In recent years, and especially over the past several months, Grand Seiko has been on a tear. The luxury subbrand of Seiko has released a slew of standout timepieces, further entrenching itself as a legitimate alternative to the fabled Swiss brands. But now, it looks Grand Seiko may be getting some renewed competition — from its own corporate parent, no less. Seiko has announced the surprising reintroduction of its King Seiko line, and the news ought to keep Grand Seiko on its toes.
For those who are unfamiliar with the King Seiko collection, the sleek line of watches made its debut in 1961 as a direct in-house competitor to the Grand Seiko line, with the two rival high-end branches of the Japanese watch brand continually trying to one-up one another. Grand Seiko ultimately won out, with King Seiko going the way of the dodo in 1975. But the King was never forgotten among the Seiko faithful, and now, more than sixty years after its introduction, Seiko has melded the vintage style of the original King Seiko line with modern technology to resurrect the brand for today’s enthusiasts.
The new King Seiko watches pay homage to the piece that defined the original collection: the 1965 King Seiko KSK. Featuring a flat dial either in original silver, light gray, charcoal gray, brown, or red, along with faceted indexes and sharp dauphine hands, the new line of King Seiko watches channels the elegant minimalism that made the collection popular to begin with. The watches boast slim, 37mm stainless steel cases and retro boxed sapphire crystals to round out their classic look.
Of course, these watches wouldn’t have any right to be called King Seiko if they had just any movement under the hood, and thankfully, we have nothing to worry about in that regard. While not the most accurate movement in Seiko’s arsenal, the Caliber 6R31 under the hood is nonetheless a thoroughly modern and capable automatic movement. Rounding out these new King Seikos is a beveled seven-link bracelet that’s reminiscent of what you’d find on the original line, along with a satisfying water resistance of 100m. Seiko plans on releasing the King Seiko collection in February for €1,700 (~$1,920).