I'm not an Epson user, so I do not claim a definitive answer, but your experience is fairly typical.
MS advises hardware manufacturers of the methods needed to write drivers for their new OS. Manufacturers write 'basic' drivers for their older hardware, and supply them to MS for inclusion on the OS CD.
Manufacturers then concentrate on the 'full' drivers for their forthcoming products. Many people install the 'supplied' drivers, miss a feature of the previous driver (e.g. ink-level monitoring), and a percentage of them buy a new printer in order to obtain the extra functionality of the up-to-date drivers.
I believe that Epson are amongst the worst for bringing out new drivers for older hardware, but they are by no means alone.
Having said all that, if you go to epson.co.uk, click on the 'Download Library' link, and enter the details of your printer into the drop-down box, the Epson Status Monitor is offered as a download, alongside the actual 680 printer driver.
Worth a try, if you haven't already done so.