The Seiko Brightz World Time watch is a great combination of technology and class. It has all the style of the Brightz line of timepieces, and all the convenience of atomic solar technology (which means you never have to get the battery changed, and you never have to set it). If you’re a frequent traveler, there’s plenty more to like about the Seiko Brightz World Time since it can easily be set to one of 24 time zones, and it will calibrate with atomic clocks in the US, Japan, and in Europe (details below).
The first thing you will notice about the Seiko Brightz World Time is its weight, or rather, the lack there of. The World Time is definitely one of the lightest watches I own, which initially makes it feel cheap, though I assure you it is not. The World Time is so light because the entire case and bracelet are made of polished titanium, which means it is as strong as it light. The crystal is highly scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire.
Let’s get down to the features of the Seiko Brightz World Time:
- Atomic timekeeping. The Seiko Brightz World Time is capable of receiving time calibration signals from atomic clocks in Japan (both atomic clocks there), Germany, and the US. It will attempt to calibrate three times per day, and can be forced to calibrate manually.
- Reception indicator. During time calibration, the watch will use the second hand to indicate the strength of the time calibration signal. The ten o’clock position indicates a strong signal, and the eight o’clock position indicates a weak signal. There is a tiny “H” (for high) and “L” (for low) on the dial at the ten and eight o’clock positions respectively as a reminder of which is which.
- Reception result indicator. Hit the top right button and the second hand will indicate whether the watch’s last calibration attempt was successful. The two o’clock position means yes, and the four o’clock position means no. There is a tiny “Y” and “N” on the dial to help you keep straight which is which. If calibration was successful, the watch then tells you which signal it received (either JJY for Japan, DCF77 for Germany, or WWVB for the US).
- Solar powered. A solar cell under the dial recharges the watch’s battery using any form of light. Once fully charged, the battery will have enough juice to power the watch for about six months.
- Automatic power saving function. If you have a ton of watches like me, it’s possible your watch might not see the light of day for days, weeks, or even months. Fortunately, the watch has two power saving modes to make sure it remains sufficiently charged. The first mode kicks in after 72 hours of no light. The watch’s hands will stop moving, but the watch will continue to receive time calibration signals. Eventually the watch will enter a secondary power saving mode in which it will no longer attempt to calibrate. In both cases, assuming you expose the watch to light before the battery is completely depleted, the hands will automatically align themselves to the correct time.
- Low power indicator. The second hand will move at different intervals to indicate different levels of energy depletion. As long as it’s moving at one second intervals, you have nothing to worry about. If it starts moving at two or five second intervals, you should probably take a walk around the block and get some sun. The solar cell on this watch is so efficient, however, that unless you live at the north pole, your watch will get plenty of light and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
- Automatic calendar. The watch automatically accounts for months with different numbers of days in them.
- World time (hence the name). The Seiko Brightz World Time can be easily configured to show the time in any one of 24 different time zones. Just hold down the lower right-hand button for 3 seconds until the second hand points to the current time zone (the bezel of the watch contains the names of 24 cities around the world), then use the two buttons to move the second hand to the desired time zone. The watch will automatically reset the date and time.
- Automatic hand adjustment. Now this is a cool feature. If, for any reason, the watch’s hands get out of whack (shock or high levels of magnetism can sometimes cause this to happen), the Seiko Brightz World Time will automatically realign then. How? The watch knows what time it is (obviously), and the watch knows where its hands are. If the two don’t match, it will make the necessary adjustments to make sure they do. The position of the second hand is checked every minute, and the positions of the hour and minute hands are checked every 12 hours.
- Screw-down crown. You shouldn’t have to use the crown much (if ever), but if you ever need to set the watch manually, you can. Unscrew the crown and pull it out to the second click to put the watch into manual time set mode, then use the top and bottom buttons to adjust the time. Pulling the crown out to the first click allows you to set the date manually.
- Bright titanium case and bracelet.
- Synthetic sapphire crystal.
- Water-resistent to 10 ATM, 100 meters, or about 330 feet.
- Luminescent hour and minute hands.
- Without atomic time calibration, accuracy of ±15 seconds per month.
Although I’m a very big fan of this watch, there are two things about the Seiko Brightz World Time that I don’t like:
- It doesn’t automatically adjust for daylight savings. To get it to compensate for DST, you actually have to change the watch’s time zone. I would much rather that watch manage this process for me automatically.
- It doesn’t receive the time calibration radio signal as well as I would like. Although I can get it calibrate from where I live (in San Francisco), it doesn’t calibrate as easily as my Casio atomic watches. I’m guessing that the titanium case interferes slightly with the signal before it reaches the watch’s antenna while the plastic cases of the Casio atomic watches I have are much easier for the signal to penetrate.
But I don’t want to end this review on a negative note because the Seiko Brightz World Time is really an excellent watch. Although it doesn’t calibrate as easily as my Casio atomic watches, it calibrates enough that it is never more than a very tiny fraction of a second off. In fact, in terms of raw accuracy (without atomic calibration), the Seiko seems much more accurate than any Casio I have. And it’s a Brightz, so of course, it looks elegant and unique.
The Seiko Brightz World Time goes for about $850. It is not available in the US at this time, but if you’re interested in purchasing one, email me, and I’ll put you in touch with a good source.
By Christian Cantrell