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good article, Mike! Seems to be a sign of the times in Japan now. The recent re-election of the Prime Minister is another reflection of what is taking place in Japan - more desire for transparancy at all levels of institutions. Out with the old (systems, silent power figures) and in with the younger, more vigorous politicians. Hatoyama had stepped down and took with him Ozawa, the real power man behind the throne!

Seiko is just one more traditional Japanese institution having to meet global market demands and ultimately bottom line profits.
All the big companies (Panasonic, Sharp etc) are scrambling to restructure! As the article mentions, letting in an outersider board member, having lawyers mentioned left and right....indicates a more western litigation style growing in Japan nowadays.
 

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I think the recent and very embarrassing situation with the worldwide Toyota recalls has prompted a complete revamp of the prevalent Japanese corporate culture. The quality problems of new Toyotas have put a huge black eye in the company and have undermined the once pristine reputation their products had. Obviously, Japanese national pride has been equally hurt as well.


Also, the reported 50% sales plummet at Seiko's watch operation may well explain the management shake up. Seiko is like a dynasty company. Shinji Hittori is a descendant of the founder of the company in 1881. I believe Japanese industries in recent years have fallen prey to complacency, the arrogant "we know best" attitude and actively engaging in product defect cover ups and such.


Its no secret that Seiko has been in trouble for sometime now, but now more details are reaching the public light that give a better picture of the magnitude of the problems they are facing.


Interesting times ahead for Seiko and fans alike.
 

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Minidriver, be that as it may regarding the Toyota scandal, Japanese car sales across the board have risen recently, here and abroad, mainly in China! But indeed, a changing of the old guard for younger generational thinkers is in the wind here!
SHARP company is doing a total restructuring (one of my clients is a 18 year employee and now in mid management). Panasonic/National just switched CEOs and the new guy just consolidated the two names into one PANASONIC, to raise world market awareness and reduce confusion of the National name ( home appliances here in Japan). All signage here has been changed to just PANASONIC, all business cards have been switched over..etc....costing a fortune!!!! (I teach at the Panasonic RandD facility).

As a watch company here, Seiko always had the monopoly on the market IMO, squeezing out Citizen and Orient shelf space every where....at least since I arrived 7 years ago. Now, things are different. Of course, Seiko bought out Orient outright, and now we see the brand much more in stores, though they are in boutique stores mostly.....Times they are achanging!
 

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I just hope Seiko goes back to producing interesting, aesthetically pleasing, accurate, high quality and affordable watches. With so many patents and so much technology, so many designers and engineers, and assembly lines ready to go, and yet in the last couple of years I can't see any of their watches that fit all these criteria, except for (some of) their 7S26-based watches; and the 7S26 movement is what? 20 years old? Can't they come up with a basic movement with 72 hours power reserve, and robot adjusted to +/- 5s per day?
The quartz LCD market is dominated by Casio and I must say some of their latest watches are really, really nice and still < $100. Seiko has been promising LCD ink watches for years now and still in 2010: nothing.
And for analog quartz watches, imho Citizen has the upper hand, although Citizen watches too are getting quite expensive lately, probably because of lack of competition. Seiko has a few solar radio-controlled watches but they are no match for what Citizen offers, and just as expensive if not more. :(
Can a change of management reverse this situation? I hope so.
 

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Advance this video to 3:17. There you'll see the actual production Seiko EDP digital watch depicted in the press release from Basel World 2010. I guess the design its love it or hate it. I like it but JDM launch prices puts it in the USD $4,000 category. :-\
 

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ADB said:
??? The press release itself refers to a presentation of the Seiko E-ink watch in ... 2005! And honestly the prototype on the picture is quite unexceptional, it looks like a $5 LCD watch one can buy in the street. :(
Its not a prototype. That is the actual JDM launch production Seiko EPD coming around October-November.
 

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minidriver said:
...
I guess the design its love it or hate it. I like it but JDM launch prices puts it in the USD $4,000 category. :-\
Well, that's exactly my point then: how many E-ink watches does Seiko expect to sell at this price? This is an old marketing technique called "creaming the market" but honestly it's not going to reverse the trend in watch sales decline that we saw in another post, it's more a continuation of Seiko's present (wrong, imho) strategy.
What I would like to see from Seiko's new management is (for example) a return of a mid-range series of watches like their LM line from the 70's. Here is what I mean:

Seiko Lordmatic 5606-8020



These are simple yet effective watches, quite easy to wear in everyday life. This one is 40 years old...



Cheers,
 

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ADB said:
Well, that's exactly my point then: how many E-ink watches does Seiko expect to sell at this price? This is an old marketing technique called "creaming the market" but honestly it's not going to reverse the trend in watch sales decline that we saw in another post, it's more a continuation of Seiko's present (wrong, imho) strategy.
What I would like to see from Seiko's new management is (for example) a return of a mid-range series of watches like their LM line from the 70's. Here is what I mean:

Seiko Lordmatic 5606-8020



These are simple yet effective watches, quite easy to wear in everyday life. This one is 40 years old...



Cheers,
ADB, that Lordmatic is drop dead gorgeous. It doesn't look dated or old at all. A classic, timeless design.
 
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