We all know that Grand Seiko is the top-end line among Seiko’s entire watch collection. However, some of you may not know that there was a sub-brand, ‘King Seiko’, that was consistently competing with the GS line trying to become the company’s top-tier line.
It all started back in the late thirties when the founder of Seiko, Kintaro Hattori, decided to split the company into two groups. The two groups had a different objectives, where the “Daini” division focused on making timepieces, while the “Suwa” division focused on designing watch cases and dials.
The competition between the two divisions went on for quite some time. By the mid sixties, you can think of it as a winner was finally declared, when both division presented their final product, The First Grand Seiko Ref. 3180 (Suwa), and the “King Seiko 44KS” (Daini).
Ultimately, the first Grand Seiko Ref.3180, designed by the “Suwa”, was the winner between the two watch divisions. My first experience with the King Seiko was the 4500-7001 model dress watch, presented at 36mm, 9.50 mm thick with a 18mm lug width size, operates on a hi-beat of 36,000 bph, hand wound, hacking, unit that features a sweep second hand and goes without date.
It has 25 jewels and was the last hand built King Seiko movement. Nonetheless, the inner competition between the “Sura” & “Daini” division helped drive innovation, with one manufacturer striving to exceed the quality produced by the other. It also help to pave the path of success for Seiko to be where they are today.
Case No: 170588
Material: Stainless Steel
Dimensions: 36mm diameter; 9.5mm thickness
Bracelet/Strap: Genuine Crocodile Embossed Calf Leather Strap
Lug Width: 18mm
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Written by Sam
Photo by Toni