company_name = Seiko Holdings Corporation
company_type = Public tyo|8050
foundation = Chūō,
(Incorporated in 1917)
location = Minato, Tokyo, Japan
(Officially registered in Chūō, Tokyo, Japan)
key_people = Katsumi Yamamura, Chairman; Koichi Murano, President
num_employees = 6,699 (
March 31, 2006, consolidated)
revenue = 213.73 billion (FY2005, consolidated)
industry = Retail-Jewelry, Precision Instruments and Machinery
products = Watches, clocks, printers, semiconductors, mechatronics devices, machine tools, optical glass materials, jewelry, eyeglasses, etc.
homepage = [http://www.seiko.co.jp/index.html?lang_is=en Seiko Holdings Corporation]
Nihongo|Seiko Holdings Corporation|セイコーホールディングス株式会社|Seikō Hōrudingusu Kabushiki-gaisha (tyo|8050) (more commonly known simply as Seiko [pronounced say-co] ) is a
History and ongoing developments
The company started in 1881, when Kintarō Hattori opened a watch and
jewelleryshop called Nihongo|" K. Hattori"|服部時計店|Hattori Tokeiten in the Ginzaarea of Tokyo, Japan. Eleven years later in 1892, he began to produce clocks under the name Nihongo| Seikosha|精工舎|Seikōsha. 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 meaning "exquisite" is usually written 精巧 while the meaning "success" is usually written 成功.)
The first watches produced under the Seiko brand appeared in 1924. In 1969, Seiko introduced the Seiko 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 Watchesand Seiko established a joint factory. Recognized as a leader in timekeeping accuracy, Seiko products are often used as the official timekeepers of the major sporting events including the Olympic Gamesand the FIFA World Cupeditions in Argentina 1978, Spain 1982, Mexico 1986 and Italy 1990.
The company was incorporated (K. Hattori & Co., Ltd.) in 1917, renamed Hattori Seiko Co., Ltd. in 1983 and Seiko Corporation in 1990. After reconstructing and creating its operating subsidiaries (such as Seiko Watch Corporation, Seiko Clock Inc.), it became a
holding companyin 2001 and renamed Seiko Holdings Corporation as of July 1, 2007.
Seiko is perhaps known best, though, for its wristwatches. Seiko is known for their advanced technology and is one of the few wristwatch manufacturers that produce all of their watches and movements entirely in-house. Even minor items such as the oils used in lubricating the watches and the luminous compounds used on the hands and the dials are produced by the Seiko factories.
Seiko produces both quartz and mechanical watches of varying prices. The cheapest are around US$50; the most expensive (the Credor Spring Drive Sonnerie) costs over $US100,000 [ [http://www.credor.com/lineup/sonnerie/index.html SPRING DRIVE SONNERIE] ja icon
[http://www.seiko-watch.co.jp/sd/basel2006/index.html Road to BASEL WORLD 2006 - CREDOR NODE SPRING DRIVE SONNERIE] ja icon] . Seiko's mechanical watches are the most prized by collectors—from the Seiko "5" series (the 5 is proposed to reflect 5 essential features of the watch namely shock resistant, water resistant, automatic, with 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 watchwith quartz accuracy. There is no battery to change; the watch is entirely powered by its movement in everyday wear.
Frustratingly for collectors, Seiko does not release all of its watch lines in every region. Some are exclusively available in
Asia, for instance. Many online retailers will ship watches overseas, though.
Seiko Corporation of America is responsible for distribution of Seiko watches and clocks, as well as Pulsar brand watches, in the
United States. The models available in the United States are normally a smaller subset of the full line produced in Japan. Seiko Corporation of America has its headquarters and Coserv repair center in Mahwah, New Jersey. In the United States, Seiko watches are sold primarily by fine jewelers and department stores, as well as 19 company stores located in various cities.
Seiko's 2004 marketing campaign emphasized that a watch, as opposed to other traits (such as what car they drive, for example) tells most about a person.
Various Seiko watches were worn by the cinematic
James Bond007 in four films, starring Roger Moore, from 1977-1985. Also, a Seiko watch was worn by Sean Conneryin the 1983 Bond film, Never Say Never Again. A Seiko Chronograph is also worn by Jason Bourne in the book The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum.
Seiko also produces other electronic devices. Notably, during the 1980's, this company produced a range of digital synthesizers, such as the DS-250, for use in electronic music. Today, the music division, a part of Seiko Sports Life, produces metronomes & tuning devices.
7 October 2005, Seiko announced the world launch of the Seiko Spring Drive, a new calibre which delivers more power, more smoothly and for longer. Three days (72 hours) of power are provided, as opposed to the average of 40 hours in automatic mechanicals. To achieve this feat, Seiko has developed a special alloy called "Spron510". This new movement has eliminated the traditional balance wheel/ escapementregulating system in favor of a so-called "Tri-synchro Regulator". The power from the spring is used to turn the wheels but also is used to generate electrical power for a tiny, ultra-low consumption (~25 nanoWatts) crystal oscillator which in turn is used to regulate -with quartz accuracy- the speed of the wheels to exactly 8 beats per second. Spring Drive was sold regularly in Japan within the Grand Seiko and Credor lines. Seiko announced that no more than 300 units will be produced on a monthly basis. The Spring Drive also marks the first true luxury Seiko watches available outside Japan. They are expected to retail around $3,200 to $3,500. In the Paris premiere, Seiko auctioned the first Spring Drive, which was sold for about 10,000 euros and the money was given to a Basel-based charity that supports children suffering from cancer and leukemia.
Seiko is also the official timer of many major sporting events:
* Tokyo Olympic Summer Games in Japan, 1964
* 1978 World Cup in
* 1982 World Cup in
* 1986 World Cup in
* IAAF World Championships in Athletics in
* 1990 World Cup in Italy,
* IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo, Japan, 1991
BarcelonaOlympic Summer Games in Spain, 1992
LillehammerOlympic Winter Games in Norway, 1994
NaganoOlympic Winter Games in Japan, 1998
Salt Lake CityOlympic Winter Games in USA, 2002
Seiko is also named as the official timekeeper of the "
Gran Turismo" racing game series, published by Sony.
Currently, Seiko have agreed to sponsor Honda (previously known as BAR (British American Racing) Honda). The Seiko name cannot currently be found on the Honda racing cars because Seiko Japan refuse to be advertised whilst the names of tobacco companies are still appearing on the cars. They can, however, be found on the lollipop used in the pitlane.
Operating companies (products and services)
* Seiko Watch Corporation — watches: Seiko (Grand Seiko, Dolce & Exceline, Brightz, Lukia, Prospex, iu, Ruse, Spirit, Alpinist, Ignition, Premier, Coutura, Arctura, Sportura, Criteria, Rivoli, Vivace, etc.), Credor, Galante, Wired, Wired XYZ, Alba, Pulsar, Lorus. Seiko Watch is a planning and marketing company. Seiko Holdings delegates a large portion of the manufacturing in its watch business to
Seiko Epsonand Seiko Instruments.
*Seiko Clock Inc. — clocks, kitchen timers: Seiko, Decor Seiko, Seiko Emblem, Seiko Premium, Seiko Melodies in Motion Musical Clocks, Pyxis
* Seiko Service Center Co., Ltd. — repair and after service for watches
* Seiko Time Systems Inc. — system clocks (outside, building wall, monument, floral clocks), sports timing equipment
* Seiko Sports Life Co., Ltd — golf clubs, stopwatches, musical accessories (tuners, metronomes)
* Seiko Precision Inc. — printers, time servers, electronic devices, micromechatronics devices, camera shutters, etc.
* Seiko NPC Corporation — semiconductors
* Seiko Jewelry Co., Ltd. — jewelry
* Seiko Optical Products Co., Ltd. — optical lenses & frames
* Wako Co., Ltd. — upscale specialty retails
* Cronos Inc. — retail sales of watches, jewellery items and eyeglasses
* Seiko Business Services Inc. — human resources
* Ohara Inc. (Seiko owns 32.2% Tyo|5218) — specialty optical glass (glass materials for lenses and prisms)
Seiko Holdings is one of the three core companies of the
Seiko Group. The Seiko Group consists of Seiko Holdings Corporation (Seiko), Seiko Instruments Inc. (SII) and Seiko Epson Corporation(Epson). Although they have some common shareholders including the key members of the Hattori family (posterity of Kintarō Hattori), the three companies in the Seiko Group are not affiliated. They are managed and operated completely independently. Seiko Watch, an operating subsidiary of Seiko Holdings, markets Seiko watches while SII and Epson manufacture their movements.
References and footnotes
* [http://www.seiko.co.jp/index.html?lang_is=en Seiko Holdings Corporation website] en icon
* [http://www.seiko.co.jp Seiko Holdings Corporation website] ja icon
* [http://www.seiko.co.jp/en/corporate/group.html Seiko Holdings group companies] en icon
* [http://www.seiko-watch.co.jp Seiko Watch Corporation website] ja icon
* [http://www.seikowatches.com Seiko Watch Corporation International website] en icon
* [http://www.seikoclocks.com Seiko Clocks website] en icon
* [http://www.seiko.co.jp/en/corporate/group.html Seiko Holdings Group Companies] en icon
* [http://www.seikospringdrive.com Seiko Spring Drive website] en icon
* [http://service.seiko.com.au Seiko Calibers] en icon
* [http://www.thepurists.com/watch/features/8ohms/7s26/ A detailed evaluation of the mechanics of a Seiko 7S26 watch movement] en icon
* [http://users.tpg.com.au/wookie99/seikodivingwatches.html Seiko Diver Watch Index] A very handy quick reference of Seiko Dive watches, listing by case material, size, water resistance, dial color and model number.
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