Mention high-end Seiko, and relative newcomers to Seiko will assert Grand Seiko as the be-all end-all – but experienced Seiko hands will always mention King Seikoin the same breath. In 1959, Seiko split up their Suwa subsidiary into two separate entities—Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha—to promote competition and product development within the company, with both operating separately under the idea this would incite competition and each would try to one-up each other and produce better products.
In 1959, Daini Seikosha hired a young designer by the name of Taro Tanaka, the man who would in 1962 create a set of design principles that he called “The Grammar of Design.” His rules would go on to fundamentally change Seiko’s design language.
All surfaces and angles of the case, dial, indices and hands had to be flat and geometrically perfect to best reflect light. Following this, the bezels were to be simple, two-dimensional faceted curves. And third, no visual distortion from any angle was allowed, and all cases and dials had to be mirror-finished.
The sequel to the original King Seiko, the 44-9990, would benefit from the Grammar of Design rules to become one of the best-looking watches Seiko has ever made, and it was produced from 1964 to 1968.
This King Seiko comes with a leather strap, NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1966 King Seiko 44-9990 Automatic
DIAL: Original King Seiko dial, with original hour, minute, and chronograph hands.
CASE: Original 38mm (w/o crown, 39.5mm with) x 40.5mm stainless-steel case. Matching original caseback, with the more rare "shield" emblem.
CRYSTAL: Scratch-free acrylic.
BAND: This 44-990 comes with a leather strap, as well as an orange, white, and dark blue NATO strap, with stainless steel hardware – a comfortable and stylish strap that compliments the colors on this classic vintage King Seiko.
MOVEMENT: Original 44A Seiko 25-jewel automatic movement, manufactured in October 1976, which beats at 18,000 beats per hour.
CROWN: Original unsigned stainless steel crown.