Best Japanese Watch Brands And Their Movements

kushiro flower watch

Did you have a chance to look at the thumbnail image? It’s of a ‘Flower Clock’ made by SEIKO, which is occasionally installed in parks across Japan.

SEIKO flower watch
flower clock in Nusamai Park Kushiro city

The thumbnail image lacks flowers, making it somewhat bland, but it looks beautiful when lit up at night.

SEIKO is undoubtedly the most famous Japanese watch brand. However, others like Citizen, Casio, and Orient are not far behind. Their in-house movements further enhance their reputation.

This time, I’d like to introduce these magnificent Japanese watches, including their movements. Please, go ahead.

The Marvelous History and Global Esteem of Japanese Watchmaking

The journey of Japanese watchmaking is a fascinating tale that dates back to the 1800s. This was a time when Europe dominated the watchmaking world, but Japan was about to make its mark.

Fast forward to the Taishō period in 1924.

The Japanese watch industry began to soar, heralding an era of remarkable growth and innovation​​.

Global Recognition and Functional Excellence

Japanese watch brands are synonymous with durability, precision, and practicality. Think about the rugged G-Shock from Casio or Citizen’s Eco-Drive – they’ve been trailblazers in enduring design and technological prowess.

While Swiss watches are often associated with luxury and artisan expertise. Japanese timepieces stand out for their functionality, innovation, and robustness. It’s this unique blend that has carved a significant niche for Japanese watches among enthusiasts and professionals worldwide​​.

A Legacy of Technological Innovations

Japanese brands like Seiko, Citizen, and Casio are not just popular; they’re trendsetters in the watchmaking world. Seiko’s introduction of the world’s first quartz watch and Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology revolutionized the industry.

And let’s not forget Casio’s G-Shock line – a testament to the boundaries pushed in watch durability and toughness. These innovations have not only set new industry standards but also underscore the global appeal of Japanese watch brands​​.

In sum, the history and global reputation of Japanese watchmaking are nothing short of amazing. With a legacy of innovation, precision, and durability, Japanese watches have etched an indelible mark in the horological world.

This fascinating history underscores the global esteem these timepieces enjoy, making them a prized possession for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Top Brand in Japanese Watches


  • History: Seiko’s journey began in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori opened a small watch shop in Tokyo. In 1892, Hattori expanded his business by establishing the Seikosha factory. The first wristwatch named “Seiko,” meaning “exquisite” in Japanese, was introduced in 1924, marking Seiko’s entry into watchmaking.
  • Iconic Models and Innovations:
    • Seiko is known for many groundbreaking models, including the world’s first quartz wristwatch, the Seiko Quartz Astron, in 1969. This watch was notable for its unprecedented accuracy and luxurious design.
    • In 1988, Seiko introduced the Kinetic watch, a watch that converts the motion of the wearer’s wrist into electricity to power the quartz movement.
    • The Spring Drive, launched in 1999, combines a mechanical mainspring with a quartz regulator for exceptional precision.
    • Seiko also developed the world’s first diver’s watch with a titanium case and the first watch with computer functions​​​​​​​​.
seiko prospex monster

Seiko’s prospex series has watches nicknamed “tuna sumo monster shogun” and so on. I like sumo, but it would take too long to write about it, so I’ll leave it for another time.


Seiko often collaborates with anime franchises, and one of my watches is from their collaboration with the “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” series.

Grand Seiko

  • Response to Quartz Crisis: During the Quartz Crisis in the 1970s and 1980s, Grand Seiko embraced quartz technology while maintaining its dedication to craftsmanship and design elegance. The Grand Seiko Quartz Astron is a prime example of this approach.
  • Spring Drive Movement: Introduced in the early 2000s, the Spring Drive Movement is a unique innovation that blends mechanical and quartz technologies. It features a smooth, continuous glide motion of the second hand, symbolizing the uninterrupted flow of time and offering exceptional accuracy.
  • Philosophical Craftsmanship: Grand Seiko watches reflect the Japanese concept of “The Nature of Time,” drawing inspiration from the beauty of the seasons. This approach is evident in collections like the Grand Seiko Elegance and GMT models, which combine aesthetics with functionality​​.
SBGY013…Seiko HP

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive models are renowned for their slender design and the smooth operation of the second hand, thanks to the Spring Drive mechanism.

While these watches are highly praised for their exceptional quality, they are also noted for their high price point, often comparable to luxury brands like Rolex.

In Japan, it’s common to hear opinions that, despite the excellent quality of Grand Seiko watches. Their high cost leads some consumers to consider purchasing a Rolex instead.



Casio’s G-Shock series is renowned for its durable and innovative watches, each designed to cater to different needs and preferences. Here’s an overview of some notable G-Shock models and their features:

  1. G-Shock DW-9052-1V Digital Military Watch: Known as the “standard issue” G-Shock, this model is popular among military personnel. It’s affordable, rugged, and features a front EL backlight button for easy visibility in the dark. It’s a basic model with a stopwatch, countdown timer, and daily alarm​​.
  2. G-Shock DW-5600E-1V Classic Square Digital Watch: This model is a tribute to the original “square” G-Shock case from 1983. It’s an affordable option with essential features like a stopwatch, timer, alarm, and EL backlight. It’s perfect for general use and outdoor activities​​.
  3. G-Shock GM-B2100 Full Metal “CasiOak”: This model combines the popular octagonal bezel inspired by the original G-Shock DW-5000 with a rugged stainless steel build. It features Tough Solar power and Bluetooth connectivity for automatic time adjustment and other features. It’s suitable for both casual and formal settings​​.
  4. G-Shock GA-700-1B Extra-Large Analog Watch: This analog-digital model features a large rugged case, a 3D dial with large analog hands, and an LCD display. It’s known for its long battery life and front-facing LED light button. This watch is ideal for sports and outdoor activities​​.
  5. G-Shock GBD-H2000: An advanced fitness and outdoors watch with solar charging, this model includes a gyroscope, supporting activities like biking, swimming, and gym workouts. It’s equipped with six sensors, including an optical heart rate monitor, step counter, and GPS. It’s particularly useful for athletes and those who love the outdoors​​.

The G-Shock series offers a wide range of models, each with unique features catering to different lifestyles and activities, from rigorous outdoor adventures to daily urban use.

G-Shock MT-G

MT-G B1000
MT-G B1000

The G-Shock MT-G series from Casio is a luxury line within the G-Shock family, known for its advanced features and sophisticated design. Here’s an overview of the MT-G series:

  1. Construction and Design: The MT-G series, standing for “Metal Twisted G-Shock,” is characterized by its combination of metal and resin construction. This series elevates the traditional rugged G-Shock style with a more refined and upscale look. The watches in this series typically feature stainless steel exteriors with bands that are a composite of resin and stainless steel for comfort and durability. The exterior design is often a balance between elegance and the signature G-Shock toughness.
  2. Innovative Features: Watches in the MT-G series are equipped with advanced features like Tough Solar power, GPS timekeeping, and Bluetooth connectivity. These features ensure that the watches not only have the rugged durability expected from G-Shock but also the precision and convenience of modern technology. For example, Tough Solar technology allows the watch to charge using any light source, and Bluetooth connectivity enables synchronization with a smartphone for accurate timekeeping.
  3. Durability and Resistance: True to the G-Shock brand, the MT-G series watches are designed to withstand harsh conditions. They feature Triple G Resist (resistance to shock, centrifugal force, and vibration) and are water-resistant, making them suitable for a variety of outdoor and professional activities.
  4. Luxury Models: The MT-G line includes high-end models like the MTG-S1000 and MTG-G1000. These models have a luxurious look with a stainless steel exterior and a band that combines stainless steel with resin. The MTG-S1000 introduced a new level of luxury to the G-Shock series with features like Triple G Resist and Multi-Band 6, while the MTG-G1000 added GPS timekeeping to the mix.
  5. MT-G B1000 Series: The latest addition to the MT-G line is the MTG-B1000 series. These models are smaller, with a more compact case and a resin band, while still offering advanced features like Bluetooth connectivity.

In summary, the G-Shock MT-G series represents the fusion of rugged durability and sophisticated luxury, catering to those who seek a high-end watch that can withstand extreme conditions while offering modern technological conveniences and an elegant design.


👆I own the MT-G model, which was released as part of the 20th anniversary celebration. I frequently wear it in casual settings.



Citizen is a renowned Japanese watch brand, famous for its innovative Eco-Drive technology and a variety of sophisticated watch designs. Here’s an overview of Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology and its notable watch models:

  1. Eco-Drive Technology: Introduced in 1976, Eco-Drive is a revolutionary light-powered technology that drives watches using any light source, artificial or natural. This eliminates the need for battery replacement, making these watches eco-friendly and convenient. Over the years, Citizen has enhanced the Eco-Drive technology to improve power reserve, reliability, and light absorption capabilities. Some Eco-Drive models can have a power reserve of up to six months on a full charge and even seven years in radio-controlled models​​.
  2. Design and Craftsmanship: Citizen Eco-Drive watches are known for their high-quality materials and craftsmanship. Despite their competitive pricing, these watches often feature stainless steel cases and scratch-resistant crystals. The design range is vast, catering to various styles and preferences. Whether it’s dress watches, aviation, diving, or field watches, the Eco-Drive series encompasses a broad spectrum of designs, each sturdy, stylish, and environmentally friendly​​.
  3. Innovation and Patents: Citizen’s pursuit of innovation is evident in their Eco-Drive series. The brand has achieved several industry firsts, such as the world’s first light-powered analog dive watch and the first light-powered watch that can gather energy from the sides of its case. Citizen also introduced the world’s first Bluetooth-equipped analog light-powered watch, showcasing their commitment to technological advancement​​.
  4. Notable Models:
    • Citizen Eco-Drive One AR5054-51E: This model is known for its extreme thinness, measuring just 2.98mm in thickness, making it one of the thinnest light-powered analog timepieces in the world. It combines classic dress watch forms with modern touches, including a black Duratect DLC coating and a rose gold-tone Cermet bezel.
    • Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver BJ8050-08E: Nicknamed “Ecozilla,” this is a heavy-duty professional diver’s watch designed for the rigors of mixed-gas scuba diving. It features a robust case, an easy-to-read dial, and is water-resistant up to 300 meters.

Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology not only represents a significant step towards sustainable watchmaking but also exemplifies the brand’s dedication to innovation, quality, and versatility in design.


orient watch

Orient Watches, established in 1950, is a respected Japanese watch manufacturer known for their quality and affordability. They became a subsidiary of Seiko Epson in 2009 and are now a part of the Seiko Group, with their watches being manufactured by Akita Epson Corporation.

Orient watches are particularly renowned for their in-house automatic movements, offering a range of timepieces from dress watches to sports watches. Their prices generally range from $100 to $300, making them a great value choice for quality automatic watches. The Orient Star line, their high-end series, starts at around $500 and features more complex designs.

Some notable models include:

  • Mako II: A well-regarded diving watch known for its affordability, functionality, and stylish design. It features a 41mm stainless steel case, the in-house F6922 caliber movement, and is water-resistant up to 200 meters.
  • Ray II: Similar to the Mako II, this model is known for its tactical and purposeful design, making it ideal for diving. It features an updated F6922 mechanical movement with hand-winding and hacking capabilities.
  • Triton: A professional 200-meter diving watch, the Triton stands out for its durability, functionality, and unique design, all within an affordable price range under $500.
  • Bambino: Recognized for being an excellent entry-level mechanical dress watch, the Bambino series offers over 50 models across five generations, each featuring a clean, simple, and elegant design.
  • Mako III: The Mako III is a Japanese automatic/hand-winding 200m diver-style watch. It features an in-house Orient F6922 automatic hand-winding and hacking movement. The watch has a case diameter of 41.8 mm, a lug to lug length of 47mm, a sapphire crystal, and a 22mm lug width. It is water-resistant to 200m (660ft), making it suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports, but not for diving.

Orient’s commitment to providing quality timepieces at affordable prices, coupled with their diverse range of styles, makes them a solid choice for watch enthusiasts and casual buyers alike​​​​​​.

Mako III
Mako III

I have an Orient Mako III watch. I love it because it’s versatile enough to be worn in both business and casual settings without any hesitation.

My personal recommendation

The movement will be an outsourced brand, but it is a Japanese brand that I like.


Minase is a distinguished Japanese luxury watch manufacturer, renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs. Here are some key aspects of Minase watches:

Craftsmanship and Design

  • Sallaz Polishing: Minase is one of the few watch brands that employ the Sallaz polishing technique, also known as Zaratsu. This manual Japanese finishing technique is used to give steel parts a perfectly smooth surface, creating a distinctive and high-quality appearance. Polishing a single Divido on a steel bracelet can involve up to 479 processes and take more than 15 hours​​.
  • Case-in-Case Construction: This unique construction, inspired by Japanese 3D puzzles, features no traditional dial. Instead, the mechanical movement is enclosed between a plate and a top container, which acts as the dial. The entire inner box appears to float, screwed at the corners inside each case​​.
  • Monozukuri Handmade Watches: Minase’s philosophy embodies “Monozukuri,” the Japanese art of making things by hand. This approach stands for technological excellence, know-how, and the spirit of Japan’s manufacturing practices, emphasizing continuous innovation and perfection​​.

Minase Original Rebuild Equation (MORE)

  • The MORE concept was developed to create watches that can be treasured for over 100 years. This patented structure allows Minase watchmakers to assemble and disassemble external parts of the watch, such as the case and bracelet, for refitting or repair​​.


  • 5 and 7 Windows Series: These series feature soft rectangular shapes with a nearly levitating dial within the case, providing a distinct look. The movements within these intricate cases are proven Swiss ETA-calibres​​.
  • Masterpieces: The Masterpiece series, like Komon and Akita Silver Filigree, showcase Minase’s craftsmanship. These pieces are unique and combine modern design with traditional Japanese artistry​​.
  • Horizon and Divido Urushi VM04-M16SB: These collections represent Minase’s commitment to quality and aesthetics. The Horizon series is the brand’s thinnest and most delicate model, while the Divido Urushi VM04-M16SB exemplifies Minase’s skill in Urushi lacquer art​​.

Swiss Movements

  • Minase uses chronometer-grade movements, working directly with ETA to create highly customized and well-finished versions. They transitioned their higher-priced pieces from the KT7001 Movement (based on ETA 2824) to the KT7002 (based on ETA 2892A2)​​.

Minase watches are a blend of traditional Japanese craftsmanship and modern horological technology, making them a prestigious choice for watch collectors and enthusiasts. They are celebrated for their unique designs, high-quality materials, and long-lasting durability.

MINASE Sakihokoru

Minase watches are crafted in Minase Village, Akita Prefecture. Living in Akita, I have a special fondness for this watch brand. While Minase may not manufacture its movements in-house, the crocodile leather bracelets, like the one in this photo, are handmade by artisans at the Minase factory.

I was planning to buy the Divido model, but I was captivated by a watch featuring intricate silver wire craftsmanship inspired by “Sakihokore,” a type of rice grown in Akita, and decided to purchase it. It’s a beautiful watch that I wear on special occasions.


KARL-LEIMON Single Moonphase WHITE
Single Moonphase WHITE

KARL-LEIMON is a Japanese watch brand that was established in 2017 through crowdfunding by two foreign students in Japan. The brand has gained significant recognition for its classic design philosophy and affordable luxury watches. Despite the contemporary trend towards minimalism, KARL-LEIMON founders focused on creating timepieces with a timeless classic design, particularly emphasizing the charm of the moon-phase watch.

One of their notable models is the Karl Leimon Classic Pioneer, which features a triple calendar and moon phase. This watch reflects the brand’s commitment to creating high-quality, yet affordable timepieces. It has a 38mm diameter, a 10mm height, a 46.5mm lug to lug length, and is water-resistant up to 50m. The movement used in this model is the Miyota 6P00, and the watch is priced around $290. This makes it an attractive option for those seeking a classic-looking watch with modern functionalities and at a reasonable price point.

KARL-LEIMON watches represent a blend of traditional aesthetics and contemporary craftsmanship, offering a unique choice for classic watch enthusiasts. Their dedication to quality and affordability has set a new standard in the watchmaking industry, especially in the realm of moon-phase watches.

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