Watchmaking in Japan

Watch Q&A with... Akio Naito – Seiko, Grand Seiko

June 2023

Watch Q&A with... Akio Naito – Seiko, Grand Seiko

“A unique sense of beauty rooted in traditional Japanese aesthetics – sublime, yet understated and restrained”


e recently interviewed a broad selection of managers, active in a variety of segments, to help us identify the major trends within the watch industry.

Our Q&A with Akio Naito – Seiko, Grand Seiko.

Europa Star: What are your strategic priorities for 2023?

Akio Naito: Our priority for 2023 is to strengthen customer engagement by enhancing our communication efforts. We want our customers to know more about both Grand Seiko and Seiko, because both brands have a rich history and compelling stories behind their watchmaking. We have a private membership organisation for Grand Seiko owners called the “GS9 Club”. The purpose of this club is to strengthen our engagement with watch owners by providing exclusive events and exclusive content that give them a deeper understanding of the brand.

Akio Naito
Akio Naito

Which new products or lines will be your main focus this year?

Our focus will be on Grand Seiko’s signature Evolution 9 collection. Evolution 9 takes the Grand Seiko design, which was established in 1967, and elevates it to a new level, providing a unique sense of beauty that is rooted in traditional Japanese aesthetics – sublime, yet understated and restrained. All Evolution 9 creations are equipped with the latest Grand Seiko movements. For instance, the white birch-inspired creation that won the GPHG Men’s Watch Award in 2021 is powered by our revolutionary mechanical 9SA5 calibre. This year, Grand Seiko introduced its first mechanical chronograph, the Tentagraph, as part of this Evolution 9 collection.

For the Seiko brand, we will focus on divers’ watches from our highly regarded Prospex collection. These are powered by Seiko’s latest movements and feature designs inspired by our rich heritage in diving watches. We will also focus on the Presage collection, which highlights traditional Japanese crafts, featuring watch dials made of Arita porcelain, Shippo enamel, and so on. Prospex is all about durability and reliability, while Presage proudly evokes the traditions of Japanese craftsmanship.

Grand Seiko Tentagraph
Grand Seiko Tentagraph

The emergence of the secondary market represents a major new development. Are you taking any steps to build a presence in preowned?

I am delighted to see the growing popularity of vintage Grand Seiko and Seiko watches in the secondary market, as this is a testament to their longevity and enduring aesthetic appeal. We will continue to pay close attention to that market and explore to see what we, as a brand, can do to meet customers’ expectations in that area.

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