Basel 2005: Seiko’s big turn

Seiko Center in Paris

The biggest development this year at Basel was Seiko. The company had been slowly positioning itself over the years as an upmarket brand (i.e. Opening a Seiko Center in St-Germain des Pres in Paris so that they could rub shoulders with the likes of Cariter, Swarowski and Louis Vuitton) and all its efforts gained momentum this year. While watch brands usually maintain the same booth every year, Seiko renewed theirs this year with a more open and interative exhibit. All part of their plan to launch the new Seiko Spring Drive with as much fanfare as possible.

Spring Drive is Seiko’s new innovative movement that combines the precision of quartz and the structure of the mechanical watch. It took them 28 years, 600 prototypes of 13 different generations to reach the final version.

Also, buried under the Spring Drive announcement was Seiko’s world’s first electronic paper watch that is a ultra-thin, low-power display that is flexible as a paper. E-paper has been in development for quite some time now and I’ve been expecting a E-paper watch for the last five years, so kudos to Seiko for doing it first.

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