top of page

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 Seiko - like the full serviced 1963 King Seiko J14102E (the first King Seiko model) here, with the rare Special Dial - in the same breath.  Of note, the stainless-steel Special Dial variant - with its white gold hands and hour indices - made up a mere 10% of all KS J14102's made by Seiko.


In 1959, Seiko split up their Suwa subsidiary into two separate entities—Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha—to promote friendly competition and product development within the company, with both operating independent of the other, with the idea this would incite competition and good-natured one-upmanship to produce better products.  In the race to compete with Swiss watchmaking, the Suwa factory started producing its famous Grand Seiko line, and the Daini, their King Seiko - both considered top-grade Seiko at the time.


During the 1960s and early 1970s, both factories would compete throughout all segments of the watch market with technological development and accuracy as key goals.  In fact,


Well…it worked.


In late 1960, the Suwa factory finally obtained a long held goal of producing a chronometer-rated watch that exceeded recognized standards of the Official Suisse des Chronometres (COSC); however, Seiko's use of the word chronometer on the dial appeared to have irked the Swiss, watchmaking industry, as no watch - then - had been submitted to the COSC for official testing.


During this time, 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.


For a brief period in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, a number of King Seiko’s were certified chronometers by COSC, following Seiko's inaugural 1963 participation with its 45 calibre in 1968.  Seiko went on to nearly always place well vis-a-vis its Swiss competition - almost certainly to the embarrassment of the Swiss, as the Swiss made the odd decision "all parts used to build the movement must be made within Europe”...jealous much?


Seiko would eventually eschew the Swiss-based chronometer certification in favor of their own, more stringent, standard, thusly beating the Swiss at their own game.  And Seiko would go on to be the first to invent the automatic movement...but thats another story.  King Seiko production lasted loosely until circa 1974, with the Seiko introduction of its Astron, the first quartz watch, in 1969 ultimately spelling the death kneel of the KS high frequency movement.


This King Seiko comes with a leather strap, nylon strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.

1963 King Seiko J14102E Mechanical, Special Dial Variant

Out of Stock
  • DIAL: King Seiko-signed dial, with correct dauphin hour, minute, and second hands - this is the more rare Special Dial variant, which features solid white gold hands and hour markers (unlike non-SD dials, which used stainless-steel).  Of note, no patina on dial edges - quite common for King Seiko.


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 37.5mm x 43mm.  Matching caseback, etched with the King Seiko shield.


    CRYSTAL: Steeply domed acrylic KS J14102E crystal, no imperfections or cracks.


    BAND: This J14102E comes with a light brown leather rally strap, as well as a dark blue, white, and orange nylon strap – a comfortable and stylish strap that compliment the sparse design of classic vintage King Seiko.


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 25-jewel manual wind movement, manufactured in January 1963.  Stenciled on the movement is its chronometer serial number. 


    CROWN: Seiko-signed stainless-steel crown.

bottom of page