Among the few non-Swiss brands to successfully challenge the country’s horological hegemony, Japan’s Grand Seiko watches command cult status amongst in-the-know collectors who appreciate its heritage, authenticity, and innovative spirit backed by full in-house production capabilities. Even so, Grand Seiko, previously an upscale collection under Seiko’s wider repertoire, had pretty much been an open secret amongst collecting communities at best, as the timepieces were originally reserved for the Japanese domestic market since its launch in 1960.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Grand Seiko started retailing globally. Suffice to say, its profile and stature have spiked since, exemplified by a milestone win at the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, with the Hi-Beat 36000 GMT bagging the ‘Petite Aiguille’ prize.
Recognising the potential, the Japanese company’s powers that-be decided to carve out Grand Seiko as an independent brand. Separate from Seiko, Grand Seiko would have the scope to offer a wider variety of timepieces in the same teched- and luxed-up spirit. Not only was the move welcomed by consumers, it fired up the imagination of Grand Seiko’s watchmakers who now have a larger canvas to work on.
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