[WORLDKINGS] Top 100 founders of the companies over 100-years and still in business – P36 - Kintaro Hattori (Japan): The person who laid the important foundation for Seiko Holdings Group, a famous watch manufacturer in Asia with 139 years of history (1881)


(WorldKings.org) Kintaro Hattori (1860 – 1934), is a Japanese businessman, visionary, and philanthropist. In 1881, he founded the Seiko Holdings Corporation, is a Japanese holding company that has subsidiaries that manufacture and sell watches, clocks, electronic devices, semiconductors, jewelry, and optical products.


When Seiko’s founder Kintaro Hattori was born in 1860 in central Tokyo, Japan was undergoing massive social and industrial changes as it took its place on the world stage after more than two centuries of self-imposed isolation. It was a time of opportunity and no-one grasped its significance more than Kintaro.



In 1877, at the age of just 17, he set up his own timepiece repair business at his home and, just four years later, he founded his own company, repairing, importing, and selling clocks and watches. Under his leadership, his fledgling “start-up” grew to be Japan’s pre-eminent timepiece manufacturer. It was with good reason that he soon became known in Japan as the “King of watches in the East”.



In 1905, the company became the largest watch & clock dealer in Japan, Kintaro opened sales agencies in Shanghai and Hong Kong. In 1913, the company introduced Japan's first wristwatch, the Laurel.



Unfortunately, in 1923, the Seikosha factory and the offices of K. Hattori & Co Ltd. burn down in the fire that devastated Tokyo after the Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1. Kintaro immediately started to re-build them and won the trust of the public by publicly offering to replace free of charge about 1,500 watches and clocks that were to be repaired but were destroyed by the fire. In 1924, he launched the first watch to carry the SEIKO name.



In 1930, he established the Hattori Hokokai Foundation to provide scholarships and public works support. The Foundation is still active today. He died at the age of 73 in 1934.

According to en.wikipedia and seikowatches.com

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