“Grand Seiko is at the highest level of watchmaking. Not in terms of complications — there is no perpetual or tourbillon — but simple, straightforward watchmaking, pure essentials of which Seiko is as good as it can be.” This ethos is in fact part of every collections where durability and good timekeeping are most important aspects of mechanical watches over time.
When Wilson joined Seiko 39 years ago, quartz was democratising timekeeping around the world and this was a huge focus at the company. But in almost four decades of watchmaking, what are his favourite pieces?
“When I started, it was the height of the quartz revolution. What I didn’t know at the time though was that from that very moment the engineers invented the quartz movement, they set themselves the target of producing a quartz watch that did not need a battery. It was obvious to everybody that the only major issue with a quartz watch is that the battery needs to be replaced.
“So 20 years later, when they launched Seiko Kinetic it was revealed that they had found a way to eliminate the need for a battery. This was extraordinary and to this day I still wear my Kinetic watch, which is utterly perfect. I’m sure it will see me out, keeping remarkable time. Look up the Arctura, which had a very particular design and showcased the Kinetic. An absolute beauty.
“The second watch is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive. In the mechanical history of the brand, Seiko has been responsible for many developments, mainly in terms of the springs and other aspects such as the Magic Lever, which improved the efficiency of the winding. So Seiko has got a long history of interesting developments and traditional watchmaking but nothing prepared the world for Spring Drive, which is a mechanical watch in every respect except that it doesn’t have an escapement. Instead it has an electronic break that regulates the speed of the hands. It has a rotor on the back, 80% of the components are exactly the same as in every mechanical watch and yet it is accurate to one second in a day, has a 72 hour power reserve and spectacularly beautiful to look at because of the sweep seconds, which don’t tick. This is how mother nature tells the time,” concludes the enthusiastic Wilson.
Seiko Boutique, Shop 201A, Woodlands Boulevard, Woodhill, Pretoria, 021-997-3070