The Story of Evolution on the Special Watches of Seiko

Cover - The Story of Evolution on the Special Watches of Seiko

Japanese Title: セイコー特殊時計開発物語―セイコープロフェッショナル・ウオッチに隠された特殊
Author: Ikuo Tokunaga
Publisher: World Mook, World Photo Press
Published: February 2009
Pages: 184
ISBN-10: 4846527638
EAN-13: 978-4846527631
Size: 25.6 X 18.2 X 1.7 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 2
Recommended: 5

Content: This book was written by Ikuo Tokunaga one of Seiko’s most famous engineers who developed a lot of special watches such as deep-sea diver's watches, pilot watches, adventure watches, railway watches and so on over a span of thirty years. The book covers many of the special watches from Seiko and how they were developed and evolved. 

These are the chapters:

  • King of the Land - Field Master, Land Master
  • King of the Sea - Professional Divers, Scuba Master, Fishing Master, Cruising Master, Marine Master
  • King of the Sky - Flight Computer, Professional Sky, Flight Master
  • Railway Clocks - Railroad watches mechanical, quartz, clocks
  • Blind evolution - Mechanical - watch Blind, quartz - voice timepiece
  • Special performance watches – Shock, Anti-magnetic, Water resistant, Sports
  • Special function - Calculator watch, Watch with TV, Receptor Watch
  • Special Purpose - Giugiaro design watches, Watch Precious Metals, Jewellery watch
  • Clock Material Development - Wood Watch, Watch lacquer, Titanium, Carbide, Ceramic Watch
  • Special patents - Special waterproof device, patent special function devices, design patents
  • Conclusion – Future of special watches

Comments: Excellent exploded diagrams, family organization charts and great insights into the design process for the wide range of special series of watches. Even without reading Japanese this is a book worth checking out. 

Seiko Divers Watch Evolution

Cover - Seiko Divers Watch Evolution

Japanese Title: セイコーダイバーズウオッチ進化論
Author: Ikuo Tokunaga
Pages: 159
Publisher: World Photo Press
Published: 2015/6/12
ISBN-10: 4846530787
EAN-13: 978-4846530785
Release Date: 2015/6/12
Size: 25.6 X 18.2 X 1.6 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 1
Recommended: 5

Content: This book is written by famous Seiko designer Ikuo Tokunaga who was responsible for many of Seiko’s developments with watch design. The book is focused on the evolution of the divers watch and the different technologies that were created for this specialized field of watches.

The book is broken down into the following chapters.

  • Seiko Divers Watch Latest Model
  • Introduction of Seiko Professional Watches Essence
  • Types and Characteristics of Waterproof Watches
  • Types and Characteristics of Divers Watches
  • Mechanical Divers Watch Evolution Theory
  • Quartz Divers Watch Evolution
  • Spring Drive Divers Watch Evolution Theory
  • Divers Watch Exterior
    • Case Materials
    • Case Structure
    • Watch Case Patents
  • Future Study of Divers Watch

Comments: The book contains numerous design drawings and exploded diagrams showing the watches construction. There are also a number of tables detailing the different diver models produced by Seiko over the years. While written just in Japanese the book has many pictures and diagrams that are of interest. There is a very small amount of information that is repeated from the previous “The Story of Evolution on the Special Watches of Seiko” book but most of the information provided is new. I would love to see an English translation of this book released at some time, but even if you cannot read most of the text there is a lot of useful information that can still be gained from this book. 

The Seiko Book – The Real History of Seiko Watches

Cover - The Seiko Book – The Real History of Seiko Watches

Japanese Title: (セイコーブック)―時の革新者セイコー腕時計の軌跡
Author: Masaharu Nabata
Publisher: Town Mook, Tokuma Shoten
Published: May, 1999
Pages: 194
ISBN-10: 4197100566
EAN-13: 978-4197100569
Size: 30.0 x 21.4 x 1.0 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3.5
Recommended: 5

Content: The full Seiko history with chapters on Grand Seiko, Marvel and Cronos, Seiko Quartz, Kinetic, Design, Seiko Sports with lots of pictures of watches, advertising, schematics and Seiko people.

These are the chapters:

  • The Legend of Grand Seiko
  • The Profile of Early Seiko Watches
  • Birth of the Standards, Marvel & Cronos
  • The Challenge to Swiss Chronometer Concourse
  • The Early History of Seiko Quartz
  • The Smallest Electric Plant in the World... Kinetic
  • The World of Seiko Watch Design
  • The Legend of Ultimate Reliability... Seiko Sports
  • The Museum of Seiko Antique Watches & Data Library
  • Seiko Watch Current Collection
  • Special Message From Seiko
  • The History From Seiko Group
  • The Gallery of Seiko Watch Ad

Comments: This is an excellent reference that covers many different areas of the history of Seiko. Some of the sections are reproduced in the book “A Journey in Time”. There are lots of large well shot images and this is worth acquiring.

Museum of Japanese made Watches

Cover - Museum of Japanese made Watches

Japanese Title: 国産時計博物館
Author: N/A
Publisher: World Photo Press
Published: July 1994
Pages: 224
ISBN-10: 4846520277
EAN-13: 978-4846520274
Size: 11.1 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 4

Content: The book is divided into the following chapters.

  • Early Model & Military Watch
  • Standard Model
  • Calendar Watch
  • Chronograph
  • Unique Model
  • Design Watch
  • Quartz and Electronic Watch

In each chapter they examine watches from Seiko, Citizen, Orient, and Takano. Each watch traditionally has a face shot as well as a case back and movement with the back removed. There is a small amount of text for each watch as well as movement and release date.
The back of the book also has a short section showing the current ranges from Seiko, Orient, Casio and Citizen at the time of printing. There is also a section showing adverts for 32 different second hand watch dealers.

Comments: There is limited specific information on each watch but the images are clear and there is a wide variety of watches presented. At the start of the book there are four pages of English text on history of Japanese watch makers.

Illustrated Seikosha Pocket Watches

Cover - Illustrated Seikosha Pocket Watches

Japanese Title: 精工舎懐中時計図鑑
Author: Sadao Ryugo
Publisher: Keisuisha Hanshobu
Published: March 2009
Pages: 178
ISBN-10: 4863270518
EAN-13: 978-4863270510
Size: 26 x 18.8 x 2.2 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 1
Recommended: 5

Content: This book shows Seiko pocket watches from the start of the company until the end of the 1920’s. The book has many pictures of the various watches and they are divided into different periods and then sections such as military watches or railroad watches.
The book starts with the beginning of Seikosha, then the history of pocket watches of Seikosha. Following chapters cover the Meiji pocket watches, Taisho, Showa, pocket watches, Seikosha before and after the war.

Comments: This book seems to be the best resource for information of the early pocket watches from Seikosha. There are lots of sections describing the differences between models and the things to look at when comparing the different models. There is also a large amount of information that makes it possible to confirm the exact movement types and to help date specific watches. If you like early Seikosha pocket watches then this book is recommended.

Kintaro Hattori - The Man Who Built a Kingdom Seiko

Cover - Kintaro Hattori - The Man Who Built a Kingdom Seiko

Japanese Title: セイコー王国を築いた男―小説・服部金太郎
Author: Wakayama Saburo
Publisher: Aoki Inc.
Published: January 1993
Pages: 260
ISBN-10: 4791307224
EAN-13: 978-4791307227
Size: 19.4 x 13.8 x 2.2 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 1.5

Content: As expected from the title this book is a biography of Kintaro Hattori from his early years through to the formation of Seiko and his legacy. 

The book is broken down into the following chapters:

  • Apprenticeship
  • The Way to the clock
  • Hattori Watch Shop
  • Leap
  • If you do not see boys on a third day
  • Establish a Precision Crane
  • Pioneer Spirit
  • Watch King of Japan
  • One Step Ahead
  • Disappointed
  • Huge Footprints

Comments: This is a pure text based biography and unfortunately of little use for non-Japanese readers.

Watch King - The Man Who Built a Kingdom Seiko

Cover - Watch King - The Man Who Built a Kingdom Seiko

Japanese Title: 時計王―セイコー王国を築いた男
Author: Wakayama Saburo
Publisher: Gakken
Published: May 2002
Pages: 294
ISBN-10: 4059001414
EAN-13: 978-4059001416
Size: 15.2 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 2.5
Recommended: 1.5

Content: As expected from the title this book is a biography of Kintaro Hattori from his early years through to the formation of Seiko and his legacy.

Comments: This is a reprint of the 1993 book “Kintaro Hattori - The man who built a kingdom Seiko”.  This issue is also pure text with no images provided and is of little use for non-Japanese readers.

Counterattack of Made in Japan

Japanese Title: 国内生産でも世界で勝てる―メード・イン・ジャパンの逆襲 小型・精密・実装技術で進化するシチズン時計のDNA
Author: Makoto Umehara
Publisher: Toyo Keizai
Published: October 2004
Pages: 229
ISBN-10: 4492501290
EAN-13: 978-4492501290
Size: 19 x 13.2 x 2 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3.5
Recommended: 1.5

Content: This book focuses upon the business practices that helped Citizen fight back against low cost competition and build the company to the powerhouse it is today. The full title of this book is Can win in the world even in domestic production - Counterattack of Made in Japan - Citizen Watch DNA evolving with miniature, precision, packaging technology

Comments: This is a business book focused on the corporate decisions and not the actual watches, so do not expect a history on the development of Eco-Drive or any model specific details.

Quagmire of Watch Wars – will this continue to impact through the 1980s

Cover - Quagmire of Watch Wars

Japanese Title: ドロ沼の時計戦争―80年代にはどこが伸びどこがダメになるか
Author: TakeShima Ken
Pages: 209
Publisher: Yale publisher
Published: November 1979
ASIN: B000J87K8S
Size: 18.6 X 12.7 X 2.0 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 2

Content: This book examines how the Japanese watch industry coped with the quartz revolution and the very competitive market in the late 70’s. 

The chapters are as follows:

  • Watch Kingdom in the World – Japan
  • Why the Swiss Watch Kingdom was Defeated
  • Do you Die or Live? Digital War
  • Casio’s fight, which will Win? 
  • Clock War that threw men?
  • Does the retail store have a future?
  • Citizen Wants to Catch Up with Seiko

Comments: The book contains a small number of pictures and is almost all text. If you do not read Japanese I cannot recommend this book.

Antique and Modern Digital Watch

Cover - Antique and Modern Digital Watch

Japanese Title: アンティーク&モダンデジタルウォッチ
Editor in Chief: Mr. Watanabe
Editors: Eiji Tsurutani / Yuji Tanaka / Daisuke Kuwamoto
Pages: 129
Publisher: Rippu Shobo Publishing Co. Ltd.
Published: August 1997
ISBN-10:  4651097162
EAN-13: 987-465109716-9
Size: 29.8 x 22.8 x 1.4 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 3.5

Content: This book is filled with large clear images of various digital watches mainly from Japanese manufactures. The book is arranged in roughly chronological order and watches are grouped into common areas. It starts from the first 6 digit LCD watch, the Seiko 06LC, and finishes around the early 1990's. There is also a section for LED watches and another section on toy watches.

Comments: This is a nice overview of the early digital watches and contains lots of nicely shot images and some interesting information. 

Digital Watch Picture Book

Cover - Digital Watch Picture Book

Japanese Title: デジタル・ウォッチ大図鑑
Author: N/A
Pages: 143
Publisher: Green Arrow Graffitti
Published: March 1997
ISBN-10:  4766331990
EAN-13: 978-4766331998
Size: 21 x 15 x 1.0cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 2.5
Recommended: 1

Content: This is a collection of digital watch images that are presented with a small description next to each.

Comments: The information in this book is minimal at best. There is little organization to the book and there are no real details provided on the watches presented. The models seem to be grouped almost randomly and are at best grouped into brands. There are a small amount of Seiko models displayed with more Citizen models shown and lots of Casio models. There is also a significant amount of early LED watch images presented. I would not bother getting this book unless you can pick it up for just a couple of dollars.

Japan Made Tourbillon

Cover - Japan Made Tourbillon

Japanese Title: ジャパン・メイド トゥールビヨン-超高級機械式腕時計に挑んだ日本のモノづくり
Author: Hajime Asaoka, Masato Otsubo , Osawa Jiro, Hirota MiyabiSusumu
Publisher: B & T Books
Published: October 2015
Pages: 178
ISBN-10: 4526074640
EAN-13: 9784526074646
Size: 21 X 15 X 1.8 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 1
Recommended: 3

Contents: Mr. Hajime Asaoka is Japan's first high-end independent watchmaker who has built a number of different watches including a tourbillon model. These watches are hand produced and the process of building this model watch is documented in this book. The full title of this book is Japan Made Tourbillon - Manufacturing in Japan that Challenged Ultra-luxury Mechanical Watches.

 Comments: The book outlines the inspiration, design and production process of the mechanism of the finished tourbillon watch. The book contains a large number of technical drawings and is a complex in-depth discussion of the issues involved. Without a fluent understanding of Japanese and a strong background in watch design the book will be of minimal interest to most readers.

Mechanical Watch Course - Shoichiro Komaki

Cover - Mechanical Watch Course

Japanese Title: 機械式時計講座
Author: Shoichiro Komaki
Publisher: University of Tokyo Press
Published: August 2014
Pages: 264 pages
EAN-13: 978-4130688000
Size: 26 X 19 X 3 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 1
Recommended: 3

Contents: This is a reprinting of a serialized mechanical watch introductory course that had been printed in the Japanese magazine “The world of Watches". The course was written by Shoichiro Komaki who is a member of the Japan Clock Society and technology adviser. In 1958 Komaki-san joined Seiko and was involved in the design and research for watches. He was involved in the submission of the watches for the Swiss Observatory Competition and was also heavily involved in the development of Quartz technology.

Comments: This is a highly technical book and due to the specialized nature of the contents would only be useful for native Japanese readers with a strong background in mechanical watch servicing and assembly.

Messages from Science - Quartz Crystal Watch and Clock

Cover - Quartz Crystal Watch and Clock

Japanese Title: クォーツ時計 (科学からのメッセージ) 
Author: N/A
Publisher: Tohren
Published: 1984
Pages: 38
ISBN-10: 4924574023
EAN-13: 978-4924574021
Size: 28.5x 21.4 x 0.7cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 2

Content: There is a short history of timekeeping and then this book describes the basic principles of quartz technology as well as a section on how LCD’s and CMOS-IC operate. 

Comments: This book has a simple description of the technology and is not brand specific. There are a number of sections that specifically reference Seiko including a two page FAQ section at the end of the book. Due to the small amount of hard information contained in this book and the general nature of it this is not recommended.

"Catching Up and Overtaking Switzerland" - History of the Japanese watch industry from 1850 to the present

Cover - Catching Up and Overtaking Switzerland

French Title: Rattraper et dépasser la Suisse Histoire de l’industrie horlogère japonaise de 1850 à nos jours
Author: Pierre-Yves Donzé
Publisher: Editions Alphil - Presses Universitaires Suisses
Published: 2014
Pages: 506
ISBN-10: 294048998X
EAN-13: 978-2-940489-98-5
Size: 210 x 140 x 28mm
Language: French
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 3

Content: The description for this book states that it contains a complete history of the Japanese watch industry, from the opening of the country in the 1850s to the present day. The analysis covers the main manufacturers of Japanese watches (Seiko, Citizen and Casio) as well as other types of players, such as the State, universities and collective research organizations.

Comments: I have not seen this book but I have read that it does contain a wealth of interesting information. If you speak French this would be recommended.

Industrial Development, Technology Transfer, and Global Competition - A history of the Japanese watch industry since 1850

Cover - Industrial Development, Technology Transfer, and Global Competition

Cover - Industrial Development, Technology Transfer, and Global Competition

Author: Pierre-Yves Donzé
Publisher: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
Published: November 2016
Pages: 242
ISBN-10: 1138650692
EAN-13: 978-1138650695
Size: 234 x 158 x 21mm
Language: English
Rarity: 1
Recommended: 3

Content: This book traces the history of the Japanese watch industry from the opening of the Japanese economy in 1850 to the present day. The book is broken down into the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • PART I The birth of an industry (1850–1945)
    • 1 The emergence and the growth of a market
    • 2 The first steps towards industrialization (1880–1914)
    • 3 Technological challenges (1900–1937)
    • 4 The evolution of markets (1900–1937)
    • 5 The main manufacturers
    • 6 The experience of war
  • PART II The conquest of the world (1945–1985)
    • 7 Technological challenges
    • 8 The evolution of markets
    • 9 Organization and management of the largest watch companies
  • PART III The Japanese watch industry since 1985
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Comments: This book seems to examine the history of the Japanese watch industry and how the commercial markets have evolved. I am unsure how much information from the book "Catching Up and Overtaking Switzerland" is replicated in this book.

Why are the hands of the clock clockwise? - Unraveling the mystery of clocks and time

Cover - Why are the hands of the clock clockwise?

Japanese Title: 時計の針はなぜ右回りなのか―時計と時間の謎解き読本
Author: Oda Ichiro
Publisher: Megapress
Published: October 1994
Pages: 230
ISBN-10: 4794205783
EAN-13: 9784794205780
Size: 19 x 13.4 x 1.6 cm
Language: Japanese
Rarity: 3
Recommended: 2

Content: This is a series of short essays about different topics relating to time and time keeping. Some of the topics covered are as listed below:

  • The beginning of the week is Sunday or Monday? 
  • Why are the clock hands clockwise? 
  • Why is the clock in the catalog pointing at 10:08? 
  • How much can the accuracy of the quartz watch be increased? 
  • How does the advancement of watch technology change sports? 
  • How did the pocket watch become a watch?
  • Why did the American watch industry decline? 
  • Which shop is using a counterclockwise clock? 
  • How to increase the accuracy of hourglasses?
  • How many seconds are needed to avoid aerial collisions? 
  • Is it possible to introduce daylight saving time in Japan? 
  • Is it true that you can live longer if it is an Islamic calendar?

Comments: This is a short collection of topics that all relate to time. Each topic is covered in 2-4 pages. The book was written by Oda Ichiro who worked for Seiko for many years in the product management, sales planning and publicity departments. He was in charge of the planning and editing of the Seiko publication “A Journey in Time”.