This is my first posting here. Was directed toward this thread from another forum (watch related). Interesting read. IMVHO Seiko is underrated for reasons that have already been stated: Seiko's marketing strategy in North America . . . quartz for the mainstream consumer where the overwhelming revenue can be made in sales.
Since this is about Seiko, I will post a number of pics of some Seiko rarely seen in the USA with short remarks about each.. None are (or were) expensive, and a couple vintage I personally restored cosmetically (zero movement work . . . no reason for it). You can draw your own conclusions about the brand. Keep in mind that for the vintage, acrylic crystals were found on everything, including Omegas and Rolexes.
Vintage Seiko 5 made in 1969 with a 21j 6119A auto-wind movement in solid stainless steel case. In its era, this was considered an affordable middle-grade Seiko:
Vintage Seiko 5 made in 1974 with 21j 6119C auto-wind movement in solid stainless steel case:
Seiko Arcadia made in 2001 with 10-year battery life 8F32 perpetual quartz movement. It "knows" month of year and which year it is in the Leap Year cycle; date never needs to be advanced at the end of a month. Solid stainless steel case with solid machined links and heavy sapphire crystal. These were sold in the U.S., but not in big numbers. This was a "named" collection selling approx 2x-3x the price of the Seikos most people find in department stores.
Seiko 5 Superior made in 2003 with 23j 7S36 auto-wind movement in machined stainless steel case and integral band and sapphire crystal. This is no light-weight at over 180 grams. Today, the "5 Superior" is a cut above the normal Seiko 5 line and they're sold in the Asian market:
Seiko "Spirit" made in 2006 with 23j 6R15 auto-wind movement in machined stainless steel case and integral band. Not a lightweight either, the crystal is very thick, faceted sapphire and has AR coating on its underside. The "Spirit" is a definite cut above the entire Seiko 5 (Superior) line and they're sold in Japan. After examining it closely, my watchmaker (qualified to work on anything made) remarked that this was the kind of stuff Seiko should be sending to the US:
A brand name owned by Seiko is Credor, and AFAIK, they're only sold in Japan. It's considered a high-end prestige brand with edgier designs compared to the classical Grand Seiko. The "flagship" solid gold cased Credor Spring Drive Sonnerie. MSRP: 15,000,000 JPY; ~$150,000 USD at current exchange rate. You're either into skeleton watches or not . . . for a few dollars less you can get one with a normal dial. (I do not
I want to introduce another Japanese brand rarely seen in the USA: Orient. IMVHO, they are the #2 Japanese watchmaker, just behind Seiko. Their production volumes are small compared to Seiko, and they are marketed in the Asian-Pacific region. Both are mid-range in Orient's entire lineup.
Orient Power Reserve with 23j caliber 46 series Orient auto-wind movement, solid stainless steel case with integral band, and very heavy mineral glass crystal:
Orient "M-Force" Power Reserve World Time with 23j caliber 46 series Orient auto-wind movement, solid stainless steel case with integral band, and very heavy mineral glass crystal. The World Time ring rotates counter-clockwise at half the rate of the hour hand, and can be set as desired using the crown:
Orient's "flagship" is the Royal Orient collection which have Rolex prices. Quite affordable are the Orient Star which are a cut above the pair I've shown and extremely well made. Orient isn't underrated, it's entirely unknown in North America (except among watch collectors). Much of what does migrate across the Big Pond via ePrey is at the very bottom of their watch collections (similar to inexpensive Seikos).
Hope this has given you a look at some Japanese watches you haven't seen before . . . Seiko and Orient . . . and more information about these Japanese brands.
You may now continue with your regularly scheduled thread about Seiko and whether it's underrated.