Chapter 21

Sharing the past and building the future.

Visitors to the Grand Seiko facilities in Shizukuishi where all Caliber 9S watches are made often comment on the wide age range of the watchmakers and technicians they see there. As would be expected, there are several older and clearly very experienced members of the team but there are also many younger men and women entrusted with the same tasks of movement assembly and adjustment. Given the very high level of skill and the experience needed to ensure that every watch meets the Grand Seiko Standard, it is perhaps surprising to see so many relatively young “Takumi” at work.

The secret is in the great emphasis placed on training. Take, for example, Satoshi Hiraga, a watchmaker of Grand Seiko. He was awarded the title of “Contemporary Master Craftsman” by the Japanese government in 2015 and the “Medal with Yellow Ribbon” in 2020. Of course, his skills are put to full use as a “Takumi” but he also spent a good proportion of his time sharing his experience with the next generation of watchmakers at the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi and helping them to refine their skills and continuously improve the precision and quality of their work. Seeing them develop is Hiraga’s greatest joy.