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The 51xx family of Seiko midrange automatic movements - like this handsome full-serviced steel-grey 1968 Seiko 5126-8010 "Keio Teito Electric Railway" dress automatic here - were short lived, produced in the late 1960’s into the early 1970’s.  Seiko debuted the 51xx movement in 1967, and would cease production in 1971.

 

But why do we call this a "Keio Teito Electric Railway" dress watch?

 

Engraved on the watch's caseback in Kanji Japanese is the phrase, "Seven Years of Accident-Free Management," marking this as an award watch granted to a loyal employee of Japan-based Keio Teito Electric Railway Company, Limited.

 

Keio Teito Electric Railway Company, Limited (KTR), was founded in 1948 under the orders of the occupying General Headquarters of the Allied Powers, from two smaller companies Keio and Teito (founded in 1906 and 1927, respectively).  

 

Like other private railway companies of the era, KTR leadership realized the key to rapid growth did not lie in the relatively mature electric railway market but in diversification into related businesses that would make use of the company’s real estate resources.

 

During the 20th century, KTR entered the cinema, tourist, construction supply, leisure, restaurant, and hotel industries (even founding popular golf courses) – however, its main business remained electric railways.

 

Throughout its history, KTR made continued improvements in safety and efficiency (clearly the railway company was serious if it awarded such amazing watches, after all), with a logistics division formed to coordinate the technical aspects of the rail operations, which were becoming more and more automated. 

 

With its 30th anniversary in 1978, the company continued expansion of the bus network, which – along with its railway service – now extended throughout the whole of western Tokyo and into Japan’s provinces, all aided with a new computerized tracking system to improve efficiency and safety.  

 

KTR’s safety record remained excellent, despite adding additional cars, frequency, and increasing speeds to over 100 mph to combat increasingly crowded lines as Japan’s post-war population exploded with the nation’s new-found economic confidence. 

 

The late 1980s saw an economic boom in Japan, with consumer spending soaring and stock and real estate prices reaching unprecedented heights, which translated into large profits for Japan’s large private railway companies (many of which possessed sites in the most expensive areas of central Tokyo).  Increases in KTR’s overall profits originated been due to real estate leasing and effective fund management.

 

By the early 1990’s, KTR’s railway and bus transportation accounted for a mere 26% of the group’s revenues, and the remaining 74% comprised of revenue from the company’s property, leisure and services, and retail operations of its department stores and restaurants.

 

In the contemporary era, KTR is one of nine private railway operators in the Kanto region of Japan, which encompasses the cities of Tokyo, Kawasaki, and Chiba, serving a population of nearly 40 million, and employs nearly 3,000 people with $2.6 billion in revenue as of 2024 (and $186 million in net income).  KTR operates the Inokashira and Keio Lines starting in the center of the densely populated western Tokyo suburbs (it also operates 650 Tokyo bus routes).  

 

This 1968 Seiko 5126 dress automatic comes on a black leather strap, and with nylon strap, spring bar tool, and rugged travel case.

1968 Seiko 5126-8010 "Keio Teito Electric Railway" Automatic Dress Watch

$499.99Price
  • DIAL: Seiko-signed steel-grey dial, with lume dots marking every hour marker - lume on dial and handset glows following exposure to bright light.  Day/date at 3 o’clock position - to include date quickset and non-day quicket (by design) - works as designed.

     

    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 36mm x 41mm, with matching original caseback - Kanji Japanese case back engravings indcates this watch was gifted to an employee of Keio Teito Electric Railway Company, Limited for "Seven Years of Accident-Free Management"

     

    CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, please note scratch on crystal.

     

    BAND: Black leather strap, with cream accent stitching that nicely compliments the steel-grey color of the dial.  Stainless steel hardware rounds out this strap.  This watch also comes with a red, white, and black nylon strap.

     

    MOVEMENT: Seiko 5126 automatic movement, manufactured in March 1968.  This Seiko 5126 automatic has been serviced.

     

    CROWN: Recessed unsigned stainless steel crown.

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