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Seiko UK has, under the management of Naoto Hirooka, been playing its part in helping the watch giant to achieve some spectacular things, not just at a local level but a global one.

“Over the past year, the UK has contributed significantly to the global success of Astron, our GPS solar watch,” says Hirooka, who moved to the UK from Tokyo in 2013. “We are also making steady progress with Grand Seiko, and have successfully launched Prospex, our new sports watch collection. Whilst we are still very much focused on marketing the watches that the UK market requires, Seiko UK is now also contributing to the global focus on Seiko’s up-scale collections.”

Hirooka himself has also been working with his international colleagues on a project to improve the business’ supply chain management, and overall he describes the past year as a strong one for the company.

“We have unique products that are proving very successful and we are able to increase our marketing budgets so that we can tell more people about them more often,” he says. “I think that 2014 was a year in which we built a solid foundation for future success.”

Hirooka’s favourite initiative at Seiko is its commitment to clean technology, using solar-power in the Astron and movement-powered Kinetic watches to eliminate the need for batteries. This is perhaps reflective of his great love of the outdoors; you’ll find him with his family at the weekends cycling, playing tennis, BBQing, touring National Trust properties or visiting spots of outstanding natural beauty, such as here at Virginia Water in Surrey. “Virginia Water is a great example of one of the things I love about the UK,” he says. “The beautiful and clean open spaces give me so much energy.”