The company was founded in 1881, when Kintarō Hattori opened a watch and jewelry shop called “K. Hattori”in the Ginza area of Tokyo, Japan. Eleven years later, in 1892, he began to produce clocks under the name Seikosha, meaning roughly “House of Exquisite Workmanship”. According to Seiko’s official company history, titled “A Journey In Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko” (2003), Seiko is a Japanese word meaning “exquisite,” “minute,” or “success”.
The first watches produced under the Seiko brand appeared in 1924. In 1969, Seiko introduced the Astron, the world’s first productionquartz watch; when it was introduced, it cost the same as a medium-sized car. Seiko later went on to introduce the first quartzchronograph. In 1985, Orient Watches and Seiko established a joint factory.
The company was incorporated (K. Hattori & Co., Ltd.) in 1917 and was renamed Hattori Seiko Co., Ltd. in 1983 and Seiko Corporation in 1990. After reconstructing and creating its operating subsidiaries (such as Seiko Watch Corporation and Seiko Clock Inc.), it became aholding company in 2001 and was renamed Seiko Holdings Corporation as of July 1, 2007.
Seiko is perhaps best known for its wristwatches, all of which were at one time produced entirely in-house. This includes not only major items such as microgears, motors, hands, crystal oscillators, batteries, sensors, LCDs but also minor items such as the oils used in lubricating the watches and the luminous compounds used on the hands and the dials. Currently watch movements are made inShizukuishi, Iwate (SII Morioka Seiko Instruments), Ninohe, Iwate (SII Ninohe Tokei Kogyo), Shiojiri, Nagano (Seiko Epson) and their subsidiaries in China, Malaysia and Singapore. The fully integrated in-house production system is still practised in Japan.