Out of the Office: Epson Enters GPS Watch Market

epson, runsense, gps watch, running watch

Long associated with printers and projectors, Epson moved into the fitness sector earlier this year, using its own technology in products designed for everyday athletes and elites alike.

“We’ve been making GPS chips for over 20 years,” Randy Bergstedt, manager of Epson Active, says. “We’ve been working on these technologies and providing tech to other companies to use in their products. A big step for us is to put them into the Epson brand name.”

Epson’s GPS-enabled running watch, Runsense, launched in Japan two years ago but became available to American consumers for the first time in June. The watch, worn most famously by 2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Kefleizighi, comes in three different models, all of which feature GPS tracking and Smart Stride, which tracks the user’s strides per minute and stride length from the wrist, eliminating the need for a foot pod. The high-end model, the SF-810, also includes built-in heart rate monitoring from the wrist, while the SF-510 and SF-710 can track heart rate using an optional chest strap.

While GPS usage can drain a watch’s battery, Runsense watches last 20-30 hours on a single charge, even while using GPS and tracking the user’s heart rate.

“When someone really wants one of these fully featured running watches that include heart rate, stride and GPS, I think it comes down to accuracy and battery life,” Bergstedt says. “Those are two things we do really well. The reason we do all those things well is we do all of our development ourselves. GPS chips, motion sensors, battery: all done by us.”

Users can track their data through the Run Connect app, available for Apple and Android devices, and online using the Runsense View Portal. The watch also integrates to third party apps, such as Strava, Runkeeper and MapMyRun.

“For runners involved in challenges or other things with those software platforms, we like to say we play well with others and easily transmit data,” Bergstedt says.

Epson hopes to have watches available in running specialty stores soon. You can currently purchase the watch and learn more about its features at epson.com.