FAQ #4 - Can the Japanese watchmakers make comparable luxury timepieces to match the Swiss?  4 Comments


I do not get this question often but its an honest question about where Japanese horology is heading. While there aren't any renowned individual Japanese watchmakers, the two familiar household brands - Seiko and Citizen are not without its high end offerings. Citizen has its Campanola range which are beautifully made watches with high complications (just Google Campanola and you will find many of its images). The materials and finishing are top notch but purists find it hard to buy these pieces as it is powered by a quartz movement.
For me, one of the most well kept secrets of the world of horology is the Grand Seiko collection - from Seikosha or Seiko to the rest of the world. Its mechanical movments both winding and automatic are designed and made completely inhouse. Its finishing are by machine but to a level of quality that no other brands have succeeded by the use of machines or robots. Clearly intended to be a top quality collection and very low production numbers.
Both the Campanola and the more expensive Grand Seiko are priced within the Rolex and Omega price ranges but their quality of materials and finish are easily equal or even better. Unfortunately they are hard to come by not just because they are low production models but they are not marketted outside Japan - unless bought through grey market dealers.
To attest to how the Japanese treat these models, they are favoured over many Swiss brands of greater fame. They buy and give Grand Seikos as a mark of respect and to honour achievements. I think the best analogy I can make is that Grand Seiko is the Lexus of the watch world before they became renowned as being a top luxury car. Without any doubt their exacting accuracy, high quality materials and the level of finish easily puts them equal to many top Swiss luxury brands.



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  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
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Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

Horolographer - Harry SK Tan

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