Seiko Epson Corporation
Native name
Seikō Epuson Kabushiki-gaisha
Company typePublic (K.K.)
TYO: 6724
FoundedMay 18, 1942; 82 years ago (1942-05-18) (as Daiwa Kogyo, Ltd.)
(Officially registered in Shinjuku, Tokyo)
Area served
Key people
Minoru Usui [jp] (Chairman & Director)
Yasunori Ogawa [jp] (President, CEO & Representative Director)
RevenueIncrease ¥1.129 trillion (2021)
(US$9.231 billion)[2]
Number of employees
77,642 (2022)[2]
DivisionsOrient Watch
JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower, which houses the Tokyo office (registered office) of Seiko Epson and the headquarters of Epson Sales Japan on the 29th-32nd levels, located adjunct to the JR East Shinjuku Station in Shinjuku and Shibuya wards, Tokyo
Epson America headquarters in Los Alamitos, California

Seiko Epson Corporation, commonly known as Epson,[3] is a Japanese multinational electronics company and one of the world's largest manufacturers of printers and information- and imaging-related equipment. Headquartered in Suwa, Nagano, Japan,[4] the company has numerous subsidiaries worldwide and manufactures inkjet, dot matrix, thermal and laser printers for consumer, business and industrial use, scanners, laptop and desktop computers, video projectors, watches, point of sale systems, robots and industrial automation equipment, semiconductor devices, crystal oscillators, sensing systems and other associated electronic components.

The company has developed as one of manufacturing and research and development (formerly known as Seikosha) of the former Seiko Group, a name traditionally known for manufacturing Seiko timepieces. Seiko Epson was one of the major companies in the Seiko Group, but is neither a subsidiary nor an affiliate of Seiko Group Corporation.


Seiko Astron
Caliber 35A, Nr. 00234
First quartz wristwatch movement, the Caliber 35A developed by Suwa Seikosha in 1969 and used in the Seiko Astron


The roots of Seiko Epson Corporation go back to a company called Daiwa Kogyo, Ltd. which was founded in May 1942[5] by Hisao Yamazaki, a local clock shop owner and former employee of K. Hattori, in Suwa, Nagano. 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 230-square-metre (2,500 sq ft) 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 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, such as 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 ultra-precision machining and micromechatronics technologies and still a major business for Seiko Epson, although it accounts for a low percentage of total revenues.[6][7] Watches made by the company are sold through the Seiko Watch Corporation, a subsidiary of Seiko Group. The watch brand Orient Watch, also known as Orient Star, has been owned by Epson since 2009 and was fully integrated into the company in 2017.


Epson LQ 850 dot matrix printer

In 1961, Suwa Seikosha established a company called Shinshu Seiki Co. as a subsidiary to supply precision parts for Seiko watches. When Seiko was selected to be the official time keeper for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, a printing timer was required to time events, and Shinshu Seiki started developing an electronic printer.[8]

In September 1968, Shinshu Seiki launched the world's first mini-printer, the EP-101 ("EP" for Electronic Printer), which was soon incorporated into many calculators. In June 1975, the name Epson was coined for the next generation of printers based on the EP-101, which was released to the public. The Epson name was coined by joining the initials EP (Electronic Printer) and the word son, making "Epson" mean "Electronic Printer's Son".[9] In April of the same year, Epson America Inc. was established to sell printers for Shinshu Seiki Co.

Epson HX-20

In June 1978, the TX-80 (TP-80), an eighty-column dot matrix printer, was released to the market and was mainly used as a system printer for the Commodore PET computer. After two years of further development, an improved model, the MX-80 (MP-80), was launched in October 1980.[8] It was soon advertised as the best selling printer in the United States.[10]

In July 1982, Shinshu Seiki officially named itself the Epson Corporation and launched the world's first handheld computer, the HX-20 (HC-20), and in May 1983, the world's first portable colour LCD TV was developed and launched by the company.[11]

In November 1985, Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd. and the Epson Corporation merged to form Seiko Epson Corporation.[12]

The company developed the Micro Piezo inkjet technology, which used a piezoelectric crystal in each nozzle and did not heat the ink at the print head while spraying it onto the page, and released the Epson MJ-500 inkjet cartridge for the Epson Stylus 800 printer in March 1993. Shortly after in 1994, Epson released the first 720 dpi colour inkjet printer, the Epson Stylus Color (P860A) utilizing the Micro Piezo head technology. Newer models of the Stylus series employed Epson's special DURABrite ink and used two hard drives (an HD 850 and an HD 860).[13]

Epson R2000 printer
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In 1994, Epson started to outsource sales representatives to help sell their products in retail stores in the United States. The same year, they started the Epson Weekend Warrior sales program. The purpose of the program was to help improve sales, improve retail sales reps' knowledge of Epson products, and to address Epson customer service in a retail environment. Reps were assigned on weekend shifts, typically around 12–20 hours a week. Epson started the Weekend Warrior program with TMG Marketing (now Mosaic Sales Solutions), and later with Keystone Marketing Inc, then returned to Mosaic, and switched again to Campaigners Inc. on June 24, 2007 after the Mosaic contract expired. The sales reps of Campaigners, Inc. are not outsourced; Epson hired rack jobbers to ensure retailers displayed products properly, freeing up its regular sales force to concentrate on profitable sales solutions to value-added resellers and system integrators, leaving "retail" to reps who did not require sales skills.

Epson R-D1 digital rangefinder camera

Personal computers

Epson entered the personal computer market in 1983 with the QX-10, a CP/M-compatible Z80 machine. By 1986, the company had shifted to the growing PC market with the Equity line. EPSON manufactured and sold NEC PC-9801 clones in Japan. Epson withdrew from the international PC market in 1996.[citation needed] The company still produces and sells PCs in Japan as of 2022.[14]

21st century

SureColor large format printer at Photokina, 2016

In June 2003, the company became public following their listing on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Since 2017, the company is a constituent of the Nikkei Stock Average index. Although Seiko Group Corporation (f/k/a K. Hattori, Hattori Seiko, and Seiko Holdings) and the key members of the Hattori family still hold approximately 10% of the outstanding shares of Seiko Epson, the company is managed and operated completely independently from Seiko Group.

Seiko Watch Corporation, a division of Seiko Group, produces Seiko timepieces in-house through its subsidiaries as well as delegates the manufacture of some of its high-end watches (Seiko Astron, Grand Seiko, Credor, etc) to Epson.[15] The company makes some of Seiko's highest-grade watches at the Micro Artist Studio inside its Shiojiri Plant in Shiojiri, Nagano.[16] Beside Seiko timepieces, Epson develops, designs, manufactures, markets, and sells watches under its own brands such as Trume, Orient,[17] and Orient Star.

In 2004, Epson introduced their R-D1 (the first digital rangefinder camera on the market), which supports the Leica M mount and Leica M39 mount lenses with an adapter ring. Because its sensor is smaller than that of the standard 35 mm film frame, lenses mounted on the R-D1 have a field of view 1.53 times as wide as that of the standard 35 mm camera. In 2006, the R-D1 was replaced by the R-D1s, a cheaper version with identical hardware. Epson has released a firmware patch to bring the R-D1 up to the full functionality of its successor, being the first digital camera manufacturer to make such an upgrade available for free.[citation needed]

In September 2012, Epson introduced a printer called the Expression Premium XP-800 Small-in-One, with the ability to print wirelessly.[18] The Expression brand name has since been used on various models of scanners. In the third quarter of 2012, Epson's global market share in the sale of printers, copiers and multifunction devices amounted to 15.20 percent.[19]

In September 2015, Epson debuted the ET-4550 printer, which enables the user to pour ink into separate inkwells from ink bottles instead of cartridges.[20]

Epson is also involved in the smartglasses market. Since 2016, the company has three different models: the Moverio BT-100, the Moverio BT-200, and the Moverio Pro BT-2000, the latter of which is an enterprise oriented, upgraded version of the BT-200 with stereoscopic cameras. The company also was the first to release consumer smartglasses with transparent optics, which were popular with drone pilots for providing a first-person view while still being able to see the drone in the sky.[citation needed]

Epson LX-300+ dot matrix printer with optional colour upgrade[21]

In 2016, Epson presented the large-format SureColor SC-P10000 ink printer; it prints with inks in ten colours on paper up to 44 inches (1.1 m) wide.[22]


Main article: ESC/P

To control its printers, Epson introduced a printer control language, the Epson Standard Code for Printers (or ESC/P). It became a de facto industry standard for controlling print formatting during the era of dot matrix printers, whose popularity was initially started by the Epson MX-80.[8]


Main article: Epson Robots

Epson Robots is the robotics design and manufacturing department of Epson. Seiko Epson produces some microcontrollers, such as the S1C63. In 1980, Epson started the production of robots.[23]

Ink cartridge controversies

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In July 2003, a Netherlands-based consumer association advised its 640,000 members to boycott Epson inkjet printers. The organisation alleged that Epson customers were unfairly charged for ink they could never use. Later that month, however, the group retracted its call for a nationwide boycott and issued a statement conceding that residual ink left in Epson cartridges was necessary for the printers to function properly.[24]

Epson designed ink to be left in the cartridges (having done so ever since the introduction of piezoelectric print heads) due to the way the capping mechanism worked. If the capping mechanism dries out, then the heads risk getting clogged, necessitating expensive repairs. The reason that the Dutch consumer association retracted their statement was that, as pointed out, Epson had made a statement regarding how many pages (at usually a 5% coverage of an A4 sheet of paper) each cartridge could sustain for printing.[citation needed]

Nonetheless, Epson America, Inc. settled a class action lawsuit brought before the Los Angeles Superior Court. It did not admit guilt, but agreed to refund $45 to anyone who purchased an Epson inkjet printer after April 8, 1999 (at least $20 of which must be used at Epson's e-Store).[25]

According to IDG News Service, Epson filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in February 2006 against 24 companies that manufactured, imported, or distributed Epson-compatible ink cartridges for resale in the U.S.[citation needed] On March 30, 2007, ITC judge Paul Luckern issued an initial determination that the cartridges in question did infringe upon Epson's patents.[26] He also recommended those companies and others to be barred from manufacturing, importing, or reselling Epson cartridges in the U.S., said Epson.[citation needed]

In 2015, it emerged that Epson printers reported cartridges to be empty when in fact up to 20% of their ink remains. As in 2003, the company responded:

The ink reporting and ink cartridges used in Epson's Stylus Pro 9900-series large format printer reports on ink levels and simultaneously protect the health of the printhead. During printhead maintenance or cleanings, if a cartridge doesn't have enough ink to complete the cleaning, a fuller cartridge must be used. However, users have the choice to swap out a cartridge that is reporting low levels for a fuller cartridge for the cleaning maintenance as needed, and then replace it with the original cartridge to use the remaining ink. The original cartridge does not need to be discarded.[27]

See also


  1. ^ "Company Outline | About | Epson".
  2. ^ a b "Annual Report 2022" (PDF). 2022-06-29. Retrieved 2022-07-13.
  3. ^ "Company History". Epson US. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  4. ^ "Head Office & Japanese Facilities". Seiko Epson. Retrieved on January 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "Company History | Epson US". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  6. ^ Epson at a Glance, Investor Relations, Epson
  7. ^ "Corporate Profile セイコーエプソン株式会社 会社案内 2021/2022" (PDF). (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-09-05.
  8. ^ a b c Kelly, Jan Seaman; Lindblom, Brian S. (2006). Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents (2nd ed.). Hoboken: CRC Press. p. 202. ISBN 9781420003765.
  9. ^ "Company History". Epson US. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Advert". InfoWorld. Vol. 5, no. 22. 30 May 1983.
  11. ^ "State of the Art". SPIN. Vol. 1, no. 3. July 1985.
  12. ^ "Corporate History: Timeline 1970-1999". Epson. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Epson Printers - Unrivaled in Quality". Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  14. ^ "パソコン".
  15. ^ "Wearables Innovation - Investor Relations - Epson". Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  16. ^ "Micro Artist Studio Watchmaker, Yoshifusa Nakazawa | Toki-no-Waza The Artisan of Time|SEIKO WATCH CORPORATION". Toki-no-Waza The Artisan of Time|SEIKO WATCH CORPORATION. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  17. ^ In 2009, the company became full owner of Orient Watch, one of the largest timepiece manufacturers in Japan. Orient Watch History Archived 2012-01-10 at the Wayback Machine, (in Japanese)
  18. ^ Porterfield, Deborah (September 29, 2012). "New products: earphones block noise and take calls". USA Today. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  19. ^ Print industry crisis Retrieved 17. January 2013.
  20. ^ Nadel, Brian (September 24, 2015). "Review: Epson EcoTank -- an inkjet printer without cartridges". Computerworld.
  21. ^ Service manual Epson LX-300+, 2000, page 25.
  22. ^ März 2016, Epson SureColor SC-P10000 schneller grossformatiger Fotodrucker (German), retrieved 21 November 2020.
  23. ^ Nick Holt (2008-11-01). "Driven to automation". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  24. ^ "Epson Faces Consumer Suits". PC World. 2003-10-24. Archived from the original on 2006-04-23. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  25. ^ "XO(R) Web Site Hosting". Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  26. ^ "Epson wins preliminary ruling against aftermarket cartridge manufacturers". Ars Technica. 9 April 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  27. ^ Zhang, Michael (11 September 2015). "This is How Much Ink the Epson 9900 Printer Wastes". PetaPixel. Retrieved 13 December 2016.