Grand Seiko Becomes Autonomous Brand In 2017

Grand Seiko Becomes Autonomous Brand In 2017

Grand Seiko Becomes Autonomous Brand In 2017 Watch Industry News

As a high-end sub-brand of Japanese watchmaking giant Seiko, Grand Seiko has always stood apart. Now, however, it does so formally, as President & CEO Shinji Hattori today announced that Grand Seiko will be presented as an "entirely separate brand" from Seiko. This, in essence, should be interpreted as more of a rebranding exercise and not to mean that the company is now completely independent of Seiko. We don't yet know all that this will mean for the brand and its products, and while we don't expect a drastic change in direction, we do know that the Grand Seiko logo will be at 12 o'clock on products going forward, including the products presented at Baselworld 2017 - which we will, of course, be sharing with you. Up until now, most Grand Seiko watches were designated as such at 6 o'clock while the Seiko logo was prominent and primary, at 12 o'clock.

Grand Seiko Becomes Autonomous Brand In 2017 Watch Industry News

The benefits of such a rebranding are obvious - and what would the drawbacks be, anyway? It will, hopefully, allow the brand to more clearly distinguish itself as a prestigious, high-end product, rather than one sharing a logo with watches that sell for under $100. Seiko's universe of often overlapping sub-brands, collections, lines, styles, technology, terminology, prices, and target demographics is... vast, to put it mildly. It is also confusing, even for educated watch lovers and Seiko product fans. While "Seiko" is still in the name, an independent brand identity should help achieve in consumers' minds the prestige and recognition Grand Seiko seeks - and deserves.

Grand Seiko Becomes Autonomous Brand In 2017 Watch Industry News

Grand Seiko Becomes Autonomous Brand In 2017 Watch Industry News

Grand Seiko was launched internationally only in 2010 and has come a far way from being a somewhat obscure treat for the nerdiest collectors in the know to the broad recognition it has achieved today. Its progress is a remarkable accomplishment, especially considering the hurdle of perception being Asian in the mostly European club of high-end watches as well as the association with inexpensive, mass-produced watches. The brand has already managed to become one of the hottest topics among the watch-collecting and -appreciating community in recent years, and this rebranding aims to expand upon that territory. As they made this part of their Baselworld splash, along with some releases we are, of course, also bringing to you, we can anticipate an even greater surge of activity from Grand Seiko in the coming months and years.

  • Buy and Sold

    Very sensible decision. Less cluttered dials always look better anyway.

  • Framlucasse

    Good idea!

  • Ye Cheng Lin

    What’s the point, when people instantly sees the Seiko in Grand Seiko?

    • ProJ

      The point is you don’t need to read the word Seiko twice on the dial. Once is enough.

      • Ye Cheng Lin

        It’s not “an independent brand identity” if Seiko is still in the brand name. They could just leave out the Seiko on top without all this rebranding.

      • IG

        Once is too much.

  • ProJ

    Yup, long over due but better late than never.

  • IanE

    At last – many of us have commented on the overload of text on the dials. Personally the Seiko link doesn’t bother me in the slightest: they make fantastic watches throughout their range – at what sadly are becoming rather less fantastic value-for-money.

  • Maybe this will spur other manufacturers to get rid of their superfluous text as well.

    I’m looking at you, “Automatic” and “Power Reserve”.

  • BrJean

    Rolex Oyster becomes autonomous brand in…

  • Richard Baptist

    Couldn’t care less, I’m not into watches for the branding. I’ve always loved grand seiko and always will. I’m into watches for the mechanics, innovation and finishing which grand seiko has, now I’ll continue to save for that spring drive chronograph with the crazy pushers.

  • Marius Pettersen

    Ahh! The new quartz-models will sport a super clean dial then. Looking forward to the SBGV007 with ‘new management’ logo.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    All good, never been a fan of clutter


    About time. I love when you hear these guys and gals on forums saying they love the idea of seeing Seiko because it helps them fly under the radar so nobody knows wha the watch is. Yes, they do know what the watch is, it is a $6k watch branded like it was a $250 watch. Watches without branding do not have much value at all as they are not worth retail pricing on the merits of just the watch itself.

    Ok at least now I can go get those fake VW emblems on my Bentley. I was trying to fly under the radar.

    Hat to say it but they just destroyed the resale values because now you own a Seiko and the premium versions are Grand Seiko versions.

    • Mr. Snrub

      Hard to predict, but there’s always the possibility that Seiko ‘Grand Seiko’ versions become a desirable collector’s item in time.

      • BRIAN

        I agree anything is possible but I guarantee there will be a division with before and after the Seiko being removed. It isn’t just removed wording it the actual brand that has gone in a different direction.

    • Patrick M

      Give me a break. The current ones still say Grand Seiko. Anyone who was interested in buying a used Grand Seiko isn’t going to suddenly be put off simply because the new ones have the Grand Seiko at the top rather than the bottom.

  • DanW94

    Semantics….obviously people will normally assume they’re one in the same as long as they share the Seiko moniker. If GS goes with a totally different name (I know, that won’t happen) then you can develop a separate identity while sharing the same DNA, similar to a Rolex-Tudor dynamic.

    • IG

      Yeah, it’s like Grand Toyota instead of Lexus.

      • Radaz

        Doesn’t change the quality or value of the car (or watch) though does it?

        • IG

          Yeah it’s still Toyota so I couldn’t care less.

          • Garrett Hu

            I agree, I has a GS300 back in the day. It’s Lexus GS300 in the US but it’s called the Toyota Aristo in Japan. It’s a Toyota somewhere so you are absolutely correct. I seem to recall the Honda Civic is a Acura CSX somewhere too.

            But I think this makes sense to remove Seiko because there is already Seiko in Grand Seiko. My attention span isn’t that short that I needed to be reminded that it’s a Seiko at the bottom of the dial after I was just told it’s a Seiko at the top.

            Brand positioning aside, I think it was simply redundant visually. It’s a less cluttered dial IMO without another Seiko badge and it just causes confusion.

        • Garrett Hu

          We all buy watches for different reasons, we must all respect that here. Some can appreciate a watch for it’s technical merits and some buy for it’s status and prestige. Each command a premium and it just depends on what you want. Nothing wrong with buying a brand for it’s prestige, it feels good, after all watches started off as a rich man’s luxury.

  • George

    Just to join the chorus on clutter. I own an SBGE001, the gmt spring drive. I’ve had it a few years, its my daily wearer and I love it.

    But compared to my IWC and my GO and even other non-premium watches the I truly hate HATE the clutter.

    In full – it says Seiko at the top. Then it has the weird font GS. Then it says Grand Seiko, also using a weird font. Then it says Spring Drive. Then under that its got GMT. And of course in tiny font its got Japan Made at 6, but at least thats nearly not visible. Ugghg, its a real dogs breakfast.

    Literally the only thing you need is EITHER the GS or or the Grand Seiko in the squiggly font. Everything else is redundant, or abundantly clear (see that 24 hour dial and the big red hand – guess what, its a gmt). Spring Drive is a joy to see – and if you don’t know what it is, well then you’re probably not wearing this watch.

    I’ve debated whether there are some dialsmiths out there who could replace the dial with a simple black and the single font, but given the level of finish and polish and applied indices etc, it seems the downside is much greater than the upside.

    But still. An uncluttered dial and I would seriously debate switching out this watch, even at some cost to have something that looks clean, and not like a nerdy 14 year old made it. Its kind of the windows 95 clutter to the old mac comparison. And this watch is unfortunately on the wrong side of that.

  • R Khalifa

    Curious to see if the market will bear $12K Grand Seiko divers. That seems a bit too lofty of a price tag even for a GS. I get that they are incredible watches but I think they are missing the fact most people also respect GS for their value and minimal brand premium. But I could well be wrong, perhaps they have established enough luxury prestige to make it with a Rolex-style brand premium. Certainly lost my interest.

  • Djsherif

    Finally, did they learn nothing from Lexus and Infiniti and Acura.

    Marketing 101, get the fonts right too and you have a winner.

  • enzomedici

    A Grand Seiko is a fantastic watch, but to me, a Seiko will always be thought of as a $100 watch at best. Timex, Hamilton, Bulova, Armitron, Seiko….the lower echelon of the watch world.

    • Radaz

      Do you really think of a Grand Seiko as ‘a $100 watch at best’? Perhaps those who have no interest in watches might think that, but as someone who is into watches… comeon.

      • Yanko

        Some people consider the medieval executioner a scientific researcher but this does not change the perspective. If you put Rolex and Grand Seiko next to each other and, for the sake of time, you spend just 2 minutes looking at both watches, then, I promise you, Rolex will look a $ 100.00 watch.

        • Bozzor

          And the scary thing is Rolex is still a brilliant, beautifully made watch by any normal standard. It’s just that Grand Seiko goes to insane standards…

    • ProJ

      ‘…will always be thought of as a $100 watch…’

      In fact, this is exactly why I like them.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I worry that this is a prelude to raising the prices of the GS. Everybody has for years said its cheap for what you get. Do they now think the brand has the cachet to bear the price rises.
    Coincidently I got my 5th Seiko in the post today.

  • Der0

    I’ve never really seen that having “Seiko”, “GS”, “Grand Seiko” and “Spring Drive” on a dial being something which makes it cluttered.

    Not when comparing to watches which are skeletonised, have a joker face or being stuffed with chronograph, perpetual calendar and moonphase complications.

    I guess in a sense, the only real way to differentiate a Grand Seiko away from the general brand of Seiko… do they need to change the name of “Grand Seiko”? Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota/Lexus, Mercedes Benz/Maybach, etc style?

  • Lawrence

    Worst idea ever. You need to drop the “Seiko ” in the name…

  • Simon_Hell

    Just about everyhing contained in the article contradicts the click bait title.

  • Bozzor

    I am huge fan of Seiko as a designer and manufacturer, and a hundred-fold when it comes to Grand Seiko and Credor. But their marketing and their model naming has been a dogs breakfast for decades – and I hope they now set a direction and run with it. Case in point are the words Superior and Sealion. Superior these days is for slightly better versions of the Seiko 5. But back in the 1970s and 1980s, it was reserved for the most advanced Quartz models they had, which were accurate to 5 seconds a year and cost way more than the Rolex of the day – and these were made at a time when Grand Seiko disappeared. The Sealion naming convention was originally for some nice dress watches from the 1960s that had a bit of extra water resistance, but soon it became a moniker they added without rhyme or reason.

    Really hope this is the start of proper brand management. Grand Seiko is every bit the design, engineering and quality equal (at least) of the most prestigious Swiss brands: hope they begin to give it the same consistency in naming.

  • ZL

    Beginning of an “Asian Spring?” Sub-brand separatists empowered, next will be Prospex, Astron, Presage, then G-Shock and Edifice, Orient Star… falling like dominoes ending with a Balkanized Japanese watch landscape. Maybe.

  • Word Merchant

    1. Change the logo.
    2. Change the font.
    3. Where it exists, change the power reserve position and design.
    4. Perfection reached. Do nothing else.

  • I actually like Grand Seiko BECAUSE it says Seiko — with or without the “Grand”

  • ??????

    I never felt that Seiko should make Grand Seiko a separate sub-brand. I’ve had 5 Seiko watches and I think that all of them were great for the price. So there is nothing shameful or anything to offer cheap rock solid watches together with high-end timepieces. I do agree with Linkolnshire Poacher that this may be a move towards future increase of prices. Many would agree that GS are known to offer a lot more than what they cost: exceptional level of hand finishing in small quantities at a reasonable price; and I think Seiko realise that themselves, that they got the needed level of appreciation…
    P.S. Seiko already have one premium sub-brand – Credor. Why have two?

  • SuperStrapper

    I see this is a polarising move, but to be honest I’m largely indifferent about it.

  • Ulysses31

    Wearing the Seiko logo gives me a sense of pride, because i’m not at all prejudiced against the brand because it is “Asian”. For those whose perception is frankly wrong, this may help somewhat, although I would try and enhance the Credor profile if I were them. It has a nice logo and “European” sounding name, and not a lot of people have heard of it yet.

  • ???

    To the people who are bothered by the clustered texts on GS’s dial, I’m quite curious about their opinion about Rolex’s dials.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      To much text, to man fonts. Is that simple. And for me, the font is not a killer. Just weird.

      • ???

        In my memory, there’s no any font used by GS made me feel weird at all.

        • Sheez Gagoo

          Doesn’t make me feel weird. Just looks weird, because this font, where I live, Is used by nazis (Fraktur) and ancient newspapers. As I mentioned: I love GS and I can live with the font. Not that kind of a problem.

          • ???

            I get your points now.

        • Sheez Gagoo

          The two first sentences of my first comment where dedicated to Rolex.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I love GS, but I share the opinion of most here. The nazifont looks…well,nazi.

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  • typericey

    An answered prayer for me, for the sake of cleaner dials. Hope the current models get updated dials too, not just the upcoming ones.

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