In late May of 2004, Paul visited Tokyo for vacation and spent an afternoon in the Seiko Institute or Horology. It is, for all intents and purposes a museum of Seiko timepieces. Two floors are devoted to displays of horological instruments through the ages, the third is a library that makes available old catalogs, brochures, periodicals and books related to horology.
Most of the Institute’s visitors are students and professionals of jewelry making and horology but they occasionally receive goofy sort like Paul, a watch nerd who drools over the classic digital marvels of this great watchmaker. Below are photographs of the visit.
The Institute was not documented in any of our maps, finding is was quite a task. It’s in the northeastern part of the city. For visitors to Tokyo, call ahead to make an appointment for your visit. Take the Tobu Isesaki Line north from Asakusa and get off at the Higashi-Mukojima stop, walk west toward the river. Have a good map handy. The address is:
Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori, the fellow pictured here started it all back in the 1880s with a clock sales and repair business. In the beginning he handled only American and European clocks for the wealthy residents of Tokyo. In case you didn’t know, Seiko means “precision” in Japanese
The curator told me this is Seiko’s first top shelf watch, called the “Grand Seiko.” The Grand Seiko is a popular line sold only in Japan, competing with top European makes like Rolex and Omega. This particular piece is supposedly one of the most valuable and collectible Seikos of all–it’s the watch that generates the most interest from the museum’s visitors.
I’m so upset about the blur in this photo. It shows Seiko’s first digital timepieces, the 05LC and 06LC from 1973. We believe they were sold in Japan only. If anyone has one they wish to sell to us, please let us know!!
As seen in the 007 film Octopussy, here’s the famous TV watch in its complete form. The receiver, that walkman shaped device was capable of tuning in UHF and VHF frequencies. There were two versions of the TV watch; The one pictured is the DXA001, the sporty model.