I have recently returned from a trip to Tokyo, and I was excited to see what watches I would find.
What I wasn’t expecting was that the trip would also reinvigorate my passion for timepieces.
My primary goal for Tokyo was to find a rare or interesting J model Seiko which might be difficult to find outside Japan, but what I found was a great choice of timepieces that catered for all budgets and tastes.
In Tokyo, I found three places specifically that I thought gave a great choice of the following: Rarity, Availability or Value for money.
Ginza: The land of every authorised dealer imaginable.
Ginza is like the Mayfair of Tokyo and just walking along its wide boulevards, you’ll see a plethora of AD’s. (From memory I think Ginza has the largest Bulgari and Louis Vuitton stores in the world)
But I digress.
Rolex, Tudor, Vacheron, Patek are all within walking distance. Omega even has a glass tube lift to their store. It’s just amazing to walk around and soak it all in.
Opposite Nissan crossing is the Seiko Dream Square – here is every current (and some upcoming) models are all available to buy.
What stunned me was the customer service was above and beyond anything I was expecting.
I did buy two divers from here I hadn’t seen before. The SSC741 (save the ocean) and SRPD25. Both J models.
I wasn’t sure if it was that I bought two or that I was a foreigner who displayed an Interest in Seiko. But the number of freebie extras I got was fantastic.
They threw in a Waterproof scuba bag, Towel, Embroided face washers made by a local company who use a unique material and even wrapped them both in a cloth packaging. Similar to Origami.
The manager was also going to organise for a Taxi if we needed a ride back to the Hotel room. The experience and service there was second to none and made the whole process a pleasure. Definitely worth a look.
Nakano Broadway: Homer Simpson in the Land of Chocolate.
I knew this place is a bit of a watch mecca, but I was not expecting was just how many stores are here AND the immense amount of stock they have.
They can charge a bit of a premium for specific models, more so Rolex than other brands, but you can find a lot of gems and rarer models from different brands at pretty fair prices.
There were a few here that I nearly bought. White dial, small seconds TAG Formula 1 and a Hamilton Murph were close contenders.
I had not seen these models before, but they didn’t quite do it for me and were on the edge of maxing out my budget. I did find in a discount section of one of the smaller stores in the centre a Bulova Oceanographer devil diver for about 60% off its RRP which I couldn’t put down.
The one thing I will say about Nakano Broadway is if you are here.
My golden rule is: take your time to browse.
We ended up coming back here on our second last day, and it was even better the second time around.
The first time was overwhelming as I wasn’t expecting how much stock this place has. I took my time on my second visit to have a thorough look and found the Devil Diver, which I did miss the first time around.
Akihabara and Harajuku: The hidden gems of Seiko, Citizen and G-shock
Akihabara (electric town) has a store called ‘Akki’ – which is a large duty-free store, but these guys will have a broad range of current and discontinued (NOS) for Brands ranging from Rolex and Omega to Seiko and Casio.
In Akki, I found a Seiko which I had trouble finding a good one online. Seiko SRP599J. Just love the Stainless steel, black dial and white hands minimalism of this Seiko 5. Akki had quite a lot of NOS Seikos as well as the current models with a smattering of both Swiss and Japanese brands. Worth digging around to look for something a little left field at a pretty good price.
Harajuku has a few stores called ‘Tokia’ which specialise in Seikos, Citizen and Casio. BUT the difference is the sheer amount of stock these stores have.
Not only do they have current stock but even larger quantities of discontinued and rare items from the three big Japanese brands.
That’s where I found the Limited Editon Mt Fuji Seiko 5 (SRP783). The guilloche dial, the applied markers and colour combination sets this apart from most other watches in my collection.
If you are after something on the rare side that won’t break the bank, Tokia is worth a look.
Before coming to Japan, I had hit a bit of a brick wall in the hobby.
Nothing was jumping out at me for a future Christmas, Birthday or just in General.
Also, my car had just been seized due to a Takata airbag recall. As a result, my funds for the trip had taken a fair whack.
But I needed not to worry as it made me have a good dig around for some bargains.
As a result of this, the ones I did find I thought were fantastic watches that I wouldn’t have seen outside of Japan. Plus the sheer volume of stock here and the amount I was able to try on reinvigorated my interest in this hobby and broadened exposure to timepieces that I wouldn’t have seen or worn.
Japan is a fantastic destination for a holiday in general, but if you are a watch enthusiast, it is a place that offers more than I would have ever imagined.
My name is Adam,
I work in the energy industry here in Melbourne since 2003 – Originally from Newcastle, Australia and am a massive Rugby League fan and general sports tragic as well.
I have been fascinated by watches and anything mechanical since I was about 5 years old. My grandfather’s 1969 Omega Chronostop kickstarted my interest in this hobby.
Started getting into the hobby more seriously towards the end of 2017. Picked up an Omega Seamaster professional as my first serious purchase.
From there it has grown exponentially. I have a soft spot for Omega and Seiko and love the vintage range these two brands offer.
In my spare time, I love taking my Pug for walks and staying up late here in Australia watching formula one races.