King Seiko vs Grand Seiko: Which One’s The Best For You? - Exquisite Timepieces
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King Seiko vs Grand Seiko: Which One’s The Best For You?

To most modern watch collectors, Grand Seiko has become a household name. Operating as the high-end arm of Seiko’s many brands, Grand Seiko is well known for making high-quality watches with remarkable movement and case finishing. 

Additionally, their Spring Drive technology provides the old-world charm of mechanical watchmaking with the benefits of higher accuracy of quartz technology. While Credor operates at a higher price tier than Grand Seiko, there is another high-end brand in the Seiko stable below Grand Seiko: King Seiko. 

About King Seiko Watches

King Seiko was launched alongside Grand Seiko in the 1960s. Grand Seiko was founded in the Nagano Prefecture and was always intended to be the best of what the Seiko brand could offer. 

King Seiko was founded in Kameido, Tokyo, and was intended to create high-quality and accurate timepieces with more mass market intentions. With that, given both brand’s desire for quality, advances made in movement and case technology were shared by both brands, allowing them to mutually benefit and flourish. 

The mechanical side of Daini Seikosha’s factory (where King Seikos were made) was closed in the 1970s due to the rise of quartz watches. With that, there was no need for two high-end mechanical watch brands. Grand Seiko even went into developing high-end, high-accuracy quartz watches in addition to their existing mechanical watches.

It was not until some limited editions in 2021 and a full permanent collection in 2022 that the King Seiko brand became part of the Seiko catalog once again. 

About Grand Seiko Watches

Also introduced in the 1960s, Grand Seiko’s factory was focused on the Nagano Prefecture. With the aim of creating the best timepieces possible, the positive reputation of Grand Seiko watches grew quickly. 

The Self-Dater model was produced in 1964 and aimed to provide a suitable daily companion that looked great with everything from daily attire to formal wear. Early developments focused on water resistance, power reserve, and accuracy. 

Through the 1970s, they continued to develop high-beat and automatic winding movements, continuing the quest for accuracy and everyday usability. 

Where King Seiko left off, Grand Seiko continued onwards, releasing their first quartz-powered watch in 1988, which had a rated accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per year! With quartz being the preferred time-keeping technology of the market at that time, Grand Seiko continued to develop quartz technology. 

When mechanical watches started to come back into favor with collectors in the 1990s, Grand Seiko sought to create their interpretation of the ideal daily timepiece. Offering a newly designed automatic movement, their 9S5 series was released in 1998. 

Grand Seiko continued developing mechanical watch technology by offering longer power reserves, complications, and increased accuracy. 2004 saw the release of the first Spring Drive caliber, combining both mechanical and quartz technologies. 

To this day, Grand Seiko continues to develop new movements and watches, reinforcing the original vision of creating the best timepieces possible. 

King Seiko vs Grand Seiko: Which Is The Right One For You?

If you’re looking at vintage examples from the 1960s onwards, picking between the two is more of a matter of personal preference than one being better than the other. 

While some Grand Seiko models are definitely more high-end than some King Seiko models, the accuracy and reliability of vintage pieces are always more variable than modern pieces from well-respected brands. 

When it comes to modern examples, it really is a matter of preference and budget. King Seiko’s current offerings seem to focus on offering a high-quality case, bracelet, and dial finishing but using the 6R series of mechanical movements from Seiko, which can be seen in watches costing less than the King Seiko’s lower price limit. 

For not much more money, the entry-level quartz-powered offerings from Grand Seiko could be considered. While still high-quality watchmaking, picking a quartz watch versus a mechanical watch is a matter of preference as opposed to one being better than the other. 

To get into Grand Seiko mechanical and Spring Drive offerings, the cost will be more than even the most expensive King Seiko currently offered (the SJE095 at $3,829). The Grand Seiko SBGR257 retails for $4,100. The few hundred dollars difference will buy a higher quality movement, but one could argue that the design and detail of the SJE095 are more ornate, justifying the closeness in price. 

Besides overall price, here are a few things to consider.

Brand Recognition

With Grand Seiko being a more well-established brand in recent times, the GS brand definitely gets the nod here. While King Seiko watches are still high quality, it is more of a modern reinterpretation of a dormant Seiko sub-brand. 

Seiko watch enthusiasts will be familiar with the King Seiko brand, but the general public will be less likely to know the King Seiko brand, let alone Grand Seiko. If brand recognition is important and you are considering these two brands, go with Grand Seiko. 

Model Variety

With modern King Seiko being a relatively new offering by Seiko, the Grand Seiko catalog currently offers greater variety. With varying styles (dress, casual, sport, GMTs, dive watches, chronographs, ladies’ pieces, etc.), Grand Seiko likely has a watch that will appease almost any potential buyer. 

King Seiko’s offerings, while very attractive, are currently very limited. I hope King Seiko continues to flourish and expand its catalog. Even then, I can imagine that they continue to offer watches in a similar style, whereas Grand Seiko has managed to venture into more diverse model ranges. 

Build Quality & Finishing

Both product families are manufactured by Seiko and are at the higher end of the product lineup. That means that they will be of high quality and will likely last generations with proper care. 

King Seiko’s biggest value proposition is their level of case and bracelet finishing. While not quite on the level of Grand Seiko, they definitely punch above their price, competing with other brands that cost multiple times more than King Seiko’s retail price. 

Where Grand Seiko is much better, and it is reflected in the prices, is their level of finishing overall. The hands, dials, and indices are expertly mirror-polished. The case edges are crisp, with contrasting sections beautifully executed. Additionally, movement decoration is done to a high standard, again competing beyond their typical price range. 


As already mentioned, the King Seiko line of products currently uses 6R and 6L movements. While entirely capable and reliable, they are well-made and decently finished mass market movements. Durable, accurate, and reliable, they will undoubtedly get the job done.

Grand Seiko movements, however, are very well decorated and finished. They are still designed to be incredibly reliable and accurate, and they also are beautiful to look at. Even their quartz movements are beautifully finished and designed to be fully serviceable by a watchmaker. Regardless of the timepiece’s price, Grand Seiko delivers an expertly finished movement. 

Pricing & Availability

This might be a point of consideration that is less straightforward than the other factors potential buyers usually look at. King Seiko is priced at roughly half of Grand Seiko’s mechanical offerings but fairly close to their entry-level quartz offerings. On price alone, that can be a difficult decision to make.

Availability may make the decision easier though. Seiko corporate has taken large steps towards making Grand Seiko widely available as a global luxury brand in recent years. Because of that, Grand Seiko is available in almost every large metropolitan area around the world, making them available to purchase in most markets.

King Seiko, on the other hand, is still not as widely distributed as Grand Seiko. In the United States, a King Seiko purchase, especially in person, takes some searching and effort. The lack of convenience may be a turn-off for some, but the hunt and the need to be “in-the-know” may make the decision easy for other collectors. 

Resale Value

Because of the leaps and bounds Grand Seiko has made as a brand toward global notoriety, resale value has solidified. Still, Grand Seiko does not retain its value as well as other blue-chip brands. 

An avid collector base for vintage King Seiko definitely aids the brand, but the value of modern King Seiko pieces still varies widely. Neither watch will be worth zero, and careful research and patience will aid in ensuring one gets a good deal. If turning a profit is the goal for either brand, it is best to look elsewhere. 

King Seiko vs Grand Seiko: Best Models Comparison

Below are a few comparisons of similar aesthetic models between the two brands. The price differences between the King Seiko and Grand Seiko pieces shown here are quite large, but a closer look at the below models will hopefully assist in deciding which is the best for you. 

King Seiko SPB279 vs Grand Seiko SBGA211

The SPB279 is part of the collection that relaunched the King Seiko brand. Measuring 37mm wide, 12.1mm thick, 43.6mm lug to lug, and with a 19mm lug width, the dimensions are wearable for a wide range of wrist sizes and preferable for those who prefer smaller watches. 

Inside is the 6R31 movement, which is rated to -15/+25 seconds a day, with 24 jewels and a 70-hour power reserve. The silver dial with a textured 12 o’clock marker is covered with a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The case is rated to 100 meters of water resistance. The SPB279 retails for 1700 USD.

The SBGA211, also known as “The Snowflake”, has become a signature model for Grand Seiko. The 41mm wide high-intensity titanium case measures 49mm lug to lug, 12.5mm thick, and has 20mm lugs. 

The real star of the show is the white textured dial, reminiscent of the snow covered mountains outside the Grand Seiko studio in Nagano, Japan. The sapphire display caseback shows off the 9R65 spring drive movement, which is rated to +/- 1 second per day and has a 72-hour power reserve. The SBGA211 retails for 6,200 USD. 

King Seiko SPB279Grand Seiko SBGA211
Case Size37mm41mm
MaterialsStainless SteelTitanium
Water Resistance100m100m
MovementAutomatic, 6R31Spring Drive, 9R65
StrapStainless Steel BraceletTitanium Bracelet
Additional FeaturesTextured 12 o’clock hour marker.Power reserve indicator, smooth seconds sweep.

King Seiko SJE087 vs Grand Seiko SBGW295

The SJE087 is King Seiko’s modern recreation of the original KSK model introduced in 1961. Enlarged to more modern dimensions, the 38.1mm wide case measures 44.7mm lug to lug and 11.4mm thick. With these dimensions, the case will still be very wearable while having a more modern presence than the original KSK. Inside is the 6L35 movement, with a 45-hour power reserve and date function. 

The stainless steel case is 50 meters water resistant, which is enough for most daily activities. The watch comes with a premium brown crocodile strap. The champagne dial has gold indices and is covered by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The SJE087 retails for $3,300. 

The SBGW295G is similar to the SJE087 in that it is a modern recreation of the first Grand Seiko watch from 1960. Part of Seiko’s 110th watchmaking anniversary, this premium model has a titanium case and hands and indices made of pure gold on top of an “Urushi” black lacquer dial. 

Utilizing the manually wound 9S64 movement, it has a 72-hour power reserve and is rated to +5/-3 seconds per day. Measuring 38mm wide, 45.7mm lug to lug, and 10.9mm thick, the dimensions are similar to the SJE087. Rated to only nominal water resistance, this is a true, albeit modern, dress watch. The SBGW295G retails for 13,800 USD.

King Seiko SJE087Grand Seiko SBGW295G
Case Size38.1mm38mm
MaterialsStainless SteelTitanium
Water Resistance50mSplash Resistant
MovementAutomatic 6L35Manual 9S64
Additional Features (1-2 unique features for each watch)Date feature, special case backSolid gold hands and indices.

King Seiko SPB365 vs Grand Seiko SLGA021

The King Seiko SPB365 is King Seiko’s special edition for the 110th anniversary of Seiko watchmaking. Utilizing the same case shape and movement as the SPB279, the SPB365 has a dial that is inspired by the turtle shells of the turtles native to Kameido (the birthplace of King Seiko). In addition to the steel bracelet, a sustainable calf leather strap is also included. The special dial carries a small premium, with the SPB365 retailing at 1800 USD.

SLGA021 is part of Grand Seiko’s newer Evolution 9 collection. Featuring a bolder and modern case and bracelet design, the Evolution 9 watches feel slightly more sporty than previous similarly-styled Grand Seiko watches. The main feature of the SLGA021 is the textured blue dial, designed to recall the waves of Lake Suwa. 

Inside is the 9RA2 Spring Drive movement, which has a 5-day power reserve, power reserve indicator, and date functions and is rated to +/- 0.5 seconds a day. The 40mm wide stainless steel case measures 47.9mm lug to lug and 11.8mm thick, with a 22mm lug spacing. With 100 meters of water resistance, the SLGA021 will withstand daily wear and light aquatic adventures with ease. The SLGA021 retails for $9,100. 

King Seiko SPB365Grand Seiko SLGA021
Case Size37mm40mm
MaterialsStainless SteelStainless Steel
Water Resistance100m100m
MovementAutomatic 6R31Spring Drive 9RA2
StrapStainless SteelStainless Steel
Additional Features (1-2 unique features for each watch)Special limited edition, 1800 pieces. Special dial, additional strap.Textured blue dial, 5-day power reserve.


While the models featured here are similar aesthetically, the price difference between them, I think, is the ultimate purchasing determination. If you have the budget for either, the deciding factor will ultimately be down to specifications and features. 

If you want the best movement, case, and dial finishing Seiko Corporation has to offer, then it will be without a doubt, Grand Seiko. If you prefer a slightly smaller case, then King Seiko may be the way to go, as their case dimensions are usually slightly smaller than Grand Seiko’s. 

For me personally, there are instances that I would pick the King Seiko over the Grand Seiko because of case size and dial options. In other instances, it is a no-brainer, as Grand Seiko does offer superior quality, with the associated costs. 

With the original intention of King Seiko being between the regular Seiko line and Grand Seiko, I think they have succeeded in that, and it is priced appropriately. Both offer collectors a great deal to appreciate and a watch they can enjoy for many years to come. 

About Exquisite Timepieces

Established in 1998, Exquisite Timepieces is your one-stop shop for all things luxury watches! We are an authorized dealer for 60+ luxury watch brands including Omega, Hublot, Seiko, & Longines! We are proud to showcase one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch collections, including renowned brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Check out our brand new watch arrivals here and popular pre-owned listings here.

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