World Watches: A Guide To Japanese Watches | The Watch Hut
Casio men's G-Shock Gravity Defier alarm chronograph radio controlled watch (RRP £310)
Swiss watches may get all the attention but Japanese brands have put up stiff competition over the decades, carving out an entirely unique watch heritage of their own.
Here, we'll tell you everything you need to know about Japanese watches, from what makes them different to which brands rule the Japanese watchmaking scene, so you'll know exactly why one of these innovative timepieces deserves a place on your wrist, or in your collection.
A brief history of Japanese watches
Seiko ladies' Japanese quartz watch (£299)
The Japanese watchmaking tradition can be traced back several centuries, but it wasn't until the 1960s that Japan started to make a lasting impression in the watch world.
While Switzerland had dominated the luxury watch industry for hundreds of years with its highly-esteemed timepieces, Japan offered people something different. After embracing quartz movement technology, Japanese brands began to sell their products to the mass market - which caused quite a stir in Switzerland, where watchmakers were still wary of using the new electronic style of movement!
The almost-futuristic accuracy and affordable price tags attached to Japanese watches became popular, turning the trend into an institution. Throughout the '70s and '80s it seemed everyone was wearing a quartz movement watch by a brand from Japan, giving Japanese watches a permanent place in the global watch market.
What makes a Japanese watch so special?
Citizen ladies' Eco-Drive watch (RRP £289)
Unlike Swiss watches, there aren't any strict rules as to what makes a watch 'Japanese', other than it needs to be made in Japan. The main characteristics being movement and affordability.
Originally, Japanese watches employed quartz movement, which uses an electronic battery to run the watch, providing a more precise and easy-to-use alternative to the traditional automatic and mechanical Swiss movement.
Since the popular uptake of quartz movement, Japanese brands have further embraced modern technology and now use everything from solar to kinetic perpetual movement to power their watches.
The leaders of the Japanese watch world
There are several leading brands that are associated with Japanese watch heritage, and each has its own unique approach to design. We've outlined some of the most famous names, and showcased one of our favourite watches from each brand, to help you find a Japanese watch that suits your style.
Innovation and accuracy are at the heart of the Seiko philosophy. It uses the most up-to-date technology to create modern timepieces that have an almost futuristic quality, earning it a reputation for extreme precision.
Men's Seiko Titanium Kinetic watch (RRP £299)
The Titanium Kinetic watch (RRP £299) is a perfect example of the Seiko philosophy. An analogue watch powered by kinetic perpetual movement, it boasts utmost accuracy and precision, ideal for keeping time at work and play.
The stainless steel case and slick black face give it a sporty finish, and the 100m water resistance proves that it's not afraid to get active. It looks just as stylish with a business suit as it does with dark wash jeans and trainers, for an easy transition from work to play.
Always striving to be ahead of the curve, Citizen was the first brand to harness the power of light and use it to make its watches work. Famous for its signature Eco-Drive feature, which eliminates the need to replace batteries, Citizen blends innovation with cutting-edge design, to create clever and beautiful timepieces.
Men's Citizen Chronograph Eco-Drive watch (RRP £289)
The Citizen Chronograph Eco-Drive watch (RRP £289) is a sleek and sophisticated example of the brand's confident approach to design. Made from hardy black ion-plated steel, it has a distinctively masculine edge, backed up by ultra-smart Eco-Drive movement and 100m water resistance.
Effortlessly cool, it will add an extra layer of suave to slim cut business suit. Alternatively, pair it with black jeans and a t-shirt to give your weekend getup a rebellious twist.
Casio has led a technology revolution from the release of the first electronic compact calculator to the iconic keyboards that dominated the charts in the 1980s and '90s. And its watches haven't done too badly either - from simple digital timepieces to the ultra-innovative Casio G-Shock, they are a prime example of the innovative spirit behind the Japanese watch tradition.
Women's Casio Baby-G Alarm Chronograph watch (RRP £110)
Designed to give a bubblegum-sweet twist to the hardy G-Shock, the Casio Baby-G range took the '90s by storm. Durable and irresistibly fun, the Casio Baby-G Alarm Chronograph watch (RRP £110) is made from stainless steel and 100m water resistant, capturing the classic Casio innovation packaged within a sunshine yellow exterior.
Available in a spectrum of bright colours and patterns, you can indulge in a bit of retro throwback fashion and pair the Baby-G with a crop top and baggy jeans, or channel the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with your absurd printed jumper.
With innovative technology and plenty of personality it's easy to see why Japanese watches are among the most popular in the world. Check out the Japanese watches we have at The Watch Hut to find your perfect, futuristic match.