Seiko Watches - Underrated?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by GQBaller, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    I will get a Spirit 013. I love that watch.
     


  2. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    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
     


  3. Spatlese

    Spatlese Senior member

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    Thanks for that Roger. I'm a big Seiko fan (currently sporting a monster diver) but count me in among those who were unaware of the higher end line.
     


  4. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim In Time Out

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    My dad has a King Seiko Automatic Chronograph like this one that he's worn on his wrist nearly every day of his life since the day he got it as a HS graduation present from his father.

    [​IMG]
     


  5. lsquare

    lsquare Senior member

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    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


    Thanks for the info Roger. Of the two sellers, which one do you prefer? I still find it hard to believe that Seiya can even sell those watches at those prices. I just checked the exchange rate and it seems like Seiya is selling those watches at a loss base on today's exchange rate.
     


  6. lsquare

    lsquare Senior member

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  7. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    Thanks for the info Roger. Of the two sellers, which one do you prefer? I still find it hard to believe that Seiya can even sell those watches at those prices. I just checked the exchange rate and it seems like Seiya is selling those watches at a loss base on today's exchange rate.
    Of the two, I've often found Higuchi's prices a touch lower than Seiya's. Higuchi's English is considerably better than Seiya's--a factor if you need to talk to them on the 'phone--and his emails are a little easier to understand. However, I've not experienced any serious problems in communications with Seiya. Other than that, they are pretty much equal. Both are seasoned professionals who love watches and operate in a professional and businesslike way. I've never heard a complaint about either.
     


  8. Composer_1777

    Composer_1777 Senior member

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    Seiko FTW and when you get drunk its less likely to get stolen from your wrist.
     


  9. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    I currently have my eyes on these two Seiko watches:

    http://www.seiyajapan.com/product/S-...5_SARB029.html

    http://www.seiyajapan.com/product/S-...5_SCVS015.html

    Other than the price difference, what sets these two watches apart? I know this is rather stupid to ask, but how does these two watches even compare to a Tag Heuer watch like this?

    http://www.tagheuer.com/the-collecti...=WV211B.FC6202

    I'm definitely not an expert on automatic watches (my interest is in high-end, super-accurate quartz watches), but of the two Seiko models, the major factor accounting for the price difference would seem to be the metal bracelet with SARB029 vs the leather strap with SCVS015. They are both somewhat vintage-looking smaller watches (smaller than today's overlarge watches that often get up to 45 mm. in case diameter) at 36-37 mm. Both have the excellent Seiko 6R15 23-jewel automatic movement. SCVS015 has a very-slightly sparser appearance (which I really like) through the bezel and lugs than SARB029. One difference appears to be that SCVS015 has a sapphire crystal, as opposed to hardlex for SARB029. This would make a difference to me if it were the case; perhaps double-check on that. Another difference might be that SARB029 has a screw-down crown and SCVS015 does not. This could be checked out. SARB029 does not appear to have lume, and I can't tell whether SCVS015 does or not. If it did, this would be an advantage for it.

    Seiya's price is very good for both. However, there are buy-and-sell sub-forums on the various watch forums like Watchuseek, Timezone, and (in this case) the dedicated Seiko & Citizen Forum that could easily offer better bargains. I've noticed that the real hard-core WISs out there often buy a watch, tire of it rather quickly, and offer it up for sale at a greatly-reduced price--to free up the money to buy another. Thus, great bargains can be found.

    Edit. Example: From Poor Man's Watch Forum, one brand-new SCVS015 for $299 + $20 shipping (drop down to second row):

    http://www.pmwf.com/Watches/WATCHSAL...IKO_Mechanical

    As for how these watches compare with the Tag Heuer you mentioned, my belief is that the only really significant contributor to the huge price difference is the panache factor--the unwarranted view that Swiss watches are superior to Japanese ones. They're not, but this perception does seem to contribute to the prestige aspect of one's watch--assuming, of course, that that matters and the watch will be shown off. As for build quality, movement quality, and, most importantly (in my book) time-keeping ability, there will probably be no noticeable difference between the Seikos on the one hand and the Tag on the other. This Spirit line of Seiko (SCVS015) has been really well-received, and I believe that both Seikos are extremely reliable, well-made watches--and, to my eye at least, very attractive.
     


  10. kontai69

    kontai69 Senior member

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    I currently have my eyes on these two Seiko watches:

    http://www.seiyajapan.com/product/S-...5_SARB029.html

    http://www.seiyajapan.com/product/S-...5_SCVS015.html

    Other than the price difference, what sets these two watches apart? I know this is rather stupid to ask, but how does these two watches even compare to a Tag Heuer watch like this?

    http://www.tagheuer.com/the-collecti...=WV211B.FC6202

    The 2 Seikos have the same movement. Looks like the case and bracelet/strap is the only difference. I have the SARB027 with the silver dial...
    On my wrist...
    [​IMG]
    Review I wrote...
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthr...=seiko+sarb027
    The price sure has gone up from the $408 I paid for it a year ago (Feb '08).
    No experience with TAG, but it probably has better finish but costs much more than the Seikos.
     


  11. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Senior member

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    Seiko is that one sleeper brand I hope stays that way. With Swiss watchmakers taking their product further and further upmarket, I am looking at Seikos Japan only automatics with greater interest.
     


  12. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    What do you guys do for servicing for grey-market Seikos?

    --Andre
     


  13. lsquare

    lsquare Senior member

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    I'm definitely not an expert on automatic watches (my interest is in high-end, super-accurate quartz watches), but of the two Seiko models, the major factor accounting for the price difference would seem to be the metal bracelet with SARB029 vs the leather strap with SCVS015. They are both somewhat vintage-looking smaller watches (smaller than today's overlarge watches that often get up to 45 mm. in case diameter) at 36-37 mm. Both have the excellent Seiko 6R15 23-jewel automatic movement. SCVS015 has a very-slightly sparser appearance (which I really like) through the bezel and lugs than SARB029. One difference appears to be that SCVS015 has a sapphire crystal, as opposed to hardlex for SARB029. This would make a difference to me if it were the case; perhaps double-check on that. Another difference might be that SARB029 has a screw-down crown and SCVS015 does not. This could be checked out. SARB029 does not appear to have lume, and I can't tell whether SCVS015 does or not. If it did, this would be an advantage for it.

    Seiya's price is very good for both. However, there are buy-and-sell sub-forums on the various watch forums like Watchuseek, Timezone, and (in this case) the dedicated Seiko & Citizen Forum that could easily offer better bargains. I've noticed that the real hard-core WISs out there often buy a watch, tire of it rather quickly, and offer it up for sale at a greatly-reduced price--to free up the money to buy another. Thus, great bargains can be found.

    Edit. Example: From Poor Man's Watch Forum, one brand-new SCVS015 for $299 + $20 shipping (drop down to second row):

    http://www.pmwf.com/Watches/WATCHSAL...IKO_Mechanical

    As for how these watches compare with the Tag Heuer you mentioned, my belief is that the only really significant contributor to the huge price difference is the panache factor--the unwarranted view that Swiss watches are superior to Japanese ones. They're not, but this perception does seem to contribute to the prestige aspect of one's watch--assuming, of course, that that matters and the watch will be shown off. As for build quality, movement quality, and, most importantly (in my book) time-keeping ability, there will probably be no noticeable difference between the Seikos on the one hand and the Tag on the other. This Spirit line of Seiko (SCVS015) has been really well-received, and I believe that both Seikos are extremely reliable, well-made watches--and, to my eye at least, very attractive.


    Thx for the explanation man. I'll do a bit more research over the coming week and hopefully I'll be ready to make a purchase by next weekend. For me, I think I would prefer a smaller watch because I'm a very slim Asian guy. Big watches would look weird on me. I actually want a classic looking watch. If I decide to go with the watch that has the metal strap, how do I get it to fit my wrist perfectly? Do I have to take it to a local dealer to get the adjustment right?

    I realize that you say Seiya and Higuchi are both reputable dealers, but what kind of assurances that I can get that will ensure I'm getting the real deal?
     


  14. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I will get a Spirit 013. I love that watch.

    It's really swell. Love mine.


    - B
     


  15. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    Thx for the explanation man. I'll do a bit more research over the coming week and hopefully I'll be ready to make a purchase by next weekend. For me, I think I would prefer a smaller watch because I'm a very slim Asian guy. Big watches would look weird on me. I actually want a classic looking watch. If I decide to go with the watch that has the metal strap, how do I get it to fit my wrist perfectly? Do I have to take it to a local dealer to get the adjustment right?
    Yes, a dealer with a watchmaker out back, or a stand-alone watch-repair person, but it's the easiest thing in the world...takes about 5 minutes and shouldn't cost more than $10 or so. Be sure you save the links that have been removed, as you might want to add one later (if you gain a little weight) or have them with the watch if you ever decide to sell it. You can have a link or a few removed, try it, add a link or have another removed, etc., until you get it exactly right--as loose or tight as you prefer.

    I realize that you say Seiya and Higuchi are both reputable dealers, but what kind of assurances that I can get that will ensure I'm getting the real deal?
    Both Katsu Higuchi and Seiya Kobayashi would commit harakiri before cheating a customer or ever selling something that was not authentic. You should have absolutely no fears in this regard.
     


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