In the watchmaking world, it’s often Swiss movement that reigns supreme among the opinions of collectors. And for us, we most certainly see the appeal here in the craftsmanship, design, and diversity in mechanics that make each Swiss-built watch unique in its own way. There is, though, one country that can compete with the Swiss in this arena. We’re speaking of course about Japan. In this instance, Japanese watches are surprisingly affordable, reliable, and extremely durable – not to mention the variety that’s available here as well.
Basically, there’s a handful of Japanese watch brands that “top the charts” so to speak in both worldwide distribution and quality. These are the reliable pieces boasting iconic Japanese Quartz movement – though in recent years some formidable brands have adopted mechanical movements thanks to certain acquisitions of smaller European brands. Whatever the case, from Casio, to Seiko; Orient to Citizen, these big players offer plenty of heirloom-worthy timepieces so we did our due diligence and narrowed them down to ten of our favorite watches from the Far East.
Seiko SNK809 Automatic
Refined in presentation, this automatic Seiko watch is proof that even after 125 years in the business, the Japanese brand continues to have what it takes to produce quality timepieces for an affordable price point. This option, complete with a 37mm stainless steel case and Hardlex mineral dial window, runs off a 21-jewel automatic movement with an analog display atop its attractive black dial face. It’s also water resistant up to 30 meters, is scratch resistant, and hosts Arabicc numeral minute markers at 5 minute intervals.
G-Shock Trending GA100C
Whenever describing a G-Shock watch, it’s difficult not to include “durability” in the explanation. That’s because the series of watches have become synonymous with a rugged outdoor lifestyle thanks to their composition. The Trending is no different, part of their analog/digital series complete with their iconic large case, bright neon hands, an auto LED light with Afterglow, countdown timer, and an auto-calendar programmed until 2099. Also, with an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds a month, this reliable wrist-bound companion won’t disappoint.
Seiko Core Analog Solar Watch
If a more relaxed look is your forte then this Seiko Core Analog watch is a fantastic option thanks to its olive green nylon strap, black ion-plated bezel, and silver-tone hands. The attractive piece is also powered by a solar quartz movement, boasts scratch-resistants mineral crystal, and is water resistant up to 100 meters. Leave it to Seiko to make such a desirable watch at an even more desirable price point.
Casio Edifice Chronograph Watch
It’s no secret that Casio has a stronghold on the watch scene – especially when it comes to Japanese-made watches. This bold chronograph from the powerhouse brand boasts a screw lock crown and back, a solid stainless steel band, mineral glass protection, a 45mm stainless steel case, and a handsome black dial complete with white and red numerals. Finally, a water resistance of 100 meters also ensures everything remains protected should the sky open up unexpectedly.
Citizen Eco Drive
Boldly travel back in time while still remaining current with the help of this mid-century-influenced timepiece from Citizen. Complete with an authentic leather strap, charcoal-gray dial with orange contrasts, and Japanese quartz movement, this is the real deal in vintage-inspired watches. The piece also comes housed in a 45mm stainless steel case and is water resistant up to 100 meters. Pair with your prized suit or simply your jeans or khakis for a more casual feel. Whatever the case, the Eco Drive will keep you stylish and punctual.
Orient Bambino Ver. 1
Outfitted with both a domed dial and a domed crystal, the Orient Bambino is one elegant timepiece suited for professional wear and care. It comes outfitted with a light metallic sunburst dial complimented by sleek hour markers, Japanese automatic movement, mineral crystal, and a date marker at the 3 o’clock position. It’s also water resistant up to 30 meters and now boasts an upgraded movement over the 1st generation Bambino.
Orient Mako XL Diving Watch
Thanks to a dial face that’s as blue as the deep sea itself, it’s no secret that the Orient Mako was built to withstand pressure beneath the waves. The offering boasts a unidirectional corrugated bezel wrapped around the handsome blue dial along with a date window at the 3 o’clock position. It’s also powered by automatic self-winding movement and comes complete with a stainless steel link bracelet for an added touch of class. Also, since this is a dive watch, after all, the Mako is water resistant up to 660 feet.
Seiko Solar Diver Chronograph
Handsome is every sense of the word, this Seiko Diver Chronograph is one dive watch that certainly won’t break the bank but deliver everything you’d tend to look for both on land and submerged beneath the surface. Here, we have a 42mm stainless steel case, an attractive blue and red bezel, patterned blue dial, and the whole piece is powered by a solar powered Quartz movement that can store energy from any light source. It’s all water resistant up to 660 feet so there should be no worry regarding a little encounter with water.
Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver’s Watch
For those interested in a low key diver’s watch, this black and gray option from Seiko is a fantastic option. It’s a bit on the larger side – featuring a 44mm case – and comes complete with Seiko’s reliable Japanese automatic movement keeping things in check and you on time wherever you may roam. Additionally, a black band, black dial, stainless steel bezel, and water resistance to 660 feet make this an ideal low-key wristwatch that will surely pair with just about anything in your wardrobe.
Seiko SRP309 Dive Watch
Clearly, this post wouldn’t be complete without the addition of Seiko’s Classic Automatic Dive Watch. It’s a beautiful option thanks to a unique orange dial that complements the brushed-finish link bracelet with finesse. Couple that with Japanese automatic movement that keeps things ticking along nicely housed within a 42.5mm stainless steel case, a Hardlex dial window, and water resistance up to 660 feet, and this heirloom-worthy timepiece shines brighter than the sea at high noon.
So, what is a chronograph?
Complications can be – well – complicated. So to further aid in your knowledge of these amazing machines, we’ve gone ahead and explained the chronograph complication for you right here.