Old Seiko Watches

Vintage Seiko watches

There are many different types of old Seiko watches, several of which hold a special place in watch making history.

Seiko watches have a long and interesting history. In 1881, the company trading as K Hattori started making clocks and pocket watches. It was not until 1913 that Seiko produced the Laurel, the first wristwatch in Japan. The company continued to build in size and reputation and in 1929, Seiko watches became the official Japan National Railways watch. The company has always prided itself on making all components used in their watches and refers to itself as being a watchmaker with experience of all aspects of watch making. This long watch making past means that there are several old Seiko watches that have signified key developments in watch making history.

Famous Old Seiko Watches

There are a number of old Seiko watches that represent world firsts. These include:

  • 1969 - Seiko introduced the Seiko Astron, the world's first quartz watch
  • 1973 - Seiko introduced the first digital wristwatch with a six figure digital display
  • 1975 - The first multi-function digital watch is launched
  • 1978 - The introduction of the Twin Quartz watch, known for its ultra accurate movement
  • 1982 - The launch of the first, now vintage, Seiko TV watch, also known at the time as the world's smallest television
  • 1983 - Seiko launched a wrist watch with sound recording functionality
  • 1984 - The world's first wristwatch with computer functions is launched by Seiko
  • 1988 - Seiko introduced the Kinetic watch, the automatic power generating quartz watch that is controlled by CPU-IC
  • 1990 - The first computerized diver's watch, the Scubamaster is launched
  • 1991 - Seiko launched the world's first "millennium-plus calendar"
  • 1998 - The Seiko Thermic, which is the world's first watch driven by body heat, is sold
  • 2005 - The first three-band radio wave watch is introduced by Seiko
  • 2006 -- Spectrum, the famous electrophoresis display, is launched

Buying Old and Vintage Seiko Watches

With such a wide range of different types and styles of old Seiko watches to choose from, picking the right style and functionality can be difficult. The best way to buy an old or vintage Seiko watch is to determine the functions that are important to you and identify the reasons why you are buying an old watch. Collectors, for instance, have very different needs than someone who is interested in the styling or design of a watch.

Determining the Age of a Seiko Watch

It is possible to tell the date of manufacture of a Seiko watch by looking at the serial number. This number is engraved on the back of the watch. The serial number starts with three digits that represent the month and year of manufacture. It doesn't however, show the decade. Therefore people will need to know the decade that the watch was produced to be able to narrow down the date of manufacture. Many specialist watch makers and dealers will be able to help, and can use the case style or other features to date the watch.

Buying from a Reputable Dealer

The best way to buy any old or vintage watch is through a reputable dealer, particularly if a large investment is being made. An old watch can be an excellent time keeper and represent a sound investment. If it is broken, however, or damaged then it will not keep good time nor will it hold its value. A good watch dealer will know the history of the watch and will be able to give good advice as to how to look after it in order to receive many years of good service.


Old watches are a great way to own a little piece of history while also providing great functionality. An old or vintage Seiko watch is no exception and bound to be a talking point.

Old Seiko Watches