Japanese Luxury: Review of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Watch

The word “Grand Seiko” either means a lot to you or nothing at all. Seiko’s high-end brand built entirely in Japan by their most skilled watch makers is a meme unto itself. More so, to the Japanese it means one thing, while it means something totally different to the rest of the world.

Grand Seiko as a line started in the mid 20th century, available only in Japan. For decades Grand Seiko was available exclusively in its homeland, as well as some select zones outside of Japan. If you heard about Grand Seiko and wanted one you had to contact a dealer in Japan that was willing to ship it overseas to you. As of last year, Seiko has started to ship Grand Seiko watches (not all of them) to the world. Watch lovers couldn’t be happier.

In Japan Grand Seiko is source of national pride. Watch making is a valued art form, and Japan’s ability to make good watches is a reflection on national engineering and artistic ability. A Japanese person who wears a Grand Seiko watch is a person who takes pride in what Japan produces. Outside of Japan the Grand Seiko collection is popular for a different reason – and it has to do with the reputation Japan has for quality and reliability. I recall growing up wanting everything I bought to be made in Japan. For the most part this included electronics and toys, but they made the best electronics and toys I could find. If it was made in Japan, I felt as though a better mind than mine own imagined it, designed it, and manufactured it. Japan was synonymous with quality. For my parent’s this was a strange thing as just a generation earlier Japan was synonymous with crap – just as much of what comes out of China is known for today. Therefore, if Grand Seiko sat as one of the most meticulously designed and made high-end items in Japan, I wanted it. I didn’t even need to understand or see the product… I just trusted what I knew about Japanese products such as this, and wanted it. Then years later I finally started to get my hands on them.

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