Back in the early 1960s, it became apparent to the Swiss watchmakers that there was this force of nature out in the east that was aspiring create a line of watches that would be of a level of elegance and precision above the rest. We’re, of course, speaking of, the one and only, Seiko.

So audacious was Seiko’s aspiration, that they were printing the words, “chronometer” on their dials in reference to its watches’ excellent accuracy. The Swiss, however, did not take too well to this. European Chronometer Official Association, as a matter of fact, reached out to Seiko in this regard insisting that Seiko remove the word from its King Seiko watches manufactured at the Daini factory and its Grand Seiko watches made in the Suwa factory.

Seiko’s response to this will forever be the stuff of legends. Rather than a note in return, or something to that effect, Seiko took it upon itself to send several mechanical wristwatch movements to the 1964 Neuchâtel Observatory trials, which were at the time the most demanding chronometric competition in the world. The Trials required that movements should not deviate more than +/− 0.75 seconds a day with +/− 0.20 seconds for temperature variations. Movements were submitted to relentless scrutiny for 45 days straight.

Seiko's 1964 entries to the observatory competition in Neuchatel, Switzerland ("Le Concours chronométrique de l`Observatoire de Neuchâtel"), weren't the most encouraging with the highest scoring entry ranking in at 144 (Source: observatory.watch)
Seiko's 1964 entries to the observatory competition in Neuchatel, Switzerland ("Le Concours chronométrique de l`Observatoire de Neuchâtel"), weren't the most encouraging with the highest scoring entry ranking in at 144 (Source: observatory.watch)

It was at the Suwa Seiko factory where Grand Seiko was born that was the first competitor in these trials. In 1963, they sent an experimental quartz crystal clock which placed 10th in the marine chronometer category. But the following year onwards, Seiko would only send its most elite mechanical movements destined for Grand and King Seiko watches, all of which made their mark, and then some.

Such is the legacy of the name, King Seiko. It was a name penned to forge Seiko watches that would be known for high accuracy. 2021 marks the 140th anniversary of this very name. In recognition of this, Seiko has announced the re-creation of the King Seiko KSK. This was the second series of watches made under the name, in 1965. It differed from the first generation with its angular case and had a manual-winding movement with hacking seconds. The watch was also water resistant, which was not typical of such watches in this time.

The 1965 King Seiko KSK presented a distinctive, angular profile.
The 1965 King Seiko KSK presented a distinctive, angular profile.
The case back bears the same emblem as the original.
The case back bears the same emblem as the original.

The 2020 re-created King Seiko KSK, is true to every facet — quite literally — to the original, but now with the surfaces of the case Zaratsu polished. The movement in the timepiece is the Caliber 6L35, an automatic movement that adds a date function and retains the watch’s slim profile at 11.4mm (0.5mm thicker than the original). Although, the same movement adds to the diameter of the watch, now slightly larger at 38.1mm.

The faceted and textured twelve o’clock index ensures high legibility.
The faceted and textured twelve o’clock index ensures high legibility.
Both the buckle and crown of the 1965 KSK are faithfully re-created.
Both the buckle and crown of the 1965 KSK are faithfully re-created.
Both the buckle and crown of the 1965 KSK are faithfully re-created.
Both the buckle and crown of the 1965 KSK are faithfully re-created.

The watch will be available from January 2021 as a limited edition of 3,000 at Seiko boutiques and at selected retail partners worldwide.

Technical Specifications

Movement

Seilf-winding Caliber 6L35; hour, minute and seconds; date; 45-hour power reserve

Case

Stainless steel; diameter: 38.1mm, thickness: 11.4mm; water-resistant to 50m

Strap

Black crocodile strap

Price and limitation

Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €3,400; limited edition of 3,000

SJE083