Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
joshuar

High End Forum Opinions on Grand Seiko

Recommended Posts

 

What do you really think about the grand seiko? Is it on par with your other high end watches?

The GS has got die hard fans and have been hot topic in the public forums. Some even compared the finishing level to patek.

I know seiko engineering is superb. Never really held a GS before, so perhaps I can be enlightened on the quality of finish or 'art'.

I find some of the designs while classic, are quite plain, as they don't stray from a basic knife hands dial coming in either monochrome colors of white, silver or black.

20150407153044_nubluojwdxt.jpg

Is the engineering and finish so superb that it can get away by looking like a normal seiko, and not having different designs like the european brands?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'm quite down on the design.

Unless there are some amazing complications, the engineering brilliance is completely lost on me.

Great finishing on GS is also not very grossly apparent at macroscopic levels.

Finally they don't have any presence in the watch shops I have visited in California.

To make matters even worse, they have Credor for the "really high-end stuff" according to what I read on these forums.

Maybe Grand Seiko is supposed to be a competitor to Rolex and Credor against haute horlogerie?

I would love to hear more about the brand positioning of Seiko from someone who knows about the brand a lot more than I do because it seems unclear from their pricing what their competitors are.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I think the GS you pictured is the Japanese analogue to any of several Rolexes: Oyster Perpetual, Air King, Explorer I or DateJust. I guess having a date, it's closest to the Datejust.

Thoughts re: a similar watch:

One of the fellows in my little cabal bought a pre-owned GS about six years ago when he was on a trip to Japan. From the short time I had exposure to a GS (not the one you depicted above, but a high beat model), my sense was that it was as well made as anything -- high end or not -- needs to be. I suspect it's as over-engineered/over-designed as a Rolex because the GS is the pride and joy of the Japanese "watch geeks" as well as highly prideful and nationalistic Japanese luxury goods consumers. I don't feel that their pride is unwarranted.

The watch's shipping content surprised me in that it included materials about watches and movements in general as well as the specific watch in the box. (At least that's what he said it was. Neither of us could read it because it was in Japanese.) So, if by some stroke one doesn't know "jack" about watches, Seiko makes sure that if one finds oneself with a new GS and read the materials, one will. It's not lost on me how from a marketing standpoint doing that sort of thing is self-serving, but all the same, it also reflects a focus on and understanding of the person, the actual human beings, who may come to own the watch. That's pretty exceptional among any manufacturer. Also, I was surprised to later find out that Seiko's standards for accuracy/precision are tighter than the COSC standards.

General Seiko Thoughts:

This is just an opinion of mine, but in many ways, I think Seiko is a far better, and perhaps more capable, watchmaker than any of the Swiss or Germans, at least if I am to gauge such a thing by demonstrated action and results. (Note: Seiko being IMO more capable doesn't make the Swiss/Germans incapable IMO by any means.) I say that because when I look at the innovations that Seiko as introduced and the frequency with which they do so, I see nothing of the sort coming from any of their European competitors in the high end. From the first time I ever even heard of Seiko years and years ago, quality, reliability and carefree ownership experience were the hallmarks of what Seiko stood for. I don't think they have wavered from that.

It seems to me that if Seiko feel like they need to do something to put their products ahead, keep up with consumer trends, expectations, market conditions, etc., they just get on with it and do it. It's also worth noting that the GS line has been around and hugely popular since the 1960s (it's just that they didn't distribute them outside of Japan), and yet during the crisis years, I don't believe Seiko felt like there was a crisis. They are, IMO, just a much better run organization than are most Swiss watch companies. I think for the consumer, that's mostly a good thing.

Seiko and High-end-ness:

Also, isn't everything Seiko makes -- from the least to most expensive watch -- in-house? I believe the answer is yes, but if it's not, it's damn close to yes. It's my understanding that like Rolex, Seiko -- one division/subsidiary or another of them -- makes every single thing that goes into their watches. The reason I mention that is not because I care that much about in-house one way or the other. I say that to highlight a huge "lie" that I personally feel reflects the greed and disingenuousness of the Europeans when it comes to the way in which they have touted and priced in-house products. Very few European makers are as completely in-house as Seiko is, yet most of them kvetch on and on about the importance of manufacture craftsmanship, even as companies like Seiko and Citizen best them on their own talking point. Seiko has long demonstrated that there's not one good reason why in-house products need to cost as much as the Swiss (Germans) charge for it.

Lastly, as goes two of the cornerstones of "high end-ness" -- history and pedigree -- well, Seiko has it in spades. They were founded in the 1880s, began making watches in the 1920s, and as far as I know, the Hattori family remain the primary shareholders. Unlike ALS, they manged to survive internal political crises, global wars, domestic and global economic depressions, etc. and yet there they are, the same company as they were over 100 years ago. Unlike Breguet (of the 1970s, 80s and 90s), they don't have a stint in their history where they were producing stuff that wasn't really the equal of what their brand stood for from the outset. The suffered from no form of poor management that led several great watchmakers to the brink of extinction. Seiko seems for 100+ years to have done things a lot of things right and it appears they continue to do so.

Do I want a GS? Yes. It's the watch that I have targeted for purchase this coming winter. I expect to go with a high-beat model, but there's a good bit of time between then and now. I like the one you pictured, OP, but I have a rather similar looking Rolex, so I'd like to get something that looks a bit different. I suspect the Seiko may quickly become one of my daily wear "go to" watches, ousting my Constellation, provided it's got some flair.

All the best.

Many Buddhist temple priests regard their parishioners as possessions and fear their departure as a diminishing of assets.

- Kentetsu Takamori

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

But Seiko also makes label printers, calculators, glasses, camera shutters and so on and on and on. This reason alone is enough for me to discard Seiko as High End watch brand - Grand Seiko or not.

I handled a couple of GS models at Fredmans in Sydney on Monday. No doubt the quality is better than say Oris, Tags, Longines and even some Breitlings and Omegas. But for the price, I'd rather add another 6-7k on top and get JLC, UN or a Daytona

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Can you please explain further? Any specific examples which lead you to believe this?

In general, I wouldn't doubt for a second that the Japanese culture's focus on artisan crafts would lead to great results.

I just haven't seen much evidence (or exposed to the existing evidence) in watches.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

An extremely strong collection of timepieces. Seiko is quite different than the rest of the market since they don't operate as one company producing different quality timepieces but rather as a larger company with smaller companies within.

In terms of finish, I have yet to see it in person but from what I hear, the watch is best compared to, and it exceeds the standards of Omega, Rolex and the like. I would not put it up with Patek Philippe or other haute horlogerie brands. In terms of movements, they are to be respected without doubt. Incredible standards and just look at their spring drive...it gains 1 second per month!

Last year, i was very close to pulling the trigger on a GS spring drive as i wanted a beater that won;t be recognized and for that purpose, GS takes the crown. They still print Seiko on the dial so to the blind...it is of no value but to the learned, it is perhaps one of the best pieces to ever be made.

Credor on the other hand...

Now that is a different story. They pretty much use the same muscle in the GS models but also include haute horlogerie finishing (competes with PP and the like) combined with precious metal cases. The only problem...they are only sold in Japan and from what I hear, the Japanese frown on anyone taking it out of there. They know they are that good!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I find it easy to believe. My sister was in Japan a couple years back and wanted to get an awesome looking phone. Apparently it had Disney characters on it. The SA denied her the purchase saying she had to provide a home address within Japan or she cant get it. I find that pretty cool actually, but then again I have a thing for exclusiveness.

GS was only available in Japan and some pieces in HK until about 3 years ago when they were let out into the North American market. If you did your research you could find a couple grey dealers on the internet who could ship it to you.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I don't think about them at all. Never features on my shortlist. Design doesn't appeal. End of story for me. Don't care what's inside.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×