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Chillout TGIF: Video feature: Inside Singapore’s Only Watch Factory

by Peter Chong on November 1, 2019
Watches

Recently, we visited an exhibition where our eyes were opened with the Singapore manufactured watches at the Seiko Instruments factory. Here is a brief of Seiko: Made in Singapore and two of the early watches.

We knew of the existence of this factory for a while, but earlier requests through Seiko Japan to visit were turned down. But recently, through an exhibition hosted by the Economic Development Board of Singapore, we were introduced to the factory and hope we will be able to secure a visit to bring you first hand photographs and videos.

Seiko: Made in Singapore

Perhaps not many know that Seiko has a movement factory in Singapore. Located in the industrial estate of Marsiling in the north, and formerly known as Singapore Time Pte Ltd, the company was established on 12 September 1973, the first overseas subsidiary of the Seiko Instruments Inc., Japan.

A short documentary by the Singapore Economic Development Board of the Seiko Instruments facility in Singapore.

The Company started as a first fully integrated watch manufacturer which handled the complete manufacturing and assembling processes from the commercial raw material to the finished products. In 1974, a total of 89 employees were trained in the then Daini Seikosha of Japan on the different types of skills for the mass production of watches. The Company went into production towards the end of 1974. On 19 March 1976, the Company was officially opened by the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. In 1988, the Company was renamed Seiko Instruments Singapore Pte Ltd (SIS) – reflecting an expanded outlook and the new corporate identity of the Seiko Instruments Group.

Currently, the factory is engaged in manufacturing of both mechanical and quartz watch movements and precision components for the world market.

The process and technology include precision machining, injection molding and surface treatment for the manufacturing of watch components. Components are then assembled and tested in the automatic assembly line into watch movements in clean room environment.

The products are exported in the form of watch components and watch movements to serve both parent companies and related plants and that of OEM market needs through Seiko Instruments Inc. Japan.

Here are some historically important watches Made in Singapore.

Caliber 88-5011/88-5141T

This was the first watches made at the factory – a stop watch of the highest precision.

The first stopwatch made in Singapore was the Caliber 88-5011/88-5141T, circa 1976.

Seiko 7002

These were considered the grandfather of the 7002 watches and manufactured in Singapore. The watch is considered unique as the dial was signed by three countries.

Caliber/Model 7002-7009. Automatic, 17 jewels, 42mm diameter. Circa 1992.

At the bottom of the dial, the inscription “MOV’T SINGAPORE DIAL JAPAN CASED HONG KONG”. Japan and Hong Kong are both regions known for high quality manufacturing and having the Singapore name etched beside them elevated the country’s reputation in the manufacturing industry in the late 1970s.

The triple signed dial. A rarity.

Photo Notes: all pics were taken with iPhone 8+.

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