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Visiting the factory making #grandseiko watch case in koriyama.

This Was the culprit of my trip to Japan.
I was invited to visit the factory in hope for me to work with them and produce a line of watches of my own

This factory based in Fukushima prefecture, produces the weatch case of seiko for already over 60 years.

Akihiro, the director and owner of this company employing around 380 workers, was so generous to take time with me to visit the operation from A to Z.

A bit of recent history.

His company suffered from the earthquake ( building destroyed by the 9.0 earthquake and luckily all employees were safe) and they rebuild the factory in 2013.

They took the opportunity to improve the process to go from a 16 to 12 stamping operation ( creating from a slab of steel a molded case)!. Then these cases are to be milled from a 5D CNC to a turning mill and back to a 5D CNC. This To make all the case ready for polishing. The polishing is by far the most amazing process of the factory and this is a secret part I can not divulge ( all machines used in this process have been mate by this factory for they purpose and well trained worker ( polisher worker have a minimum of 2 years and some time 5 years to learn the job before they can be put on the grand Seiko port production line)). The visit done with Akihiro was so amazing. The Japanese respect, order and perfection really makes me think of working with them. ( Maybe ?) I also learned that the company not only do cases but there is now, in research of diversity ( before this company in the 80is was making more than 6 million watch case per year and now it is 100k)

Now, the company has 3 activities
1 ( watch cases for seiko, grand Seiko, Casio MR-G and Ocean, Credor,...)
2 (surface treatment , IP plating, wet plating for cheap plastic casio turning them in chrome like, DLC, anodized ...)
3. (Making robitics and medical equipments)

Now! Question !
How much work goes in your Grand Seiko case ..... 60 hours of work.
About the surfacing and polishing work I can say that great is not enough for them. They need perfection !
Grand Seiko case have never used coating so they always can polish again.



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Thanks for a great, informative post.

The first picture seems to show the case and bezel for a SBGJ high-beat GMT. Wow!

This information perplexes me because, if Grand Seiko is using a third party company to make their cases, how can GS claim to be a vertically-integrated manufacture? Or is GS only claiming that the movements are in-house?

Update:

Doing some digging (yeah Google), I believe the company is Hayashi Seiki Seizo Co., Ltd.: HAYASHI SEIKI SEIZO Co.,

Turns out they are known on WUS, and a Seiko-owned subsidiary, see post #14: https://www.watchuseek.com/f21/question-grand-seiko-cases-1212874-2.html

So I can relax, I consider this to mean GS cases are being made in-house, phew.

Hayashi Seiki is mentioned in a 2014 "Vibrant Ganbaru" 500-page business guide published by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry - Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, Mr. Akihiro is pictured:

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Whineboy, Nice sleuthing.


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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for a great, informative post.

The first picture seems to show the case and bezel for a SBGJ high-beat GMT. Wow!

This information perplexes me because, if Grand Seiko is using a third party company to make their cases, how can GS claim to be a vertically-integrated manufacture? Or is GS only claiming that the movements are in-house?

Update:

Doing some digging (yeah Google), I believe the company is Hayashi Seiki Seizo Co., Ltd.: HAYASHI SEIKI SEIZO Co.,

Turns out they are known on WUS, and a Seiko-owned subsidiary, see post #14: https://www.watchuseek.com/f21/question-grand-seiko-cases-1212874-2.html

So I can relax, I consider this to mean GS cases are being made in-house, phew.

Hayashi Seiki is mentioned in a 2014 "Vibrant Ganbaru" 500-page business guide published by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry - Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, Mr. Akihiro is pictured:

View attachment 12353067
You are very good whineboy for your research.

Yes I met Akihiro Hayashi. He is a very fine person who cares about the well-being of his employee. His grand father created the company and they worked with seiko since the beginning. You need to know that before there was more than 30 companies subcontracted by seiko ( now seiko-Epson) now , if I understood correctly Hayashi Seiki Is the only one that still work for them. Doing the grand Seiko mainly but saw also case of prospex and Grand seiko diver .

Akihiro told me that the case for the spring drive models where made in Nagano.

The factory is also taking care of producing the high end Casio case who are very complex to make with a lot of time DLC coating








An other very important information

There is for seiko 2 distinct factory in Japan

The mechanical ( pure) (grand-seiko, presage, ....) in Morioka with some SII quartz

The quartz ( including spring drive) in Nagano


P.S.

Here's how I got there
With my popular military model. My Gavox Squadron ( no seiko inside but a Ronda)



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I own both GS and Casio Oceanus watches, and both watches have identical "finish signature". I always thought Casio just hired Seiko people to do the finish... But alas my pondering has been answered in this post. The cases are finished in the same factory..

More pics on the
 

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Sorry to revive an old thread, but I'm wondering if anyone has information on where Seiko's raw steel comes from? Aka the steel bars that are then cold forged or CNC milled into watch cases by HAYASHI SEIKI SEIZO or the Shiojiri Seiko factory?

I'm trying to trace Seiko's steel all the way back to the source (don't ask me why, I'm not even really sure myself), and I've got as far as identifying that both Hayashi Seiki Seizo and the Shiojiri factory have the equipment to cold-forge (die-cast) or CNC mill cases from raw steel, but not where that steel actually comes from. To the best of my knowledge neither facility has a blast furnace for actually turning iron ore into steel (primary steelmaking), so that presumably has been outsourced somewhere.
 

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Sorry to revive an old thread, but I'm wondering if anyone has information on where Seiko's raw steel comes from? Aka the steel bars that are then cold forged or CNC milled into watch cases by HAYASHI SEIKI SEIZO or the Shiojiri Seiko factory?
Of course the steel is extracted from a mine on the mount Fuji by the magic Japanese elves you see in Final Fantasy.... :p
 

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Of course the steel is extracted from a mine on the mount Fuji by the magic Japanese elves you see in Final Fantasy.... :p
And carried on the backs of chocobos to the factory I hope! 😛

I've been reading about Fairmined and ethical gold recently where ideally a company can trace their gold back to the mine and ensure the workers are paid fairly and have good working conditions. I've been trying to do the same for steel (trace it back to the source) but it's proving difficult, both because steel doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar for sustainability and corporate responsibility checks, and also because it's an alloy where the end product may come from multiple mines in multiple countries, and be forged at one location and then die cast and finished at another.
 

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And carried on the backs of chocobos to the factory I hope! 😛

I've been reading about Fairmined and ethical gold recently where ideally a company can trace their gold back to the mine and ensure the workers are paid fairly and have good working conditions. I've been trying to do the same for steel (trace it back to the source) but it's proving difficult, both because steel doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar for sustainability and corporate responsibility checks, and also because it's an alloy where the end product may come from multiple mines in multiple countries, and be forged at one location and then die cast and finished at another.
Wow. That's really taking ethical investing to extremes. Are you employed in the ethical investment industry if you care to answer. I would completely understand if you didn't want to comment any further but I find this line of thinking quite fascinating.
 

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Wow. That's really taking ethical investing to extremes. Are you employed in the ethical investment industry if you care to answer. I would completely understand if you didn't want to comment any further but I find this line of thinking quite fascinating.
I don't really see how the working conditions for iron miners is any different than gold miners. The material may be worth significantly less, so it's unlikely an iron mine could fund, say, a military regime the way gold or conflict diamonds can. But there are some really poor conditions in Brazil and even Canadian iron mines (the 2nd and 3rd biggest importers of iron to Japan), so I'm curious to see if Seiko as an otherwise fairly exemplary manufacture have put any thought into their steel sources.

A really cool outcome would be Australian ore forged in Japan, both countries having a respectable minimum wage and environmental management systems in place. Plus I'd just like to know where my watch (ultimately) came from :p
 

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I don't really see how the working conditions for iron miners is any different than gold miners. The material may be worth significantly less, so it's unlikely an iron mine could fund, say, a military regime the way gold or conflict diamonds can. But there are some really poor conditions in Brazil and even Canadian iron mines (the 2nd and 3rd biggest importers of iron to Japan), so I'm curious to see if Seiko as an otherwise fairly exemplary manufacture have put any thought into their steel sources.

A really cool outcome would be Australian ore forged in Japan, both countries having a respectable minimum wage and environmental management systems in place. Plus I'd just like to know where my watch (ultimately) came from 🙂
Japan is poor in natural resources, that includes iron and coal so I doubt they have much control on mines, but I assume the steel is produced in Japan.
 
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