“The 21st Century Is The Era Of Asian Brands” Watch House Dialogue Seiko Watch Designer Okuyama Kiyoshi

On August 1, 2019, SEIKO (Seiko) ‘s world’s first Prospex store opened in Ginza, Tokyo. The famous Japanese designer Okuyama Kiyoshi attended the press conference. Aoshan Qingxing has been involved in many fields such as automobiles and furniture. Among the brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, all of his design works are from him. This time, Mr. Okuyama Kiyoshi collaborated with the well-known Japanese watch brand SEIKO (Seiko) to design the Prospex LX series watch, which officially entered the watch industry. The Watch House was fortunate to have interviewed him at the press conference that day, and had an in-depth discussion on his watch design concept and the development direction of the brand.

Interview with industrial designer Mr. Okuyama Kiyoshi

The new LX series new watch developed by SEIKO (Seiko) and Mr. Kiyosu Okuyama
Watch House: You have well-known design works in many fields such as automobiles. What made you decide to cooperate with Seiko to develop a new generation of Seiko Prospex LX watches?
Okuyama Kiyoshi: I have lived in Europe for many years before, and I have also been exposed to many watches. Most of the more well-known high-end watch brands come from Europe. But Japan’s Seiko watches are excellent in both technology and quality. More than 50 years ago, Seiko and Rolex had the same brand value and sales were comparable. But perhaps because of marketing, Rolex is getting better and better, and Seiko’s high-end watches have only begun to improve in recent years. As a Japanese, I feel very sorry. It’s like a natural beauty, but because she doesn’t like dressing up, she hides her style. This is a great loss. Seiko is a typical example. So I was very happy when I received an invitation to participate in the design of Seiko watches. Asian brands have always been committed to making good products at low prices, but there are very few high-end products. I hope that I can do my part to develop and build Seiko watches into high-end watch brands, so that high-end brands in Asia can also be known worldwide.
Watch House: You have cross-border design experience in many fields. What is the biggest challenge for you in participating in watch design?
Aoyama Kiyoyo: The quality of Seiko watches is very good, but the products are updated quickly, making it difficult for consumers to grasp the specific positioning of the brand. The design theme of the Prospex LX watch this time is ‘Inheritance and Innovation’. When I design, I not only stand in the perspective of the appearance of new products, but also stand in the perspective of consumers to adjust and improve the product. Each brand has its own brand culture and value. While pursuing innovation, it is even more necessary to retain and continue the essence and tradition of the brand. New products are bound to require some innovation. Need to inherit the connotation and heritage.
Watch House: I heard that you are a fan of Gundam. You used Gundam elements when designing the Ferrari ENZO. Is that so? Did you also include some unique designs for this Prospex LX watch?
Okuyama Kiyoshi: (laughs) Yes, I am a member of the Gundam generation. In the bezel and lug part of the Prospex LX watch, reference is made to the body structure of Gundam as inspiration. ENZO’s roof is actually designed in accordance with the Gundam core fighter.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Gundam, and now I am also designing a new Gundam, and will release animations and models in October this year. Seiko and Gundam actually launched a joint watch this year, which surprised me.

Mr. Okuyama Kiyoshi drew a sketch of Ferrari ENZO at the scene and shared the top design of ENZO

Aoyama Kiyuki first took a group photo with SEIKO (SEIKO) Chairman of China
Watch House: You are both a designer and a watch wearer. When you choose a watch, which characteristics of the watch do you pay more attention to?
Aoyama Clearing: In fact, the selection of the table is the same as the selection of the car. Some people pay attention to appearance and others value performance. I have a deep relationship with Seiko. The first watch I bought in high school was Seiko. The diving watch I bought after college was also Seiko. After I fell in love with diving, I still choose Seiko’s diving watch. And the watches my grandfather used, as well as the gifts my father left me, are also Seiko watches. Every important moment in my life seems to have the appearance of Seiko. So for me, buying a watch is not just a ‘buy’, it is more like a commemorative. For example, I buy a watch every time I design a new work, I can think of it whenever I see this watch Since then.
Watch House: In what areas do you want to try later? Will you continue to design new works in the field of watches?
Okuyama Clear Bank: If the needs of consumers are roughly divided into two types: one is ‘needs’ (necessities) and the other is ‘wants’ (luxury). Asian brands are good at making ‘needs’, but not good at ‘wants’ (those that aren’t very much needed and very much wanted). People like to buy happiness. In addition to the necessities of life, they are also willing to spend a lot of money to buy those luxury goods they want. But in Asia today, there are not many high-end brands belonging to ‘wants’. Everyone is usually saying, ‘The 21st century is the era of Asia.’ So I will pay more attention to the ‘wants’ aspect in addition to the design of the products themselves. I will continue to work with Seiko because Seiko is already one of the few manufacturers in the Asian market with the ability to build high-end brands. This is also the direction I will work hard in the future.
Summary: The Japanese Seiko brand has always been known for integrity and quality, and Seiko has always been a leader in terms of function and design. This year, the brand also opened its first independent store for the Prospex series, hoping to give fans of Seiko watches a better choice and service. If you are interested in Seiko watches, you might as well try it on and feel better.