In the 1960s, King Seiko was one of the core pillars of Seiko’s multi-faceted offering, providing an appealing sweet spot between the high-end craftsmanship of Grand Seiko and the universal appeal of more wallet-friendly Seiko models.
If you’ve read previous issues of square mile, you’ll know that King Seiko was borne out of an internal rivalry between Seiko’s Grand Seiko producing Suwa Seikosha production facility and King Seiko’s own Daini Seikosha factory, but as the wider Seiko brand diversified into the emerging Quartz watch technology the difficult decision was made to slowly wrap up production on King Seiko in the middle of the 1970s.
Despite its short time in the spotlight, King Seiko lived on in the hearts of its loyal subjects who clamoured to get their hands on the sleeping regent’s limited models. Quiet corners of watch collecting circles, commonly referred to as ‘Seikoholics’, would argue over their favourite models and announce King Seiko models going under the hammer in Japan. As Grand Seiko announced it was to become an independent brand in 2017, interest in vintage King Seiko grew in line with its one-time sparring partner. Looking back now, it was really only a matter of time before parent company Seiko would listen to the calls for the king to return.
And here we are. King Seiko is back as a permanent fixture in Seiko’s collection a shade over 60 years since it first arrived on the scene. Cloaked in the guise of one of its most celebrated models, the 1965 King Seiko KSK, it looks as good as ever – showcasing all of the ‘Grammar of Design’ principles that first rocketed Seiko onto the world stage.
In this article, you’ll see three of the seven currently available models – including the boutique-exclusive ‘Kameido’ version in a charming shade of lavender. To look at this new rendition of King Seiko, it’s difficult to think of any other watch that offers quite the same package at this £1k-2k price point.
In the 1960s, King Seiko set about taking the watch world by storm through a collection that brought high-end craftsmanship to a wider audience. More than 60 years on, its latest guise is still doing just that.
Starting from £1,475; seikoboutique.co.uk
Find the full collection in the new Seiko Bond Street store, opening this November.