Seiko Watch Corp.
President & CEO Shinji Hattori
I liked music and sports very much when I was young. In particular, I devoted myself to playing tennis, winning the Kanto Junior High School Tournament, and later was a runner-up at the national tournament. As for music, although I am part of the Beatles’ generation, I liked American pop music dating from a little before their time.
After graduating from university, I joined Mitsubishi Corporation, one of the major trading firms, and I was assigned to the section responsible for steel exports. There, I learned a motto that a business is dependent on the engagement of the staff. As trading houses do not manufacture anything, their success depends on their human resources; these human resources are the assets of a trading house; I strongly believed that. Additionally, as I was engaged in trading with steel companies, I had the opportunity to understand what a manufacturing company was like through observation, without actually working for one.
In 1984, I moved to join Seikosha Co. Ltd., the clock manufacturing and development unit of Seiko Holdings. While I was working at my previous job, I learned that it is a manufacturer’s obligation to take responsibility for all quality-related issues for its products. After joining a manufacturing company, I came to appreciate this even more. Thus, I carefully studied product quality issues, worked on building good rapport with people in the product manufacturing sections, and enhanced product quality management.
Seiko is the world’s pioneer in selling quartz watches. Until a Seiko quartz watch made its debut on the market, watches used to be off by 30 or 40 seconds a day, but quartz watches are off by less than 0.5 seconds a day. This technology overwhelmed the world. Although the price of quartz watches was expensive back then, they have been commoditized and now they can be made by anyone, anywhere as long as they have a supply of movement components. With the advent of mobile phones and their soaring popularity, it appears that the younger generation has lost interest in watches, and there were rumors saying conventional wristwatches will see no demand in the future. I launched a project discussion with our staff in charge of product planning and manufacturing on what is needed for future watches, and through repeated trial and error, we worked to produce products that did not exist at that time to meet potential, but compelling needs in the future. Our efforts have led us to the introduction of the world’s first GPS solar watch in 2012.
Our company’s goal in the future is to be a leading global brand, including high-end luxury line-ups. Seiko is known around the world for its high-quality wristwatches backed by advanced technologies, but there are few people outside of Japan who know that the company produces a line-up of masterpieces, some of which are worth \35 million. Although our high-class Grand Seiko Line today has more than a 55-year history after being introduced in 1960, it was only introduced on the global marketing stage in 2010. We are now promoting “Seiko Boutiques,” one-brand stores allowing visitors to experience more the scope of our company and products, especially luxury lines. We are working on a project to see outlets in major cities all over the world and after our first in Paris in 2004, we opened a boutique in New York last year and outlets in Frankfurt, Moscow and Budapest this year, with the total number of the outlets worldwide now about 65. We will expedite the pace of opening up such boutiques to offer people all over the world the opportunity to further experience the Seiko brand.
- Seiko Watch Corp.
- Planning and sale of watches