In keeping with the spirit of our founder, "Always one step ahead of the rest," we have undertaken the Watches Business utilizing our innovative cutting-edge technologies and the tradition of master craftsmen. To ensure we can thoroughly exercise our originality, Seiko is one of the world's few "manufactures d'horlogerie" (in-house integrated manufacturer) that undertakes every process in-house, from the production of parts to the assembly of finished products and adjustments. Our product lineup centers on four global brands: Grand Seiko, which pursues the essence of watches; Seiko Astron, the world's first GPS solar watch; Seiko Prospex, a collection of professional specification sports watches inspired by the first diver's watch ever made in Japan; and Seiko Presage, a Japanese-made mechanical watch.
In Japan, we also offer Credor, which embodies Japanese aesthetics, and Seiko Lukia for contemporary women who lead active lives. Overseas, we offer such watches as Seiko Premier, an elegant dress watch.
Grand Seiko—Toward New Heights as an Independent Brand
Having continually evolved since its birth in 1960, Grand Seiko is now aiming for new heights after becoming an independent brand in 2017. Grand Seiko's design, which until now has targeted mainly business settings, will be broadened to encompass genuine sports watches such as diver's watches as well as elegant watches led by ladies' watches. We will also further enhance precious metal models with high prestige features as we respond to demand for watches for luxury settings.
Grand Seiko achieves the highest levels of precision, durability, beauty and legibility, which represent the ideals for watches. This watch continually pursues the true essence of watches through three types of movements that include mechanical movement, quartz movement and spring drive movement achieved through our inherent innovative technologies.
Grand Seiko embodies cutting-edge innovation and traditional craftsmanship. Grand Seiko is supported by leading-edge alloy development and MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems)* high-precision component processing technology and manufacturing that utilizes the assembly and adjustment skills of craftsmen and women at Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Iwate Prefecture and Shinshu Takumi Studio in Nagano Prefecture. Meanwhile, Grand Seiko's beauty and legibility are achieved through the craftsmanship of carefully selected skilled technicians who put their finishing touches on the watch hands, dials, cases and bands. These technicians are backed by the knowledge and efforts of designers, engineers and planners. Staff and technicians involved with Grand Seiko include many who have won recognition as a Contemporary Master Craftsmen and received the prestigious Medal with Yellow Ribbon. In 2014, Seiko produced its first present-day Master Craftsman designer, who is the only designer Master Craftsman in the watch industry. Grand Seiko is raising its presence as a leading brand in the luxury watch market.
*MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) is a leading-edge processing technology used for ultra-precision parts for semiconductors and other products and is capable of creating lightweight parts with 0.001mm precision.
Seiko Astron, the World's First GPS Solar Watch
Seiko Astron embodies innovativeness. This watch inherits its name from QUARTZ ASTRON launched by Seiko in 1969 as the world's first quartz watch. Following this so-called "Quartz revolution," which completely transformed lifestyles of people worldwide with high time precision, Seiko launched Seiko Astron as the world's only GPS solar watch in September 2012, spurring the "second revolution" in the watch industry. With just one touch of a simple button, Seiko Astron always provides the correct local time anywhere in the world by receiving signals from GPS satellites.
Seiko Astron, which spawned a new genre of GPS solar watches, celebrated the fifth anniversary of its debut in 2017. During these five years, Seiko Astron has evolved dramatically by becoming even smaller with a mechanism that consumes even less power. This watch is earning high acclaim as an essential business item of globalists who are active throughout the world and it has led the market as a top brand of GPS watches. In marking the watch's fifth anniversary, Seiko launched an executive line of watches with improved design and exterior specifications targeted at global business persons who aim for the top globally. With an extensive lineup arranged according to functions such as chronograph and dual time functions, Seiko Astron stimulates the sensitivities of people taking on challenges on the world stage. Based on the slogan, "further evolution," Seiko Astron will continue to advance in the future.
Seiko Prospex Originated from the First Diver's Watch Made in Japan
Seiko Prospex is a full-fledged sports watch brand. It follows the tradition of the Japan's first diver's watch that Seiko launched in 1965. Its high-level performance was proven in a variety of settings that test the robustness of watches. For example, around the time of its launch the watch was presented to and used by members of an Antarctic wintering team.
Nonetheless, three years after the debut of the diver's watch, we received a letter from a professional diver that sparked a major leap forward for Seiko's subsequent manufacture of sports watches.
The diver stated that commercially sold watches at that time could not be used in deep water for long work periods. When performing work in the highly pressurized conditions of deep water, a gas mixture of helium and oxygen is used instead of nitrogen. The letter informed us that small molecules of helium inevitably sneaked into the highly airtight watch when worn inside the shipboard living chamber pressurized at the same level as underwater pressure and when inside the underwater elevator. The letter said that in a worst-case scenario, this nitrogen expanded and shattered the watch glass. The letter also pointed out that high visibility is essential in pitch-black conditions and that extraordinary durability against impact and blows is also needed. Viewing this letter as an opportunity, Seiko's research team devoted seven years of efforts and developed the ideal diver's watch. This tradition of exhaustively pursuing durability, robustness and ease of use lives on today in Seiko Prospex.
Seiko Presage Demonstrates the Appeal of Japanese-Made Mechanical Watches
Our fourth major watch brand is Seiko Presage. Although Seiko is renowned for the development of the world's first quartz wristwatches, it has also been a world leader with a history of over 100 years in mechanical watches.
In Switzerland, observatory chronometer contests for watch precision among leading watchmakers were held since the 19th century. In 1968, Seiko exclusively claimed the top positions for mechanical watches, marking the moment that Seiko attained the pinnacle of precision in mechanical watches through its independently developed high-precision movement.
Seiko Presage is a Japanese mechanical watch that inherits this tradition. Seiko Presage adopts TRIMATIC, a collective term for three independently developed technologies to ensure that mechanical watches are easy to use on a daily basis, provide stable precision and can be used over long periods. Seiko Presage utilizes the Diashock anti-shock structure, the Magic Lever that enhances winding efficiency and improves maintenance characteristics and Seiko's proprietary alloy named "Spron" that realizes improved performance of the spring that delivers precision and durability.
In addition, Seiko Presage's mechanical-like design and case are also attractive features. The classical enamel and lacquer dial were finished off by representative masters. With the Presage line that pursues Japanese technologies and traditions and proposes new value positioned at the apex, in 2016 we began making this line of watches available globally as mechanical watches that combine practicality and elegance, and these watches are earning high acclaim.
Seiko Boutiques—Specialty Stores That Convey Seiko's Worldview
Under our policy of raising the global presence of our watches centering on Grand Seiko in the luxury watch market, our Seiko Boutiques play a key role in directly conveying Seiko's worldview to consumers. Seiko operates 77 Seiko Boutiques in principal cities around that world that include Tokyo, New York, Paris and Beijing. Displaying our main products in a single location, the boutiques convey the vision of each brand and specialist staff who are highly knowledgeable about Seiko products serve customers. We plan to accelerate the global development of Seiko Boutiques in the future. We opened a boutique in London in 2017 and aim to operate 100 boutiques in fiscal 2018.
Aiming to Be a Leading Company in the Global Watch Market
In April 2017, I assumed the duties of president with an eye toward attaining our strategic goal of "Grow Seiko into a truly global brand and become a leading company in the global watch market toward 2020." Within a dramatically evolving market, we will flexibly and speedily execute our business and global marketing.
The Watches Business has achieved steady growth as the Group’s core business. Going forward, Seiko aims to further expand profitability and invest for growth. We aim to further raise Seiko brand value by opening our own boutiques across the world and by promoting a shift toward the mid- to high-end price range centered on our mechanical watches.