Reliablity through simplicity.
Alba, J.springs, Pulsar, Seiko, Prospex, Grand Seiko, Credor.
They are made to be functional, solid, and provide value at whatever price they are positioned,
But its the commitment that gets you there, They are a conglomerate that makes everything, Seikoisha Epson, Making their own Luminus paint, normal paint, grease, they use a special metal that doesnt age for some reason and only scratches superficialy unless you go at it with a hammer, they grow their own damn quartz crystals, and this isnt just grand Seiko, even a 50 buck seiko has a in house quartz crystal.
And when they put their minds to it, they push things beyond.
The Zenith and Chronomat group were slugging it out in 1968 and 69, press releases, mechanical samples, Zenith got scared becuase the chronomat group was going to present the Calibre11 automatic chronograph in baselworld so they presented the el primero in a small news conference in January, they had 3 working watched, 3!!!!, and pushed by Heuer chronomat managed to squeeze out 200 units of the Calibre 11, they were horrible, unfinished and filled with bugs, but they managed to deliver 200 units mostly to heuer but also to Breitling and Hamilton, they showed them in baselworld and then shipped them to be sold at the highest end butiques just to be able to say they had them on the shelf, It would be September/October until regular production of a reliable product .
The Seiko 6139, wasnt even presented in Baselworld, According to serial numbers it entered mass production in march 69 and by may 69 you could walk in to any shop that sold seiko watches in Tokyo and walk out with one...
When IWC created a new automatic charging system that replaced the complex multi gear system used until then with a 2 lever system and simplified everything, but IWC decided that the pellaton was just a gimmick and is not worth developing further...
Seiko took that idea and forged it in to the Magic Lever, which now provides a reliable automatic winding system for watches from 60 to 400,000 dollars,
While Rolex and Omega were fighting each other, making 200M divers with Helium valves, 18,800BPH non hacking movements Seiko had the balls to release a 300M 36,600BPH hacking diver with a monocock case to remove the need for the helium valve (also introducing the crown at the 4 o´clock position to remove the need for a crown guard).
But the most important part, that almost crushed the swiss was that no one could figure how to make a quartz wristwatch, and it was a Seiko engnieer that came up with the idea to cut the quartz crystal in to a tunning fork shape, beating the swiss to the first quartz wrist watch thanks to that innovation.
What sets Seiko apart ?
The same thing that sets Rolex apart. Have you ever seen a Rolex Tourbillon ?, no and atleast under the current ownership you will never see one, and the same goes for Seiko, a Tourbillion is a nice decoration and a show of skill but has NO practical aplication, it actually makes watches less reliable.
Its a brand that seeks reliability through technical innovation and simplicity, and it will bury itself in search of it, Look at the Spring drive, its a mechanical watch with a electro magnetic escapment and quartz regulation,
Or that both Omega and Rolex are making Silicon based Balance wheel springs to resist magnetism but making them less flexible when Seiko is putting this in to their higher end watches.
They face problems head on, they find practical solutions and they make real watches, Practial solutions, Reliability through simplicity.