Did you know that some of the best watches in the world are made in Japan? Today we are going to discuss The Best Japanese Watch Brands that you can trust.
For a long time, brands such as Casio, Seiko, Citizen, Orient, and more recently Minase, have provided us with some of the most reliable, resistant, or best-designed watches in the world. This may lead you to wonder which are the best Japanese watch brands or if it is worth buying them for a quality price.
The Japanese watch industry is capable of rivaling that of Switzerland, and a few decades ago, with the appearance of quartz watches, they were about to ruin the entire industry of the Swiss country… it seemed that mechanical watches had passed Fashion.
The first quartz wrist watch was launched by Seiko in the year 1969, the Seiko-Quartz Astron 35SQ: it had a quartz oscillator with a frequency of 8192hz with an accuracy of 0.2 seconds per day, 5 seconds per month or 1 minute a year. During the 1980s, the whole world was invaded by cheap quartz watches thanks to the efforts of Japanese companies such as Casio , Citizen or Seiko. They almost “do away” with traditional watchmaking. It was called the Quartz Crisis . The traditional Swiss watchmaker had to change its sales target and position itself more as a luxury product in order to survive. The Swiss also created Swatch in 1983 to fight back and try to "capture" the low-end sector again.
Where do we frame Japanese watches? Well, we have everything, and it depends a lot on the brand, don’t think that they don’t make exclusive watches.
Casio and its G-shock models are dedicated to making very strong and reliable quartz watches, Citizen makes some excellent pilot or divers watches made of quartz and with technology such as Eco-Drive and radio control.
Seiko has everything from mechanical watches that are very well priced, to high-end with their Grand Seiko line. It also manufactures quartz watches. Orient produces mechanical watches at very attractive prices. mine? It produces very few watches throughout the year and they are all handmade. They are not cheap.
As a first approach to the world of watches made in Japan, we could say that all these brands have made it possible for all of us to have a great watch on our wrist for a reasonable price. In contrast to the models that come from Switzerland, which are usually much more expensive and exclusive (if we do not take into account the Swatch watches).
- All this can lead us to ask ourselves another question: What type of watch is best for you? Mechanical (or automatic) watches or quartz ones. We have resolved this question in the post: Mechanical vs Automatic vs Quartz Watches.
There are no better models than others. It depends on your situation and what you are going to use the watch for. It also depends a lot on how much money you want to spend.
But let’s not mess around anymore. Let’s see which brands from the land of the rising sun are the ones that deserve to be on your wrist.
What are the best Japanese watch brands?
Casio watches have accompanied us all since the 80s. They not only make watches but also calculators or pianos.
In the 80s, some very cheap mythical quartz watches came to us, such as the Casio F-91W or the beginning of the Casio G-Shock watches, the DW-5000C. Casio’s story would never be the same from then on.
If you want a sturdy watch that will serve you in any kind of condition, a Casio G-Shock comes to mind for all of us. They are resistant to falls, they can be put into the water to a great depth.
Many are solar-charged (Tough Solar), multiband and some are loaded with sensors such as a compass, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. The new models even have Bluetooth and are incorporating new technologies that improve their resistance and lightness (Carbon Core Guard).
It may interest you: The best Casio G-Shock watches buying guide, comparison, and prices.
But Casio also offers other lines in its wide range of watches:
Casio ProTrek: watches specially designed for trekking or mountaineering. With Triple Sensor and also very well manufactured. The number of models in this range is much lower than those that we can find in G-Shock or in its classic watches. It may interest you: The best Casio Pro Trek watches with Triple Sensor or Quad sensor: watches for mountaineering, and trekking.
Casio Edifice: Casio’s sports models. Great design and very reasonably priced for what they offer. It may interest you: The best Casio Edifice watches for men.
- And you can’t miss their cheapest quartz watches: The best cheap Casio watches for men and women.
Casio watches can be as cheap as $15 or can go over $1000 in the Casio G-shock MTG range. Normally, their Casio g-Shock watches cost from 100 dollars to 700 dollars.
Top 3 Casio watches
Another great Japanese brand that manufactures everything: watches, semiconductors, jewelry, and optical products. If someone manufactures watches of all kinds, that is Seiko: quartz, mechanical. Its range of Astron watches stands out in particular: in 1969 they presented the first quartz watch.
Seiko produces watches with quartz, kinetic, solar, and mechanical movements at various price points.
But probably if you buy a Seiko watch, you are going to buy an automatic mechanical watch from its different ranges: Seiko 5 (the cheapest), Presage (more complex designs and somewhat more expensive), Prospex (diving) or Grand Seiko, their premium watches.
Some Grand Seiko watches incorporate the Spring Drive movement, which is a combination of automatic and quartz movements.
What has Seiko brought to mechanical watch movements? You have to keep in mind that Seiko manufactures its own movements.
When it comes to quartz and mechanical movements, which are the heart of the watch, we take care of all the stages of manufacturing in-house, from the elaboration of the parts to the assembly, and we market the watches all over the world.
The stable quality, high precision, and superb performance of our products are highly valued, and our market-leading movements are spreading to every corner of the world .”
- It may interest you: Best Seiko Field Watches of 2022.
If you have one thing for sure with Seiko, it is that their watches offer great quality for the cost they have. If you want to start in the world of mechanical watches, Seiko is a great brand. They make their own movements themselves, and they are very reliable and resistant.
Their watches can range from less than 100 dollars to more than 8,000 dollars.
Top 3 Seiko watches
The other great Japanese watch brand sells all over the world. When you see a Citizen watch you know it is from this company. They are easily recognizable.
Citizen was founded in 1930 by Japanese and Swiss investors, so we can get a little idea of where the company is going knowing that part of its heritage comes from Switzerland, the masters of watchmaking.
The good thing about Citizen is that they have always innovated. From the launch of the world’s first multi-band “Atomic Timekeeping” watch in 1993 (it corrects the time of the watch using radio frequencies), to the first Japanese submersible watch in 1959, through its Eco-Drive technology: in 1976, they created the world’s first sundial.
Probably its most famous range of watches is the Citizen Eco-Drive with solar technology and even radio control. Its models with Super Titanium are recognized throughout the world for their high performance, beauty, and good workmanship.
Citizen also owns other brands, such as Bulova (from the United States). We especially like one of the watches that has traveled to the moon, the Bulova Lunar Pilot Moonwatch, from this brand.
Some Citizen watches with their Satellite Wave GPS technology are among the most accurate in the world: For example Citizen Pilot Super Titanium CB0230-81L. And models like the Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180 03E are highly appreciated by all kinds of divers throughout the world.
- It may interest you: The best Citizen Eco-Drive watches for men.
Citizen watches can cost between 100 dollars and more than 1,000 dollars, but it is not normal that they do not go up to 500, 600 dollars.
Top 3 Citizen watches
Another of the classic brands that manufacture watches in Japan at a very good price. It is owned by Epson and Epson is part of the Seiko group. Come on, everything stays at home.
The origin of Orient Watch Company dates back to the year 1901 when Shogoro Yoshida opened a wholesale store called “Yoshida Watch Shop” in Ueno, Tokyo, Japan. So it is a company with a lot of history behind it.
Orient is known worldwide for its excellent automatic mechanical watches such as the Orient Bambino. But other models such as the Orient Ray, Kamasu, Mako, or the Triton also stand out.
- Orient offers some of the best quality diving watches for prices below 200 dollars.
The good thing about Orient is that the price of its watches is very low: from about 100 dollars to less than 500 dollars.
It may interest you: How Much Does A Watch Weigh? Is It Worth Considering?
Top 3 Orient Watches
Minase is a very special Japanese brand. It probably sounds less familiar to you because its production is usually sold only in Japan. The company was created in this century and they only produce a small number of watches per year (less than 500), which makes their prices somewhat high compared to other options.
The Japanese watch brand Minase was created by the drilling and cutting tool manufacturer Kyowa Co., Ltd., founded in 1963. Its first watch was released in 2011.
All their watches are produced by hand and all components are self-made. Their watches are automatic mechanical. Watch the following video:
Minase’s philosophy is to make unique, beautiful, and high-quality handmade watches that celebrate the values, traditions, and craftsmanship of Japan. His designs are spectacular.
Some of its best-known models include Divido (Powered by the KT7001/1, Minase’s hand-finished automatic movement); Horizon (which reminds us of a Samurai sword); 5 Windows (Which offers an impressive view of the 3D box and movement); 7 Windows (based on the original 5 Windows model, adding 2 additional windows for a truly unique look); Masterpiece (these watches are rare works of art available in very limited quantities).
Minase watches can be purchased from 1,500 dollars to more than 27,000 dollars.
Conclusion: Are Japanese watches worth buying?
Surely you have already come to the conclusion that YES. They make very good watches for a quality price. And of all kinds: quartz, mechanical, with the latest technologies. And with a very good range of prices: from 15 dollars through about 100 dollars to more than 1000 dollars (or more).
Casio, Seiko, Orient, Citizen, and Minase offer very different models, but they all have their audiences.
Are there more Japanese watch brands?
Which Japanese watch brand is best?
All of the Japanese watch brands are good and they are quality products. Casio is doing great but if I ask this question to myself then Seiko is the answer.
If you ask someone in Japan, they would probably answer Seiko instead of just saying “Japanese watch”. There are many strong brands like Casio and Citizen, but watch-making is Seiko’s specialty. Seiko has been making excellent watches for decades, and many of their watches are built to last a lifetime.
They are used by many world-class sportsmen and women, including the pilots of the British RAF regiment, the Italian Air Force, and the United States Coast Guard. Seiko has been in the business for a long time and produces some of the best watches in the world for the money.
Where can these Japanese watches be bought?
Very easy, on online portals like Amazon, and eBay.
Of course, you can also find them in watch shops (authorized distributors) or on the website of each brand.