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A Tour of the Seiko Instruments Factory in Shizukuishi, Japan>>>>>>



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Published on 01-13-2009 09:29 AM

Number of Views: 3448

A Tour of the Seiko Instruments Factory

Shizukuishi, Japan

January 13th, 2009

By: John B. Holbrook, II

Copyright 2009 – All Rights Reserved


As part of the 2008 Seiko Media Experience in October, I was given the opportunity to tour the Seiko Instruments factory in Shizukuishi – a city in the northern part of Japan. Where the Seiko-Epson Factory in Shiojiri, Japan has emerged as a focal point for Spring Drive production for Seiko, the Seiko Instruments facility focuses on more traditional mechanical watch manufacturing, and produces mechanical movements across all Seiko model lines. Here’s a photo of me standing in front of the Seiko Instruments factory:

si1.jpg


One of the first things I did on the tour was get some lessons in Japanese techniques for metal engraving by hand.

si2.jpg


Here I am gaining a new appreciation for by-hand watch movement decoration as I try to add some simple pattern work to a self-winding rotor:

si3.jpg


We then ventured out into the factory and saw of the automated equipment for applying various decorations to self-winding rotors:

si13.jpg


The machine in action:

si14.jpg


The machine can be configured to produce many different patters and styles, but here’s some examples:

si10.jpg


si11.jpg


Here’s a machine which can apply “Geneva Stripes” (or “Tokyo Stripes” as their called in this part of the world) to the base plates and bridges of a watch movement:

si16.jpg


The finished products:

si15.jpg


Here’s a CAD (Computer Aided Design) group busy at work:

si17.jpg


The main factory floor for movement component production:

si18.jpg


si4.jpg


si5.jpg


Examples of production:

si6.jpg


We then toured the part of the facility where much of the hand finishing and assembly work is done on the various movements produced here:

si20.jpg


Pre-assembly movement accuracy testing:

si21.jpg


One of Seiko’s Master Watchmakers doing some fine assembly on a very high-end Credor caliber:

si22.jpg


si23.jpg


This Master Watchmaker is working on a Grand Seiko caliber:

si24.jpg


si25.jpg


Balance wheel fitting and assembly – the heart beat of the movement:

si26.jpg


Accuracy testing of some assembled watches:

si27.jpg


My time in both the Seiko-Epson and Seiko Instrument production facilities gave me an entirely new appreciation and respect for Japanese watch making. In my mind, the Japanese horology and production capabilities rival anything I’ve seen in Germany or Switzerland. Most impressive, and I’m deeply appreciative of Seiko giving me the opportunity to experience their craft first hand – thanks Seiko!

**Photos & Text Copyright 2009 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.


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A Tour of the Seiko Instruments Factory in Shizukuishi, Japan>>>>>>
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