On the 25th of December 2018, the one who presumably biggestly affected Seiko’s cutting edge history, and possibly the narrative of the advanced watch industry in the twentieth century, passed away.
Tsuneya Nakamura arrived at the age of 95 years and a memorial service was hung on the fourth of February in the city of Suwa, in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, where Nakamura san went through the majority of his time on earth serving nearby industry and economy yet in addition training and arts.
Today we might want to honor this significant Seiko figure by following the existence of the man that organized Seiko’s remarkable achievement during the 60s and 70s.
Born on the eighth of March 1923, Tsuneya Nakamura joined Daini Seikosha Kameido (Tokyo) in 1944, toward the finish of World War II. He even encountered the bombarding of the plant in 1945. After this hard blow, practically the entirety of the leftover staff and machines were sent in the sloping Nagano Prefecture where Seiko had just begun to design their fallback. The Suwa plant (named after the city of Suwa-shi) was set up and the youthful 22 years of age Tsuneya Nakamura was sent over in 1945.
As Japan recuperated from World War II with the assistance of the inexplicable American private enterprise, Seiko struggled sticking out, the creation offices were obsolete and the watches made were comprehensively roused by European ones.
In the mid-1950s, Tsuneya Nakamura asked his leader the executives that he makes another advanced watch to return Seiko on the horological map.
This is the means by which the Seiko Marvel was brought into the world in 1956, totally made by the (at that point) 33-year-old Tsuneya Nakamura. It was an advanced watch for its time and it began another period for Seiko. In the mean time, Suwa Seikosha’s creation offices had been modernized to deliver the Marvel and the entire endeavor was immediately delegated by incredible commercial success.
Magic Lever System
But past the modern and financial effect the Marvel had, it prepared for some extraordinary accomplishments for Seiko in the coming decade.
The Marvel won numerous homegrown chronometry challenges, rousing Tsuneya Nakamura to become a significant entertainer in the worldwide watchmaking industry.
From the Marvel, Suwa Seikosha made the Gyro Marvel, the absolute first programmed watch produced in Japan under the aegis of Nakamura san. This watch was outfitted with the renowned “Wizardry Lever” framework, that is as yet being used in pretty much every programmed watches made by Seiko today.
The Marvel likewise brought forth the Seiko Crown in 1958, a watch propelled by the Marvel, however putting the accentuation considerably more on the chronometry exhibitions with a redesigned movement.
Proud of its commercial achievement and its extraordinary outcomes in the Japanese Chronometry preliminaries, Seiko chooses, in 1960, the dispatch another top of the line of watches made to compete with the absolute best Swiss watches: Grand Seiko.
The project was normally given to the 38 years of age Tsuneya Nakamura, the man behind the unbelievable Marvel. He was placed responsible for making, creating and dispatching what immediately became – and still is – Seiko’s lead brand.
Lord Marvel and Crown combined
The first Grand Seiko (otherwise known as the First) was the combination of two significant looks for Suwa Seikosha. For the feel, the First takes its motivation predominantly from Lord Marvel, an extravagance adaptation of the Marvel (hand engraved dial, precious stone cut gold hands and files), and for the development, it takes its motivation for the most part from the Crown, whose type will be additionally refreshed to make Seiko’s first “Chronometer” grade watch, the Grand Seiko First and its cal.3180. Two of Tsuneya Nakamura’s best manifestations combined into a watchmaking masterpiece.
Olympic Games ’64
The mid 60s additionally mark the start of a significant move made towards the promising quartz innovation. Simultaneously, Seiko is picked to be the authority clock for the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic Games.
It’s under Nakamura’s direction that mechanical and electronic architects buckled down, connected at the hip, to make the Quartz Crystal Chronometer, the world’s first convenient quartz clock. This marvel of innovation was introduced to the 1963 Neuchatel chronometry preliminaries in the “Marine Chronometer” class, a first for a Japanese brand. It got the 10th spot, a nice score for Seiko’s first dish in this well known challenge. In 1964, for their subsequent cooperation, Suwa Seikosha won second to seventh spot with an improved rendition of the Quartz Crystal Chronometer.
Seiko Crown Chronograph
On the very year, this clock and its varieties were extensively utilized for the Tokyo Olympics and Tsuneya Nakamura assumed a conclusive part in beginning another time for sports timing, with both the utilization of quartz and the new mechanical stopwatches made for the event and that arrived at a never accomplished accuracy.
For the 1964 Olympics, Seiko additionally delivered their first chronograph wristwatch, the Crown Chronograph with a monopusher hand-wound development cherished by each Seiko authorities out there. In this example too Tsuneya Nakamura had a definitive contribution as those chronographs depended on the Seiko Crown, the immediate relative of the Seiko Marvel.
For the Tokyo Olympics, the groups from Suwa Seikosha likewise got the plan to actualize another gadget into that quartz timekeepers, a gadget that would straightforwardly print the outcomes when the circumstance is done, another first in the Olympics history. This little creation got a particularly huge achievement that in 1968, Suwa Seikosha dispatched the EP-101 (for Electronic Printer), the absolute first numeric printer to at any point hit the market. This prompted the introduction of the brand Epson in 1975, signifying “Electronic Printer’s Son”.
Very Fine Adjusted
Even however the “Quartz Crystal Chronometer” may appear to be an episodic piece of Seiko’s set of experiences, it exemplifies three of Seiko’s most significant accomplishments during the 60s: the Swiss chronometry competition, the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Games and the advancement of quartz innovation. Furthermore, behind those three accomplishments, as yet unchanged man…
The cooperation in the Swiss chronometry preliminaries was Tsuneya Nakamura’s thought, a man that could compare constantly his work with the business chiefs to consistently push ahead. This is the thing that guided him through the making of the Marvel, this was the establishing thought of Grand Seiko and the actual pith of their investment in Swiss chronometry competitions.
Grand Seiko was an enormous achievement, with its pinnacle being the creation in 1969 of the unbelievable VFA (Very Fine Adjusted), legendary watches in Seiko’s set of experiences, directed to inside +/ – 2 s/d (really +/ – 60 sec/month) with an assurance of two years, a totally momentous watchmaking. The progression and developing fame of Grand Seiko very nearly sixty years after its dispatch likewise shows the accomplishment of this stunning venture started by Tsuneya Nakamura.
The chronometry preliminaries were additionally an extraordinary accomplishment for Suwa Seikosha as they in a real sense shook the Swiss watchmaking industry in 1968.
On the fifth of May 1968, the Council of Neuchâtel declared they dropped the watch classification of the chronometry preliminaries however they actually gave the aftereffects of the watches submitted up to that point. Suwa Seikosha submitted two developments that got the second-best appraising ever for this class, the record actually being held by Omega from the past year.
When the dropping was declared, they chose to send some different developments to the Geneva chronometry preliminaries and they won spots four to ten, the platform being held by quartz models, and the primary spot in the production positioning. Their best scoring development in Geneva squashed Omega’s Neuchâtel 1967 record.
After this tidal wave, the standards changed and just European fabricates were permitted to partake in Swiss chronometry trials.
Above: 1968 Geneva chronometry preliminaries results for a development put together by Suwa Seikosha and changed by Kiyoko Nakayama. Source: Anthony Kable
On a side note, it’s intriguing to see that the initial ten watches Suwa Seikosha introduced to the 1964 Neuchatel chronometry preliminaries were totally changed by Tsuneya Nakamura himself, who didn’t simply dispatch the venture yet additionally took an imperative part in it and being developed of the hello there beat developments utilized for the chronometry preliminaries, while likewise working with the R&D groups on quartz and on the watches for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The 41 years of age engineer was certainly going strong!
Above: Tsuneya Nakamura in 1969. Source: Anthony Kable
Even however he began another time for Seiko with the Marvel, despite the fact that he was the maker of Grand Seiko, despite the fact that he was the main thrust behind the investment in Swiss chronometry preliminaries and the advancement of greetings beat development that went with it, despite the fact that he had a focal impact in creating sports timing for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, despite the fact that he was behind the innovation of the principal electronic printer ever, Tsuneya Nakamura is chiefly associated with what will most likely stay the primary accomplishment of his profession: the production of the first-historically speaking quartz watch.
Starting toward the finish of the 1950s, the R&D groups at Suwa Seikosha buckled down of building up the quartz innovation and their first accomplishment was the dispatch of the Quartz Crystal Chronometer in 1963. The greatest test was scaling down, and with it came another central point of interest: the force hold. The main quartz wristwatch models had an extremely short force save and the batteries would bite the dust in no time.
Knowing the Swiss were gaining acceptable ground with the Beta21 project, Seiko’s CEO gave Tsuneya Nakamura a final proposal toward the finish of 1968: he needed to deliver the world’s first quartz wristwatch before January first 1970. What’s more, since the test was not hard enough, he relegated the entirety of the designers chipping away at quartz to different activities and let Tsuneya Nakamura framing new groups that would have one year to deliver their quartz wristwatch.
And this is when Nakamura san settled on a decision absolutely critical, a decision that would help address the force save issue, the decision to utilize a stepper engine that would move the second hand once consistently. This decision may appear to be inconsequential today however this is the thing that figured out what might the norm for quartz watches be as, as it were, the model created by Tsuneya Nakamura utilizing a stepper engine will fill in as a kind of perspective for the entire business and billion of watches will be made utilizing a similar standard in the accompanying decades.
On December 25th 1969, Seiko delivered the Astron, the primary quartz wristwatch to at any point hit the market, demonstrating the astounding 46 years of age Tsuneya Namakura figured out how to address the difficulty set by Hattori a couple of months before.
Chairman of Seiko Epson
Thereafter, Tsuneya Nakamura continued aiding Suwa Seikosha (that would become Seiko Epson) continually improving and enhancing on the commercial and mechanical fields yet in addition bringing them down the way of environment with the advancement of greener watchmaking advances like Thermic or Kinetic developments. He likewise handled the ozone-draining substances issue, carrying new answers for the table, particularly concerning CFCs, a critical exertion that acquired him six back to back «Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards» (both Corporate and Individual Awards) from the U.S. Ecological Protection Agency. He likewise dispatched different nearby projects across Epson gathering to encourage agreement with neighborhood communities through waste decrease or seaside cleanups for instance.
Named director of Seiko Epson in 1987 at 64 years old, Tsuneya Nakamura resigned in 1994 at 71 years old, following fifty years at the help of Seiko. This permitted him to set aside some effort to commit to sponsorship, helping numerous establishments advancing training, sciences or music with his liberal donations.
It’s on the 25th of December 2018, precisely 49 years after his vocation feature, that this extraordinary man died at the time of 95.
Tsunya Nakamura was an extraordinary designer and a highminded man, he has profoundly formed Seiko’s set of experiences and the impact he had on the brand give him a position of high standing among the incredible names of Seiko.
Our most profound contemplations go to his family members and close ones, and particularly to his widow Mrs Reiko Nakamura.
This article was composed by Arnaud (co-proprietor of Ikigai Watches, who has practical experience in vintage and used Seiko and Gand Seiko). Initially in French for Passion Horlogère, and meant English for Fratello.
Sources utilized for this article are:
The Seiko Book
A Journey in Time – The Remarkable History of Seiko