The Origin of Grand Seiko's Soul Place

It was Seiko and the Hattori family’s quest for excellence in the pursuit of making the ideal watch that led to the birth of Grand Seiko. Kintaro Hattori founded K. Hattori & Co., which later became known as Seiko, in 1881. The name Seiko was derived from Seikosha, the first factory opened in 1892 by Hattori. Seikosha comes from the Japanese terms Sei 精 – meaning exquisite or delicate, Ko 工 – meaning manufacturing or engineering, and Sha 舎  – meaning house or shack. The term Seiko can also mean elaborate 精巧, and using different kanji characters it can mean success 成功.

In 1937,  Daini (the Second) Seikosha was established in Kameido, Tokyo. It specialized in the production of wristwatches, while the original Seikosha factory specialized in clocks and pocket watches. In 1944, Daini Seikosha opened their “Suwa plant” in central Japan as an extension of Daini Seikosha to evacuate from Tokyo during World War II.

Daiwa Kogyo, a parts manufacturer in central Japan that had a subcontracting business with Daini Seikosha, merged with the Daini Seikosha Suwa plant in 1959 to form Suwa Seikosha, an entity now separate from Daini Seikosha. A friendly competition began between Daini and Suwa Seikosha, and it helped drive innovation, with one manufacturer striving to exceed the quality produced by the other.

Daini Seikosha is now called Morioka Seiko Instruments and it is located in the northern Iwate prefecture of Japan. In July of 2020, they opened Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, the new birthplace of all modern Grand Seiko 9S Mechanical timepieces.

Suwa Seikosha is now called Seiko Epson and remains in the Nagano prefecture of central Japan. There resides the Shinshu Watch Studio, home of 9R Spring Drive and 9F Quartz.