Speak to any watch brand CEO worth his corner office and they will tell you that opening a boutique in London is essential if you want international recognition. Alongside Paris and New York, the city has a reputation for having the right kind of customers – ones that are discerning, who know their watches.
Considering its global following, one major omission from the UK capital’s horological landscape has been Seiko, a situation that has finally been rectified thanks to the opening of a seriously stylish flagship boutique in the heart of Knightsbridge.
Situated over two floors, the minimalist space plays host to one of the most comprehensive selections of Seiko watches around. Along with the Astron GPS Solar – the world’s first GPS solar watch, which is so clever it knows where you are anywhere in the world almost before you do – there’s also the acclaimed Presage, Prospex and Premier collections.
But the real treat for connoisseurs is that the boutique boasts the full international collection of Grand Seiko, the brand’s luxury watch arm.
First launched in 1960, Grand Seiko was just one watch, rather than a full range, that was intended to be the best wristwatch the brand could produce at the time. The success of that single model spawned successors and soon Grand Seiko was being talked about in the kind of hushed tones reserved for vintage Patek Philippes. Its reputation as being a brand for those in the know was enhanced by the difficulty in purchasing one of its watches outside of its homeland, a situation that is true even now.
Which is why it is so incredible that, for the first time, the largest collection of Grand Seikos outside of Japan, including such jaw-dropping masterpieces as the hand-made Eichi, Minute Repeater and Fugaku Tourbillon, will be available just mere steps from Knightsbridge tube station.
“To have a Seiko London Boutique has been a key focus for us for some time, and we are delighted to have found the ideal location situated in the heart of Knightsbridge,” explains Mr Kinya Iwami, managing director of Seiko UK. “We are proud to open our doors to the UK public and our many loyal Seiko fans.”
Visitors to the boutique will not only be treated to an unprecedented selection of extremely cool watches, but they will be able to discover more about the brand’s 136-year history and learn about the phenomenal amount of watchmaking skills housed at Seiko HQ.
This is one of the few manufacturers that can lay claim to having made every component of every watch in its boutique in-house; it even grows its own quartz crystals for its non-mechanical movements. And all that technical prowess is on display to play with at the new Brompton Road flagship.
It may have been 50 years in the waiting but Seiko has finally found a London home – and the capital’s watch scene is all the better for it.
The Seiko Boutique is now open at 57 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1DP.