Seiko has been a pillar of the international timekeeping business since they were first established in Japan in 1881. They lay claim to a host of innovative landmarks; Seiko designed Japan’s first wristwatch in 1913, created Japan’s first television ad in 1953, and sold the world’s first quartz wrist-watch (the Seiko Quartz-Astron) in 1969. The multifunction digital watch that we all take for granted today was first offered by Seiko in 1975, and the first watch with computer functions was Seiko’s UC-2000, released in 1984. Seiko has been on the very front lines of new watch technology for nearly two centuries.
Any one of these feats would make Seiko a brand name to reckon with. Their consistently cutting-edge developments with quartz are particularly impressive. Seiko’s quartz time pieces (which initially took up entire rooms, but eventually became smaller and sleeker) have been used as the official timers of global sporting events since the Olympics in 1964 because of their reliable accuracy. Up until the Seiko Quartz-Astron in 1953, quartz clocks were extremely accurate, but much too bulky to carry around. Seiko found the perfect design to protect the fragile quartz crystal in clocks from jostling or buckling under changing temperature and pressure, even in a small and compact mechanism. They also designed a new battery that would run a quartz mechanism for up to a year without changing, which was record-breaking at the time.
The first Quartz-Astron was incredibly expensive (the Seiko website compares it to the price of a small car in 1953), but its impacts were indisputable. By creating a quartz wrist-watch that anyone could buy, Seiko revolutionized the way that individuals marked and tracked their minutes, hours, and days. In many ways, this marks the start of our modern obsession with exact timekeeping. Seiko’s quartz technology designs are now used in televisions, computers, and even digital cameras.
Swiss clock makers were hot on the heels of Seiko’s quartz developments, and many companies offer similarly intricate digital and computer devices that compare to Seiko’s offerings today. Despite this, Seiko has a proven history of quality, innovation, and reliability that make them a stand-out choice in the global clock and watch market no matter what country you come from. The company still holds the world’s highest-ever score from the Geneva competition for the “best mechanical chronometer” (and that prestige may have resulted in the Geneva competition being open only to European companies every year after that.) The award was well-deserved, and the same impressive legacy of Seiko is available to you today, right here at the Tick Tock Shop.