On the 25th of December 2018, the one who likely biggestly affected Seiko’s cutting edge history, and possibly the narrative of the advanced watch industry in the twentieth century, passed away.
Tsuneya Nakamura arrived at the age of 95 years and a burial service was hung on the fourth of February in the city of Suwa, in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, where Nakamura san went through the vast majority of his time on earth serving nearby industry and economy yet in addition training and arts.
Today we might want to honor this symbolic Seiko figure by remembering the existence of the man that coordinated Seiko’s marvelous accomplishment during the 60s and 70s.
Born on the eighth of March 1923, Tsuneya Nakamura joined Daini Seikosha Kameido (Tokyo) in 1944, toward the finish of World War II. He even encountered the bombarding of the manufacturing plant in 1945. After this hard blow, practically the entirety of the excess staff and machines were sent in the sloping Nagano Prefecture where Seiko had just begun to design their fallback. The Suwa plant (named after the city of Suwa-shi) was set up and the youthful 22 years of age Tsuneya Nakamura was sent over in 1945.
As Japan recuperated from World War II with the assistance of the phenomenal American private enterprise, Seiko struggled sticking out, the creation offices were obsolete and the watches made were extensively motivated by European ones.
In the mid-1950s, Tsuneya Nakamura asked his chief administration that he makes another advanced watch to return Seiko on the horological map.
This is the means by which the Seiko Marvel was brought into the world in 1956, totally made by the (at that point) 33-year-old Tsuneya Nakamura. It was a cutting edge watch for its time and it began another period for Seiko. In the mean time, Suwa Seikosha’s creation offices had been modernized to deliver the Marvel and the entire undertaking was immediately delegated by extraordinary commercial success.
Magic Lever System
But past the modern and monetary effect the Marvel had, it prepared for some incredible accomplishments for Seiko in the coming decade.
The Marvel won numerous homegrown chronometry challenges, motivating Tsuneya Nakamura to become a significant entertainer in the worldwide watchmaking industry.
From the Marvel, Suwa Seikosha made the Gyro Marvel, the absolute first programmed watch produced in Japan under the aegis of Nakamura san. This watch was furnished with the celebrated “Sorcery Lever” framework, that is as yet being used in pretty much every programmed watches made by Seiko today.
The Marvel likewise brought forth the Seiko Crown in 1958, a watch enlivened by the Marvel, however putting the accentuation much more on the chronometry exhibitions with an updated movement.
Proud of its commercial achievement and its incredible outcomes in the Japanese Chronometry preliminaries, Seiko chooses, in 1960, the dispatch another top of the line of watches made to compete with the absolute best Swiss watches: Grand Seiko.
The project was normally given to the 38 years of age Tsuneya Nakamura, the man behind the unbelievable Marvel. He was placed accountable for making, creating and dispatching what immediately became – and still is – Seiko’s leader brand.
Lord Marvel and Crown combined
The first Grand Seiko (otherwise known as the First) was the combination of two meaningful looks for Suwa Seikosha. For the feel, the First takes its motivation fundamentally from Lord Marvel, an extravagance rendition of the Marvel (hand engraved dial, jewel cut gold hands and records), and for the development, it takes its motivation predominantly from the Crown, whose type will be additionally refreshed to make Seiko’s first “Chronometer” grade watch, the Grand Seiko First and its cal.3180. Two of Tsuneya Nakamura’s best manifestations combined into a watchmaking masterpiece.
Olympic Games ’64
The mid 60s additionally mark the start of a significant move made towards the extremely encouraging quartz innovation. Simultaneously, Seiko is picked to be the authority clock for the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic Games.
It’s under Nakamura’s direction that mechanical and electronic designers buckled down, inseparably, to make the Quartz Crystal Chronometer, the world’s first compact quartz clock. This miracle of innovation was introduced to the 1963 Neuchatel chronometry preliminaries in the “Marine Chronometer” classification, a first for a Japanese brand. It got the 10th spot, a good score for Seiko’s first dish in this celebrated challenge. In 1964, for their subsequent support, Suwa Seikosha won second to seventh spot with an improved rendition of the Quartz Crystal Chronometer.
Seiko Crown Chronograph
On the very year, this clock and its varieties were comprehensively utilized for the Tokyo Olympics and Tsuneya Nakamura assumed a conclusive part in beginning another time for sports timing, with both the utilization of quartz and the new mechanical stopwatches made for the event and that arrived at a never accomplished accuracy.
For the 1964 Olympics, Seiko likewise delivered their first chronograph wristwatch, the Crown Chronograph with a monopusher hand-wound development cherished by each Seiko authorities out there. In this case too Tsuneya Nakamura had a definitive contribution as those chronographs depended on the Seiko Crown, the immediate relative of the Seiko Marvel.
For the Tokyo Olympics, the groups from Suwa Seikosha likewise got the plan to actualize another gadget into that quartz tickers, a gadget that would straightforwardly print the outcomes when the circumstance is done, another first in the Olympics history. This little development got a particularly enormous achievement that in 1968, Suwa Seikosha dispatched the EP-101 (for Electronic Printer), the absolute first numeric printer to at any point hit the market. This prompted the introduction of the brand Epson in 1975, signifying “Electronic Printer’s Son”.
Very Fine Adjusted
Even however the “Quartz Crystal Chronometer” may appear to be an episodic piece of Seiko’s set of experiences, it exemplifies three of Seiko’s most significant accomplishments during the 60s: the Swiss chronometry competition, the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Games and the improvement of quartz innovation. Also, behind those three accomplishments, as yet unchanged man…
The interest in the Swiss chronometry preliminaries was Tsuneya Nakamura’s thought, a man that could compare constantly his work with the business chiefs to consistently push ahead. This is the thing that guided him through the formation of the Marvel, this was the establishing thought of Grand Seiko and the actual embodiment of their support in Swiss chronometry competitions.
Grand Seiko was a tremendous achievement, with its pinnacle being the creation in 1969 of the unbelievable VFA (Very Fine Adjusted), legendary watches in Seiko’s set of experiences, controlled to inside +/ – 2 s/d (really +/ – 60 sec/month) with an assurance of two years, a totally momentous watchmaking. The coherence and developing notoriety of Grand Seiko very nearly sixty years after its dispatch additionally shows the accomplishment of this astounding endeavor started by Tsuneya Nakamura.
The chronometry preliminaries were additionally an incredible accomplishment for Suwa Seikosha as they in a real sense shook the Swiss watchmaking industry in 1968.
On the 5th of May 1968, the Council of Neuchâtel reported they dropped the watch class of the chronometry preliminaries yet they actually gave the consequences of the watches submitted up to that point. Suwa Seikosha submitted two developments that got the second-best appraising ever for this classification, the record actually being held by Omega from the past year.
When the crossing out was reported, they chose to send some different developments to the Geneva chronometry preliminaries and they won spots four to ten, the platform being held by quartz models, and the primary spot in the assembling positioning. Their best scoring development in Geneva squashed Omega’s Neuchâtel 1967 record.
After this tidal wave, the guidelines changed and just European fabricates were permitted to take an interest in Swiss chronometry trials.
Above: 1968 Geneva chronometry preliminaries results for a development put together by Suwa Seikosha and changed by Kiyoko Nakayama. Source: Anthony Kable
On a side note, it’s fascinating to see that the initial ten watches Suwa Seikosha introduced to the 1964 Neuchatel chronometry preliminaries were totally changed by Tsuneya Nakamura himself, who didn’t simply dispatch the undertaking yet additionally took an indispensable part in it and being developed of the howdy beat developments utilized for the chronometry preliminaries, while likewise working with the R&D groups on quartz and on the watches for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The 41 years of age engineer was certainly going strong!
Above: Tsuneya Nakamura in 1969. Source: Anthony Kable
Even however he began another time for Seiko with the Marvel, despite the fact that he was the maker of Grand Seiko, despite the fact that he was the main impetus behind the interest in Swiss chronometry preliminaries and the improvement of hello there beat development that went with it, despite the fact that he had a focal influence in creating sports timing for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, despite the fact that he was behind the innovation of the principal electronic printer ever, Tsuneya Nakamura is fundamentally associated with what will most likely stay the principle accomplishment of his vocation: the formation of the first-since forever quartz watch.
Starting toward the finish of the 1950s, the R&D groups at Suwa Seikosha buckled down of building up the quartz innovation and their first accomplishment was the dispatch of the Quartz Crystal Chronometer in 1963. The greatest test was scaling down, and with it came another central point of interest: the force save. The principal quartz wristwatch models had an exceptionally short force save and the batteries would bite the dust in no time.
Knowing the Swiss were gaining acceptable ground with the Beta21 project, Seiko’s CEO gave Tsuneya Nakamura a final offer toward the finish of 1968: he needed to deliver the world’s first quartz wristwatch before January first 1970. Furthermore, since the test was not hard enough, he alloted the entirety of the specialists chipping away at quartz to different ventures and let Tsuneya Nakamura framing new groups that would have one year to deliver their quartz wristwatch.
And this is when Nakamura san settled on a decision absolutely critical, a decision that would help tackle the force hold issue, the decision to utilize a stepper engine that would move the second hand once consistently. This decision may appear to be inconsequential today yet this is the thing that figured out what might the norm for quartz watches be as, as it were, the model created by Tsuneya Nakamura utilizing a stepper engine will fill in as a source of perspective for the entire business and billion of watches will be made utilizing a similar standard in the accompanying decades.
On December 25th 1969, Seiko delivered the Astron, the principal quartz wristwatch to at any point hit the market, demonstrating the astonishing 46 years of age Tsuneya Namakura figured out how to address the difficulty set by Hattori a couple of months before.
Chairman of Seiko Epson
Thereafter, Tsuneya Nakamura continued aiding Suwa Seikosha (that would become Seiko Epson) continually improving and advancing on the commercial and modern fields yet additionally bringing them down the way of environment with the advancement of greener watchmaking advances like Thermic or Kinetic developments. He likewise handled the ozone-draining substances issue, carrying new answers for the table, particularly concerning CFCs, an exceptionally huge exertion that procured him six back to back «Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards» (both Corporate and Individual Awards) from the U.S. Ecological Protection Agency. He additionally dispatched different nearby projects across Epson gathering to encourage concordance with neighborhood communities through waste decrease or seaside cleanups for instance.
Named executive of Seiko Epson in 1987 at 64 years old, Tsuneya Nakamura resigned in 1994 at 71 years old, following fifty years at the assistance of Seiko. This permitted him to set aside effort to commit to sponsorship, helping numerous establishments advancing schooling, sciences or music with his liberal donations.
It’s on the 25th of December 2018, precisely 49 years after his vocation feature, that this extraordinary man died at the period of 95.
Tsunya Nakamura was a remarkable specialist and a prudent man, he has profoundly molded Seiko’s set of experiences and the impact he had on the brand give him a position of high standing among the extraordinary names of Seiko.
Our most profound considerations go to his family members and close ones, and particularly to his widow Mrs Reiko Nakamura.
This article was composed by Arnaud (co-proprietor of Ikigai Watches, who has practical experience in vintage and used Seiko and Gand Seiko). Initially in French for Passion Horlogère, and meant English for Fratello.
Sources utilized for this article are:
The Seiko Book
A Journey in Time – The Remarkable History of Seiko