Yes, Seiko is very underrated in North America (although certainly not in Japan). They produce some of the world's finest watches, and I'm talking here about phenomenally beautiful and accurate timepieces, both mechanical and quartz. These high-end Seikos are, for the most part, the "Japan-only" models, and are seldom seen in NA. There are essentially two well-established sources for these high-end Seikos (and high-end Citizen watches too, which also are phenomenally nice), both of whom I've had excellent purchasing experiences with:http://www.seiyajapan.com/
This is Seiya Kobayashi, who is a part-time high-end Japanese watch dealer with a day job. Even though his watch business is part-time, however, there is nothing he can't get, and everyone I've ever heard from (on the various watch forums) who has bought from Seiya has been wildly happy with the experience. He's set up to sell big-time to North American purchasers, and ships by EMS, which gets the watch to you in less than a week. Completely professional and reliable. Charges reasonable prices.http://www.higuchi-inc.com/index-e.html
This is Katsu Higuchi. Higuchi is a scion of a long-established jewelry and watch business in Japan and has a big, modern brick-and-mortar store. His volume is probably much larger than Seiya's and he too is fully set up to sell to North American customers. In fact, Higuchi has customers all over the world for top-end Japanese watches. He's very professional, knowledgeable, and very reasonable price-wise. As with Seiya, you'll get your watch by EMS in days.
Most people in North America have absolutely no idea about what's available from the upper lines from Seiko (and Citizen). The build quality, finishing, and design quality of their high-end watches are, in my opinion, far superior to those the Swiss makers (and I have a few Omegas on which to base the comparison). Their new Spring Drive watches (essentially a modernized mechanical movement) are far more accurate (holding to about within 1 second per day, as opposed to the -4 to +6 seconds required by COSC for chronometer status in Omega, Rolex, etc., mechanical watches) than anything mechanical from Europe, and they are built and finished to higher levels than most Swiss watches. The high-end quartz Seikos, like their Grand Seiko and Credor lines, are both phenomenally accurate (+/- 10 seconds per year
for the GSs; also +/- 10 seconds per year for the 8J-module Credors) and just beautiful. I'll look for some pics and edit this post if I can find some.
One last thing: The OP concerned Seiko, but exactly the same thing can be said about Citizen. In fact, Citizen has the world's most accurate watch, their Chronomaster (originally called "The Citizen"), which is held to +/- 5 seconds per year specifications. The Chronomaster is also a really beautiful watch, closely resembling the Grand Seikos. Citizen Campanola models are among the world's most beautiful watches.Edit:
Ok, here's the online Credor catalog. Remember these models the next time someone tells you that Seikos are cheap Japanese watches:http://translate.google.ca/translate...%3Den%26sa%3DN