Japan is known for its old-fashioned, traditional values and culture. It’s a country where you can find beautiful temples, delicious food and beautiful nature. Also did you know that Japan also has an amazing watchmaking industry?
Japan has a rich history in watchmaking, with some of the top watch brands come from Japan.
In this blog post we’ll cover 16 of the best Japanese watch brands, and the top Japanese watchmakers.
We’ll take you through the legendary watch brands from Japan, like Seiko, Orient, and Casio.
Then we’ll introduce you to the top Japanese independent watchmakers, like Hajime Asaoka, and Masahiro Kikuno.
You’ll discover why Japan is one of the top watchmaking nations, and you’ll see some of the best Japanese watches these brands and watchmakers have on offer.
Best Japanese Watch Brands
Top Japanese Watchmakers
Comparison: Japanese Watch Brands
Here is a handy comparison of all of the top Japanese watch brands. What makes each special, and where you can buy these Japanese watches.
|Japanese Watch Brands
Durable & reliable
Large selection of digital watches
Cool retro watches
Parent brand of G-Shock
Iconic dive watch collections
Legendary Seiko 5 collection
Affordable – Mid-Range
Excellent mechanical watches
Beautiful & practical watches
High-end mechanical watches
Gorgeous dress watches
High-end mechanical watches
Affordable dive watches
Affordable dress watches
Iconic Orient Bambino collection
High-end Orient Star collection
(solar powered watches)
Affordable – Mid-range
Wide choice of all watch styles
Luxury, independent Japanese brand
Case within a case watches
Cool, independent Kyoto brand
One of a kind watches
Japan’s oldest jewelry brand
Creates luxury Japanese watches
Released first watches in 2015
Watchmaker Hajime Asaoka creates the timepieces
Customizable watch collections
Mix & match straps, case, dial and more!
Unisex watch styles
Ideal for couples watches
Japanese dress watches
Choice of mechanical or quartz watches
Many watches made in Japan
Casio is a Japanese electronics manufacturer who is best known for their durable watch ranges. Their G-Shock watch range is their most well known. They’re also considered some of the toughest watches on the market today.
Both waterproof and digital. They are ideal for those who love adventure, are in the military or sport fanatics. Looks wise they are big and bold, with lots going on.
Almost all of the famous G-Shock range are chronographs. Many come with features like countdown timer, alarm, world clock, and luminosity. Some of the range even feature GPS, perfect for the adventures in the wild.
You can find a huge selection of great, affordable Casio watches on Amazon.
The Seiko Japanese watch brand dates back to 1881. When Kintaro Hattori set up a repair clock and watch shop in central Tokyo. Today, after 140+ years the Seiko brand is a Japanese watch brand that almost everyone knows.
They’re also a fully integrated brand. They design and develop their own movements. Keeping ahead of the competition. They even caused the quartz crisis in the 70s. This was due to their Seiko Astron in 1969. The world’s very first quartz movement watch.
Today the brand has gained a huge global following. They are best known for their durable, practical, precise, as well as stylish watches. They’re an affordable brand. Their automatic dive watches are one great example of this.
You can so many great Seiko watches on Amazon.
Or you can check out our review on the best Seiko dive watches.
3. Grand Seiko
Grand Seiko is the premium sister brand of Seiko. Their launch was marked by the release of the 1960 Grand Seiko watch.
Many people ask what is the difference between the sister Japanese watch brands. Yes, they do share the same aesthetic. They both value practicality and high quality for the price. But why is Grand Seiko more expensive?
It comes down to the craftsmanship, material and the time to create each piece. Making the price tag go up and the product become a luxury timepiece.
Grand Seiko watches are handmade. Their mechanical watches are now created and assembled at their Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. Also the materials, Grand Seiko’s are made from are of higher quality stainless steel, titanium or platinum.
You can find a selection of Grand Seiko watches on Amazon.
Then we have Credor is an off shoot of the Seiko watch brand. This Japanese brand has been creating high end timepieces for Seiko since 1974.
It is luxury Japanese watch brand that is a mystery to many outside of Japan.
Like Grand Seiko, Credor specialize in making high-end luxury Japanese watches.
But how does Credor differ from the high end Grand Seiko? Well Grand Seiko’s goal is to be the best practical watch. While Credor aims to be the best dress watch.
Credot are often more experimental compared to the practical Grand Seiko. While both brands are still superb in terms of their quality.
Credor sadly can be difficult to buy outside of Japan. Amazon has a rare few pre-owned Credor watches which you can buy every now and again. So you have to keep an eye out for Credor dress watch.
Or why not check out the official Credor website, and discover these luxury Japanese watches.
The Japanese watch brand Orient, offers excellent affordable and mid range watches.
It is now part of the Seiko Group, bought by them in 2009. They are similar to the Seiko watch brand in that they also offer affordable and high quality watches.
All Orient watches movements are made in Japan. The more expensive Orient models are entirely made and assembled in Japan. Models from the Orient Star collection.
Orient produce some of the best affordable mechanical dress watches on the market, with their Orient Bambino range.
Amazon have a big range of Orient watches to choose from.
We’ve also done full review of the Orient Bambino dress watch collection.
Founded in 1918. This Japanese watch brand has been a leading watch brand of the now large Citizen watch group.
Their big moment was their Eco-Drive invention in 1976. They created the first light-powered analog quartz watch in the world. The Eco-Drive technology can power the watch from any source of light. It can be artificial or real light. A breakthrough in the watch world.
They produce affordable and durable watches that are reliable and look great. Check out their Eco-Drive watches collection.
You can find a huge selection of Citizen watches on Amazon.
This independent Japanese watch brand makes watches that can be used for 100 years. How this promise is kept is in how they assemble their watches. Each piece has been put together in a special way so that every part can be replaced.
Their hand made timepieces are of super high quality. The best feature of their watches is the case in a case feature. Meaning their dial case is kept inside another case. Protecting the movement from damage.
These watches are sold in selected stores in Switzerland and Japan. Here is a list of their stores.
This Kyoto born watch brand is unique.
Their watches are just as much art pieces as they are timepieces. With a very clear style that they have made their own.
Their Kinetic Art Watch Series was one to remember. Not useful for telling the time. But sure who cares! All of the Dedegumo watches are handmade.
You should check out all of their truly unusual pieces on their online store.
Tasaki is one of Japan’s oldest jewelry brands. Established in 1954. They are best known for their high end pearl and diamond jewelry.
And in 2015, the japanese brand released their first timepieces. The Odessa Tourbillon was the stand out piece of that collection, and still stands out today.
The brand’s watches are luxury products. The craftsmanship to create their timepieces and jewelry is outstanding. They use the skills of the legendary Hajime Asaoka to create their premium watches.
Minimalism is big in Japan. Making minimalist design in watches is very popular in Japan.
Knot is a brand which does minimalism in its style. Yet, offers their customers so much choice in their custom made watch options. From changing the strap to picking a buckle. Try it out yourself and design your own Knot watch.
The Japanese watch company is a Tokyo born brand. They hail from the suburbs of Tokyo in Kichijoji, Musashino City. Yet now they are a global watch brand. With stores open across Asia. You can find the list of Knot stores on their website.
Furbo is a Japanese watch brand that also specializes in leather goods too.
All their timepieces are made in Japan with a mechanical movement or quartz movement. A nice feature of the mechanical watches is the skeleton back. You can see the movement through a see-through caseback.
All their pieces are reasonably priced. With many dress watches on offer.
Their F5026 series watch, pictured above, is one of their made in Japan timepieces.
Top Japanese Watchmakers
Now lets move onto some of the best Japanese independent watchmakers that are behind some of the coolest independent watch brands from Japan.
All of these Japanese watchmakers take pride in creating handmade Japanese watches.
1. Hajime Asaoka
One of the top independent Japanese watch brands today is the watchmaker and artist Hajime Asaoka himself.
Since he began his watchmaking career in 2005, from then his reputation has grown global. He completes the full watchmaking process himself. And the waiting list is long for his watches.
Hajime Asaoka has a passion for traditional chronographs. In his own chronograph creation he takes inspiration from the 50s and 60s. Masterpieces like the Omega Speedmaster.
His current collection consists of four main models. The timepiece that he is most famous for is the Tsunami. It includes his own movement which he created in his Tokyo workshop.
Check out his designs on Hajime Asaoka’s website.
a. KURONO by Hajime Asaoka
Hajime Asaoka not only makes high end and high price timepieces. He has also created a brand that is high in quality but low in price.
KUNARO is the Japanese watch brand for Hajime Asaoka himself. He wanted to create timepieces that he would wear as well as his fans.
“Personally, I wanted a good, reliable and reasonably priced watch I can use as a daily wearer.”
Being one of the most popular watchmakers right now, you need to preorder his next release in order to stand a chance at getting one.
2. Naoya Hida
One of the newest independent Japanese watch brands. Launched in 2018 by Naoya Hida, who is a well known Japanese watchmaker in Japan.
After having worked in Japanese distribution for top Swiss watch brands. Brands like Vacheron Constantin and Breguet. Hida’s goal was then to be able to create his ideal watch.
His brand only produces a very small number of watches each year. In 2020, he made just 25 timepieces! Making the watches a rare timepiece indeed.
3. Masahiro Kikuno
Another independent Japanese watch brand is Masahiro Kikuno. Brought to you by the watchmaker Masahiro Kikuno himself.
Masahiro Kikuno, is the Japanese watchmaker that’s famous for designing just one watch per year.
He believes in watchmaking by hand. He believes the best timepieces cannot be achieved with machines, only by hand can they be made beautiful. Check out his pieces on his website.
Masahiro Kikuno timepieces really stand out. The patience that goes into their design and creation shows. He stays true to the art of watchmaking.
As for buying his luxury hand made watches, since 2020 he hasn’t released any new designs. His website says he is undecided when he will release a new timepiece.
You can discover his beautiful past designs on his website.
4. Kikuchi Nakagawa
This independent Japanese watch brand was founded by Japanese watchmakers; Yusuke Kikuchi and Tomonari Nakagawa. Their inspiration comes from the golden age of watchmaking, the 1930s to the 50s.
They are luxurious in their make and come with the price tag to match.
Japanese watch brands are among the best in the world of watchmaking.
Check out other watch brands from the best watchmaking nations.