Are watches made for the domestic market in Japan superior to those made for other countries?

After looking around online at various Seiko and Citizen watches, a common post a long the lines of "If you buy one, try and get a "JDM" (Guessing it means "Japanese Domestic Market") one." I was curious whether anyone knew why? and if true: How come I could potentially buy an "inferior" version of the same watch here in the U.K.

·

been wondering myself, thanks for asking.

·
IceCreamMan

been wondering myself, thanks for asking.

I've also noticed that Citizen makes way cooler field-style watches for Japan then here in the U.K, not cool! :D 

·

Here’s a guess:

  • Japan has been in economic stagnation for ~30 years
  • When your economy has had effectively zero growth for 3 decades, you don’t price your products and services at any kind of premium
  • For forever and a day, EVERYONE raved about how much of a killer deal GS watches were - Zaratsu polish, hand crafted this and that, exquisite dials, spring drive movements… all for less than the MSRP of a Rolex, never mind grey market Rolex prices!
  • Then, GS spun off a new entity called Grand Seiko USA, and the CEO moved here to the States and realized, “OMG… these Americans haven’t had zero growth for the past 30 years. We can actually charge them… money!”
  • Hence, prices on GS went from $5k/ watch to like $9k for all the new Evolution 9 releases

With all that in mind, JDM watches are released exclusively for the Japanese market, keeping in mind that Japanese people don’t have a lot of money to spend on luxury goods because of 30+ years of stagnation. So, I can imagine those JDM watches are going to be INCREDIBLE value.

I bought my JDM SARX055 for ~$800. If Seiko were to release a U.S. model, I‘m sure they would charge at least $1,500 for it. 

Only drawback of buying JDM is that the warranties are Japan only!

·

This is a hotly debated subject and I doubt we will ever get a real answer but my experience has been that there's very little quality difference between the same models between inside and outside Japan BUT the diversity of models is much higher in the home market than outside.  You get a ton of Japan only specials and dials and variations that are awesome.

I think the source of the "JDM is superior" rumors has as much to do with model misidentification as anything else.

·
HotWatchChick69

Here’s a guess:

  • Japan has been in economic stagnation for ~30 years
  • When your economy has had effectively zero growth for 3 decades, you don’t price your products and services at any kind of premium
  • For forever and a day, EVERYONE raved about how much of a killer deal GS watches were - Zaratsu polish, hand crafted this and that, exquisite dials, spring drive movements… all for less than the MSRP of a Rolex, never mind grey market Rolex prices!
  • Then, GS spun off a new entity called Grand Seiko USA, and the CEO moved here to the States and realized, “OMG… these Americans haven’t had zero growth for the past 30 years. We can actually charge them… money!”
  • Hence, prices on GS went from $5k/ watch to like $9k for all the new Evolution 9 releases

With all that in mind, JDM watches are released exclusively for the Japanese market, keeping in mind that Japanese people don’t have a lot of money to spend on luxury goods because of 30+ years of stagnation. So, I can imagine those JDM watches are going to be INCREDIBLE value.

I bought my JDM SARX055 for ~$800. If Seiko were to release a U.S. model, I‘m sure they would charge at least $1,500 for it. 

Only drawback of buying JDM is that the warranties are Japan only!

Thanks for the detailed reply, I didn't know that the economy in Japan has been stagnant for that long - quite surprised and I appreciate you breaking it down for me in such an easy-to-understand way.

·
Edge168n

This is a hotly debated subject and I doubt we will ever get a real answer but my experience has been that there's very little quality difference between the same models between inside and outside Japan BUT the diversity of models is much higher in the home market than outside.  You get a ton of Japan only specials and dials and variations that are awesome.

I think the source of the "JDM is superior" rumors has as much to do with model misidentification as anything else.

Here in the U.K - Citizen make amazing watches but most of the catalogue is for people with big wrists whereas in Japan the variety of sizes much better!

·

I have read somewhere on here that for example Seiko JDM models are actually built in Japan whilst a lot of their other watches are assembled elsewhere in the far east?

I do think from looking on line that generally JDM watches are more interesting for Citizen and Orient as well as of course Seiko.

·
HotWatchChick69

Here’s a guess:

  • Japan has been in economic stagnation for ~30 years
  • When your economy has had effectively zero growth for 3 decades, you don’t price your products and services at any kind of premium
  • For forever and a day, EVERYONE raved about how much of a killer deal GS watches were - Zaratsu polish, hand crafted this and that, exquisite dials, spring drive movements… all for less than the MSRP of a Rolex, never mind grey market Rolex prices!
  • Then, GS spun off a new entity called Grand Seiko USA, and the CEO moved here to the States and realized, “OMG… these Americans haven’t had zero growth for the past 30 years. We can actually charge them… money!”
  • Hence, prices on GS went from $5k/ watch to like $9k for all the new Evolution 9 releases

With all that in mind, JDM watches are released exclusively for the Japanese market, keeping in mind that Japanese people don’t have a lot of money to spend on luxury goods because of 30+ years of stagnation. So, I can imagine those JDM watches are going to be INCREDIBLE value.

I bought my JDM SARX055 for ~$800. If Seiko were to release a U.S. model, I‘m sure they would charge at least $1,500 for it. 

Only drawback of buying JDM is that the warranties are Japan only!

Can attest said SARX055 would have had a much higher MSRP if it were sold in the US. I spent just shy of the same amount for my King Samurai and the level of finishing/quality of movement is a lot lower on the Samurai. Still an excellent watch that Samurai mind you, but the value for money of the SARX055 is incredible. Thanks again @HotWatchChick69!

·
HotWatchChick69

Here’s a guess:

  • Japan has been in economic stagnation for ~30 years
  • When your economy has had effectively zero growth for 3 decades, you don’t price your products and services at any kind of premium
  • For forever and a day, EVERYONE raved about how much of a killer deal GS watches were - Zaratsu polish, hand crafted this and that, exquisite dials, spring drive movements… all for less than the MSRP of a Rolex, never mind grey market Rolex prices!
  • Then, GS spun off a new entity called Grand Seiko USA, and the CEO moved here to the States and realized, “OMG… these Americans haven’t had zero growth for the past 30 years. We can actually charge them… money!”
  • Hence, prices on GS went from $5k/ watch to like $9k for all the new Evolution 9 releases

With all that in mind, JDM watches are released exclusively for the Japanese market, keeping in mind that Japanese people don’t have a lot of money to spend on luxury goods because of 30+ years of stagnation. So, I can imagine those JDM watches are going to be INCREDIBLE value.

I bought my JDM SARX055 for ~$800. If Seiko were to release a U.S. model, I‘m sure they would charge at least $1,500 for it. 

Only drawback of buying JDM is that the warranties are Japan only!

The drawback sounds like a positive to me! Oh no, I HAVE to go to Japan to service my watch! 

·

No. The quality of the specific Japanese-made model is identical, no matter where it will be sold. 

But Japanese brands tend to offer a better variety of watches in their home country. 

·
HotWatchChick69

Here’s a guess:

  • Japan has been in economic stagnation for ~30 years
  • When your economy has had effectively zero growth for 3 decades, you don’t price your products and services at any kind of premium
  • For forever and a day, EVERYONE raved about how much of a killer deal GS watches were - Zaratsu polish, hand crafted this and that, exquisite dials, spring drive movements… all for less than the MSRP of a Rolex, never mind grey market Rolex prices!
  • Then, GS spun off a new entity called Grand Seiko USA, and the CEO moved here to the States and realized, “OMG… these Americans haven’t had zero growth for the past 30 years. We can actually charge them… money!”
  • Hence, prices on GS went from $5k/ watch to like $9k for all the new Evolution 9 releases

With all that in mind, JDM watches are released exclusively for the Japanese market, keeping in mind that Japanese people don’t have a lot of money to spend on luxury goods because of 30+ years of stagnation. So, I can imagine those JDM watches are going to be INCREDIBLE value.

I bought my JDM SARX055 for ~$800. If Seiko were to release a U.S. model, I‘m sure they would charge at least $1,500 for it. 

Only drawback of buying JDM is that the warranties are Japan only!

Could the logic be that the price in the country of manufacture (e.g. Japan)  is less than the price several thousand miles away (e.g. USA) where tax is also added to imported goods?

Having visited Japan on business 10 times there is a healthy market for luxury goods.

·

Depends on how you define better. I've found that they are usually more aesthetically interesting at the very least. That includes Citizen.  Not sure about Orient.

·
HookedinBern

Could the logic be that the price in the country of manufacture (e.g. Japan)  is less than the price several thousand miles away (e.g. USA) where tax is also added to imported goods?

Having visited Japan on business 10 times there is a healthy market for luxury goods.

Yeah, Japan definitely has a healthy luxury goods market.  I'm just saying that relative to the U.S., it's not quite as vibrant / excessive, because of this:

Image

Per capita GDP in the U.S. is ~$70k, while it's ~$39k in Japan.

So, one thing that companies do is they engage in price discrimination.  Think pills as the perfect example.  You want to charge $10/pill in the U.S., and $0.25/pill in Africa, to maximize profits.  But, you also  know that if you do that, people will import those African pills into the U.S., charge $1, and nobody will buy your $10 pills.

Same with JDM.  That's why the warranty is Japan only!!!

·

Check this out….

https://youtu.be/7hSZFO5QUmE

·

Look at the difference in your hand , they save their best lines for the home market and if they are not all sold then we buy them . I got my SARB017 from The land of the rising sun and I personally like it better than the rereleased prospex line . Personal choice I suppose. I still want a SARB033 !