The Swiss aren’t the only ones launching new watches right now, Japanese super brand Seiko has announced a new GPS enabled watch called The Astron. Seiko devotees will note that the Astron is the same name given by Seiko to the first quartz watch ever made, circa 1969. The new Astron is definitely a technological flagship for Seiko as it features both GPS and solar charging. The Astron’s 7×52 quartz caliber will connect to no less than four GPS satellites and will both sync the time AND correct the timezone for your current location. Seiko says the Astron knows all 39 of the world’s timezones and can, at the press of a button, sync the time (takes ~6 seconds) and the current timezone based on location data from the Astron’s GPS connection (this takes ~30 seconds). There is no delicate way to put this, the Astron looks freaking amazing – see for yourself:
- 47 x 16.5 mm case
- High intensity titanium or stainless steel options
- Titanium model weighs only 135g
- Solar powered, no battery changes
- Perpetual calendar (accurate to February 2100)
- Dual time sub-dial
- Ceramic bezels (standard on all models)
- Sapphire crystal with Seiko’s own AR coating
- Non-synced accuracy of +/- 15s per month
- Titanium bracelet or silicone strap
- 100m Water resistant (330 ft, 10 bar)
- Priced from ¥152 250 – ¥210 000 (~$1880 – 2600 USD)
That is a complete feature set for Seiko’s first step into the GPS ring and pricing and practicality seem to be greatly improved over the Citizen Satellite Wave (990 unit limited edition, $3800 USD). The Astron looks good too, like an upgraded Casio Oceanus and we really like that the styling is relatively reserved and still offers a second timezone display (essential feature on a travelers watch). With four models offering high intensity titanium or stainless steel, “hard black” coatings (dlc?) and ceramic bezels, Seiko has designed a watch that will be bought and worn. See their press release here.
The convenience to a frequent traveler cannot be overstated, get off of the plane anywhere in the world and press a button and the time updates to reflect your current location and synchronizes with a correct time source for split-second accuracy. Given enough time, it’s not unrealistic to think that satellite calibration will be the next Eco-drive, a practical and everyday feature found in $50 department store watches. Until that time comes, we can all drool over the very appealing Seiko Astron (video below) and wait for its release in autumn of this year.