Seiko is one of the best-known names in the world of watches. Many people know of the brand and many people wear a Seiko watch, but is Seiko a luxury watch brand?
Seiko is not a luxury watch brand, as Seiko outsources part of its manufacturing process and offers affordable watches. Seiko does have a sister company, Grand Seiko, which does make luxury watches.
Not all of the Seiko watches are classed as luxury watches, but some are. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into why exactly a Seiko watch is or isn’t seen as a luxury watch!
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Is Seiko Seen As A Luxury Watch Brand
Seiko is a household name when it comes to affordable, but amazing watches. With a Seiko watch, you can always expect a high-quality and sturdy watch that will last you a long time. But this doesn’t necessarily make them a luxury watch brand.
In fact, Seiko is not at all a luxury watch brand. Although their watches are stunning and of high quality, they simply do not classify as luxury watches. There are a few areas where Seiko watches are lacking, preventing them from being a luxury watch.
Seiko watches are made with cheaper materials and the manufacturing process is partly outsourced to cheaper countries. Seiko is a Japanese watch brand, but their watches are partly made in countries such as China or Taiwan.
Aside from outsourcing the manufacturing process, most Seiko watches do actually contain an in-house made movement. This is a rare sight for a more affordable watch, but it’s true. This is a true testament to the quality of Seiko watches!
Defining Features Of A Luxury Watch
There isn’t really a clear definition as to what makes a watch a luxury watch, but there are a few things that are generally agreed on:
A watch is a luxury watch because its made with high-quality and exotic materials, includes an in-house movement, and is assembled in-house. Most luxury watches also contain many complications, making them more complex and harder to make.
Of course, there’s a lot more to luxury watches, and if you want to learn more about what makes a watch a luxury watch, you should read this article here!
But let’s take a look at Seiko. The first thing that you might have noticed is that Seiko does in fact make its own movements, even for their lower-end watches. This is a very rare sight, as most budget watchmakers simply outsource this process to a bulk-manufacturing movement company.
The fact that Seiko makes its own movements, even for the cheaper watches, is truly remarkable. However, this does not automatically make it a luxury watch.
Furthermore, a Seiko watch is mostly made in-house as well. However, some parts are outsourced to cheaper countries. This is something to be expected, as Seiko still produces affordable budget watches, and when you make these by hand, in-house, you’ll quickly run up the costs.
Lastly, a Seiko watch isn’t really made with exotic materials. Most Seiko watches will be made with stainless steel, and not with the likes of yellow gold or platinum. Stainless steel is still a great material to use, it’s just not too special or exotic.
The Different Seiko Collections
Among the Seiko catalog, there are many different watches. Seiko currently has 6 different collections of watches, Astron, Prospex, Presage, Premier, Solar, and 5. All these watches are a little bit different from each other, but they all have that classic Seiko look and feel.
The Seiko Astron, however, is known as one of the smartest watches out there. This is a GPS and solar-based watch, which leaves the need for a battery change and enables this watch to recognise 40 different timezones.
When you speak about complications, this watch is one the forefront. However, all the other factors are lacking. These watches are made with good-quality materials, but not with exotic metals or jewels.
Among the Seiko collections, you can also find a Dive Watch (Seiko Prospex), a watch that uses Kinetic Direct Drive technology (Seiko Premier), and solar watches (Seiko Solar). The other watch collections feature normal wristwatches that just differ in look and price.
The Seiko 5 collection stands out in price, however, as they are the cheapest available Seiko watches. These timepieces will run you less than $100, making them some of the most affordable quality watches on the market.
Although all of these Seiko watch collections contain some fantastic watches, they sadly can’t really be classified as luxury. First and foremost, these watches are very affordable, immediately taking away that feeling of luxury and prestige you would get from an actual luxury watch.
Secondly, these watches are made with generic materials such as stainless steel. And although the movement is made in-house, and some watches feature some nifty complications, parts of the manufacturing process are outsourced to other countries and companies.
However, there is one outlier in all of this. And that outlier is called Grand Seiko.
What About Grand Seiko
Grand Seiko is a sister company of Seiko and is basically the upper echelon of the company. Grand Seiko makes more luxurious watches that are sold at higher prices, and it’s safe to say, a Grand Seiko watch is definitely a luxury watch.
Grand Seiko watches are luxury watches because they are of high-quality, made with high-end materials, manufactured in-house, and contain an in-house movement system. The movement system is the Grand Seiko exclusive Spring Drive movement.
But are Seiko and Grand Seiko really that different? Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between Seiko and Grand Seiko and why the latter is actually a luxury watch brand.
Grand Seiko watches are made with higher-end materials. Where a Seiko watch is made with stainless steel, Grand Seiko watches are often made with higher-quality stainless steel or platinum. These materials are more expensive and also more luxurious.
Both Seiko and Grand Seiko make use of an in-house made movement system. However, the main difference here is that Grand Seiko has a much more advanced movement system called the Spring Drive.
The Spring Drive is powered by a mainspring, which makes it self-sufficient in its power needs. Furthermore, it’s regulated by a tri-synchro regulator, which makes sure that the hands move in a smooth and gliding manner.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive ensures extreme accuracy in the watch, adding to the value and luxuriousness.
Lastly, Grand Seiko watches are made by hand, which is another prerequisite for a watch to be considered a luxury watch. Basically, Grand Seiko ticks all the boxes for a watch to be a luxury watch.
Aside from the materials and manufacturing process, a Grand Seiko also comes with a heftier price tag. On the low end, a Grand Seiko will cost you around $2.200, but that can go all the way up to $7.500 (we went more in-depth into Grand Seiko prices in this article here!).
These numbers are more in the luxury watch range. Although, when you consider that an entry-level Rolex costs $6.000, a Grand Seiko is still a rather affordable luxury watch (we actually compared whether or not a Grand Seiko is better than a Rolex in this article here!).
That seems to be the theme with Seiko anyway. They produce products of amazing quality but offer them at affordable prices. So although a Seiko watch isn’t a luxury watch, you still get the best bang for your buck.