In 1881, Kintaro Hattori founded Seiko when he opened a watch shop in Ginza. In 1913, his company made Japan’s first wristwatch, and since then, they’ve made technological and artistic strides in the field.
This year marks the 110th anniversary of Seiko and Japan’s first wristwatch, the Laurel, and to mark the occasion, Seiko will release a series of commemorative timepieces, including a new King Seiko, watch that draws inspiration from Seiko’s rich technological and design heritage. It arrives a year after the revival of the retro-inspired King Seiko collection, which won over watch fans everywhere with its clean aesthetic, substantial feel on the wrist, and winning heritage design.
A dial designed to evoke Tokyo’s Kameido neighbourhood
The gradient dial charmingly plays with light, but a closer look reveals a design inspired by Kikkoumon, a traditional Japanese geometric pattern based on the hexagonal shape of the tortoise shell. The Japanese tortoise is a symbol of long life and good fortune, and its distinctive six-sided chelonian shape has additional significance as an auspicious pattern associated with samurai armour that denotes strength and victory.
In addition, the Kikkoumon is a reference to the fact that King Seiko was born in a facility located in what was formerly called Kameshima, or “Tortoise Island,” in the Kameido district of Tokyo in the 1960s. Each hexagon on the dial is made up of a series of three inset hexagons that are progressively deeper than the ones that surround them. This sense of depth is further expressed across the entire dial by a gradual darkening from the centre to the edges.
Like other King Seiko watches released in the past year, this one has an elegant 37mm case and a seven-link bracelet. The sharp, angular design is based on the original King Seiko KSK from 1965, the second series in the King Seiko line and the inspiration for this look.
In addition to its mirror-polished and hairline-finished lugs, which offer ample visual contrast and a sense of precision in manufacturing, the anniversary King Seiko’s patterned dial, faceted indexes, and razor-edged hands give it a refined and striking presence. It has all the hallmarks of a high-end modern watch while paying homage to the setting that gave rise to a horological classic. Both the sapphire crystal and the automatic movement are state-of-the-art, with the latter boasting a power reserve of 70 hours.
In honour of the Kameido, Seiko will release 1,200 of these special watches in February 2023 through a few select Seiko Boutiques and retail partners around the world.
But wait, there is more…
The legendary King Seiko watch was reintroduced by Seiko a year ago, and now a brand new 39mm version of the model is part of the company’s King Seiko collection. Despite having larger dials than their 37mm forebears, the three new watches still manage to exude an air of refined elegance thanks to a number of small but significant improvements in both design and construction. The indexes, for instance, have been made larger and feature an extra facet to increase their light reflectance and consequently their readability. The case’s lugs are now more elongated, and its top surface has been given a hairline finish, while its angular sides are polished. The bezel’s side is now mirror polished, and its top has a hairline finish. Each comes with a seven-link bracelet that is identical to that found on 37mm King Seiko watches, making it possible to switch bracelets between the two sizes.
There are three new designs in this series, and they’re all made of stainless steel. The white, dark blue, and green faces are all unique. A combination of vertical and horizontal hairline finishing techniques lends a subtle pattern to the white dial, evoking the aesthetic of the dials of certain vintage King Seiko timepieces. In addition to the new case diameter, the sunray finish on the dark blue and green dials add a sense of opulence.
The new Caliber 6R55, used by the 39mm model, features an increased power reserve of three full days (72 hours), as shown at the six o’clock position on the dial. The three new timepieces will be sold alongside the rest of the King Seiko collection beginning in March 2023 at a curated group of Seiko Boutiques and retail partners around the world.
Recommended retail prices in Europe: €1,950