The roots of Seiko Epson Corporation go back to a company called Daiwa Kogyo, Ltd. which was founded in 1942 by Hisao Yamazaki, a local clock shop owner and former employee of K. Hattori, in Suwa, Nagano, Japan. Daiwa Kogyo was supported by an investment from the Hattori family (founder of the Seiko Group) and began as a manufacturer of watch parts for Daini Seikosha (currently Seiko Instruments). The company started operation in a 2,500-square-foot (230 m2) renovated miso storehouse with 22 employees.
In 1943, Daini Seikosha established a factory in Suwa for manufacturing Seiko watches with Daiwa Kogyo. In 1959, the Suwa Factory of Daini Seikosha was split up and merged into Daiwa Kogyo to form Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd: the forerunner of the Seiko Epson Corporation. The company has developed many timepiece technologies. In particular, it developed the world’s first portable quartz timer (Seiko QC-951) in 1963, the world’s first quartz watch (Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ) in 1969, the first automatic power generating quartz watch (Seiko Auto-Quartz) in 1988 and the Spring Drive watch movement in 1999.
The watch business is the root of the company’s micromechatronics technologies and still one of the major businesses for Seiko Epson today although it accounts for less than one-tenth of total revenues. The watches made by the company are sold through the Seiko Watch Corporation, a subsidiary of Seiko Holdings Corporation.
In 2009, the company became fully owner of Orient Watch Co., Ltd., the one of the largest timepiece manufacturers in Japan.