Kintaro Hattori: The Founder of Seiko’s Best Watches from Japan

Kintaro Hattori is the founder of the Japanese watch company Seiko. He was the first watchmaker in Japan. He succeeded in making the Seiko company the best watch maker in Japan and the leading watch company in the world. What’s the story?

Kintaro Hattori Biography

Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori was born on November 21, 1860 in Kyobashi, Japan. He was born into a well-established merchant family in Kyobashi.

At the age of 13, Kintaro met Kobayashi Denjiro, a well-known watch trader in Japan at that time. He then became interested in watches, at that time most of the watches produced were pocket watches. As for watches, they have not yet been invented in Japan. Check out our latest news at Deltsapure.

Kintaro then worked as an apprentice at a watch shop called Kamaeda. He then gained a lot of experience regarding clocks. This then became a big capital for him to make his own watch.

Established the Seikosha Watch Factory

When he was only 21 years old, Kintaro Hattori then opened a watch shop called K. Hattori in the Kyobashi district of Tokyo. In his shop, he made and also repaired pocket watches. At the age of 31, Kintaro Hattori then worked with an engineer named Tsuruhiko Yoshikawa to establish the Seikosha watch factory in 1892.

This watch factory called Seikosha later became the forerunner of Seiko. After several years of producing high-quality wall clocks, Kintaro’s Seikosha released its first pocket watch called the Timekeeper in 1895.

The case of this pocket watch is war-proof and made in Japan. However, for the engine, Kintaro imports it from Switzerland. Kintaro chose the English name “Timekeeper” because he realized that a name like that would expand the marketing of his watch products in the future.

Kintaro Hattori quickly realized that the popularity of watches would grow rapidly overtaking pocket watches. He predicts that demand for watches will soon surpass demand for pocket watches.

In 1913, Kintaro’s Seikosha released a watch called the Laurel. This watch has a silver case with a diameter of 29.6 mm with a movement originating from Switzerland. Imported components make Kintaro’s watch production slow.

Seikosha can only produce up to 50 watches per day. Then in 1910, Kintaro Hattori’s Seikosha succeeded in making its own clock movements, from balance springs to watch dials.

In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Japan in 1923. This earthquake then destroyed the Seikosha watch factory and stopped watch production. Even though his factory was destroyed, Kintaro Hattori did not give up. He then rebuilt the destroyed factory, despite the great expense.

History of the Establishment of Seiko

Subsequently, watch production continued under the new brand name, namely Seiko. The K. Hattori & Co. Store. in downtown Ginza was also rebuilt in 1932. This shop was built at the same time as the clock tower which became its symbol.

The tower still stands in Ginza to this day. One year later after the earthquake, Kintaro Hattori introduced the first watch with the name “Seiko”. The name “Seiko” is an abbreviation of “Seikosha,”. By using a Japanese name, Kintaro Hattori began to be confident in the quality of the products he would sell.

At that time, Japanese people believed that western products had superior quality. However, the founder of Seiko continues to convince the public that the watches he makes are one of the best. This first Seiko watch had a casing made of nickel.

This first Seiko watch had a small seconds subdial. This small subdial became the standard for Seiko watches produced until 1950. This watch was the first Japanese watch with a central second hand. However, this watch was also the last watch made by Kintaro Hattori. The founder of Seiko died in 1934 at the age of 73.

Released Seiko Marvel and Grand Seiko

After Kintaro Hattori’s death, the Seiko company continued to produce Seiko brand watches. In 1956, Seiko then released a watch called the Seiko Marvel. This watch is 100 percent made through development and innovation from Seiko.

In 1960, Seiko then launched the Grand Seiko watch. This watch is the best watch created by Seiko in terms of time accuracy and precision. This watch is made of gold case with a diameter of 34.9 mm. This Grand Seiko watch is certified to the standards set by Seiko.

Official Timekeeper For The Olympics

In 1964, Seiko launched a chronograph watch, the Seiko Crown. This watch is also the first chronograph watch in Japan. Furthermore, Seiko became the official timekeeper at the 1964 Olympic Games in Japan. The following year they launched the Seiko Automatic, the first diver’s watch made in Japan. This watch is water resistant to a depth of 150 meters. Designed to withstand high water pressure.

In 1969, Seiko launched the Seiko Speedtimer, a sports chronograph watch. This watch is equipped with an automatic date. They also launched the Seiko Quartz Astron, the world’s first quartz watch. 100 times more accurate than other watches.

Innovation in Digital Watches and Special Watches for Divers

In the 70s, Seiko introduced digital watches. This watch was first marketed in October 1973. And two years later, Seiko launched the world’s first digital watch with a chronograph and also a special diver’s watch made from titanium.

In the 80s, Seiko made many innovations in the development of digital watches. They introduced the world’s first TV watch as well as a watch capable of recording sound. In addition, they also released the world’s first hand with computer functions.

At that time they also developed automatic watches without battery replacement and released divers’ watches made of ceramic.

In the early 90s, Seiko released a digital diving watch that was able to calculate diving depth. Seiko also continues to be the official timekeeper for the Olympics and world championships.

Furthermore, the Seiko company continues to innovate and develop their watch technology. They continue to produce watches with new features along with guaranteed quality, especially in terms of watch durability.

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