Seiko and Timekeeping

“A Split second can change everything.”

In the 1960s, Seiko announced itself on the international sports timing stage with a whole new generation of high-precision equipment that was enthusiastically endorsed by many international sports federations and used to capture elapsed time at several of the world's leading sports events, including the World Athletics (formerly IAAF).
Seiko’s commitment to innovation in sports timing continues to the present. The company has had a partnership with World Athletics since 1985 and has supported the world’s best athletes for decades as they push themselves to be mere hundredths of a second faster.

Notably, this passion for precision timing has been expressed in Seiko chronographs, ever at the ready for those who strive to be the best.

History of timekeeping

Seiko chronograph milestone

  • 1964

    The 1/100th second stopwatch from 1964

    Seiko's innovative "heart-shaped cam" mechanism enabled this stopwatch to precisely time events to 1/100th of a second, a feat previously considered impossible for a mechanical watch. It served as the official timing device at the world sporting event, held in Tokyo in 1964.

  • 1964

    Crown Chronograph

    In addition to being Seiko’s first chronograph wristwatch, the Crown Chronograph from 1964 was also the first made in Japan. It had a simple monopusher mechanism, but it amply demonstrated the commitment to precision seen later in Caliber 6139 and all its successors with the inclusion of a column wheel to control the start, stop, and reset functions.

  • 1969


    The Speedtimer was among the world's first automatic chronographs, and the first of its kind to have a column wheel and vertical clutch. These two devices delivered real improvements in the measurement of elapsed time and remain prerequisites in high-functionality chronographs.

Seiko and World Athletics

For over half a century, Seiko has developed cutting-edge technology to mark the setting of records and the making of history, moments that have touched the hearts of numerous people around the world.
Seiko has partnered with World Athletics (formerly IAAF) since 1985 and has overseen timing at more than 180 World Athletics competitions. The World Athletics Championships is considered the greatest athletics competition in the world, and Seiko has been the official timer for 17 consecutive Championships.

  • 1985

    World Athletics

    Seiko has been the official timer since the 1987 Championships in Rome, a critical role that continues more than 30 years later.

  • (C)Aflo Sports


    IAAF World Championships
    Berlin 2009

    A new world record of 9.58 seconds was recorded in the men's 100m.

  • 2019

    IAAF World Championships
    Doha 2019

    Using the latest timing systems, Seiko contributed to the success of the first World Championships held in the Middle East.

Seiko will continue to use its expertise and technology to innovate elite track and field timing,
adding excitement to competitions all around the globe.


The Speedtimer collection of performance watches is inspired
by Seiko’s rich history and ongoing tradition in sports.