The Story of the First Laurel
Hattori Watch Store was founded by Kintaro Hattori in 1881 (Meji 14) as a retailer, wholesaler, and importer of imported watches. This was their main business, but in 1892 (Meji 25) Seikosha was established as a manufacturer and began producing watches. In 1895 (Meji 28) they produced Japan’s first watch “Timekeeper.”
Then Seikosha began to commercialize Japan’s first watch. That watch was named Laurel. It was a hand-winding 12-inch 7 jewel movement. The case was developed for a pocket watch, which was mainstream until then, rather than a wrist watch. The design of the case remained the same.
At that time, the manufacture of watches in Japan was revolutionary. Mass production of watches averaged 200 per day at the time but production of the Laurel was limited to 30. The production was extremely difficult at the time.
Laurel’s history later reached the pinnacle of the world. Seikosha began the history of the Japanese watch business, where it dominates today.