Seiko didn’t exactly have a slow 2020, but they might just have saved one of the best for last. Or did they drop the ball in the final yard? In their final release of last year, we saw the all new King Seiko KSK SJE083, a reissue of a watch from 1965 that is highly collectible – the King Seiko ref. 44-9990.
The 1960s is a decade of the Japanese watchmaker’s history that isn’t as widely known as it should be, and that is one of the things that makes this release compelling. Because while you almost certainly know the present day behemoth that Grand Seiko is, you might not have heard of King Seiko before. King Seiko was established in 1961, the year after Grand Seiko, to create competition within Seiko as they pursued mechanical watchmaking perfection. That’s right, King Seiko and Grand Seiko competed against each other within the organisation, as well as on the world stage at various chronometry competitions. After the advent of the first quartz watch, however, (also a Seiko achievement), both King Seiko and Grand Seiko were put on hold as the firm focused its attention on the new technology they had pioneered.
This makes the King Seiko KSK SJE083 a very interesting proposition, as not only does it represent an important chapter in the history of watchmaking, but also carries the designs of that era into the current moment. Throughout the design of this King Seiko we can see the source material for so many of the design elements that are still widely used by both Seiko and Grand Seiko today. The wide flat surfaces, the hard angles and the mirror polishing were all born around the time the design for this very watch was realised.
So if you’re a fan of Seiko as a watchmaker, or just a sucker for the tail-end of the golden era of wristwatch design, this is likely to be very, very tempting.
King Seiko KSK SJE083 price and availability:
The King Seiko KSK SJE083 is $5200AU and is a limited edition of 3000 numbered pieces world wide. It is currently available, though shipping may be slower than usual.
Made in partnership with Seiko. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.