that their awareness of time had changed; that they had learned to watch the time with purpose and felt the importance of thinking about what timepieces are needed for. And it also seems like they discovered that there are many departments within Seiko, each with its own role. This also made it a career-education activity, which was really great.

The clocks that everyone made together

Here are the clocks that the students produced from their own free thinking and original ideas.

Record of activities

Number of students who have participated


Number of participating schools


Number of Seiko staff who have participated


Total number of hours of classes taught


* Cumulative numbers for activities up to FY2019.