The Ultimate History Of Orient Watch


Orient Watch

The original Orient Watch factory opened in Japan in 1950. Founded in 1950, it was acquired by Epson in 2009 and became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 2017.

In 1901, in Ueno, Taito, Tokyo, Japan, Shogoro Yoshida started a wholesale shop called “Yoshida Watch Shop,” which would later become the foundation of what would become Orient Watch Company. The Yoshida Watch Shop, which specialized in importing pocket watches, was quite profitable. Yoshida started making gold watch casings as part of his growing company in 1912. The first products of what would become Toyo Tokei Manufacturing were table clocks and gauges, and the company was founded in 1920. Toyo Tokei Manufacturing didn’t begin making timepieces for wrists until 1934. The Hino manufacturing plant was established in 1936 in the Tokyo neighborhood of Hino. Toyo Tokei Manufacturing had great success at the Hino plant for a number of years. However, the weak Japanese economy that followed WWII forced the company to close in 1949.

Yoshida’s wristwatch manufacturing business was revived in 1950 as the Tama Keiki Company, after the demise of Toyo Tokei Manufacturing. The Hino plant has continued to produce timepieces for Tama Keiki Co. In 1951, Tama Keiki Co. rebranded as the Orient Watch Company, Limited (Oriento Tokei Kabushikigaisha), the same year the first Orient Star was released. After signing a trade memorandum with China in 1955, Orient Watch was able to increase its international profile. Retail sales of the Royal Orient began in 1960. Among the other notable watches produced by the business are the “Dynamic” in 1956, the “Grand Prix 100” in 1964, the “Fineness” (the thinnest automatic wristwatch with day and date calendar function at the time) in 1967, and the “Tenbeat” in 1970.

In 2003, in the city of Ugo, Ogachi, Akita, Japan, the Orient Technical Center (OTC) was founded, and the production of high-end watches there commenced. The Royal Orient watch collection debuted the high-precision caliber 88700 movements in 2004. The Orient Star Retro-Future line debuted in 2005. To mark its six decades in business, Orient Watch Co. released a special edition timepiece in 2010. Because of competition from Grand Seiko and Credor, the Seiko group decided to retire the Royal Orient series in 2016 or thereabouts. In 2009, Epson’s MEMS technology was incorporated into high-end Seiko watches, and in 2019, the Orient Star skeleton watch was released to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Orient Star line. The Seiko Group, which includes Seiko Epson as one of its three core companies, acquired 52% of the company in 2001. In 2009, Epson acquired 100% of Orient Watch and turned it into a completely owned subsidiary. The company is currently inactive after selling off its assets to Epson. The Orient watches are manufactured by Akita Epson Corporation and marketed by Epson Sales Japan Corporation.

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