The last time Seiko known as a brand new watch “Astron,” the long run of timekeeping modified forever. Launched on Christmas, 1969, the first Seiko Astron watch was the world’s first commercially offered quartz wrist watch. At the time, Seiko aforesaid of the Astron, “Someday, all watches will be created this way.” Today, it’s saying identical factor concerning the new Astron. Is Seiko right? Let’s verify. If you have not read about it, the Astron is an analog, solar-powered watch that receives GPS satellite signals and adjusts to the precise time anyplace on Earth. It recognizes all thirty-nine time zones, besting the highest mechanical watches, which might show thirty seven, with a manual reset. The Astron covers the world by initial determining its location employing GPS, then examination that data with an aboard database that divides the Earth’s surface into 1,000,000 squares, every of that is appointed to a specific time zone. that’s something no different watch can do.
The Seiko Astron differs from watches that receive terrestrial radio signals from atomic clocks. called RC (radio-controlled) watches receive signals once they are inside vary of stations in the u. s., Japan, the uk, European nation and China, in order that they don’t provide international coverage. The Astron works anywhere, even within the middle of an ocean or desert, in Antarctica, or on a Tibetan mountaintop. Seiko Astron watches also mechanically recognizes which time zone they’re in, while RC watches don’t.
If you like to set your watch to your destination time once you board the plane, Seiko Astron watches also can be reset to a brand new time zone manually and placed in airplane mode make the GPS receiver off. Adjusting for daylight-saving time is another manual operation. The Astron knows its location, however it doesn’t recognize the laws governing DST in all locations. A press of a button turns DST on and the DST setting is displayed on the indicator at nine o’clock.
On the Seiko Astron watch we tested, the blue Lumibrite on the hour markers was lumpy and irregular. different Astrons we’ve seen exhibit identical flaw. although it’s visible only on close examination, for a few owners, close examination may be a daily ritual, and once the eye finds a flaw, it becomes difficult to ignore. The Lumibrite at the information of the hour and minutes hands was smooth. The seconds hand has no bright material. in keeping with Seiko, Lumibrite charges quick and lasts long. In our test, we exposed the Lumibrite to direct daylight for half-hour to visualize how long it might last on a full charge. once its tanning session, the Astron was sealed away from the sunshine. we checked it hourly for the first twelve hours. then much sun, several watches would light up like a fireworks display. The Astron didn’t. however what it lacked in lumens, it made up for in stamina. Indeed, the Lumibrite lasted a full eighteen hours.
During the first 3 hours of our test, the time may well be read simply in the dark. The glow was enough, but not spectacular. after 3 hours, reading the time needed permitting our eyes to regulate to the darkness for a moment . That was because of reduced bright output, and the fact that the tiny amount of bright material on the tips of the hands makes them difficult to distinguish without a close look. after eighteen hours in the dark, the Astron may still be read, although just barely. Our test watch had a stainless-steel case with a polished finish interrupted only by a satin end applied on top of the lugs. All Seiko Astron models have ceramic bezels as a result of the material improves signal reception compared with steel. The solid caseback screws in, and the inscription on the caseback indicates 10-bar, or 100-meter, water resistance.
At the end of the day, the Astron is probably going to polarize enthusiasts. Some can assume the GPS “middle of nowhere” practicality is cool, and others won’t. Some might consider it a gimmick, or a gadget watch, and to those, the price, $2,300, are going to be too steep. If you appreciate the engineering power needed to form an ultra-low-energy GPS receiver for the wrist, or if you wish to have the first international GPS time-zone watch, or if you simply wish to be ready to count the GPS satellites overhead, the Astron could also be an appealing package. The Seiko Astron’s quality is actually growing. In Jan 2013, tennis champ Novak Djokovic, so far an endorser of the celebrated Swiss watch brand, Audemars Piguet, switched his wrist loyalty from Switzerland to Japan, signing on as a worldwide “brand ambassador” for Seiko and receiving the gift of a brand new Seiko Astron GPS solar watch from Seiko president Shinji Hattori on the eve of the 2014 Australian Open. Seiko has since released new iterations of the Astron, as well as a version with a chronograph.