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I guess my 3 Ananta purchases have helped some Seiko's bottom line sales for the first 6 months of this year :))


But Seiko is still engaged in an uphill battle. In western markets there is still a lot of resistance to "premium" priced Seikos (In despite of the overall international success of the Ananta line and Seiko's desire to move the Grand Seiko brand onto the world stage).


Swiss-euro watch snobs and non-WIS alike cringe at the idea of paying thousands of dollars for a "Seiko" (Regardless of how good the watch may be).


Their <$1,000 market, at least in the United States, Seiko is suffering at the hands of Citizen with their Eco-Drive offerings.


Time to ax quartz Kinetic watches Mr. Hattori? Solar-radio controlled technology is what's keeping Citizen afloat. ;D


Seiko may not be in a position to abandon the low end and mid priced markets. Their geographical market strategy (Only the "best" Seikos are reserved for the JDM) as well as flooding the west for decades with inexpensive (but good quality watches) may be proving to be the pivotal point in which they won't be able to easily change perceptions about brand image and product. The Japanese are now victims of their own inventions. They have watches that easily match and surpass the best Europe has to offer. Yet, people are reluctant to spend serious money on them.


Seems to me Citizen has always had a better market strategy than Seiko. Perhaps Seiko can't be all things to all people all the time... Can't they?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
minidriver said:
Price increases + continued move up market = Seiko hurting?
I think there is a lot more to it than this.

50% loss over 2 years. Its almost like people have forgotten about Seiko. The article did not provide any regional numbers for Seiko but I'm thinking a lot of this loss is erosion of the North American market.
 

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I'll say it. I don't see a lot of new stuff from Seiko that makes me think "Wow, I have to get one of them!". Even though I really don't need any more watches, I see a lot of cool Citizen ones. Also, I will NEVER purchase another Kinetic. I would buy an Eco-Drive though.

andy b.
 

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minidriver said:
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Time to ax quartz Kinetic watches Mr. Hattori? Solar-radio controlled technology is what's keeping Citizen afloat. ;D
...
You've hit a major nail in the head. While Citizen and Casio have introduced countless solar-powered and radio-controlled movements in the North American market (huge market), where can you find a similar Seiko product in N.A.? As much as I love automatic, solar and r/c are the future for majority of the consumers. Yes, dump Kinetic and move full-speed with solar and r/c and come out with some kick-ass designs won't hurt. Seiko can continue to produce automatics and their upward brand movement into luxury category (but should not hike the prices of their mid-range Prospex line of products, much to my dismay). Here are a few things that Seiko need to address:

Kinetic < Eco-Drive
Non-Existent Seiko Marketing < Citizen Marketing in U.S.
Hiking Prices of their mid- to high-end products when the world economy is in the gutter (even after factoring in exchange rates).

These are just my opinions. Not to start a flame war or anything. At the end of the day, Seiko may just be happy the way it is and remain a distant third among the big three.
 

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I agree with all the points made above. :)

Seiko's marketing positioning (continuously moving upwards) has hurt their sales badly and allowed the competition to gain market share. Also technologically they have lagged behind the competition, mainly Citizen with their Eco-drive solar watches which imho is the best solar watch technology available today. And Casio and Citizen have both made good on radio-controlled quartz movements, whereas Seiko's Spring Drive, for all its qualities, has been a sales flop.

Now the general decline in watches sales I think we can pin on a change in habits among the general population, mainly young people who don't wear watches, they have their mobiles with them for that! And unfortunately even an incredibly attractive and moderately priced new Seiko diver - that all of us here would buy without hesitation (not that we need it, but...) - is not going to reverse this trend.

But then again I am not sure how much watches still contribute to the Seiko group total revenue. If it's a small percentage then the investment in marketing and innovation may not seem worthwhile for Seiko's top management - and that would be a pity. ???

At least we still have our vintage Seiko's to wear...



Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You're right, Andrew that there is more to each of these companies than the watches. Also there is more to the watch business than just the sales numbers. So in some respect this article is overly simplistic, but at the same time, I think sales numbers are the easiest way to measure the perception of your product. I can't imagine anyone in Seiko sales/marketing wanting to present these numbers to their senior management, regardless of the larger picture. In my business we work hard to realize just 5-7% sales growth per year. To lose 50% over just 2 years would be very serious, especially with a 100 billion yen/1 billion USD product line.
 

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minidriver said:
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Swiss-euro watch snobs and non-WIS alike cringe at the idea of paying thousands of dollars for a "Seiko" (Regardless of how good the watch may be)....
Even you're right with that, it's only part of the story.
Real European WIS have been knowing the build quality of a GS for years now. But the only GS Seiko would sell were SDs (no problem with that technology myself, but some guys want the pure mechanicals - moreover that power indication simply sucks for my aesthetics). Another thing that gets European WIS upset, is that Seiko prices their watches differently here (I'm considering the tax impact of course), there is no free market over here, respectively.
Personally, I would even say that the latest 6R15s and particularly the 4R15s are overpriced (a spirit SCVS was fairly priced 4 1/2 years ago, but the newer models (and the SARB033 is litarally the same watch) now costs at least 30% more (comparing Yen-prices)!
Another thing i, that the design seems to get weird. They seem to copy mods, other brands (e.g. Sinn) and concentrate on ridiculous bulky watches (o.k. I have to careful here - but the normal man on the street would probably not wear that 45mm x 17mm wrist weapons).

Just my two cents, though - no offense intended,

Axel
 

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I'd imagine that Citizen is more than likely kicking Seiko's rear end in North America.

Eco-drive is practical and easy to use, speaks to the emerging consumer bracket that is decidedly more green-minded than their predecessors, is cool conceptually, and is marketed more widely and more readily available.

Case in point: I'm certainly not a Seiko fanboy by any stretch, but I will admit that I tend to favor them rather heavily compared to Citizen. Having said that, if I were forced to choose 10 watches from each companies' respective North American lineups, I doubt that more than one or two Seikos would make the cut.
 

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Yeah, I'd say the green thing might be a bigger deal than realized. Seiko should position automatics as green, no nasty batteries to throw away, runs forever so you never have to throw it away either, and etc... it's brilliant and it would work, maybe result in a much-deserved renaissance of the automatic.
 

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ArgyBargy said:
Yeah, I'd say the green thing might be a bigger deal than realized. Seiko should position automatics as green, no nasty batteries to throw away, runs forever so you never have to throw it away either, and etc... it's brilliant and it would work, maybe result in a much-deserved renaissance of the automatic.

People that are not into watches will generally not want to put up with mechanical watches. They are inaccurate, suffer from positional variance issues affecting accuracy, have limited power reserve, require servicing and complications (chronographs, etc, etc) exponentially increase their price beyond the reach of most.


While I own and can appreciate mechanical watches for their beauty and quality, they are impractical for most people.
 

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Not a surprise that Citizen did much better than Seiko. Co-workers here either wear no watches, or cheap Wal-mart/Timex watches, or Citizen eco drive (almost maintenance free). Not many Seiko fans here. Much easier for people to know what the solar watch is than the "kinetic" watch.
 
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