What is the difference between SII, TMI, and Seiko Epson Watch Movements?
What is SII, TMI, Epson?
- SII aka Seiko Instruments Inc is based in Japan
- TMI aka Time Module Inc based in Hong Kong
- Seiko Epson Corp. is based in Japan
All of which are owned by Seiko Holdings (based in Tokyo Japan).
“Seiko Watch Corp., a subsidiary of Seiko Holdings Corp., markets SEIKO watches while Seiko Instruments Inc. and Seiko Epson Corp. manufacture their movements. Time Module (TMI), a member of the Seiko Group, was established in 1987 with funding from Seiko Watch Company, Seiko Instruments Inc., and Seiko Epson Corp. to manufacture watch movements. On January 26, 2009, Seiko Holdings and Seiko Instruments announced that the two companies will be merged on October 1, 2009 through a share swap. Seiko Instruments became a wholly owned subsidiary of Seiko Holdings on October 1, 2009.”
This is from TMI:
“Time Module (H.K.) Ltd. was established in 1987 with original funds from Seiko Corporation, Seiko Instruments Inc. and Seiko Epson Corporation. Effective from 1st of December, 2015, Time Module (H.K.) Ltd. is wholly-owned by Seiko Holdings Group, and is dedicated to offering high quality watch movements manufactured by Seiko Instruments Inc..”
Are SII/TMI/Epson movements made in Japan?
No. Not all Seiko movements are made in Japan. Seiko makes calibers in Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. They also manufacture watch parts and components in China, which are then used to assemble movements in the aforementioned locations with a mixture of human-made, machine-made, and part human part machine made. As it turns out, few Seiko watches are actually entirely made in Japan.
“Seiko is perhaps best known for its wristwatches, all of which were at one time produced entirely in-house. This includes not only major items such as microgears, motors, hands, crystal oscillators, batteries, sensors, LCDs but also minor items such as the oils used in lubricating the watches and the luminous compounds used on the hands and the dials. Seiko watches were originally produced by two different subsidiaries. One was Diani Seikosha Co.,(now known as Seiko Instruments Inc.), and the other was Suwa Seikosha Co.(now known as Seiko Epson Corporation). Having two companies both producing the same brand of watch enabled Seiko to improve technology through competition and hedge risk. It also reduced risk of production problems, since one company can increase production in the case of decreased production in the other party.
Currently watch movements are made in Shizukuishi, Iwate (SII Morioka Seiko Instruments), Ninohe, Iwate (SII Ninohe Tokei Kogyo), Shiojiri, Nagano (Seiko Epson) and their subsidiaries in China, Malaysia and Singapore. The fully integrated in-house production system is still practiced for luxury watches in Japan.”
“…..due to the nature of customs and labor laws in Japan, products are generally allowed to be stamped with Made in Japan if they are produced outside the national boundaries as long as they are manufactured in a wholly owned Japanese firm where the work is overseen by Japanese nationals. Generally speaking, watches priced below about 90000 yen (currently $838 US dollars) do not contain enough profit margin to be made in Japan. This is not just for Seiko, but for all major Japanese manufacturers. Watches priced roughly from 90000 to 250000 yen (currently $838 to 2328 US dollars) are often finished or with final assembly done in Japan and higher end watches above this point are often fully assembled in Japan. …..”