Long Live the King Seiko


In Japan, they do things differently.

For the Japanese watch business in the 1960s, doing things differently came from necessity. While Swiss watch brands could source components from hundreds of different suppliers, Japan's isolation meant it had to go it alone.

Seiko's origins in becoming the giant brand it is today come from this era.

By having to produce every watch component 'in house' it became an early exemplar of a vertically-integrated business—the streamlined model now seen as key to success in loads of businesses, not just watches.

Being Japanese, though, Seiko added an extra layer of ambition. Two vertically integrated businesses that would compete with each other. One was Grand Seiko. The other was King Seiko. The two would duke it out to see who could produce the most accurate watch. (We mean this literally, they entered competitions as rivals.)

Sixties' King Seikos have long been held in high regard by watch fans, with originals generating sharp prices at resale. In 2021, to commemorate the 140th anniversary of Seiko's foundation, it recreated a 1965 model known as the King Seiko KSK. The watch was designed by Taro Tanaka, someone who would come to define the brand's identity to such a degree his legacy is still known as 'The Grammar of Design.'

Photo by SEIKO.

Now Seiko has announced a new version—the King Seiko KSK #2. A limited edition of 1,700, the new model has a vintage dial colour and gold accents. It's been slimmed down from the original and features a 'radiant' design on the dial.

The bracelet is a recreation of the Sixties original while the all-important 'King Seiko' crest is on both the crown and the case back.

The Sixties was a golden age for these classic-looking watches, so it's not hard to see why the KSK remains such hot property.

As for its accuracy, one only has to be reminded that whatever the rivalry between King Seiko and Grand Seiko was, they both shared the Seiko name—Japanese, lest we forget, for 'precision.'

FromEsquire UK

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