The Seiko Aston is a high-tech wristwatch with a perpetual calendar. Thanks to GPS reception and solar power, it always shows the correct time regardless of location. Top models of this Japanese watch have a chronograph or dual-time complication.
In 2012, Seiko presented the Astron GPS Solar — the first wristwatch in the world with solar power and a GPS receiver. More than 40 years after the introduction of the first quartz wristwatch, the Japanese watch manufacturer raised the bar once more. The Seiko Astron GPS Solar receives GPS signals from multiple satellites and sets itself to the current local time via the miniaturized ring antenna under the bezel. This technology takes 39 or 40 time zones into account, depending on the model and caliber. The timepiece deviates only one second in 100,000 years since it resets itself once a day. Such accuracy will never be reached in a mechanical watch. This quartz watch's perpetual calendar doesn't require correction until February 28, 2100. That year will not be a leap year, despite one being due. The sporty men's watches use solar power to end the environmentally unfriendly battery usage of the past.
The Seiko Astron is also available with an outsize date, a dual-time, or a chronograph complication. The latter allows for measurement of up to six hours in increments of a fifth of a second. Highlights of the Astron collection include limited editions, such as the 2,500-piece Seiko Astron Novak Djokovic Limited Edition with reference number SSE022J1. Djokovic wore this watch during the Wimbledon 2015 final, where he defeated Rolex ambassador and repeat Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer. You can buy a wristwatch from this edition in fine condition for around 1,700 euros.
Prices for watches in the Seiko Astron collection range from almost 1,000 euros for pre-owned pieces up to 3,000 euros for mint condition, high-end watches designed by the Italian industrial designer Giorgio Giugiaro. Giugiaro is known for his many design classics, including the VW Golf I, the Lotus Esprit, and Nikon F4 SLR camera. The Astron GPS Solar Chronograph Giugiaro Design Limited Edition with the reference number SSE121J1 is limited to 3,000 pieces.
|Quartz Astron, Ref. S23617J1||3,500 euros||Date|
|Astron GPS Solar Chronograph Giugiaro Design Limited Edition, Ref. SSE121J1||3,000 euros||Chronograph|
|Astron GPS Solar Chronograph Limited Edition, Ref. SSE001||2,800 euros||Chronograph|
|Astron GPS Solar Chronograph, Ref. SSE003J1||1,600 euros||Chronograph|
|Astron GPS Solar Dual Time, SSE077J1||1,300 euros||Dual-time|
The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph runs as accurately as an atomic clock thanks to its GPS receiver and also features a practical chronograph complication. This model was added to the Astron collection in 2014, and is the first solar watch with GPS and a stopwatch complication in the world. Similar to its sister models, the watch sets itself automatically to the local time with the press of the button. Seiko reduced the size of the ring antenna, making this chronograph's case 30% smaller than older Astron watches. The watch is powered by the 8X32 caliber, has a diameter of 45 mm, and is 13.5 mm thick.
A highlight of this collection is the Astron Limited Edition with reference number SSE001. It is a titanium watch with a white dial and ceramic bezel. This high-tech watch is limited to 7,000 pieces and also features a bracelet made of titanium and ceramic. You can find pre-owned watches with reference number SSE001 for around 2,300 euros or 2,800 for those in mint condition. The standard version of this chronograph can be found under reference number SSE003J1 and is also made of titanium. However, it has a black dial and a bracelet made entirely of titanium. You can buy an unworn SSE003J1 starting at 1,600 euros.
If you prefer a blue dial and blue ceramic bezel, you should take a look at the reference number SSE005J1. New watches cost around 1,800 euros. The version with reference number SSE007J1 is geared toward lovers of bi-color watches. Its crown, push-pieces, hands, and hour markings are gold plated. The price for mint-condition watches starts around 2,400 euros.
Business people and world travelers know the value of the dual-time complication. With it, you can always keep track of two time zones: the current local time and the time at home, for example. The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual Time is one of the most advanced Dual-Time watches. This luxury watch is available in many varieties – from the classic titanium watch to a gold-plated, stainless steel version. One highlight is the Seiko Astron HondaJet Limited Edition introduced in 2017 under reference number SBXB133. Seiko designed it based on Honda's jetliner HA-420. Since the jet is meant for business travelers, this dual-time watch is geared toward managers and other decision-makers who are often on the road. You can purchase a SBXB133 in mint condition for around 2,400 euros.
The central hands of the Astron GPS Solar Dual Time show the local time, as is the case for most watches with a second timezone. The time at home is displayed on a subdial at the 6 o'clock position. Another subdial above the home time display shows you whether it's day or nighttime back home. Seiko placed the day in a semi-circular display near 2 and 3 o'clock. The date is at the 4 o'clock position.
A rather unusual, crescent-shaped display can be found near 9 and 10 o'clock. It has various functions and is therefore called a "multi-indicator." On the lower end of the crescent, marked with the acronym DST (Daylight Saving Time), you can see whether the watch is displaying daylight saving time or standard time. There is also a bar that indicates how much charge the watch has. Above that is the flight mode display, which is meant to be used during air travel. The last indicator is on the upper half of the dial and displays the reception control when the watch is connected with satellites for setting the time. A new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual Time with reference number SSE077J1 costs at least 1,300 euros.
Seiko presented the first watch model made in cooperation with the Italian designer Giorgio Giugiaro in 1983. It was also the first quartz chronograph with an analog time display. Today, this extravagantly-designed timepiece is one of the most coveted collector's watches amongst Seiko followers.
The current Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph Giugiaro Design Limited Edition with reference number SSE121J1 is inspired by the 1983 model, though the design is a bit sportier. The tachymeter on the bezel used to calculate speed shows that this chronograph is geared toward race drivers and racing fans. Red and green color accents on the black dial and case also highlight its sporty look. The case and bracelet are made of titanium and are especially resilient thanks to their black hard-coating. Similar to other Astron chronographs, you can measure periods of time up to six hours with this limited edition. The limited run of 3,000 watches is priced around 3,000 euros when new.
Seiko made a long-lasting impact on the watchmaking world with the first Quartz Astron in 1969. The manufacturer brought the first wristwatch with a quartz movement to the market as a very limited edition just in time for Christmas after ten years of development. Even back then Seiko was in the position of producing almost all of their luxury watch components in-house. This depth of production still sets Seiko apart from most Swiss watch manufacturers today, as Switzerland has an established watch industry with highly-specialized component makers. Back in 1969, a watch from a total run of 100 watches cost 450,000 yen, which was the price of a mid-class car at the time.
Nearly 40 years later, Seiko released a new version of the Quartz Astron. This special limited edition, which was limited to 200 pieces, is 3.1 mm thick and has a diameter of 41 mm. The case is made of so-called High-Intensity Titanium and comes with a silicon or crocodile leather band. The most important part of the quartz watch with reference number S23417J1 is the caliber 9F62 with date display. Seiko only used the highest-quality quartz crystals in this movement to guarantee the best precision, even when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. For this reason, it only deviates a maximum of around 10 seconds per year. In comparison, standard quartz watches deviate between 10 to 30 seconds per month. If you take a closer look at the hands on a Quartz Astron, you will notice that the second hand points exactly at the individual markings. This is made possible by the so-called "Backlash Auto Adjustment System." An additional special feature is the instantaneous date change at midnight that happens in two thousandths of a second.
The list price for the Quartz Astron ref. S23617J1 was 4,300 euros at its release. Today, you can buy this luxury quartz watch in mint condition for around 3,500 euros.