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These are the Japanese watch brands you should know

Should you add a timepiece from one of these Japanese watch brands to your collection?

Grand Seiko Sport 9R 20th Anniversary
Grand Seiko

The watch industry is an international business that brings some of the best pieces from all around the world. While some of the most prolific brands, like Swatch and Rolex, come from countries like Switzerland, there are a few brands that you may or may not be aware of that come from the Asian continent. Some of the best-known watch brands in the world, and some stellar statement understated pieces, come from Japan and truly set the mark for timepieces. 

While some brands might not get as much attention as others, these Japanese brands are known for style, quality, and longevity. With Japanese ingenuity behind each of their creations, there’s no doubt why these brands have the amount of praise around them and why some have lasted as long as they have. With the latest watch tech and statement designs, these Japanese brands are worth their price and have earned a spot in your timepiece collection. 


Citizen Iconic Nature Collection washi tape watches

One of the most prolific Japanese brands, Citizen is a staple in many watch collections as they have elegant, timeless, and quality pieces that can last years. While they are considered a more economical choice, this doesn’t mean that Citizen lags in quality and efficiency. First founded in 1918, Citizen has survived by constantly innovating with the times yet still delivering designs that are apt for daily and specific wear. Citizen was also among the first brands to dabble in solar-powered analog quartz watches, which proves their continued desire to break barriers. 

Currently, Citizen has focused on creating some of the best technology for their timepieces with the release of their Eco-Drive Caliber 0100. This system is meant to be one of their most powerful mechanisms yet, with the brand stating it’s their most accurate yet. With partnerships with some high-end luxury watch brands, Citizen has something for every budget, style, and need. 


Seiko Classic Series off-white dial

Another well-known brand, Seiko, has often been touted as one of the best watch brands in terms of quality and design. Often compared to Swiss watches, Seiko has constantly overperformed compared to their European counterparts, with characteristics like their cases and dials among the compliments. With a long history, Seiko first began in 1881, with the first Seiko wristwatch released in 1913. Since then, Seiko has made history with its rapid growth and historic dive watch, the first in Japan at its time. 

Nowadays, Seiko is praised for its quality, statement designs, and mid-level price points. With various collections, some with bold and fluorescent colors, there’s a pick for everyone on every budget. Whether you’re in the market for something simple and practical or bold and creative, Seiko has a quality piece for you. 

Grand Seiko

three Grand Seiko watches
Grand Seiko / Grand Seiko

Although they share the Seiko name, Grand Seiko and Seiko are two different companies that don’t follow the same rules. Created by the Seiko company, Grand Seiko is separate as they have their own leadership and company structure. Grand Seiko serves the purpose of being a more affordable luxury watch, as it mimics some of the world’s most high-end watches for a significantly lower price point. With quartz movements, the Grand Seiko watches are synonymous with quality and elegance. With significantly more opulent and elegant designs and the notorious Spring Drive, Grand Seiko delivers some of that luxury without the need for a bigger investment. 

Besides the fact that Grand Seiko delivers high-quality technical standards, these watches also deliver a unique approach to design. With a textured surface and Zarastu polish, the Grand Seiko truly has an elegant look that you can use for many years to come. For fans of luxury watches, the Grand Seiko pieces offer plenty of options that come at a lower price tag than the rest. 


Orient watch on checkered table
Roy P./Unsplash / Unsplash

While Orient might not have the flash and attention as the previous two brands, it certainly still has plenty of positives. A subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation, these two brands are completely different, even if they do have a very loose connection. Orient rules the affordable mechanical section of the watch industry and can even be compared at times with Seiko. Also a historic brand, Orient first made waves when it became the thinnest self-winding watch with a day-date complication back in 1967. 

Although Orient is not as historic as the previous two watch brands, it has made significant progress. With vast options, there’s truly something for every style. However, those looking for the most significant Orient piece will find it in the Bambino, which has plenty of variations for you to find your new favorite timepiece.


close up on Minase Window watch
Minase / Minase

A newer brand, Minase, has already made a name for itself and has come a long way since its creation in 2005. Minase’s founding company, Kyowa and Co., is a big player in specialty cases and bracelets, a characteristic that they’ve introduced into their watches. With precision and craftsmanship, Minase watches are known for their out-of-the-norm cases that give them their unique detail. With the Japanese work behind it, Minase has already seen some big support from Japan’s former prime minister. 

Being a smaller production and brand than other Japanese and Swiss watchmakers, Minase has had to make a name for itself by doubling down on its one-of-a-kind design and attention to detail. 


Credor Eichi II watch on fabric background
Seiko Boutique / Seiko Boutique

Another smaller branch of the Seiko group, Credor, is the epitome of luxury Japanese watches. While the brand is still up-and-coming, it’s anything but subtle and lowkey. Using the Spring Drive in the Seiko watches, Credor ups the craftsmanship on their watches in a newer way. With more detailed hand finishing and plenty of upgrades in the technical aspects, Credor is nothing like its Seiko counterpart. 

One of the prized releases from the Credor brand comes in its Elchi series. Specifically, Elchi II, released in 2015, seems like your typical wristwatch but its quality craftsmanship is far above the rest. With a Japanese porcelain dial and hand-painted markers, these watches are unlike anything else. If you’re keen on true Japanese craftsmanship and unique materials, you can’t miss with Credor piece.

Editors' Recommendations

Leslie Leon
Leslie is a Los Angeles-based writer and content creator. She is always researching and finding the latest fashion trends…
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