Seiko Holdings Corporation, more commonly known simply as Seiko, is a Japanese watch company.
History and ongoing developments
The company started in 1881, when Kintaro Hattori opened a watch and jewelry shop called "K. Hattori" in the Ginza area of Tokyo, Japan. Eleven years later, in 1892, he began to produce clocks under the name Seikosha, meaning roughly "House of Exquisite Workmanship." According to Seiko's official company history, titled "A Journey In Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko" (2003), Seiko is a Japanese word meaning "exquisite," "minute," or "success."
The first watches produced under the Seiko brand appeared in 1924. In 1969, Seiko introduced the Astron, the world's first production quartz watch; when it was introduced, it cost the same as a medium-sized car. Seiko later went on to introduce the first quartz chronograph. In 1985, Orient Watches and Seiko established a joint factory.
The company was incorporated (K. Hattori & Co., Ltd.) in 1917 and was renamed Hattori Seiko Co., Ltd. in 1983 and Seiko Corporation in 1990. After reconstructing and creating its operating subsidiaries (such as Seiko Watch Corporation and Seiko Clock Inc.), it became a holding company in 2001 and was renamed Seiko Holdings Corporation as of July 1, 2007.
Seiko is perhaps best known for its wristwatches, all of which were at one time produced entirely in-house. This includes not only major items such as microgears, motors, hands, crystal oscillators, batteries, sensors, LCDs but also minor items such as the oils used in lubricating the watches and the luminous compounds used on the hands and the dials. Currently watch movements are made in Shizukuishi, Iwate (SII Morioka Seiko Instruments), Ninohe, Iwate (SII Ninohe Tokei Kogyo), Shiojiri, Nagano (Seiko Epson) and their subsidiaries in China, Malaysia and Singapore. The fully integrated in-house production system is still practised in Japan.
Seiko produces both quartz and mechanical watches of varying prices. The least expensive are around US$45 (Alba); the most expensive (Credor JURI GBBX998) costs US$554,000.] Seiko's mechanical watches are highly prized by collectors - from the Seiko "5" series (the 5 reflects the five essential features of the watch, namely shock resistant, water resistant, automatic, and day and date display), which is the most common; the Seiko automatic Chronometer series; the "Bell-Matic," with a mechanical alarm; to the highly prized luxury "Credor," "King Seiko," and "Grand Seiko" lines. Seiko Kinetic watches account for a large proportion of sales nowadays and combine the self-energizing attributes of an automatic watch with quartz accuracy. The watch is entirely powered by its movement in everyday wear. On 7 October 2005, Seiko announced the launch of the Seiko Spring Drive, a new movement that provides 72 hours of power compared to 40 hours for mechanical and 3 years for battery powered quartz watches. This new movement uses a "Tri-synchro Regulator". The power from the spring is used to turn the gear train and a generator. The generator powers a circuit that includes a low consumption (~25 nanowatts) quartz crystal oscillator. The oscillator is a part of a continuous feedback circuit, which holds the speed of the generator close to eight revolutions per second. According to Seiko records the resulting movement delivers accuracy commensrate with other quartz timed watch movements. (Wikipedia)