Seiko is famous worldwide as the leading producer of top quality quartz watches. Not so many people are aware of the fact that the company is also greatly expertized in the mechanical watch technology. Seiko has been involved in the production of mechanical timepieces even longer than Rolex. The history of the company started in 1881 with the foundation of K. Hattori Co that involved in the production of pocket watches in 1895. The first wristwatch produced by the company appeared in 1913 when it developed its own hairspring. The very first watch under the Seiko brand was released in 1924.
Seiko watches are produced completely in-house. The Seiko watch-makers do the research and development, design and produce the movement, assemble all the components, produce the case and bracelet. The Seiko Group produces every component of its iconic Spring Drive watch.
In Japan, the Seiko Company is highly appreciated as the prestigious producer of luxury mechanical watches worth the chronometer status. Its Grand Seiko and Credo mechanical timepieces are sold for thousands of dollars.
Seiko considers its history to be marked by three major stages of quartz revolution. The first stage of the revolution started when Seiko introduced its initial quartz watches in 1969. Quartz watches guaranteed supreme accuracy of timekeeping. Yet, they had a significant flaw – they greatly relied on the battery, an outside power source, that implied the necessity to replace the battery from time to time.
In the 1980s the Seiko Epson engineers started experimenting with the development of a new type of a quartz movement that would independently generate its own power with help of ‘automatic generating system’. The engineers applied electronic micro-miniaturization and developed the timepiece equipped with a device comparable to a tiny electrical power plant found inside the watch.
The appearance of the Seiko Kinetic marked the second stage of the great quartz revolution. The new timepieces no longer required a battery. The initial version of the technology, AGS, was introduced in 1988. Later, in 1994 Seiko released its Kinetic watch line provided with a new improved movement.
The Seiko Spring Drive highlighted the third stage of the quartz revolution, the so-called mechatronic ‘quiet revolution’. The escapement represents the weakest link of a mechanical movement. The escapement moving back and forth is a really delicate component greatly subjected to wear because of the friction. The Seiko Epson specialists replaced the escapement with a new electronic device for time regulation. It was called a Trisynchro regulator, no-contact one-way motion device that implied less friction and liability to error.
The development of the Seiko Spring Drive was based upon the company’s great expertize in the field of both mechanical technology and quartz watches. The Spring Drive has incorporated four peculiar features: new mainspring, refined winding system, new system of time regulation and glide-motion hands.
The biggest advantage of the Seiko Spring Drive is its supreme accuracy equal to the accuracy provided by a quartz watch. However, the Spring Drive comprised a lot of elements of a conventional mechanical watch, including the mainspring, winding system and power-reserve indicator. It incorporated over 30 jewels to guarantee low friction and utmost accuracy. The caliber 5R movement has 276 components, 80 percent of which you will find in a traditional mechanical watch.
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