In a manufacturing plant encompassed by snow-secured crests, professionals in laboratory garments utilize tweezers to collect modest metal parts into self-winding watches. Once they’ve been checked through magnifying lens for accuracy and pressed in glossy silk lined boxes, the timepieces are delivered off to Rodeo Drive or Knightsbridge boutiques, where they’ll offer for a great many dollars.
Forty years after nearly wiping out the Swiss watch industry with cheap quartz models, Japanese brands like Seiko and Citizen are eyeing the high end of timekeeping that’s been the Alpine country’s turf. New boutiques in posh Beverly Hills and London shopping districts show off models like a Grand Seiko with an eight-day power reserve — and a $58,000 price tag.
“We won’t see much growth in the lower-end price points, so it’s only natural we start to shift more towards mid- and high-end,” Seiko Watch Co. President Shuji Takahashi said in an interview in Tokyo.
The Japanese push upmarket shows how Apple Inc. has turned timekeeping upside down. Only three years after entering the market, the tech giant has become the world’s biggest watch seller, overtaking Rolex, forcing the industry to rethink strategy. As Swiss brands add more accessibly priced models, Seiko and Citizen are seeking a bigger piece of the premium action.
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The Japanese achievement in promoting quartz watches drove numerous Swiss creators of mechanical timepieces to their knees, handing Seiko into the business’ goliath over the late 1970s. In any case, Japanese makers passed up a great opportunity for the ensuing recovery sought after for extravagance mechanical watches, which draw in purchasers with the craftsmanship behind an item that keeps running without batteries.
Stupendous Seiko watches are known for their exactness and have easier dials and a more great style than consistent Seikos. The organization makes less than 100,000 Grand Seikos a year, generally equivalent to IWC’s yield however well behind Rolex’s 800,000, as per appraises by Bank Vontobel’s Rene Weber.