Grand Seiko: beautifully, precisely Japanese, inside and out.
Kintaro Hattori began selling and repairing clocks and watches in the Ginza area of Tokyo in 1881 and just 11 years later opened the Seikosha factory, manufacturing clocks and subsequently pocket watches.
By 1913 he had produced Japan’s first ever wristwatch, the Laurel and then by 1924 the first ‘Seiko’ branded watch – foundations which led to the production of the very first Grand Seiko in 1960. A fully integrated watch manufacturer, with watchmaking centres dotted around Japan’s prefectures, for over half a century, Grand Seiko has quietly handcrafted some of the most precise watches the world has ever known. With popular poetic nature inspired dials, from the texture of birch bark, to the way snow settles on the mountains during the period of Taisetsu - the 21st of Japan’s 24 ‘sekki’ or seasons, the collections span Elegance, Heritage and Sport designs. Many of the best-known Grand Seiko pieces include those powered by its exclusive in-house Spring Drive calibre-mechanical watches with an electronic regulator for a very high level of accuracy.
We have enjoyed a fruitful partnership with the brand and have collaborated on events such as ‘The Nature of Time’ in 2020, based in Soho, New York. This immersive experience featured the largest collection of Grand Seiko timepieces in the world, as well as eight educational zones for guests to learn about the brand’s master craftsmanship, movements, and history. The collection also featured the Grand Seiko Tōgè, a piece that we partnered on, and that was launched exclusively with us in 2020.
We started the year strongly with Grand Seiko as we partnered with them on the Watches of Switzerland Group first to market, Hotaka Peaks Spring Drive GMT Triple Time-Zone. The design of this timepiece was inspired by the Hotaka Mountains, one of Japan's greatest mountain chains, which stand tall before the Grand Seiko Shinshu Watch Studio. To drive multichannel sales, we took steps to enhance brand awareness and grow market share by combined investments across social media as well as promotion on email, editorial and clienteling guides. At this year's Watches and Wonders, we interviewed UK Grand Seiko Brand Manager, Rob Brook, who discussed the latest innovations upcoming in their world for our social media channels, and also featured Grand Seiko pieces on our YouTube video.
The US team hosted a Grand Seiko GS9 Club cocktail event at the Legacy West showroom in Plano, Texas, for 45 clients. In keeping with the Japanese brand heritage, the event featured a Japanese whisky tasting station, a live koto musician, and ikebana floral arrangements.
Grand Seiko and Watches of Switzerland Toge Special Edition
In 2020, we announced our first-ever collaboration with Grand Seiko on the new “Toge Special Edition”. This captivating new model takes inspiration from the Japanese and British legacies of the two respective companies, combining classic British Racing Green with the fine texture of Grand Seiko’s signature Mount Iwate dial. The term 峠 (Tōgè), or mountain pass, refers to a navigable route through a mountain range, and this special edition timepiece subtly evokes the image of a spirited drive over the many ridges of Mount Iwate in Northern Japan.
The timepiece launched virtually through an Augmented Reality (AR) experience for consumers to ‘try on’ the watch in the comfort of their homes through an Instagram filter. A first for Grand Seiko and the Watches of Switzerland Group, the AR component embodied the pioneering spirit of both brands and our shared desire to deliver an exceptional experience to consumers.
GRAND SEIKO MONO-BRAND BOUTIQUE
After the highly successful Nature of Time pop-up experience, Grand Seiko and Watches of Switzerland decided to take a major step forward by opening a stand-alone boutique. The SoHo location is the fullest representation of the Grand Seiko brand in downtown New York and features its Masterpiece, Elegance, Heritage, and Sports collections. Located at 154 Spring Street, the boutique serves to educate both local and international clients in the neighbourhood about the art of Grand Seiko and the uniqueness of Japanese watchmaking, while providing an elevated retail experience.
The Grand Seiko boutique’s exterior is framed by large glass panels with two display cases featuring the newest models from Grand Seiko’s collection of timepieces. Walking inside the boutique, visitors are greeted by an airy space that proudly displays the full range of the Grand Seiko collection, artfully merchandised to highlight the craftsmanship and quality of each watch. Adorning the walls are photographs of Grand Seiko timepieces, shot in detail to showcase their interplay with light and shadow and to reinforce how nature serves as the ultimate inspiration for its designs.
Making your way towards the back of the boutique, the space opens up into a lounge area -- with a large centre display case flanked by blue lounge chairs and a designated seating area. The backlit, whitewashed brick walls give a nod to the famous Snowflake dial, playing with depth and shadow. The space is intended to invite visitors and customers to learn more about the Grand Seiko brand, engage with its timepieces hands on, and fully experience the spirit of Takumi.