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Grand Seiko vs Seiko watches: Differences and Similarities 

If you’re in the market for a new watch, you may be wondering whether to go for Grand Seiko or Seiko. Both are excellent brands, but which is right for you? 

In this post, we’ll pit Grand Seiko against Seiko and help you decide which is the best brand for your needs. We’ll cover everything from price to features to design, so you can make an informed decision. So, let’s get started!

What is Seiko?

Seiko is a Japanese manufacturer of watches, clocks, electrical devices, semiconducting materials, jewelry, and optical goods. In 1881, it introduced one of the earliest quartz watches and the first quartz watch with a chronograph.

Grand Seiko vs Seiko watches:

In addition, Seiko introduced the first TV wristwatch in 1982, the first voice-recording wristwatch in 1983, and the first wristwatch with UC-2000 computer functionality in 1984. Late in the 1980s, Seiko introduced the first automatic quartz watch, which combined the self-powered characteristics of an automatic watch with the precision of a quartz movement.

What is Grand Seiko?

Grand Seiko is a premium brand that provides watches crafted by master artisans in Seiko’s two exclusive watchmaking studios using special movements and the finest quality materials. Each Grand Seiko watch is immediately identifiable due to its subtle beauty and minimalist design. From the first Grand Seiko watch in 1960 to the most recent collection, every Grand Seiko has always had the same practical beauty and design purity.

Is grand seiko owned by seiko?

Although Seiko and Grand Seiko are produced by the Seiko Watch Corporation, they are distinct brands. Grand Seiko was a Seiko brand for many years.

Grand Seiko established a completely autonomous watch brand in 2017. The explanation was straightforward: by separating from Seiko, Grand Seiko could advance as a luxury watch brand positioned substantially higher on the market than Seiko.

Grand Seiko competes with Rolex, Omega, and Breitling, whilst Seiko concentrates on producing cheap timepieces for a large audience. In doing so, it has acquired a widespread reputation among watch enthusiasts.

In the same way that Rolex is renowned as the luxury watch, Seiko is known as the affordable, trustworthy option for those on a budget. Few people have heard of Seiko Big Brother Grand Seiko, and when they do, they are often surprised; after all, why would someone pay 10 times the price of a regular Seiko only to add the term Grand? In the following parts of this post, we will compare and contrast Seiko vs Grand Seiko watches to determine if it is worthwhile to spend extra for Grand Seiko.

Grand Seiko vs Seiko: Differences and similarities 

Grand Seiko vs Seiko: Differences and similarities 

Seiko is a name that needs no introduction when discussing Japanese watchmakers. But what about their Grand Seiko premium line? How does it compare to the normal Seiko collection, and is the additional cost justified?


The history of Seiko started in 1881, when Kintaro Hattori, a 21-year-old entrepreneur, founded a store in downtown Tokyo selling and repairing watches and clocks. In 1892, only eleven years later, he founded the Seikosha plant. In 1892, Kintaro Hattori purchased a defunct factory in Tokyo and founded Seikosha (In Japanese, “Seiko” means “exquisite”, “minute” or “success”, and “sha” means house). Here, Kintaro Hattori built his first clocks, marking the start of a firm that would become one of the world’s leading producers of timepieces.

While the concept of Grand Seiko originated in the ideas of Seiko artisans around the middle of the previous century, who desired to create an ideal timepiece that would challenge the norms of watchmaking. 1960 saw the introduction of the first Grand Seiko, which was the perfect embodiment of the concept. It included a new 3180 caliber with an accuracy of +12/-3 seconds daily and remarkable power reserves for the time. It was also the first Japanese watch to meet the requirements of the COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, which certifies the accuracy and precision of Swiss timepieces.

Read: These 21 Italian Watch Brands Make Fantastic Icons


While Seiko is a reputable brand, they do not pay much attention to the details of each model. They are virtually completely machine-made since they cannot afford to integrate handcrafted elements. 

Grand Seiko, however, creates the finest possible timepieces with more care. They construct several components by hand, polish the case and bracelet to a brilliant brilliance, and conduct manual quality checks. This commitment results in a better product.

Materials used

Almost all Seiko watches are crafted from a durable but cheap kind of stainless steel. This is the standard material used by almost every watchmaker. 

Grand Seikos may be distinguished in one of two ways. First, they may be crafted from a superior grade of stainless steel, enhancing the watch’s lifetime. Second, they may be composed of another substance, such as platinum or titanium. Many people can immediately determine if a metal is of high or poor grade. If you ever get your hands on a Grand Seiko, you will realize how different materials may be.


The Grand Seiko design is based on three essential design principles:

  • The design is composed of two-dimensional curves and flat surfaces, with a strong emphasis on the flat surfaces. No three-dimensional curves should be used as a general rule.
  • The casing, dial, and hands should all include as many flat surfaces as feasible.
  • As a general guideline, all surfaces should be mirror-polished and as distortion-free as possible.

Following these three guiding principles, the Grand Seiko Style consists of nine different features that give each Grand Seiko watch its distinctively Japanese aesthetic. The angle of the watch’s casing, the form of the 12 o’clock pointer, and the flatness of the display are all determined by these nine factors. The Grand Seiko Style is, therefore, both improved and retained.

Compared to Grand Seiko, Seiko’s design is less meticulous and lacks the same level of detail. Grand Seiko embraces a more classic and subdued aesthetic, while Seiko often opts for a more contemporary and flamboyant design. This is mirrored in their various watch collections: Grand Seiko’s watches are mostly traditional and exquisite, whilst Seiko’s are more athletic and edgy.


Grand Seiko is unquestionably more expensive than Seiko due to its superior materials, superb craft, meticulous attention to detail, and unique design.

Resale value

Grand Seiko vs Seiko: Differences and similarities 

When purchasing a watch, there are various factors to consider, but resale value is one of the most important. So, which brand, Grand Seiko vs Seiko, is more valuable?

Grand Seiko watches often hold their worth far better than Seiko watches. However, it’s impossible to say for certain since it depends on the model and condition of the watch. This is likely because Grand Seiko is a luxury brand with a solid reputation for quality, while Seiko is a less expensive brand.

Except for some vintage models that are no longer manufactured, it is difficult to resale a Seiko watch that has been used for an extended period. However, this is not the case with premium Grand Seiko watches.

Seiko vs Grand seiko: movement

Grand Seiko has two primary production facilities: the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi for mechanical watches and the Shinshu Watch Studio for Spring Drive and quartz models.

Grand Seiko currently produces three primary movement families:

  • Caliber 9F quartz movements
  • Caliber 9S mechanical transmissions (including both automatic and manual winding)
  • Caliber 9R Spring Drive mechanisms.

Moreover, each of these caliber families is offered in various complexities and combinations.

Spring Drive is an innovative mechanism that combines the high accuracy system of an electronic watch with the high torque of a mechanical watch. Therefore, the Seiko Spring Drive movement is driven by a mainspring (similar to a mechanical watch) yet provides a precise signal via a quartz crystal oscillator to an integrated circuit (like a quartz watch) to regulate timekeeping.

Seiko watches have various movement types, including quartz, automatic, and kinetic, are available. This provides buyers with several alternatives when purchasing a cheap Seiko watch.


As stated several times in our comparison of Grand Seiko vs Seiko, the former is a premium brand while the latter is geared at the mass market. Therefore, it is apparent that Grand Seiko is much more expensive than Seiko.

Grand Seiko watches begin at over $3000, while Seiko watches are available for as low as $100. This price difference is attributable to Grand Seiko watches being built with materials and quality of significantly better grade.

So, which of the two Seiko brands, Seiko or Grand Seiko, better meets your requirements?

Depending on your budget, it is absolutely up for grabs. If you want a robust and trustworthy watch for less than $500, I suggest a Seiko. Choose between a quartz watch that costs pennies, an automatic Seiko 5 that is surprisingly decent for approximately $100, or an expensive diving watch. 

If you are in the market for a luxury watch and fit the demographic for Grand Seiko, the Snowflake or any of their other models would be a wise buy. You can always depend on these companies’ exceptional quality and skilled craftsmanship.

If you are still considering your options, continue reading to learn more about these two brands, Seiko and Grand Seiko.

Read: 10 Skeleton Watches For Men to Add Unique Touch to Your Style

Frequently asked questions

Seiko vs Grand Seiko

Is Seiko as good as Rolex?

Rolex and Grand Seiko both create incredibly well-made luxury watches. Choosing between these two renowned luxury watch brands boils down to your budget and how essential resale value will be in the long run. 

Rolex watches retain their worth better than any other luxury wristwatch, but if you want to keep your watch forever, the future resale value may not signify much. Therefore, Rolex watches will nearly always be more costly than Grand Seiko.

On the secondary market, newer Rolex models, notably the stainless steel sports watches, attract prices that are often substantially over their original list costs. In contrast, the great majority of Grand Seiko watches resale for near to their original retail pricing, with significantly fewer models appreciating at the same quick and severe rate as some Rolex models.

Which Grand Seiko looks most like a Rolex?

You’re lucky if you’re seeking a Grand Seiko that resembles a Rolex. Several Grand Seiko models exhibit a striking similarity to well-known Rolex models.

The Grand Seiko SBGX115, for instance, resembles the Rolex Explorer II in appearance. Both watches feature a 42mm casing, and their dials are exceptionally readable with enough negative space.

SBGA387 is another Grand Seiko model that resembles a Rolex. Even down to the red and blue “Pepsi” bezel, this watch is very similar to the Rolex GMT Master II. The difference between these two timepieces is the Grand Seiko’s smaller case size (40mm vs 42mm).

Therefore, if you want a Grand Seiko that resembles a Rolex, any of these two models would be a wonderful option! If you want more models of Seiko Rolex look alike you may take a look at our previous post.

Is Seiko a high-end watch brand?

Historically, Seiko watches have been reasonably priced, with the majority available for less than $600. Seiko is recognised for being a value brand, which entails making inexpensive, high-quality timepieces. If you are searching for a luxury watch, consider the Grand Seiko.

Is Seiko worth collecting?

Countless watch fans like Seiko timepieces due to their excellent design, enduring quality, and reasonable prices. It’s not unusual for watch enthusiasts to connect their passion to a certain Seiko model; it’s often the entry point to serious collecting.

Do Grand Seiko hold value?

When you wish to resale your Grand Seiko watch, its worth will depend on the model you purchased and its condition. Luxury watches produced by Grand Seiko tend to retain most of the value they originally purchased for.

In conclusion 

So, which is better: Grand Seiko vs Seiko? It depends greatly on your needs and your budget. If you are ready to pay for the finest of the best, then Grand Seiko is unquestionably the way to go. Seiko is a terrific alternative; however, if you’re searching for a cheaper option that provides excellent quality. Regardless of the brand you pick, you can be certain that you will get a durable, high-quality watch.

Sarah Salimah

Sarah has been interested in watches for as long as she can remember. She loves watches and writing about them and enjoys experiencing the feeling of high-end models. She was born in Ohio, went to school for art history, and has a genuine enthusiasm for reading literature, walking, and sometimes playing padel.

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