Not only are Swiss watches popular, but Japanese watches are too. Japanese watchmakers produce many reasonable to luxury level watches for everyone. Japanese watches are known for their efficient and accurate design and function.
Japanese watches rose to power in the 70s through their efficient quartz technology. Many companies around the world including the Swiss ones do not majorly produce their own movements. They outsource them. These movements are called ‘In-House movements’. Only a few companies such as Rolex, Citizen, Patek Philippe and others produce their own movements. Imagine buying a watch that is not made by the company itself? Taking this into account, the Japanese started implementing their own movements and today almost all leading Japanese watchmakers have their own accurate movements produced 100% in-house. Moreover, the availability of these watches at a reasonable cost, not completely targeting the luxury segment, is the specialty of the Japanese watches. One can get a Japanese high-end watch with in-house movements at a reasonable cost with the same quality and precision of a high-end Swiss watch.
Let’s have a look at the top-3 Japanese watchmakers which became world famous and whose products are available at every high-end watch store. They are Seiko, Citizen and Orient.
As written above, Japanese watches are known for their own movements. Seiko is known for its kinetic movements. Just like mechanical and quartz, kinetic is also a unique platform. It can be said it is a mix of both mechanical and quartz. In 1986, at the Basel Watch Fair, Seiko unveiled its new kinetic technology. It is the first watch to convert kinetic energy to electric energy. Many people have admired Seiko’s innovation as very environmentally friendly and long lasting. Seiko has sold many kinetic watches since then. Many advancements in the same kinetic movements were also brought by Seiko in later years such as the ‘Direct Drive’ which generates electrical energy by the wearer’s wrist movements. These are a niche market for Seiko.
Seiko Museum is present in Tokyo. It started as Seiko Institute of Horology established in 1981. The museum offers guided tours at no cost. You can make reservations too in case you need an English guided tour. The museum consists mainly of three floors. The first floor showcases the evolution of time like ancient sundials and pocket watches. The second floor features a collection of Seiko’s products. Seiko produced the first wrist watch in Japan in 1912 and one can see the example of the watch at the museum. It also produced the world`s first quartz watch. The third floor is for some serious watch lovers and horology researchers. It contains documents and interesting publications. If you have time, do not miss this beautiful museum with some wonderful collections which are not found anywhere else. There is a souvenir section too in the museum.
Citizen is also one of the top 3 Japanese watchmakers which has a niche market called ‘Eco-drive’. These watches are completely environmental as they are solar-powered. There is a hidden solar panel located under the dial of an eco-drive watch fashionably making it inconspicuous. It converts light energy to electric. Now, there are hundreds of eco-drive model watches available on the market. They depend only on solar energy, making it long lasting. Usually, many have an impression that solar watches are ugly and do not work properly. But Citizen is an exception. It has world-class solar technology and is the best solar watch you can find anywhere. Usually, solar power is supplemented by automatic quartz.
Citizen has already sold thousands of watches all around the world and is one of the largest watchmakers in the world. Its headquarters is in Nishi-Tokyo, Tokyo. It is one of the brands which uses atomic timekeeping in its newest models such as the Perpetual Chrono A-T. It means they sync with every second to the atomic clocks in Germany or Colorado depending on signal strength and location. There are advancements to the eco-drive technology such as the Eco-drive Thermo which charges the battery by using the difference between the wearer’s skin temperature and the surrounding temperature,
Orient is one of the traditional watchmakers whose niche is mechanical. The company also manufactures all its components by itself. Although Orient was started in 1950 officially, it has more than one hundred years of history. The origin dates back to 1901 as a wholesale shop called ‘Yoshida Watch Shop’ in Ueno, Tokyo, selling imported pocket watches. Then in the 20s, it became a producer of table clocks and gauges and went by the name of ‘Toyo Tokei Manufacturing’. The company later shut down due to poor economy but somehow was reborn in 1950. It is now a subsidiary of Seiko Epson. It uses an orthodox watchmaking craft which dates back to 17th century and is spring-powered. It produces some excellent hand built classic watches which makes it so popular.
Orient also sometimes produces outside its niche such as quartz and solar. However, the majority of its products are mechanical and it continues to make those types of products. If you want to buy an original watch that is built by the traditional watchmaking craft, Orient is your choice. Orient became one of the first companies to set exemplification in the late 50s with its model named ‘Royal Orient’ which was the first water-resistant watch. It became successful and later borrowed and incorporated many other brands. The level of precision Orient has achieved is impeccable. It was also the first to bring LED watches onto the market with its model ‘Touchtron’ in the late 70s. Moreover, it holds the proprietary for ‘time-keeping battery saving indicator’ which is useful to know the reserve power in the watch.
Now, it is certainly clear that Japanese precision is trustworthy and one has to admit that Japanese luxury watch brands are truly one of the best one can find in the entire world. Until today, Japanese watches come in competition to Swiss watches and in most of the areas, they are even better than Swiss watches. There are many other Japanese watch brands one can keep an eye on. They truly want to be worn by everyone in the world and the upside is they also have a wide variety of models. Some are affordable as they are priced reasonably. They are also great gifts and when you are going to shop next time, be sure to ask for a Japanese luxury wrist watch.