Writing that vintage Seiko is extremely well known is marginally downplayed. It is gigantic. The brand permits you to appreciate vintage references (that are even truly applicable) for two or three hundred Euro or Dollars to profoundly sought-after vintage (Grand) Seiko references that will slow down you a couple thousand Euros or Dollars.
Ever since Mike Stockton is composing for Fratello, I’ve saw this in my own assortment of watches. The quantity of (vintage) Seiko watches expanded quickly. It is exceptionally infectious and it won’t break your bank.
One of the worries however, that is likewise shared by our own Fratello watchmaker Paul (who is as of now busy with redoing the storage compartment of his Maserati, with exceptional compartments for moving watches from and to his workshop). He regularly complains that the vintage Seiko watches he gets for administration or fix, have not seen any sort of support throughout the previous few decades, or by any means, even. The majority of these watches have been every day blenders for their proprietors, so it frequently brings about attempting to discover unique development parts to supplant the ones that are exhausted. Presently, our neighborhood Seiko wholesaler is near our office and can support vintage watches, however there’s no assurance that they have all extra parts in stock either.
Enter Ikigai Watches from Belgium. They offer vintage Seiko watches, including King and Grand Seiko, completely overhauled and with guarantee. That, yet the watches are likewise directed to their unique principles. For today’s article, I converse with Arnaud, prime supporter of Ikigai Watches that he runs along with watchmaker James.
What does Ikigai mean?
Ikigai is a Japanese idea that doesn’t actually have any comparable in English or even in our occidental culture. Ikigai could generally be deciphered as «the explanation behind being». It’s an idea at the intersection of work, enthusiasm, mission and livelihood. In the event that there is something you are acceptable at and in the event that you can be paid for doing it, it’s a task. On the off chance that there is something you are acceptable at and if this is something individuals truly need, we can call this a business. On the off chance that there is something you love doing and in the event that this is something individuals truly need, this is the thing that we could call a mission. Furthermore, if there’s something you’re acceptable at and that you love doing it yet can’t be paid for, this is just an energy. Ikigai is a blend of each one of those things. We love what we do, we get paid to do it, we like to accept we are acceptable at it and we have a feeling that we offer an assistance that was truly required in the Seiko community.
We went over this idea while chipping away at the beginning of our experience with James and we truly felt like this venture we were chipping away at was really our ikigai, and this is the manner by which we discovered this important name. Be that as it may, as far as we might be concerned, the main perspective we need to feature is certainly the passion.
What was your first Seiko watch and was it that watch that began your enthusiasm for this Japanese brand?
I possibly began getting truly keen on watches when I was an understudy and had positively no cash. I got an exceptionally pleasant Orient watch from my folks for my 21st birthday and it was my first mechanical watch. As of now, I was taking a gander at Seiko simply like some other passage level brands and subsequent to getting my dressy Orient, I needed something sportier and wanted to check the well known Orange Monster, so I dropped by a neighborhood shop that had a couple of Seikos. Unfortunately, they had never known about the Monster however they had a blue Sumo (SBDC003) in the presentation. I didn’t actually like this watch in pictures and couldn’t get my head around all the promotion this watch was getting. However, I actually attempted it, just to see… And I was smitten!
I got this very watch as a blessing from my folks to praise my confirmation a couple of years after the fact. Along these lines, despite the fact that Orient is 51% Seiko, I’d say my first evident Seiko was the Blumo.
It’s the point at which I began to get intrigued by the historical backdrop of the brand that I truly got snared. What’s more, I’m practically a narrow leaning person, in the event that I get intrigued at something, I bet everything. What’s more, the incredibly rich history of Seiko is a steady wellspring of disclosure and it persistently takes care of my curiosity.
Where did you meet your Ikigai accomplice James?
We met because of online media. I was getting some vintage watches from Japan that I would sell back to authorities here in France, predominantly through Facebook. This is the thing that drew the consideration of a companion of James that put us in touch. James was a newly changed over Grand Seiko sweetheart and had caught wind of the incredible watches Seiko made, harking back to the 60s and 70s and he was extremely keen on the thing I was doing and he saw an extraordinary business opportunity. At that point we really met at the initiation of the Seiko Boutique in Lille, Northern France, where we were both invited.
You offer a wide range of Seiko watches, from vintage Seiko jumpers to King and Grand Seiko models. Now and again even youthful events of the Grand Seiko assortment. What is the normal cost of your sales?
Well, this was a serious amazement for us however the normal cost of our deals is around the 2500/3000€ imprint. From the start, we figured we should attempt to zero in on the moderate section level watches yet we understood that for this sort of watches, individuals will in general get it all alone as they are not taking that enormous of a risk.
What we offer is security, when you purchase a watch from us, you know it’s all unique, overhauled, changed and justified. At the point when you purchase an exhausted passage level watch for something 200 or 400€, the danger is essential for the game. In any case, when you begin to place more cash into a watch, this is the point at which you need security, you need to make certain of what you pay for. Furthermore, we additionally attempt to zero in additional on extraordinary watches, full sets, NOS watches, things you can’t discover anywhere.
Can you disclose to us something about your clients?
They are for the most part men (despite the fact that a couple of our watches wound up on women’s wrists) that definitely know Seiko and understand what they are purchasing. Despite the fact that we needed to zero in additional on Europe, on our first year of business, we sold watches all around the globe, from Switzerland to Japan, from the US to Sweden or Singapore. Our customers purchase from us since they trust our mastery and that we give a valiant effort to offer the most ideal assistance at the most ideal cost. The other thing I’m truly content with is that we really became companions with some of them. Keeping the human at the focal point of what we do is excessively significant for us.
There’s additionally another sort of customer, the gatherers send us their looks for administration. We are getting an ever increasing number of individuals going to James for his ability and enchantment hands. Also, approaching the help parts from Seiko Europe is a tremendous in addition to for us.
What is your #1 vintage Seiko and what is your #1 vintage Grand Seiko?
Thank you for isolating the two brands, it’s somewhat simpler for me to choose… yet exceptionally hard. For Seiko, I’d most likely say the Silverwave J12082. A particularly cool watch. Ideal for my little wrist, extraordinary looks, intense development, waterproof… I truly need to get myself one of those!
For Grand Seiko… Tough one… I figure I would need to go with one of my vessels, the 45GS VFA reference 4580-7010. Most likely the absolute best watch at any point made by Seiko, period.
Do you feel King Seiko is undervalued?
Absolutely! They are totally astonishing watches. Some of them were exceptionally near Grand Seiko in quality. I would even challenge to say that they were far better than their Grand Seiko rivals. The 44KS Chronometer is an extraordinary illustration of that. Lord Seiko likewise did incredibly well with the type 52 utilized during the 52KS. This development was a major motivation for Akira Ohira when he made the 9S type for Grand Seiko in 1998.
But better believe it, King Seiko is a particularly incredible elective when you need a generally excellent quality vintage Seiko yet can’t put an excess of cash on the table. The greater part of their developments are incredibly near Grand Seiko, particularly once finely tuned by a decent watchmaker, and they certainly share a similar way of thinking of plan. In case you’re out for something somewhat crazier, they additionally have some cool plans with the Vanacs and others very 70s-like designs.
You can’t turn out badly with KS and they offer an incredible value for the money. What’s more, I don’t care about them being underestimated, for the time being, it’s what makes them so well known among vintage Seiko darlings. At the point when individuals will understand that a ton of King Seiko really adhered to a similar norm as the COSC, possibly their worth will go up. Yet, how about we keep it that route for now.
What would be the vintage Seiko (King/Grand/Diver and so on) to buy today if another person’s to this brand and what to begin a nice collection?
It’s difficult to address that question, it truly relies upon what you’re searching for and the sort of cash you’re willing to put on the table. I think the 44KS Chronometer is a fantastic beginning (and a success for us), it has an extraordinary presence on the wrist, it’s tasteful yet not excessively dressy, it’s an intriguing watch generally talking and it has the best low beat development Seiko at any point delivered. For something more energetic and somewhat more affordable, I’d say a Crown Chronograph monopusher. Notable watch, extraordinary development and it truly look stunning. In case you’re truly on a careful spending plan, the Bellmatics are very cool and at an incredible cost, you have a mechanical alert watch.
Is it genuine that you can administration and fix all Seiko and Grand Seiko watches yourselves? Also, that you offer them with produce principles in regards to regulation?
Yes, James is a remarkable watchmaker and he benefits every single watch that we offer. He found the opportunity to meet individuals from Seiko Nederlands (they are the one managing the Belgian market) and when they visited his workshop and saw his work, they chose to give him admittance to the help parts from their administration community for Europe.
Seiko has consistently been about exactness, this is even what the name of the brand represents. Also, much more so King and Grand Seiko.
We immediately understood that those watches are so stunning thus all around made that even 60 years after they were made, James can change them back to their unique principles. For King Seiko, we use chronometer (COSC) appraisals and for Grand Seiko, the Grand Seiko standard. Indeed, even the VFA we have available has been changed by unique VFA specs. All the watches are tried on 6 positions and we give the point by point aftereffects of the tests when we sell the watches, including the delta, which is the greatest contrast between two positions. It’s not difficult to say «this watch runs at +1s/d on average» or «it runs at +0s/d on the dial-up position». Yet, this doesn’t mean a lot on the off chance that you don’t have the foggiest idea about the delta. Furthermore, when James really likes a watch, he wears it for a couple of days and he continues changing it relying upon how it carries on his wrist. However, if you were to ask me, I believe that is only his pardon for wearing the watches he truly cherishes outside the workshop. Haha
The just thing we don’t test is the manner by which the watches respond to temperature changes, as they are just tried at room temperature.
It’s a genuine pride for us to have the option to offer this sort of administration and we feel like this is the manner by which you get the best out of your watches. This is the actual pith of Seiko and Grand Seiko. Indeed, even with a straightforward Seiko, you can have a too exact 60 years of age watch that will keep going for decades.
James is the watchmaker, you deal with the commercial side of things. In any case, you revealed to me that this is still each of the a side venture for you. What is your day-time job?
Yes, this is something that James and I both began as a side task. James runs a watchmaking workshop where he benefits looks for some large Swiss brands and I’m in a very surprising field. I’m independently employed and function as an osteopath close to Geneva, in Switzerland.
Would you like to make it your regular occupation at some point?
I truly don’t have a clue. That is to say, I truly love my daytime work, it permits me to work the hours I need to work, to set aside effort for myself and my enthusiasm, and still make money. I don’t have the foggiest idea how things will change later on however I’m truly content with the state of affairs for now.
You are French and James is Belgian, so both French-talking. How enormous is the interest in Seiko in Belgium and France?
The interest in certainly developing. For quite a while in France, Seiko was disseminated through modest gem retailers in shopping centers and the brand was viewed as making modest quartz watches. On account of the endeavors drove by Seiko France throughout the long term, this is gradually changing and the reality they opened numerous Seiko Boutiques in France and communicate a ton about Presage, Prospex, Astron and Grand Seiko is helping a ton. Seiko and Grand Seiko are likewise becoming extremely regarded brands among the french watch community.
I don’t have quite a bit of an involvement in the Belgian market however the inclination I have is that they care more about quality than a picture, which is a generally excellent thing. Be that as it may, the Belgian market actually needs structuration to truly carry Seiko to the front of the scene.
How do you take a gander at the expanded interest in Seiko and Grand Seiko in the course of the last not many years?
To be straightforward, it’s a touch of blended emotions. It resembles when you’re the greatest aficionado of an underground music band that you would go see at the nearby setting, at that point one day they explode, sell out fields and sell a large number of collections. You must be glad for them yet you realize things will be unique in relation to now on. I imagine that this is because of the way that we will in general make a brand «our own» and when things change, we can nearly feel let down. In any case, have confidence, I don’t feel let down.
So on one hand I’m disheartened to see costs go up and witness the difference in way of thinking, yet then again, I’m truly energized that the brand gradually gets the acknowledgment it merits. Furthermore, I’ve figured out how to approve of the manner in which things change and advance, it’s the actual substance of life and I like to take a gander at the splendid side and not be an over the top fusty lifelong fan applauding «the past days» haha.
From the business point of view, things are somewhat unique. Vintage Seiko are blasting and this is incredible for us, and yet, we do our best not to the surf the expansion wave. It’s in every case hard to locate the great equilibrium as somebody who manages both enthusiasm and business. We will likely attempt to offer our watches at the market cost (when there is one…) with just a little premium for our administration. Things get much more complicated when you list a very uncommon all unique undocumented watch.
Are you in contact with the Belgian/French Seiko community?
Absolutely, I began in the french-talking community I’m still dynamic in it, through web-based media, gatherings or occasions. It’s an incredible community where I made a ton of awesome companions. I think energy is tied in with sharing and you can’t cut yourself from the community. This is the reason I love composing articles and why I have some excessively energizing individual activities too for our stunning community.
What is your #1 present day Grand Seiko?
Tough one… I can’t pick just one. Besides I have a passionate relationship to observes so it’s hard not to consider my own watches. My first current Grand Seiko was the SBGR059, it’s the ideal encapsulation of GS esteems as I would see it. It has an exceptionally unique significance to me as my first GS yet in addition as a watch I procured in extraordinary conditions in Tokyo. I additionally have a staggering SBGJ203 that I totally love and that never stops to stun me when I put it on my wrist. So incredibly lovely. I nearly had an auto accident once on the grounds that I was unable to quit checking the time, they should put an admonition on those watches I swear! For as long as months, I’ve been wearing solely my new SBGN001. It’s simply ideal for me, wonderful, light, comfortable, exact. What’s more, I realize I can put it own for up to 14 days and slap it on my wrist one morning where I’m running late and not stress over if the watch is running on the off chance that I need to set the time or not. The dials are beautiful and the yellow really doesn’t jump out however much my opinion, it simply gives a little dash of amusing to the watch. Much the same as with the Sumo, I didn’t actually like the SBGN001 in pictures, and was stricken when I attempted it «just for fun». It turned into my every day beater.
At the day’s end, there are so numerous cutting edge GSs that I totally love, if I own them. On the off chance that you put a weapon to my head and constrained me to offer you a response, I may say SBGJ005, the green dialed Hi-Beat GMT 44GS that won the Petite Aiguille at the GPHG in 2014. This is an extremely extraordinary watch.
But I’m a sucker for Spring Drive so who knows, my #1 present day GS may be reported at Baselworld 2019 for the twentieth commemoration of Spring Drive.
What are the most loved pieces in your own collection?
I have a little assortment, I don’t believe it to be an assortment in essence. However, practically every one of my watches has uncommon importance to me, from an old LOV watch my better half provided for me on our first commemoration, to my SBGJ203, pretty much each and every one of my watches has an exceptional significance to me.
So I’ll go a totally different way and discussion about another top pick of mine with my Hi-Beat split-second stopwatch. This is the watch that won Seiko the advantage of being the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Timer, another stunning story. This very watch is nearly NOS and was utilized in 1973 for a Junior National Swimming Competition in Okinawa yet it actually has the sticker on the back. It’s quite possibly the most misjudged and underestimated Seiko looks out there.
Can you reveal to us something about your likely arrangements for Ikigai?
I couldn’t imagine anything better than to, yet tragically can’t as the things we are chipping away at right now are top mystery for now… All I can say is that we have some excessively energizing contacts both in Europe and in Japan and that I couldn’t ever have longed for dealing with such stunning activities with such extraordinary individuals one year prior. Things are moving too quick for us and we are certain you will hear more in the coming months.
Thank you for this interview!
Make sure to visit Ikagai’s site .