Tsuruhiko Yoshikawa
Tsuruhiko Yoshikawa

In 1892, emboldened by an economic upturn, Kintaro set an ambitious goal as an entrepreneur. With the savings he had earned from selling imports, he decided to begin manufacturing clocks at home in Japan.
Soon after visiting a wall clock factory in Nagoya, Kintaro and a talented engineer named Tsuruhiko Yoshikawa started producing a line of wall clocks (Seiko’s Bonbon Clocks) at a saltpeter factory in a vacant plot of land in Ishiwara-cho, Honjo-ward (the present Sumida City) as a temporary factory.
Seikosha Factory was established with around a dozen of employees. The 31-year-old Kintaro and 28-year-old Tsuruhiko, the factory’s chief engineer, committed all of their efforts to coming up with a Japan-made clock. In the early summer of the following year, 1893, the factory was moved to Yanagijima-cho.

When Kintaro founded the Seikosha Factory he drew up a list of guiding principles.

1."Produce precise clocks"

Kintaro named his company Seikosha Factory to express his strong commitment to introducing “Seiko” (a Japanese word for precise) products to compete with the quality clocks manufactured in the West.
Convinced that “customers always favor a quality product,” Seikosha Factory specialized in quality-centered, customer-centered manufacturing.

Spirit of the Founder Kintaro Hattori – “customers always favor a quality product” (“a superior product is a solid basis for ongoing prosperity”)

2. "Cultivate human resources"

The founder, who had been keen on learning in his youth, was enthusiastic about educating his young employees. Soon after establishing Seikosha Factory, Kintaro built a dormitory house within the factory premises and started cultivating skilled technicians. In 1900 he set up evening classes in the dormitory and mandated that his dormitory students learn Japanese, mathematics, and calligraphy. Almost two decades later, in around 1918, he established evening classes in the main store of K. Hattori & Co. to offer the equivalent of a middle school curriculum under the prewar education system. He then founded the Hattori School of Commerce, a four-year night school, within the Osaka store in 1927.

A statement by Kintaro from an article entitled “Kogyo Hatten no Ichi Shudan (lit.: A Means of Industrial Development”) in an edition of Katsudo no Nippon (lit.: “Active Japan”) magazine published in 1905.

“The export of mechanical and industrial products of Japan has been stagnating by and large. The clock industry has been lagging behind the West, mainly as a consequence of 1) outdated machinery equipment and 2) a lack of mechanical knowledge about machines… (snip)… our development as an industry hinges on the establishment of techonological schools (timepieces schools).”

3. "Focus on the brand"

Kintaro focused on the importance not only of “producing superior products,” but also of what we now call “branding” and “marketing.” His invention of the company trademark was an early example. Kintaro’s spirit was the driving force behind the launch of the SEIKO brand in 1924, the broadcast of Japan’s first radio and TV commercials, the company’s contributions as the Official Timer for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, and many more of the company’s activities in society.

4. "Learn from the world and act in the global market"

Kintaro looked out to the world from his very first days in business at the Seikosha Factory. He was determined to learn advanced clock-making techniques from the West and cultivate a market in the world to establish a Japan-made timepiece industry.
Kintaro started exporting in 1895, three years after the company’s founding. He also spent generously on America’s most advanced manufacturing machinery and equipment.

His such managment style spurred the dramatic growth and development of K. Hattori & Co. and Seikosha Factory.