New Watch Alert: The King Seiko 5626-7041 from April 1973! All-around lovely: Chronometer certified 5626B caliber, regulated and serialized. Hi-Beat (for the time) at 28,800 bph. Untouched case with a gorgeous brushed and polished treatment. Impeccable bright silver sunburst dial. JDM, lovely Kanji day wheel. Tanaka case design with amazing angles, details, and “floating” bezel. And incredibly sharp, yet thick, lugs (👉for pic). But the piece has another key historical trait that is worth delving into: As the logo on the dial shows, this watch was made by Suwa Seikosha as part of the 56KS line, the only generation of King Seiko not produced by the Daini Seikosha manufacture. A little background is in order: The Suwa unit (located in Nagano, known today as Seiko Epson) was separated from the Daini unit (located in Shizukuishi, known today as the Morioka factory of Seiko Instruments) in 1959 as part of Seiko’s strategy to incite internal competition to speed up its plan to upend the Swiss in terms of chronometry, legibility, and case design. Each factory was completely independent, designing and manufacturing full in-house movements separately from one another. The watches from Suwa have became the most popular pieces, including, of course, the first Grand Seiko (3180) in 1960 and the wonderful, and arguably first, automatic chronograph caliber 6139 in 1969 (and, subsequently, the 6138). But Daini was not asleep at the wheel, and certainly introduced its fair share of innovations and calibers, such as the astonishing 7016 flyback chronograph launched in 1971 and, of course, the first GS with Taro Tanaka’s design: The unforgettable 44GS in 1966. But King Seiko—launched in the early 1960s to compete head-on with Grand Seiko—was truly Daini’s brainchild. Daini KS models encompassed the first KS, the 44KS (launched in 1964, before the 44GS, with the 4420A caliber), the 45KS and the 52KS. While the rivalry between these two teams is legendary, it is interesting to see how they ended up converging in many ways, with Daini producing one of the coolest GSs ever (the 44) and Suwa producing one the most interesting KS case designs ever (the 56). Gotta love these stories!