It’s one thing to take a watch from your archives and create a modern re-issue, but it’s another thing altogether to revive a now-defunct name for the same purpose. That, however, is exactly what Seiko did when they announced a limited-edition reissue of the King Seiko KSK, SJE083, to celebrate their 140th anniversary next year.
Just as a bit of a history lesson, back in the late 1930s Seiko decided to create a second watchmaking factory, which they named Daini Seikosha (the first was Suwa). Then, in 1959 Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha were separated into two entities. The goal was to promote healthy competition within the Seiko brand so that both factories would spur each other to greater heights and the result would be that Seiko would have the best possible watches.
It is widely documented that 1960 was the year of the very first Grand Seiko watch but what is not commonly known is that it was created by the Suwa factory. The Daini factory on the other hand debuted its competitor the King Seiko a year later. Both names carried the same philosophy of being more premium Seiko watches and at the time the quality of the craftsmanship was also equal. Then, in 1980 when he Daini division turned into Seiko Instruments Limited and the Suwa division evolved into Seiko Epson Corporation, they decided to only stick with Grand Seiko, leaving the King Seiko name behind. As of 2017, Grand Seiko has also been split from Seiko becoming to become an autonomous brand.
You can imagine it came as quite a surprise to me when Seiko unveiled this reissue bearing the King Seiko name. But boy are we glad they did. The King Seiko KSK is a 1-to-1 replica of the second generation of King Seiko watches from 1965. These timepieces had a distinctly angular case design that has been faithfully reproduced in its original 38mm form factor for this limited edition.
The design may be that of a vintage watch but the movement within is anything but. For the King Seiko KSK, they decided to pair it with the automatic Caliber 6L35 movement as opposed to the manual winding movement of the original. Also, to make it a little bit more functional they chose this movement as it has a date feature. Just as a nod to how far movement technology has come within Seiko, even with the automatic winding rotor and a date complication, the case is only 0.5mm thicker than the original.
It would have been nice to have a manual winding, no date reissue with the King Seiko KSK but looking at the watch, I can’t say I have much to complain about. Oh, and another cool thing, the caseback comes a gold medallion bearing the original logo.
The watch is said to hit Seiko boutiques in January of 2021, and with only 3,000 pieces available, you may want to start calling your local boutiques. You have been warned.
Case: Stainless steel with super-hard coating
Case size: 38.1mm
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Movement: Calibre 6L35
Water Resistance: 50m
Price: EUR 3,400 (Approx. MYR 16,800)