It’s always impressive to consider Japan’s storied past. From a secluded island nation cut off entirely from the outside world for hundreds of years, Japan has developed its ties with the western world in a way that few other nations beyond Europe and North America have.
If you go back to World War II, you can witness the phenomenal growth that Japan experienced. Almost as soon as the smoke cleared, factories were being built again; Japan was rising. Look at Seiko and the success it enjoyed in the early 1960s. Even without the kind of international brand recognition and prestige that its name carries today, the company made a number of noteworthy innovations early on.
In 1965 Seiko produced the first diver’s watch ever made in Japan. Imagine, just twenty years after the most devastating conflict in human history, to take such a stride. These were decades in which the Japanese economy achieved unparalleled growth, easily outstripping other industrial nations in terms of annual economic expansion. It’s safe to say that the speed at which Japan recovered represented the most rapid increase in standards of living in human history. Seiko was right on the cusp of that, realizing its competitive advantage. Surely these early Seiko watches must have seemed quite a threat to the Europeans.
Seiko’s successive products were even more impressive. Their creation of the Professional Diver’s 600m was a giant leap forward. The titanium case was not only the world’s first, but provided the kind of protection necessary for a watch to function at even greater depths. This was the product designed specifically around the needs of professional divers pushing the boundaries. After all, the company was contacted directly by a diver, an individual who made it very clear to them what the next generation diving watch would have to be able to do. Thankfully, they listened.