I Love Whatever You Say, Seiko
Besides the time, a watch can tell so many other things these days. With the concept of a timepiece broadened—grudgingly—to include smartwatches whose features can include body thermometers, fitness and messaging connectivity, altimeters, fall detectors, atrial fibrillation detectors, there now exists almost every kind of complication available to common and uncommon sense.
I would like to put forward, however, that the Seiko watch is a complication in itself—made of many further complicated things, among them a deep history, a classical eye for design, a dogged dedication to quality, and the masterful ability to create legions of followers from all wrists of life.
Seiko is a brand that absolutely needs no introduction, thanks to its foundational position in the history of watchmaking, and thanks also to its ultrawide approach to market and product development. And yet, as Seiko enthusiasts will gladly and exhaustively point out, there are particular Seiko models that require a deep and fanatical introduction. They require your attentive understanding of why this model is uncommonly significant or uniquely desirable.
It is a brand that does not suffer from its unfathomably wide spectrum of price point and functionality. There is the Seiko 5, the most basic and affordable of Seiko models, treasured for their tool-watch reliability, and there is the decidedly expensive Grand Seiko, whose precisely etched dials and almost magical “spring drive” command genuflection from both enthusiasts and newcomers, especially those from the luxury watch market.
And then there is everything in between: divers and GMTs, dress watches for more classically-oriented individuals, all under an often confusing range of model numbers and codes, each representing a variation in form, functionality, movement, size, or edition.
But the confusion is easily settled among Seiko lovers, for whom the fanhood can quickly go beyond hobbyist interest and cross into the harrowing territory of obsession. It is an obsession toward knowledge more than possession, making Seiko communities around the world more warm and inclusive, and certainly more diverse—very much like the Seikos themselves.
The inauguration of the Seiko store at Powerplant a few weeks ago was cleverly timed (almost as cleverly as the verb this writer just used) with new offerings of the kind, appealing to both broad and peculiar tastes. A Grand Seiko GMT—in quartz, as if to highlight the brand’s almost dutiful flaunting of the unspoken rules of watchmaking and value—in two available variants, appropriately sexily (to Seiko lovers) named SBGN027 and SBGN029.
I wanted either one immediately, of course. But then they raised the stakes by presenting a 55th-year anniversary 44GS and a Grand Seiko (model number SLGH013, for those excited by such esoteric stuff) whose design is inspired by “the melting snows of Mt. Iwate.” As if this did not raise the new Grand Seiko’s sex appeal enough, the new model features a case and bracelet made of Ever-Brilliant Steel.
Edric Dy, Timeplus Corporation VP for Marketing and Karl Dy, Timeplus Corporation President and CEO.
At the launch, one of the store guys was quick to identify the Turtle Blue Lagoon Limited I wore especially for the occasion (“The SRPB11K1,” I whispered to myself hotly as I put it on earlier that day). Nothing fancy at all, but a watch I particularly love for its beautiful presentation and weight distribution on the wrist. Uncannily, he also instantly and happily identified the watch my wife wore—which was not a Seiko—and described why he liked it.
He was one of them: someone for whom watches were something to be appreciated and loved, not necessarily for what a particular brand represented or the kind of person it appealed to. This kind of love was not complicated at all. I looked at him and understood how it was all quite simple and true.