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ORIENT moved its production bases overseas from the 1980s. Nevertheless, the core of watchmaking was kept in the Tohoku region, northern part of Japan. The press technology at Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd., which was founded in 1986, (the present Akita Epson), was upgraded, and Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd. was placed in charge of manufacturing printer components, in addition to watches. We drew close to the frontlines of ORIENT’s watchmaking, which has continued to manufacture mechanical watches ever since its foundation.

ORIENT’s mother factory is Akita Epson (the former Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd.), which is located in the suburbs of Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture. In addition to watches, they also produce printer heads and other items.

Yuzawa City is located in the southern part of Akita Prefecture. Akita Epson’s headquarters is in its suburbs. The company’s predecessor is the former Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd.. Founded in 1986, Akita Epson now employs 1,000 workers as one of the leading enterprises in Akita Prefecture. In the past, ORIENT’s watches were produced at the Hino factory in Tokyo, but most of the production, centered on analog quartz watches, was subsequently relocated overseas. However, the center of production of mechanical watches was kept in Japan.

Masatoshi Endo was appointed as president of Akita Epson Corporation on December 1, 2016. Endo, who joined Orient Watch in 1982 as a die repairman, has been involved with the establishment of Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd. and management after his assumption of office as president. He has seen ORIENT’s manufacturing division over the years.

Endo says, “I have thought that die technologies are important ever since I joined Orient Watch, and we pursued greater precision to realize differentiation against other Japanese manufacturers and Chinese manufacturers. From the 1990s, we increased the precision of dies using ultra-precision processing technologies cultivated in the manufacturing of watch parts, and manufactured very difficult head assemblies, which are core printer parts, together with Epson engineers. We thought about what other work we could complete at Akita, and started making finished watches.”

Polishing work on the ORIENT STAR semi-skeleton movement. To make the balance wheel visible from the small window on the dial, the portion of the main plate visible from the small window in skeleton models is mirror finished. This is buffed manually by a craftsman. The success of Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd. was not only for ORIENT. As Endo explains, Akita Epson has refined the die manufacturing and preservation technologies required for the manufacturing of watch parts. Today, in addition to printer head parts manufacturing, Akita Epson manufactures and processes wearable devices (watches) and parts, ultra-high-precision parts, dies, jigs, and tools. This was made possible by the die processing technology cultivated by Akita Orient Seimitsu Co., Ltd.

Decorative work is being applied to mechanical movements on the shop floor of Akita Epson, where CNC machines are lined up. Once you pass through the floor with lines of machine tools which apply patterns such as circular grains and stripes onto main plates and bridges, you arrive the automated assembly line for movements. Akita Epson, which has been manufacturing Epson’s movements since the 1990s, also excels in the production of quartz movements. Compact production lines are a characteristic of Japanese manufacturers, and beyond that Akita Epson has also adopted a flexible production system.

While Akita Epson focuses on contemporary manufacturing methods, traditional watchmaking methods are maintained at ORIENT. This is symbolized by the parts factory in the Tohoku region. This plant has been manufacturing the main plates and bridges for ORIENT’s caliber 46 series movement ever since October 1974. The key is the hoop press machine. The factory manager says “This machine already existed 50 years ago. It is probably a machine that was used at ORIENT’s Hino plant.” I never expected to see so many presses for stamping out main plates and bridges at a Japanese watch factory. But then, Japanese watchmakers were able to provide high-quality products at a reasonable price by improving press technology. Endo proudly says, “It seems that any company can stamp out metal with a press, but this work cannot easily be imitated. It is only with solid hoop press maintenance that good movements can be produced.”

The perforated main plates and bridges are transported to a plating factory after burrs are removed with barrel polishers, and the jewels and pins are fitted. Because the processing is meticulous, the finish before plating is quite clean. The warping of main plates and bridges, which is typical of mass-produced movements is nowhere to be seen, and the burrs have been cleanly removed. It is no wonder that this movement can be used for high-class ORIENT STAR watches. The 10t press processes hoop materials which become materials for main plates, bridges, and other parts. The two-story top and bottom lines are combined as a single process to press the front and back of the hoop materials, which increases efficiency.

The factory manager says, “ORIENT STAR’s main plates are polished manually by craftsmen, one by one.” Craftsmen face the buffing machines and carefully mirror finish the main plates. The reason why the buffing is so beautiful is that the surfaces are polished for uniformity after the main plates are stamped out by the press.

With the merger of Orient Watch into Epson, it became possible to inherit watchmaking knowhow while introducing Epson’s technology and capital strengths, improving both productivity and quality. According to Endo, “The Japanese watch industry is definitely not losing out to the Swiss. We will continue to not only upgrade technology but also propose and implement manufacturing that is attractive to customers.”

*Reprinted from Chronos Japan Edition March 2020



You really have to love all things mechanical and enjoy the quality's of any watch , we are saving history and adding stories that others have written, by doing so , history is saved, and giving credit and links out , is the best way to save it. Many watch compaines have folded over the years and so did important history, we are not merely copying what has been written, but making sure it is never lost to the sands of time-
Box Car Charlie


Masatoshi Endo took office as the President of Akita Epson Corporation on December 1, 2016. Endo, who was previously in charge of ORIENT’s manufacturing division, is also a staunch collector of ORIENT watches

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Orient Watches History 

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ACE Electric Train Co.

Alexander/AMRACO

All-Nation Lines

American Flyer

AMT/Auburn

American Models

Aristo-Craft

Arnold

Athearn

Atlas

Bachmann

Bassett-Lowke

Beggs

Biaggi/GEM

Bing

Bond's

Boucher

Bowman Models

Bowser Mfg.

George W. Brown

Jerry Brown Trains

KBN/Karl Bub

Buddy L

Buffalo Model Company

Georges Carette

Carlisle & Finch

Classic Model Corp.

Classic Model Trains

James Cohen

Crown Model Products

John A. Daniel Railways

Dapol

Darstaed

DeHanes Trains

Johann Distler

Ditmar

Doggenweiler

Doll et Cie.

Dorfan

Edobaud

Elettren

Elektoy

ETS

Exley

Fandor

Fleischmann

Red Forney Trains

Frank's Roundhouse

Fulgurex Precision Models

Jehu Garlick

General Models Corp.

General Trains Inc.

Glenn Toy Trains

Gold Standard Engineering

Hafner

HAG Model Railways

J. E. Harmon Mfg.

Hess

Hoge

Hornby

Howard

Issmayer

Icken Model Company

Ives

JAD Railway Line

Jep

Jouef

Joy Line

K-Line

Henry Katz & Co.

Kemtron/U.S. Hobbies Inc.

Knapp Electric

Kris

Kusan-Auburn

Lee Lines

Leeds Model Company

LGB

Liberty Lines

Life Like

Liliput

Lima

Lionel

Lobaugh

LR/Le Rapide Trains

Marescot Fournereau

Märklin

Marx

Pierre Maurer

McCoy

Millbro

Model Engineering Works

Moskobel

MTH

Newbraugh Brothers

Payá

Penn Line

Pittman

Ernst Plank

Pride Lines, Ltd.

Rich-Art

Rivarossi

Roberts' Lines

Robilt Trains

Roco

Rokal

Charles Rossignol CR

Scale-Craft

Schöenner

Schuco

Seki/Sakai

Smith & White

J. & E. Stevens

Stevens & Brown

Stevens Model Dockyard

Sunset Models/3rd Rail

Thomas Industries

Thorley Hoople

Tri-ang

Trix/Trix Express

Tyco/Mantua

Unique Art

USA Trains

U.S.T.T.C.

Varney

Varney & Sirus Trains

Vollon et Brun/VB

Voltamp

Walthers

Weaver

Weeden

Western Coil & Elec.

Wilkins

Williams

Wrenn

A Accurist


ADINA Watches

Adriatica

Advolat

A.L.B Atelier Le Brézéguet

Alba

Alexandre Christie

American Waltham Watch Company

Andersen Geneve

Anonimo (watch)

anOrdain

Ansonia

Apple Inc.

Aquastar

Aragon

Armand Nicolet

Armani Exchange

Armitron

John Arnold

Hajime Asaoka

ASUAG

Audemars Piguet

Alpina



Ateliers deMonaco

B

Backes & Strauss

B-UHR



Bausele

Baume et Mercier

Ball Watch Company

Webb C. Ball

Bedat & Co

Beijing Watch Factory

Bell & Ross

Benetton Group

Benrus

BOLDR Supply Co

Jochen Benzinger

Binda Group

Blancpain

Blumarine

Ernest Borel

Bovet Fleurier

Edouard Bovet

Bozeman

Abraham-Louis Breguet

Breguet

Breil

Breitling

Bremont Watch Company

Gustav Bruemmer

Buccellati

Bulgari

Bulova

Carl F. Bucherer

Cartier SA

Casio

Cecil Purnell

Catorex

Century Time Gems Ltd

Certina

Chanel

Charles Jourdan

Charriol

Konstantin Chaykin

Chopard

Christian Jacques

Christopher Ward

Chronoswiss

Citizen

Ck Calvin Klein

Concord watch

Corum

Curtis Australia

Cyma Watches

Czapek & Cie

Damiani

Dan Henry Watches

Daniel Wellington

George Daniels

Edward John Dent

Dior

D. Dornblüth & Sohn

Doxa S.A.

Dreffa

Dubey Schaldenbrand

Roger Dubuis Dueber-Hampden E Thomas Earnshaw Ebel Eberhard & Co. Edox Etienne Aigner Elgin National Watch Company Emporio Armani Epos Endura Louis Erard ETA SA Esprit Eterna F Fastrack A. Favre & Fils Carlo Ferrara Festina Favre-Leuba Fendi Fila Fortis Uhren Frédérique Constant Fossil, Inc. Folli Follie Charles Frodsham French Connection Karsten Frässdorf Fitbit Franck Muller G Gallet & Co. Garmin Léon Gallet Romain Gauthier General Watch Co Louis George Giordano Girard-Perregaux Glashütte Original Glycine Watch SA George Graham Greubel Forsey Moritz Grossmann Grovana Watch Gruen Watch Co. Guess Watches Co. H Halda Watch Company Vianney Halter Hamilton Watch Company Hangzhou Watch Company Hanhart Hanowa John Harrison Hermès HMT Limited E. Howard & Co. Huawei Hublot Hugo Boss I Ikepod Illinois Watch Company Ingersoll Watch Company International Watch Company Invicta Watch Group J Jaeger-LeCoultre Pierre Jaquet-Droz Georg Jensen Jacob & Co Jean Perret F.P. Journe Jowissa Junghans Jules Jurgensen Jorg Gray Jaipur Watch Company K Kienzle Kudoke Kurono Tokyo Kikuchi Nakagawa L Lacoste Laco Uhrenmanufaktur Lancashire Watch Company Lang & Heyne A. Lange & Söhne Jean Lassale Leijona watch Lemania Levi Strauss & Co. Lilienthal Berlin Limit Linde Werdelin Lip Peter Litherland Locman Longines Louis Erard Louis Moinet Louis Vuitton Luch Luminox M Maitres du Temps Manhattan Watch Company Manistee Watch Manufacture royale Marc Ecko Mathey-Tissot Maurice Lacroix MB&F MeisterSinger Melbourne Watch Company Mido Molnija Ming Mondaine Louis Moinet Montblanc Montegrappa Morellato Group Moschino H. Moser & Cie Mossimo Movado Franck Muller N Newgate Watches Nivada Nixon Watches Nomos Glashütte Nostal Nike Inc. O Oakley Watches Ollech & Wajs Omega SA Orex Orient Oris O bag P Panerai Parmigiani Fleurier Parnis Watches Antoni Patek Patek Philippe & Co. Perrelet Pequignet Petrodvorets Watch Factory Philip Zepter Piaget SA Pierre De Roche Pitzmann Watches Adrien Philippe Philip Watch Henry Pitkin Pobeda (Russian: Победа, Victory) Poljot Polo Ralph Lauren Prada Pulsar Polic PRIM R Ritzy Group Rado Raketa (Russian: Ракета, Rocket) David Ramsay Razer Inc. Raymond Weil Regina Reguladora Ressence Revue Thommen Richard Mille Roamer Rodania Rolex Rostam Romago Ronda AG Rotary Watches Daniel Roth S Samsung Galaxy Watch Sandoz watches Schwarz Etienne Sea-Gull Sector Seiko Seiko Epson Seiko Instruments Seikosha Sekonda Shinola Detroit Shanghai Watch Co. Shoreham Watches Sinn SSIH (previous holding company, now integrated into Swatch Group) Skagen Designs Alexander Shorokhoff Slava watches Slow watch Roger W. Smith SMH (short for Société de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie previous name of the company issued from the merger of ASUAG & SSIH, now Swatch Group) Bruno Söhnle Solvil et Titus Speake-Marin Squale Star Watch Case Company Stauer Stepan Sarpaneva Stowa Andreas Strehler Stührling STUNIII Suunto Swatch Group T TAG Heuer Technos Seth Thomas Thomas Tompion Tianjin Sea-Gull Tiffany & Co Timex Group Tissot Titan Industries Tommy Hilfiger Tourneau ToyWatch Traska Rashid Tsoroev Tudor Tutima TW Steel Titoni Tusal U Ulysse Nardin Universal Genève Urwerk V Vacheron Constantin Vacuum Chronometer Corporation Valjoux Versus (Versace) Victorinox Visconti Vostok watches W Waltham International SA Waltham Watch Company Christopher Ward Wenger Westclox WeWOOD West End Watch Co Wittnauer Wyler Joseph Windmills Harry Winston X Xezo Y Yema (watch) Z Zenith Zeno-Watch Basel Zetner Zodiac Watches Zero West