My love affair with Seiko
Watches are a natural passion for me. Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated with machines. From the stream turbine to the jet engine and everything in between every machine is a masterwork, a feat of engineering. I look at them all in wonder and in awe. In each of them I see the hand of their creators. They are the products of passion, of sleepless nights, endless reworks, refinements and tweaks. Machines are art in motion. A product of both passion and design. Functional and beautiful.
Like fine pieces of art, they make us feel things. When we encounter a great machine we instantly feel that sense of wonder and awe. Watching the engine start-up sequence of a Lockheed Super Constellation, listening to a naturally aspirated engine slowly clime towards redline or feeling the steam turbines of a great ship running at full speed. These are moments where we can appreciate the great accomplishments of their creators. Wristwatches offer the same fascination. To think that a device run by a simple coiled spring can so accurately measure time to within seconds a day is truly a miracle.
We take the wristwatch for granted. We forget about time before we had smart phones let alone accurate marine chronometers. Not so long ago, a safe journey by flight or sea was dependent on the accuracy of a fine watch.
What defines a fine watch? To many, a fine watch is one that is made from precious metals, of high cost and available only in limited quantities. For me, that criteria does not define a fine watch. To me, a watch should be judged as a machine. Is it well made? Is it accurate? Is it economical to run and repair? Does it have a simple design that will keep it reliable?
I think back to the early marine chronometers where accuracy and quality were what mattered. Having an exclusive piece with a solid gold case, ultra-thin movement or a dial covered in diamonds would have seemed silly. What mattered was reliability, serviceability and accuracy. To me the brand that fits that vision more than most in today’s world is Seiko. I am often accused of secretly working for them as many people struggle to understand how I can merely like a Rolex yet completely love a Seiko.
My reasoning is simple; a Seiko is a fine machine. The foremost concern in the design of a Seiko is to build a reliable, accurate and serviceable time keeping machine, not a status symbol. To me, Seiko embodies the classic tradition of time keeping. When I peer through the clear case back of my Seiko SARB035 and admire its simple 6R15 engine I see a fine machine built for a purpose. The clean lines of the case, polished with care yet free of unnecessary ornamentation. I think of its designer and the passion that went into its creation.
A watch built not for the few but the many that people of every background that appreciate great machines can enjoy. That is why I love Seiko and you should too.