Founded in 1881, Seiko gained prominence for introducing the world’s first quartz watch in 1969, and is often associated with the “quartz revolution” of the 1970s, which threatened to destroy the Swiss watch industry. Competition from inexpensive Chinese watch manufacturer, a resurgent Swiss watch industry, domestic rivals and a wealth of new fashion brands have led the company in sales-oriented strategy to rethink a number of products in different price ranges. After close to … Read more »

Founded in 1881, Seiko gained prominence for introducing the world’s first quartz watch in 1969, and is often associated with the “quartz revolution” of the 1970s, which threatened to destroy the Swiss watch industry. Competition from inexpensive Chinese watch manufacturer, a resurgent Swiss watch industry, domestic rivals and a wealth of new fashion brands have led the company in sales-oriented strategy to rethink a number of products in different price ranges. After nearly obsolete in the face of quartz technology, the mechanical clock business was thriving again, as a number of mainly Swiss luxury watch company attracted buyers. Since the 1960s, Seiko has luxury and complex mechanical watches for the domestic market under the brand names “Grand Seiko” and produced “Credor.” In 2003, Shinji Hattori, a great-grandson of the founder of Seiko Watch Company President and CEO, and felt that Seiko should increase its perceived image outside Japan. The management’s view, Seiko was able to maintain distinction as only “mechatronic manufacturer” in the world – a vertically integrated watchmaker who both excelled in mechanical watchmaking and microelectronics. The introduction of an innovative new movement – the Spring Drive – presents an opportunity for Seiko to make a timely foray into high-priced segments in the international watch market. Examines the legacy of the Seiko watch company and provides a basic overview of the world watch industry. Believes that the way have developed in the watch as a product category, and how a company like Seiko has tried its competitive advantage with its brand positioning to reconcile in a very crowded market.
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from
Amir Hoosain,
Mary Ho,
Ali Farhoomand,
Thomas M. Hout
Source: University of Hong Kong
31 pages.
Publication Date: Jun 27, 2007. Prod #: HKU658-PDF-ENG
Seiko Watch Corporation: Moving Upmarket HBR case solution