Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby Darksider » December 23rd 2014, 11:45am

NEW YORK – Japan’s two major timepiece makers, Citizen Watch Co. and Seiko Watch Corp., are zeroing in on the high end of the North American market where Swiss firms have built solid brand recognition.

Citizen is resurrecting the time-honored Wittnauer brand, a marque dating back to the late 19th century, with a new lineup to be released in the United States and Canada in early October, an official said.

Seiko, meanwhile, is aiming to double its U.S. sales of the Astron series of GPS-mounted wristwatches that switch to local time anywhere in the world. An assortment of new offerings will be introduced with top tennis star Novak Djokovic enlisted as a Seiko brand promoter.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/0 ... #.VJm4LBvA
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby boscoe » December 23rd 2014, 1:28pm

When you Astron you make an ass of u and Tron.
And Wittnauer, wasn't he a German chancellor in the 1960s?
Seriously.
I don't give a shit - and I suspect other consumers will suffer a fatal case of The Yawns.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby bedlam » December 23rd 2014, 1:42pm

The few Astrons I have seen are stunning...but big. If they can refine them down they are an interesting proposition.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby eddiea » December 30th 2014, 5:45am

bedlam wrote:The few Astrons I have seen are stunning...but big. If they can refine them down they are an interesting proposition.

Believe Citizen have a similar featured watch.....The Astron is pretty nice!
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby eddiea » December 30th 2014, 5:49am

[quote="boscoe" I suspect other consumers will suffer a fatal case of The Yawns.[/quote]
No doubt , considering that the great majority of US consumers have little or no horological clue, "yawns" are to be expected...still you'll never know ;)
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby Horse Feathers » December 30th 2014, 6:12am

Jeebus, I just had to spend 5 minutes getting caught up on who owns who, am sure I heard this before but I still think of Longines Wittnauer.

For those who were as confused as me (if that's possible)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittnauer
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby eddiea » December 30th 2014, 7:03am

Horse Feathers wrote:Jeebus, I just had to spend 5 minutes getting caught up on who owns who, am sure I heard this before but I still think of Longines Wittnauer.
For those who were as confused as me (if that's possible)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittnauer

Longines-Wittnauer was my first serious watch back in the 70's, I was fortunate to have a Wittnauer 2000, one of their most popular models, curiously the movement was made by Orient(if my memory serves me well ;) )
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby jonnybardo » December 30th 2014, 8:59am

I think the sweet-spot for Japanese watches is in the entry-level luxury range, or roughly $500-1500. There are a lot of great Japanese watches in that zone: Citizen's Signature series and watches like the Promaster Sky some Orients, and a bunch of Seikos. I think the problem is that when you're talking about the mid-luxury range, $1500-5K or so, and the true luxury range, $5-15K, people want Swiss names. Most would rather own an Omega Seamaster than a Seiko MarineMaster, or a Rolex Submariner or Breitling Navitimer than a hi-beat or spring drive Grand Seiko, even if the latter is better value.

I'd like to think I'm relatively impervious to brand allure and just buy what I love and can afford, but a few times I've been tempted to buy a Seiko MarineMaster 300m and thought, "For $1500-1800 I can buy a used Seamaster."

The point being, I'd like to see the Japanese brands focus on more high quality offerings in the entry-level range and focus on competing with Hamilton, Oris, Longines, Certina, and Tag Heuer, rather than Omega, Rolex, Breitling, JLC, Cartier, etc. I think in the West, at least, they'll gain more traction.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby eddiea » December 30th 2014, 9:37am

jonnybardo wrote:I think the problem is that when you're talking about the mid-luxury range, $1500-5K or so, and the true luxury range, $5-15K, people want Swiss names. Most would rather own an Omega Seamaster than a Seiko MarineMaster, or a Rolex Submariner or Breitling Navitimer than a hi-beat or spring drive Grand Seiko, even if the latter is better value.

True and in Seiko's case, that's because of several factors , with the two leading the way been ....
1- Seiko's decades long neglect and or total disregards for the mid/high luxury markets outside Japan.
2- Totally uninformed average consumer (regardless of the watches been Swiss or Japanese made)
That been said , 3 or 4 hands Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO..... go then a step above to the Spring Drive movements and we are easily talking Audemar's territory , for a lot less money.
Anybody that have ever handled a Seiko GS knows about the extraordinary craftsmanship, superb fit/finish ...just perfection ;)...GS's are both underrated and underpriced.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby Kahuna74 » December 30th 2014, 10:08am

eddiea wrote:
jonnybardo wrote:I think the problem is that when you're talking about the mid-luxury range, $1500-5K or so, and the true luxury range, $5-15K, people want Swiss names. Most would rather own an Omega Seamaster than a Seiko MarineMaster, or a Rolex Submariner or Breitling Navitimer than a hi-beat or spring drive Grand Seiko, even if the latter is better value.

True and in Seiko's case, that's because of several factors , with the two leading the way been ....
1- Seiko's decades long neglect and or total disregards for the mid/high luxury markets outside Japan.
2- Totally uninformed average consumer (regardless of the watches been Swiss or Japanese made)
That been said , 3 or 4 hands Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO..... go then a step above to the Spring Drive movements and we are easily talking Audemar's territory , for a lot less money.
Anybody that have ever handled a Seiko GS knows about the extraordinary craftsmanship, superb fit/finish ...just perfection ;)...GS's are both underrated and underpriced.


I could not agree more with you on this. I would own a Seiko GS, or KS over many brands.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby conjurer » December 30th 2014, 10:08am

eddiea wrote:
jonnybardo wrote:I think the problem is that when you're talking about the mid-luxury range, $1500-5K or so, and the true luxury range, $5-15K, people want Swiss names. Most would rather own an Omega Seamaster than a Seiko MarineMaster, or a Rolex Submariner or Breitling Navitimer than a hi-beat or spring drive Grand Seiko, even if the latter is better value.

True and in Seiko's case, that's because of several factors , with the two leading the way been ....
1- Seiko's decades long neglect and or total disregards for the mid/high luxury markets outside Japan.
2- Totally uninformed average consumer (regardless of the watches been Swiss or Japanese made)
That been said , 3 or 4 hands Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO..... go then a step above to the Spring Drive movements and we are easily talking Audemar's territory , for a lot less money.
Anybody that have ever handled a Seiko GS knows about the extraordinary craftsmanship, superb fit/finish ...just perfection ;)...GS's are both underrated and underpriced.


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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby codguy » December 30th 2014, 10:23am

eddiea wrote: Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO.....


Perhaps so but the brand itself is cheapened by them selling $100 Seiko 5's at the dime store by the thousands.

A big problem imo with companies marketing highend stuff (Porsche 911/Seiko GS) while also selling a bottom rung crap (Porsche 912/Seiko 5), it all gets grouped together under the same banner.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby eddiea » December 30th 2014, 10:48am

codguy wrote:
eddiea wrote: Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO.....

Perhaps so but the brand itself is cheapened by them selling $100 Seiko 5's at the dime store by the thousands.
A big problem imo with companies marketing highend stuff (Porsche 911/Seiko GS) while also selling a bottom rung crap (Porsche 912/Seiko 5), it all gets grouped together under the same banner.

Is all a matter of perception, high end products are aimed to a different demographic, despite been under the same roof...
Folks that consider his/hers CL65 AMG Coupe is somewhat cheapened by the CLA-Class brethren are snobs in my book, most are posers too .....by the same token , folks who buy watches based solely on brand name recognition, are idiots.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby jonnybardo » December 30th 2014, 10:59am

eddiea wrote:
jonnybardo wrote:I think the problem is that when you're talking about the mid-luxury range, $1500-5K or so, and the true luxury range, $5-15K, people want Swiss names. Most would rather own an Omega Seamaster than a Seiko MarineMaster, or a Rolex Submariner or Breitling Navitimer than a hi-beat or spring drive Grand Seiko, even if the latter is better value.

True and in Seiko's case, that's because of several factors , with the two leading the way been ....
1- Seiko's decades long neglect and or total disregards for the mid/high luxury markets outside Japan.
2- Totally uninformed average consumer (regardless of the watches been Swiss or Japanese made)
That been said , 3 or 4 hands Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO..... go then a step above to the Spring Drive movements and we are easily talking Audemar's territory , for a lot less money.
Anybody that have ever handled a Seiko GS knows about the extraordinary craftsmanship, superb fit/finish ...just perfection ;)...GS's are both underrated and underpriced.


Hey, even Archie Luxury was impressed by the Grand Seikos - although I'm suspecting that he was pandering to some advertiser or another.

Anyhow, all of the above I agree with, but think the biggest factor you left unmentioned, which I was emphasizing: name. For better or worse, the name "Seiko" just doesn't have the cachet as Rolex or Jaeger-LeCoultre or Cartier or even Omega (and let's not even talk about the "holy trinity"). In a similar sense that Honda or Toyota doesn't have the cachet of BMW or Mercedes Benz, which is why we have Acura and Lexus. No one would buy an upscale Honda or Toyota, but Acura and Lexus maybe. This relates to what codguy was saying about grouping everything under the same banner.

But things are gradually, albeit slowly, changing. German brands seems to have more cachet, if not quite Swiss. And the Japanese brands are getting there, especially in the "horological community." But you still have a large segment of "haute horologists" on one end of the spectrum who wouldn't touch anything Japanese, and on the other you have the complete neophytes who only know the words "Rolex" and "Swiss" and maybe "Omega."

One final thing. Maybe what Seiko needs is an iconic movie star like James Bond. Of course there's only one James Bond, but maybe they can get Idris Elba to sign on to Seiko once he takes over as Bond.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby conjurer » December 30th 2014, 11:12am

eddiea wrote:
codguy wrote:
eddiea wrote: Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO.....

Perhaps so but the brand itself is cheapened by them selling $100 Seiko 5's at the dime store by the thousands.
A big problem imo with companies marketing highend stuff (Porsche 911/Seiko GS) while also selling a bottom rung crap (Porsche 912/Seiko 5), it all gets grouped together under the same banner.

Is all a matter of perception, high end products are aimed to a different demographic, despite been under the same roof...
Folks that consider his/hers CL65 AMG Coupe is somewhat cheapened by the CLA-Class brethren are snobs in my book, most are posers too .....by the same token , folks who buy watches based solely on brand name recognition, are idiots.


Taking the middle ground here, it's important to note that Seiko's bread and butter market is the lower-end international niche. While some of their higher-end lines are now being offered for sale in North America and, I suppose, Europe, Seiko's pretty much always figured large in very superbly engineered watchmaking (as when they kicked the hell out of all the European brands in observatory trials in 1968--which led to the end of observatory trials). I personally find it refreshing that one can buy a Seiko 5er from one of the gray market sites for well under $100, and that the same company also produces multi-thousand-dollar Credor minute repeaters.

In terms of posers among car and watch buyers, it's also important to note that the vast majority of consumers are not WISs or gearheads. They have more important things in their lives than worrying about the watch they wear or the car they drive. Naturally, a WIS who buys, say, a Patek because he's a short, fat Australian with pronounced warts on either side of his head and thinks the Patek will make him look successful, is a rare idiot indeed.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby jonnybardo » December 30th 2014, 11:16am

"Pronounced" is putting it kindly, conjurer.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby eddiea » December 30th 2014, 11:26am

conjurer wrote:
eddiea wrote:
codguy wrote:
eddiea wrote: Grand Seiko High-Beat are already at the same level of Zenith/JLC/Vacheron , above Rolex/Omega/Breitling for sure IMO.....

Perhaps so but the brand itself is cheapened by them selling $100 Seiko 5's at the dime store by the thousands.
A big problem imo with companies marketing highend stuff (Porsche 911/Seiko GS) while also selling a bottom rung crap (Porsche 912/Seiko 5), it all gets grouped together under the same banner.

Is all a matter of perception, high end products are aimed to a different demographic, despite been under the same roof...
Folks that consider his/hers CL65 AMG Coupe is somewhat cheapened by the CLA-Class brethren are snobs in my book, most are posers too .....by the same token , folks who buy watches based solely on brand name recognition, are idiots.


Taking the middle ground here, it's important to note that Seiko's bread and butter market is the lower-end international niche. While some of their higher-end lines are now being offered for sale in North America and, I suppose, Europe, Seiko's pretty much always figured large in very superbly engineered watchmaking (as when they kicked the hell out of all the European brands in observatory trials in 1968--which led to the end of observatory trials). I personally find it refreshing that one can buy a Seiko 5er from one of the gray market sites for well under $100, and that the same company also produces multi-thousand-dollar Credor minute repeaters.

In terms of posers among car and watch buyers, it's also important to note that the vast majority of consumers are not WISs or gearheads. They have more important things in their lives than worrying about the watch they wear or the car they drive. Naturally, a WIS who buys, say, a Patek because he's a short, fat Australian with pronounced warts on either side of his head and thinks the Patek will make him look successful, is a rare idiot indeed.

Totally in agreement.....
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby Kahuna74 » December 30th 2014, 12:28pm

^^Yup^^

I have said this before and I will say it again. I buy what I like and I wear what I want. Just because a Kardashian wears a Rolex does not mean I will run out and buy one. Its called marketing for a reason. And again to each their own. We all have likes and dislikes. I for one am a big fan of all three of the Japanese watch companies. I wish I had not sold my KS, but I will own another. Also that does not mean I don't like Rolex or Omega or any other brand for that matter. I like mort enjoy having lots of different watches. Some old, some near new, and the new watch once in a while. Its all good. I think some people get it about watch companies like Seiko. I have a friend who used to be my boss years ago, who owns a couple of high end Seiko's. He knows nothing about other brands. His words, not mine. His father gave him a Seiko LCD in the 70's and he fell in the love with the brand. Bought his first KS while in Japan years ago. I think it might have been the first one I both looked at, and touched. Very well made. I had my LCD at the time and started collecting Seiko divers. I became a watch nut, and he stayed a lover of Seiko's. He has a few I wish I owned.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby Don Barzini » October 17th 2015, 10:02am

Having now picked up 2 of the Citizen A-T models, I've been pleasantly surprised by the overall fit and finish. And they are simply nice looking watches. Both have reasonable MSPRs in my opinion $550-$700, but when you can get them at Macy's (I never thought I'd see the day) for 35% off and spend a measly $400 or so, it blows me away. Plus, I am easily amused by gadgetry.

Now, the Astrons have caught my eye - one in particular (link below). They have them down to 45mm, which is at the limit of my wrist, but I don't know the meaningful dimension - length - 50mm is my limit. The price is off-putting, but I imagine decent discounts are available. The GPS amuses the shit out of me. I know, I know - I can get a G-Shock with GPS, but they do nothing for me.

Does anyone have real world experience with Seiko's new Astrons? I haven't been able to see them in the metal.

This is the one I keep going back to -

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OSlt0TpG9nY
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby SaoGage » October 17th 2015, 11:52am

Every. Single. Person. with even a passing interest in watches that has noticed my SBGA029 Grand Seiko diver has given the ol' bugeyes face :shock:. I have no doubt that if Seiko can up their marketing game like they're doing with Astron, they will almost certainly raise their market presence in the US of their higher end products. They have to make the average dumb consumer (in this case, the average dumb consumer with money) realize that Seiko can be a luxury purchase first. But it's doable. Grand Seiko is that good.

I spent $5,000 on a Japanese luxury watch after evaluating what my money could buy at that price. I chose Grand Seiko. But I'm an enthusiast; the minority here. They have to establish a marketing presence or they will continue to be merely an interesting anomaly to the average US watchbuyer.
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby codguy » October 17th 2015, 12:00pm

^ You purchased a Grand Seiko?
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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby SaoGage » October 17th 2015, 4:30pm

codguy wrote:^ You purchased a Grand Seiko?


Sure did

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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby spanky1 » October 17th 2015, 5:13pm

SaoGage wrote:
codguy wrote:^ You purchased a Grand Seiko?


Sure did

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Re: Seiko, Citizen target upmarket foothold in U.S.

Postby tiktok » October 17th 2015, 6:02pm

Ms Tikker likes to wear my watches but will not wear my GS because it says Seiko on the dial. Oh well, she's from Queens so pardon her ignorance.

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