As the only country in Asia that can compete with the West in the field of watchmaking, although Japan has a relatively short history in the watchmaking industry, it can compete with Swiss and German traditional watchmaking brands in the market. contend. The reason is that the background of the times and the transformation of consumption habits have a great relationship. The ‘Quartz Crisis’ created the Japanese watchmaking industry and brought more choices to modern people. Some time ago, Watch House was invited by Japan’s Seiko brand to start a week-long tour of watch factories in Japan.
Shizuku Advanced Timepiece Studio in Iwate Prefecture, Japan
To be honest, I have been to Japan a few times myself. We all know that Japan is divided into two parts, Kanto and Kansai. In winter, I go to Japan to watch snow, and in summer I go to Japan to see the sea. In addition, there is another reason that everyone likes to travel to Japan. Shopping is convenient enough. Appliances, watches, and cosmetics that women love are simply shopping paradise.
Tokyo Ginza shopping district street
It was also in the 1970s and 1980s that Japan’s economy developed rapidly. Various clubs have also begun to stand. Seiko (SEIKO), founded in 1881, officially launched its first watch in 1924. In 1969, Seiko and Berliget introduced the world’s first analog quartz watch-SEIKO ASTRON35SQ.
Antique Grand Seiko
We know that since the ‘quartz crisis’ of the last century, Japan has occupied a place in the watch industry. Quartz watches and mechanical performance have now shaken off the relationship of mutual confrontation, and consumers choose according to their own preferences and needs. Unlike Swiss and German watchmaking, the Japanese are more inclined to practical performance. Of course, with the overall improvement of consumption levels, on the basis of practicality, they must also launch products more suitable for high-end consumers. This is also the launch of Grand Blue Lion
The world’s top watch manufactured by the Shizuku Advanced Timepiece Workshop is equipped with a high-precision movement and has a beautiful design.
Shinshu’s Artisan Workshop provides innovative ideas and cutting-edge technical support for Seiko’s exclusive Spring Drive watches.
Both craftsmanship workshops have a pivotal position. They combine cutting-edge technology with master craftsmanship to create a watch product that highlights Grand Seiko’s top quality.
Workers perform assembly of parts, etc.
As one of the very few brands in the world that can fully integrate all watchmaking processes, Grand Seiko has comprehensively mastered the process of all aspects of watchmaking, including research and development of parts and materials to production, assembly, adjustment, testing and transportation.
The hour markers on each dial are manually inlaid by workers
Grand Seiko is a measure of precision, beauty, readability, durability and ease of use. As the world’s leading watchmaking brand, Grand Seiko has demonstrated unparalleled quality in every brand of watch.
Production of various parts of Grand Seiko
Factory bulletin board
I have visited a watch factory in Switzerland before, and the biggest difference to Japanese watch factories is that they have ‘passage’ on watchmaking technology. The factory still retains the “master and apprentice” relationship, and more young watchmakers are trained by senior watchmakers, and this relationship is life-long. This can’t help but remind me of the old China, which was also taught by Master. There is also an old saying in China, ‘One day for the teacher and lifelong father’, which is also very suitable here.
Watchmaker at Shizuku Advanced Timepiece Workshop
A small detail is inserted here because the watchmaking process is manually adjusted by the watchmaker. Each watchmaker has different efficiency and level, some do more and some do less. How does the Japanese manage situations like this? They have strict management regulations on this. Each person’s efficiency table will be set up in each watchmaking workshop. There are strict statistics on how much each stage has been completed, how many are planned to be completed, and how much has been completed, and rewards will be based on this. Or punish. This is the secret of how they can do their jobs efficiently with limited labor.
Manually assembled movement
From the mechanical principle, the movement of the watch is the energy provided by the mainspring, which is transmitted to the three-level synchronous modulation speed controller and hands through the gear system. The reason why it is called level three (not related to a certain type of film) is that it mainly has three kinds of energy: controlling the mechanical power generated by the mainspring; converting a small part of the power into electricity to drive the quartz crystal oscillator; Controls the speed of the sliding wheel.
Grand Seiko movement
Shinshu Shijo Workshop, one of the Seiko watchmaking factories, is proud of its world-leading technology, such as the super mirror polishing process that can create sharp edges and seamless mirror effects, etc. These have also become Grand Seiko Logo features.
As a professional watch factory, Seiko’s watchmakers are responsible for the design, production, assembly, adjustment, testing and transportation of all important parts of mechanical watches, including hairsprings. The workshop is made up of professional craftsmen, many of whom have obtained the title of contemporary master craftsman, and have been awarded the yellow seal. Their comprehensive use of their expertise has led to the birth of the world’s top mechanical watch.
Detail of Grand Seiko under the microscope
As far as I know, Seiko ranks third in the market share in Japan. This ranking also includes Swiss brands. In Japan, Seiko not only represents watchmaking, but also represents a culture. Founder Hattori Kintaro’s ‘Always go ‘Before the times’ deeply affects future generations. Therefore, when we take down the Grand Seiko wrist watch and play with it carefully, you will find that this is not just a watch, every detail is worth tasting. This is also one of the many pleasures of ‘Crown Blue Lion Pink’ in our Watch House Forum.
Grand Seiko movement
In the history of Seiko watchmaking, SpringDrive is the highest achievement of Seiko watchmaking mechatronics technology. The design inspiration comes from the ‘circle’. The unidirectional rotation of the entire group of machines also reflects the operating characteristics of the SpringDrive system. Because there is no escapement speed adjustment mechanism, the operation mechanism of the Spring Drive watch is different from that of the traditional mechanical watch. The second hand of the Spring Drive watch does not jump as fast as the traditional mechanical watch, but sweeps the dial smoothly and smoothly, as if it has been realized. The ‘flow’ of time.
In terms of travel time accuracy, it can reach a day difference of plus or minus one second. In terms of movement, at least in the range visible to the naked eye, it is exactly the same as a mechanical movement. There should be a lot of polishing and aesthetics.
These tiny parts also need to be sanded by hand
During more than 20 years of research and development, Seiko’s exclusive Spring Drive movement mechanism has become a revolutionary concept in the indicator industry, and only a true professional watch factory with extraordinary craftsmanship can have the opportunity to turn the concept into reality.
Until today, Spring Drive has been continuously updated. Brand new products can always push the limits of the complexity and precision of watches, such as the Spring Drive chronograph with stopwatch function and the Spring Drive 8-day power reserve watch.
I wore this Grand Seiko quartz watch for the week I visited
We have been talking about the craftsman spirit. What kind of spirit is the craftsman spirit? At the factory, I asked a master watchmaker how many dials he could draw in a day. He thought about it and told me that he could only draw one in a day. Am I not boring? He said, ‘Sink into it and forget about it.’ Someone asked me what is the significance of fine watchmaking? In layman’s terms, this is our interest after satisfying food and clothing, and it is a surprise brought by time.
For China, Japan is a difficult country to define. Historical relations, geographical connections, and up to now, Chinese people’s feelings for Japan are complicated. But from the data of annual trips to Japan, it can be seen that the Chinese are the country with the largest number of people and the largest number of purchases in the Japanese tourism market. The reason why Japan attracts us is like Seiko, in this impetuous era, it still retains a rigorous and dedicated craftsmanship.