The company was founded in 1881, when Kintarō Hattori opened a watch and jewelry shop called "K. Hattori" (服部時計店, Hattori Tokeiten) in the Ginza area of Tokyo, Japan. Eleven years later, in 1892, he began to produce clocks under the name Seikosha (精工舎, Seikōsha), meaning roughly "House of Exquisite Workmanship". According to Seiko's official company history, titled A Journey In Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko (2003), Seiko is a Japanese word meaning "exquisite" or "success" ("exquisite" is usually written 精巧 from Chinese jīngqiǎo, while the meaning "success" is usually written 成功 from Chinese chénggōng). In 1965 Seiko introduced an innovative diver’s watch has been chosen by divers and adventurers globally.
Since then Seiko’s diving watch has become a global standard as a result 50 years of innovation.
Seiko produces watches with quartz, kinetic, solar, and mechanical movements of varying prices, ranging from around ¥4,000 (US$45) (sold under the brand Alba) to ¥50,000,000 (US$554,000). To separate the customer groups, Seiko has created many different brands in Japan and the international market.
Seiko has several lines such as the Seiko 5, luxury "Credor", "Prospex", "Presage" and the "Grand Seiko" series.