WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 20 of 317 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
About a year ago I became interested in purchasing my first really high end diving watch and began researching many of the better known brands. That lead me to look into the construction of the Spring Drive movement a few months later, and I sent some detailed questions to Seiko, not really expecting to hear back. But, low and behold, a few days later, a female engineer who works for Seiko named Keiko Matsumoto sent me some replies and we kind of struck up a correspondence. (we are both university trained engineers and we both spent some of our education at Tokyo University) In the past seven months or so, I have occasionally received valuable insight from her about not only Seiko products but also watchmaking and their industrial manufacture in general. Because of a thread asking about the SKX007 J and K versions a few days back, I decided to email her to get the low down. She said she could not comment but directed me to a Seiko executive who she said might be helpful. I emailed the guy and this is what he sent back (although, he asked not to be named):

".....due to the nature of customs and labor laws in Japan, products are generally allowed to be stamped with Made in Japan if they are produced outside the national boundaries as long as they are manufactured in a wholly owned Japanese firm where the work is overseen by Japanese nationals. Generally speaking, watches priced below about 90000 yen (currently $838 US dollars) do not contain enough profit margin to be made in Japan. This is not just for Seiko, but for all major Japanese manufacturers. Watches priced roughly from 90000 to 250000 yen (currently $838 to 2328 US dollars) are often finished or with final assembly done in Japan and higher end watches above this point are often fully assembled in Japan. ....."

He then went on to talk about a few other sales points, but then he included a 2013 list for me of where well known Seiko divers are made. Here is the list by price range:

(RP - Raw Parts, MIM= Made in Malaysia, MIC = Made in China, MIJ = Made in Japan, RA = Robot Assembly, HA = Hybrid Assembly (robot and human), HuA - Human Assembly)

Generally Seiko divers and many other models less than about $175 dollars are made of raw parts from China, with assembly done by robots in Malaysia and are overseen by Malaysian technicians.

SKX007 K = Raw Parts made mainly in China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Malaysian Technicians
SKX007 J = Raw Parts made mainly in China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Japanese Technicians (which allows the J version to be labeled as Made in Japan)

SBDC001 (Sumo) -almost all Sumo versions - Raw Parts made mainly in China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Japanese Technicians on assembly line

SNM031, 033, etc... (Samurai) - Raw Parts mainly from China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Japanese Technicians

SBDC007 (Shogun) - Raw Parts from mainly China, Titanium case machined and finished in Malaysia, MIM, HA, with final oversight done in Japan by human hands

MarineMaster

SBDX001 (MarineMaster 300m) - Raw Parts mainly from Japan and Malaysia, MIM, RA with final oversight by Japanese technicians in Japan (bet this will surprise many as the 8L35 in this watch is robot assembled)

SBDB001 (MarineMaster 600m Titanium) - Spring Drive made in Japan, MIJ, HuA with all assembly overseen by Japanese technicians in Japan

MarineMaster Tuna

SBBN017 - Quartz movement made in Malaysia, MIM, HA with final inspection by Japanese technicians

SBBN015 - Same as SBBN017

SBBN013 - Quartz movement made in Malaysia, MIJ, HuA with all assembly done by Japanese technicians in Japan

(The list also mentions a few other quartz 1000m resistant models. These models all seem to be fully made in Japan by human hands)

SBDX011 - Raw Parts from Japan and Malaysia, MIM, HA with final oversight by Japanese technicians in Japan

SBDB009 - Raw Parts from Japan and Malaysia, Spring Drive made in Japan, MIJ, HuA with all assembly overseen by Japanese technicians in Japan

Grand Seiko

Almost all the Grand Seikos are made from Japanese or Malaysia parts, although some of the quartz movements are made in Malaysia. They are all assembled in Japan by Japanese technicians. Most are hand assembled. The models which receive the most attention are the Hi-Beat models and next are the Spring Drive models.

And the funny thing was, after I received this juicy tidbit, I got another email a few hours later, saying "The previous listing is from production records in the past and does not reflect current Seiko manufacturing standards". The executive even apologized for sending me incorrect information and when I asked him for updated info, he said that he probably could not comment. And I have not heard back since then.

Maybe his accidental release of "old records" will help solve a few WUS Seiko questions. You decide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
Interesting. A friend's father who works for a Japanese firm commented on the QC standards they have compared to firms from other companies.

He said Japanese companies would accept a defect rate of 1 out of 10000 whereas standards for other manufacturers were 1 out of 500 or thereabouts. And this is for manufacture outside of Japan.

Nothing to do with Seiko but I thought it interesting nonetheless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
765 Posts
That a little strange, because I have found on a Seiko site this announcement about Spring Drive origin:
"All Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches are made in the Shinshu Watch Studio, high in the mountains of central Japan"
Here is the site:
http://www.grand-seiko.com/manufacture/springdrive_03.html
 
  • Like
Reactions: Biggles3

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
That a little strange, because I have found on a Seiko site this announcement about Spring Drive origin:
"All Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches are made in the Shinshu Watch Studio, high in the mountains of central Japan"
Here is the site:
9R Spring Drive | Grand Seiko | SEIKO WATCH CORPORATION
I do not know if that is true, but if it is, it does not contradict the above email release. I can say, his attached manufacturing list does not make mention of a Shinshu Studio. For Spring Drive models that I can see, it indicates made and assembled (by hand) in Japan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,598 Posts
Great thread. Thanks for sharing. I guess this helps also in solving the mystery of a Sumo case back stamped made in China on one side and made in Japan on the other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
It's essentially the kosher version of assembly and I'm cool with that.

Hope whomever this person was didn't lose their job over potentially proprietary information.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,441 Posts
Yeah, seems like quite a bit of info. Good info for us, but I certainly hope it didn't cause anybody too many headaches. It does make total sense regarding the price brackets though, and I think finally clears up the K/J confusion people tend to keep having.

The only one that surprised me a little was the Shogun and how they seem to put a bit more care into it than the Sumo. After holding both in the hand and owning one, it makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
It's essentially the kosher version of assembly and I'm cool with that.

Hope whomever this person was didn't lose their job over potentially proprietary information.
Yeah, I have a feeling this guy planned to send me some bland marketing PDF but instead sent the real deal by accident. Oh well, our potential gain.
 
  • Like
Reactions: densrp677ssa216

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,969 Posts
Good to know, thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
636 Posts
About a year ago I became interested in purchasing my first really high end diving watch and began researching many of the better known brands. That lead me to look into the construction of the Spring Drive movement a few months later, and I sent some detailed questions to Seiko, not really expecting to hear back. But, low and behold, a few days later, a female engineer who works for Seiko named Keiko Matsumoto sent me some replies and we kind of struck up a correspondence. (we are both university trained engineers and we both spent some of our education at Tokyo University) In the past seven months or so, I have occasionally received valuable insight from her about not only Seiko products but also watchmaking and their industrial manufacture in general. Because of a thread asking about the SKX007 J and K versions a few days back, I decided to email her to get the low down. She said she could not comment but directed me to a Seiko executive who she said might be helpful. I emailed the guy and this is what he sent back (although, he asked not to be named):

".....due to the nature of customs and labor laws in Japan, products are generally allowed to be stamped with Made in Japan if they are produced outside the national boundaries as long as they are manufactured in a wholly owned Japanese firm where the work is overseen by Japanese nationals. Generally speaking, watches priced below about 90000 yen (currently $838 US dollars) do not contain enough profit margin to be made in Japan. This is not just for Seiko, but for all major Japanese manufacturers. Watches priced roughly from 90000 to 250000 yen (currently $838 to 2328 US dollars) are often finished or with final assembly done in Japan and higher end watches above this point are often fully assembled in Japan. ....."

He then went on to talk about a few other sales points, but then he included a 2013 list for me of where well known Seiko divers are made. Here is the list by price range:

(RP - Raw Parts, MIM= Made in Malaysia, MIC = Made in China, MIJ = Made in Japan, RA = Robot Assembly, HA = Hybrid Assembly (robot and human), HuA - Human Assembly)

Generally Seiko divers and many other models less than about $175 dollars are made of raw parts from China, with assembly done by robots in Malaysia and are overseen by Malaysian technicians.

SKX007 K = Raw Parts made mainly in China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Malaysian Technicians
SKX007 J = Raw Parts made mainly in China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Japanese Technicians (which allows the J version to be labeled as Made in Japan)

SBDC001 (Sumo) -almost all Sumo versions - Raw Parts made mainly in China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Japanese Technicians on assembly line

SNM031, 033, etc... (Samurai) - Raw Parts mainly from China, MIM, RA, Oversight from Japanese Technicians

SBDC007 (Shogun) - Raw Parts from mainly China, Titanium case machined and finished in Malaysia, MIM, HA, with final oversight done in Japan by human hands

MarineMaster

SBDX001 (MarineMaster 300m) - Raw Parts mainly from Japan and Malaysia, MIM, RA with final oversight by Japanese technicians in Japan (bet this will surprise many as the 8L35 in this watch is robot assembled)

SBDB001 (MarineMaster 600m Titanium) - Spring Drive made in Japan, MIJ, HuA with all assembly overseen by Japanese technicians in Japan

MarineMaster Tuna

SBBN017 - Quartz movement made in Malaysia, MIM, HA with final inspection by Japanese technicians

SBBN015 - Same as SBBN015

SBBN013 - Quartz movement made in Malaysia, MIJ, HuA with all assembly done by Japanese technicians in Japan

(The list also mentions a few other 1000m resistant models. These models all seem to be fully made in Japan by human hands)

SBDX011 - Raw Parts from Japan and Malaysia, MIM, HA with final oversight by Japanese technicians in Japan

SBDB009 - Raw Parts from Japan and Malaysia, Spring Drive made in Japan, MIJ, HuA with all assembly overseen by Japanese technicians in Japan

Grand Seiko

Almost all the Grand Seikos are made from Japanese or Malaysia parts, although some of the quartz movements are made in Malaysia. They are all assembled in Japan by Japanese technicians. Most are hand assembled. The models which receive the most attention are the Hi-Beat models and next are the Spring Drive models.

And the funny thing was, after I received this juicy tidbit, I got another email a few hours later, saying "The previous listing is from production records in the past and does not reflect current Seiko manufacturing standards". The executive even apologized for sending me incorrect information and when I asked him for updated info, he said that he probably could not comment. And I have not heard back since then.

Maybe his accidental release of "old records" will help solve a few WUS Seiko questions. You decide.
Hi jayhall0315

Would it possible to show us a screen shot of this correspondence, probably would be good for archival purposes. You could censor sensitive information like the names of the people and their email addresses but leave important details behind (instead of censoring the full email address, you may want to leave the "@seiko.co.jp" back) so we know it came from a reliable source. Not that it is a trust issue but would be great to provide evidence on this rather than I could also start a similar thread stating I got an email from Seiko and they told me that a SKX007J is entirely Made and hand assembled in Japan ya know?

As such detailed information is such rare thing to come by, would be nice to have those screen shots of the email correspondence. :)

Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,969 Posts
Good call. A screenshot would also allow this information to be added to some sort of stikied info-thread. (and solve countless forum debates, no doubt :) )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
765 Posts
Could it be that someone that doesn't like Seiko, Or have any interest to slander Seiko, Send you the paper?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
618 Posts
Pah, everyone knows that Seiko watches are forged from moonlight by elves while the ghost of Kintarō Hattori (K version) or some Japanese dude (J version) is watching over them. I personally don't care where Seiko has those elves imprisoned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
595 Posts
Some cultures have taken a lesson from a famous American former President, setting the intended actual meaning and definition of words quite alternate to their common and supposedly textural norm. It depends on what your definition if "is" is.....

If you can define "made in Japan" by law as having little bits and pieces cut, molded, cast, stamped, and created in Lower Boltavia, those pieces being fit to each other in Wagistan (by fine Wagistani crasftsmen at that!), all in factories owned by Nippon Offshore Factory Company, who leases them to Seiko, at that point you can also say that the NOF local manager, who "supervises" the assembly, actually is only making sure the Wagistani craftsmen punch their time cards within the alotted check in time every morning. And you can also define the Wagistani craftsmen as the group of people who uncrate the Lower Boltavian parts each shift for that shifts production, and merely dump them willy-nilly into hoppers. That being the same as the famous watch "making" studio high in the central mountains, who actually can claim that title because they take the Wagistani movements and bracelets out of a shipping drum, and put each into a nicely printed watch box, which recently arrived by the starfreighter-load from Planet Frengus.

I still love my Sumo, no matter if its a Lower Boltavian / Wagistani red herring of an odd duck's stepchild. I say that because the Frengusian box is out of this world!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
It's essentially the kosher version of assembly and I'm cool with that.

Hope whomever this person was didn't lose their job over potentially proprietary information.
If real, I can't think of any company that would not terminate someone over that. If they became aware if it of course, and could source the person. Depending on how the person sent it, Seiko could possible find the email relatively easily. If the person sent it in confidence, the OP may have put this persons employment in jeopardy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
It's not culturel; what is stamped on the case back, the movement, or printed on the dial is dictated by the import laws and requirements of the country for which the watch is intended to be exported to and sold in. You can google that and read these laws yourself.

Combine that with consumer perception and marketing: consumers often attached more value to products in certain categories if they are made in one country over another. German engineering and workmanship for example. Or Japanese. In photography, "Made in Japan" lenses are more desirable than "made on China". So Seiko, when it can, will stamp "Made on Japan" on watches because they can charge a little more. Many "Swiss Made" watches have their works made in China too.



Some cultures have taken a lesson from a famous American former President, setting the intended actual meaning and definition of words quite alternate to their common and supposedly textural norm. It depends on what your definition if "is" is.....

If you can define "made in Japan" by law as having little bits and pieces cut, molded, cast, stamped, and created in Lower Boltavia, those pieces being fit to each other in Wagistan (by fine Wagistani crasftsmen at that!), all in factories owned by Nippon Offshore Factory Company, who leases them to Seiko, at that point you can also say that the NOF local manager, who "supervises" the assembly, actually is only making sure the Wagistani craftsmen punch their time cards within the alotted check in time every morning. And you can also define the Wagistani craftsmen as the group of people who uncrate the Lower Boltavian parts each shift for that shifts production, and merely dump them willy-nilly into hoppers. That being the same as the famous watch "making" studio high in the central mountains, who actually can claim that title because they take the Wagistani movements and bracelets out of a shipping drum, and put each into a nicely printed watch box, which recently arrived by the starfreighter-load from Planet Frengus.

I still love my Sumo, no matter if its a Lower Boltavian / Wagistani red herring of an odd duck's stepchild. I say that because the Frengusian box is out of this world!
 
1 - 20 of 317 Posts
Top