Complete List of Japanese Watch Brands [Japanese Watch Companies] - Millenary Watches (2024)

Complete List of Japanese Watch Brands [Japanese Watch Companies]

When most people think about watchmaking and fine watches, they think about Switzerland. Switzerland has a long and rich history of watchmaking and has successfully built up an impressive reputation of being the capital of watchmaking. But whilst Switzerland is home to some extraordinary watch companies, it’s not the only country where great watches are made.

The fact of the matter is that Japan is also a strong force in the watch industry. And if we look at the total number of watches being produced, Japan is actually bigger than Switzerland. The key difference is that Switzerland is most known for expensive luxury watches and a focus on fine watchmaking.

Japan’s reputation in the watch industry is more about making affordable, high-quality timepieces that focus more on functionality and performance rather than watches as luxury objects. However, with that said, this does not mean that there aren’t any luxury watchmakers in Japan. Quite the opposite. It’s just that the biggest Japanese watch brands and Japanese watch companies tend to focus on more affordable watches.

Everyone is familiar with brands like Seiko, Casio, and Citizen, and these are just some of the watch brands that Japan has to offer. And it is these brands that most people come to think of when they think of Japanese watches, whereas with Swiss watches, people tend to think of luxury watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, or Audemars Piguet.

The Japanese watch industry has a lot to offer when it comes to watches. From affordable, practical timepieces that offer great value or money such as Casio and Seiko, to ultra-luxury and expensive timepieces. In this article, we’ve compiled an extensive list of Japanese watch brands.

But before we dig in, let’s take a closer look at the history and background of the Swiss watch industry at large.

Complete List of Japanese Watch Brands [Japanese Watch Companies] - Millenary Watches (2)

Background and history of the Japanese watch industry

Japan has a long and rich watchmaking history. Not quite as rich as Switzerland, but still, it has managed to build a name for itself that most people associate with affordable and functional timepieces.

In 2018, Japan manufactured an impressive 63.9 million watches. In 2021, the total shipments of watches by Japanese manufacturers reached 52 million units at a value of227.5 billion yen in value, up 13%.In comparison, Switzerland produces approximately30 millionwatches each year, which represents approximately 2.5% of the world’s timepieces.

Japan as a whole is an innovative country when it comes to digital products and it is responsible for many clever innovations in the digital space, from printers to typewriters, and much more.

With this said, it’s not strange that quartz and digital watches have been key areas that Japanese watch brands have focused on. Whilst Swiss watch companies have predominantly focused on mechanical watches – both historically and today – the Japanese watch industry has focused on digital watches.

This is why the Japanese watch industry really had its breakthrough in the 1970s and 1980s in what would become known as the quartz crisis. Naturally, Japanese watch brands made mechanical watches prior to this due to the obvious reason that quartz and digital watches didn’t exist. But it’s safe to say that it was when quartz came around that the Japanese watch industry had its big breakthrough and really started to build a name for itself on a global level.

Complete List of Japanese Watch Brands [Japanese Watch Companies] - Millenary Watches (3)

The quartz crisis is a period of time, predominantly during the 1980s when the quartz movement was invented – first released by Seiko. During this era, quartz and digital products were something that people were very fascinated by. Today, digital products are all around us and we almost take them for granted. People were extremely impressed by all things digital and a lot of people wanted the latest inventions and innovations. With this said, it doesn’t come as a surprise that when the quartz watch was invented in Japan, people were very compelled by the concept behind it.

On paper, quartz watches were superior to mechanical watches from Switzerland. They were far more accurate than Swiss mechanical watches, they were far more intriguing (due to their innovative nature), and they were generally much more affordable. As a result of this, Japanese watch brands that produced quartz watches took a lot of market shares from the Swiss watch brands. This ultimately sparked what is now known as the ”quartz crisis”. Many Swiss watch companies went bankrupt and were forced to close. Others struggled immensely to keep afloat. During this time, many people regarded the Swiss mechanical watches as inferior in comparison to the Japanese quartz watches.

Complete List of Japanese Watch Brands [Japanese Watch Companies] - Millenary Watches (4)

Ultimately, the Swiss watch industry managed to recover during the 1990s and win back market shares, but the watch industry as a whole would never be the same. And the Japanese watch brands were now major players in the watch industry. Japanese quartz watches and Swiss watches now existed side-by-side and both filled a purpose.

This remains true today, where Japanese watches are predominantly regarded as functional and affordable watches, and Swiss watches are more regarded as pieces of art and fashion accessories. However, that is not to say that there are no luxury watch brands in Japan. As a matter of fact, Japan has proven, through brands like Grand Seiko, to name one, that they are very well capable of producing exclusive, luxury, high-quality timepieces.

Japanese watch brands today

The Japanese watch industry had its upswing during the quartz era in the 1970s to the 1970s. But quartz still continues to play a central role in Japanese watchmaking today. Today, you can find everything from ultra-luxury mechanical watch brands like Grand Seiko, to Haute Horlogerie micro brands that specialized in highly limited luxury timepieces, to ultra-affordable quartz watches like those from Casio.

With that said, the offering from Japanese watch brands today is quite wide, although affordable watches continue to be the cornerstone and foundation of the Japanese watch industry. This is true for quartz watches but also for mechanical ones. In fact, Japanese watches are considered to be some of the best entry-level mechanical watches, with brands like Orient and Citizen that offer nice mechanical watches for as little as 100 USD.

The strength of Japanese watch brands has always been in their ability to produce high-quality and reliable timepieces at affordable prices. And these types of watches continue to make up the majority of Japanese watch production today.

Because Japan does not have a watchmaking history as long as Switzerland, and because watchmaking isn’t as closely connected with the country as in Switzerland, the number of Japanese watch brands isn’t as great as in Switzerland. However, there is still a good selection of Japanese watch brands, including some huge and world-renowned brands like Seiko and Casio.

Moreover, in recent years, more and more Japanese micro brands have started to pop up that devote themselves entirely to fine watchmaking and mechanical timepieces. For that reason, we believe that the Japanese watch industry will become synonymous with fine watchmaking and luxury watches in the years and decades to come.

What is a Japanese watch company and watch brand?

For this list, we have compiled all the watch brands that are registered companies in Japan. In Switzerland, for example, there are strict criteria for what signifies a ”Swiss Made” watch to protect the strong reputation that Swiss-Made watches have. The requirements for a ”Japan Made” watch are not as strict and clear.

Most Japanese watch brands make the majority of their watches in Japan. However, some companies also outsource part of their production to other countries where manufacturing is cheaper. Seiko is one such brand, where part of their watches are made in countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. However, we still consider them Japanese watch bands since they are registered Japanese companies and still make a lot of their watches in Japan.

Top Japanese watch brands

The top Japanese watch brands today are (in no particular order):

  • Seiko
  • Grand Seiko
  • Casio
  • Orient
  • Citizen

These brands are known all over the world and are the brands that manufacture the majority of all Japanese watches. All of these brands have also played a crucial role in building the Japanese watch industry and its reputation around the world.

Seiko is perhaps the most ill-known Japanese watch company that was founded in 1892. It originally focused on pocket watches and clocks and has a long list of world-firsts to its name. When quartz came around, Seiko became a world leader in producing quartz watches. At the same time, Seiko is also well-known for making affordable, high-quality mechanical watches.

Grand Seiko, as the name suggests, is a sub-brand of Seiko that was founded to focus on making some of the finest luxury watch brands in the world with a focus on fine watchmaking, impressive movements, and stunning designs. Grand Seiko watches are priced in the $5+ segment and definitely compete with Swiss luxury watch brands in the same segment. This was the whole purpose of the brand in the first place – to show that the Japanese could make just as fine watches as the Swiss – if not better.

Another well-known Japanese watch brand is Citizen. Citizen is most known for making affordable and accessible quartz watches. The company was founded with the belief that ”every citizen deserves a high-quality timepiece.”. Today, Citizen makes quartz watches that are hard to beat in relation to price and quality. Moreover, Citizen has created lots of innovations in regard to quartz technology and one of the most important is the Eco-Drive technology which is solar-powered quartz that eliminates the need for replacing the battery.

Last but not least, Casio is one of the most well-known Japanese watch brands that is appreciated for making highly affordable yet qualitative watches. Casio was founded in 1946 and has always had a strong focus on the digital aspect. After all, Casio also makes a bunch of other digital products, from keyboards to calculators. As a matter of act, Casio became the first brand to create a fully electronic calculator. Originally focusing on other digital products, Casio created its first wristwatch in the 1970s, of course, a quartz watch – specifically the Casiotron QW02. As the company had already developed digital displays for its calculators, Casio could relatively easily implement this technology into its wristwatches.

Recommendations of top Japanese watches

  • Top 10 Best Seiko Chronographs
  • Top 12 Best Seiko Dive Watches
  • Top 11 Best Orient Watches
  • Top 13 Best Citizen Watches
  • TOP 14 Best Seiko 5 Watches
  • Top 10 Best Casio Watches

List of Japanese watch brands [Japanese watch manufacturers]

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our extensive list of Japanese watch brands, including everything from entry-level watch brands to ultra-luxury micro watch brands.

A

B

C

  • Casio
  • Credor
  • Citizen

D

  • Dedegumo

E

F

  • Future funk
  • Frank Miura

G

  • Grand Seiko

H

  • Hajime Asaoka

I

J

K

  • Kikuchi Nakagawa
  • Knot
  • Kurono
  • Kuoe

L

  • Lorus

M

  • Masahiro Kikuno
  • Minase
  • Mirco

N

  • Norifumi Seki
  • Naoya Hida

O

  • Orient
  • Orient Star

P

  • Pulsar

R

  • Rhythm Watches

S

  • Seiko

T

U

V

W

Z

Complete List of Japanese Watch Brands [Japanese Watch Companies] - Millenary Watches (2024)
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