Watchonista: Volume 04 Exclusive Preview – Seiko Celebrates Japan’s First Wristwatch with the King Seiko “Kikkoumon”
Now that Watchonista: Volume 04 is officially available at Breitling boutiques across North America, here is a sneak peek of one of our magazine-only editorials.
Turtles and tortoises are incredible creatures. And while everybody knows they are renowned for their longevity (Fun Fact: Pick up your copy of Watchonista: Volume 04 to read), what isn’t as well known is that they are incredibly resilient (Fun Fact: Pick up your copy of Watchonista: Volume 04 to read).
So it made sense when Seiko channeled some turtle power to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Japan’s first wristwatch by introducing a limited edition King Seiko SPB365 with a dial inspired by a traditional Japanese geometric pattern known as “Kikkoumon” and is based on (you guessed it!) the hexagonal shape of a tortoise shell.
They also have great significance for cultures all over the world. For instance, to some First Nations in North America, the turtle symbolizes Grandmother Earth. Meanwhile, who could forget Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Then there is Japan, where the tortoise provides a haven for immortals and symbolizes longevity, good luck, and support.
Slow & Steady
The seeds of Seiko were planted when Kintarō Hattori opened a shop in Ginza to sell wall clocks under the brand name Seikosha in 1881. Then, in 1913, his company manufactured Japan’s first wristwatch, naming it the Laurel. However, by the time Seikosha had rebranded itself as Seiko in 1960, the company already had two production sites: Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha.
Naturally, they became rivals. And while some at the time may have lamented the atmosphere created by this interdepartmental competition to see who could outdo the other in quality and precision, the reality was that these two watchmaking facilities pushed the boundaries of watchmaking and achieved horological innovation and excellence.
What was the prize of this competition? To become the brand’s flagship watch, of course…
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)