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Are Seiko Watches Good Investment Pieces?
Seiko, a watch brand founded in 1881 in Tokyo by Kintaro Hittari, has grown to become one of the most well-known watch brands on the planet. They are known for making watches that provide extreme value at every price point that they offer. Here we will explore whether or not they retain or increase in value.
We’ll go in depth on the investment potential of Seiko timepieces. By the end of this article, you’ll have a good grasp of which Seiko watches retain and even appreciate in value.
Seiko watches tend to retain their value and not experience any significant price drops compared to their retail prices. However, it’s rare for regular Seiko watches to significantly appreciate in price. For example, the budget-friendly Seiko 5 watches usually hold their value but rarely increase significantly in price.
That being said, discontinued Seiko watch models, limited-edition models and Seiko models with extremely good watch enthusiast reception can see impressive price growth. Aside from that, vintage Seiko watches and Grand Seiko timepieces have proven track records of appreciating in price.
Seiko watches commonly retain their value but rarely increase in price.
As a general rule, budget to mid-range Seikos tend to retain their value but never go up in price. For example, most entry-level quartz Seikos and Seiko 5s usually stay close to their recommended retail price (RRP) for the most part.
While this is great if you’re looking for an affordable watch, it’s not what you’re after if you’re looking for quick flips or investment pieces.
Let’s go over the Seiko watches that retain their value and keep steady with their prices.
3 Types of Seiko watches that retain their value
Most Seiko watches maintain their prices over the years which makes them excellent value for their money. As mentioned above the Seiko 5 series of watches is famous for its affordability and reliability which is why they retain their value. However, they rarely significantly appreciate in value.
Seiko’s quartz watches such as the Solar-powered and Kinetic models are also in the same boat. What that means is that they also usually maintain a price that hovers around their original RRP.
1. Seiko 5
The Seiko 5 series of watches are a popular line of automatic watches. The name comes from the 5 main features that all the Seiko 5 watches have. Those features are an automatic movement, great water resistance, a day/date display, a tough case and a recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position.
This line of watches is popular because of how tough and affordable they are, especially since they’re all watches with automatic movements. While Seiko 5 watches are affordable, they typically retain their value well. However, they’re not known to significantly appreciate in value unless they’re limited-edition watches or brand collaborations.
2. Quartz models
Seiko’s lineup of quartz watches are diverse and appeal to practical consumers who want accurate and low-maintenance watches. Their quartz line contains unique quartz movements as their Solar and Kinetic movements. Almost all Seiko quartz models keep great time and will last long if you keep them well.
Seiko quartz watches are offered in a huge range of price points and they generally maintain prices close to their original RRPs. They’re great watches but not great investment pieces.
3. Standard production models
Standard production models here means any Seiko watch collection that’s still in production and not part of any of the bigger collections of watches that Seiko makes. Collections such as Prospex, Presage and Astron fall under this category. These watches are aimed at a broader market segment, and while they retain their value, they usually do not experience notable price appreciation.
The majority of Seiko’s standard production watches, especially those available in large quantities, tend to have stable prices over time. This is because Seiko is really good at making sure there’s stable production and releases of their watches year round. Even if a watch is extremely popular, Seiko usually keeps up with consumer demand.
However, if they can’t, that’s where there’s an opportunity for price increase.
5 Types of Seiko Watches that Appreciate in Value
Certain Seiko watches have demonstrated remarkable appreciation in value which makes them attractive investment options for collectors and investors alike. Limited-edition watches as well as discontinued, popular models are particularly sought-after because their scarcity drives up demand in the secondary market. Limited supplies drive up prices for those that are lucky enough to possess them.
Another thing is that even regular Seiko watches that have enough hype, can experience significant price spikes due to high demand and scalping by resellers. However, these situations are uncommon since Seiko is great at keeping up with demand unless they choose to discontinue a watch.
1. Discontinued models
Seiko watches that are no longer in production often become highly sought after by collectors, leading to a surge in their prices. Discontinued Seiko watches become rare gems in the secondary market and this rarity usually increases demand among watch enthusiasts as well as collectors. Almost every Seiko model in production will have its fans which means that people will always want certain watches even if they’re discontinued.
Sometimes especially because they’ve been discontinued.
For example, the Seiko Alpinist was a popular model because of its unique looks and feature-set that was discontinued a few years ago. Because of that, its prices went up quite a bit and went much higher than what a mainline Seiko usually goes for. Sellers made quite a bit of money from Alpinist fans who just needed to have one of these discontinued watches.
2. Limited-edition Pop Culture Collaborations
Seiko occasionally releases limited-edition models with unique designs, special features, or collaborations with renowned artists or brands. These timepieces tend to appreciate rapidly due to their exclusivity and the collectible nature of limited production runs.
For example, the limited-edition Seiko x Jojo “Bizzare Adventure” collaboration above has more than doubled in value for certain models like the SBSA031 due to their popularity and limited nature of the run, which was limited to 1000 pieces.
Investing in limited-run Seiko such as these is lower risk for those wanting a return in value over time compared to other models.
3. Vintage models
Vintage watch fans love Seiko watches. Because of their impressive build quality, a lot of old Seikos are still alive and ticking to this day.
Some vintage Seiko watches from the 1960s and 1970s are iconic in the watch community. They’re also popular outside the watch community because of their cool, retro looks. Classic models like the Seiko 6139 “Pogue” have become more expensive because of how popular they’ve become. Vintage Seiko dress watches have also become more popular as of late.
Please remember that not every vintage Seiko goes up in value. Some were made in droves and will probably still be available for decades to come. Trends also come and go with the times so what’s a popular vintage watch now might not be one later on.
4. Limited Run Brand Collaborations
Sometimes Seiko watches receive significant hype from celebrities or watch forums.
The “Color Block” Seiko 5 Sports edition by high-end clothing brand Rowing Blazers is a 2023 example of a watch that received tons of hype from watch YouTubers, forums and blogs. It sold out quickly at its retail price of $450 and is now selling for $800 and above.
5. Grand Seiko watches
Grand Seiko is the luxury subsidiary of Seiko. The timepieces produced under Grand Seiko are known for their precision, innovation, durability and beauty. These are widely considered to be some of the best-made watches to have ever come out of Japan.
Although many of the newer models sell for below retail on the aftermarket, there is a high demand for them and there is plenty of opportunity to buy for slightly below market price and to sell for a price that will pocket you a few hundred dollars.
Historically, when certain Grand Seiko models go out of production, the price on the aftermarket will increase.
Since they’re produced in smaller runs compared to regular Seiko watches, the demand is often higher than the supply for specific models which causes an increase in value. One such model is the Grand Seiko SBGV245, which is now out of production and in 2023 is selling for around $4000, which is a $1000 increase above its $3000 retail price.
Are Seiko watches and Grand Seiko watches the same thing?
No, Seiko watches and Grand Seiko watches are not the same thing. Grand Seiko is a luxury sub-brand of Seiko that’s known for producing high-end, hand-crafted timepieces that are considered the pinnacle of Seiko watchmaking.
What Seiko watches have gone up in value recently?
The Seiko Alpinist is a popular Seiko watch that was recently discontinued. Because of its popularity and dwindling supply, its price has shot up significantly.
Are Seiko and Alba the same brand?
Yes and no. Seiko and Alba are both under the Seiko Watch Corporation but Alba is a subsidiary brand of Seiko that offers affordable, stylish watches aimed at the mass market.
Seiko watches are incredible timepieces that can last a lifetime with enough love and care.
However, while many of them retain their value, only a few present profit potential.
While limited edition watches, collaborations, and discontinued models generally do provide a solid return on investment over time, Grand Seiko timepieces have the most potential for value appreciation.
Certain vintage Seiko watches also have a lot of potential to be flipped for those with a trained eye.