Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Watch Review

Seiko Astron Watch GPS Solar Dual Time SSE055J1

by Angus Davies, www.escapementmagazine.com

 

The Seiko Astron was the ‘world’s first GPS solar watch’, released in 2012. Interestingly its name was taken from the world’s first quartz watch, released by the famous Japanese watch company in 1969. 

 

This is a timepiece ideally suited to the intrepid globetrotter. It is powered merely by the light permeating apertures on the dial. A minimum of four satellites ascertain the precise location of the wearer and automatically adjust to the correct local time. The watch is incredibly accurate as the GPS satellites contain atomic clocks, the most accurate of timekeepers. 

 

The initial Astron GPS Solar contained the calibre 7X. However, Japan is famed for its business culture of ‘kaizen’, ‘continuous improvement’, and therefore it was inevitable that further enhancements would follow. 

 

In 2014, the second generation calibre, the 8X, was released. This newer calibre was more energy efficient, consuming only 60% of the power of its predecessor. The size of the ring shaped antenna was reduced, allowing Seiko to offer smaller case options. Indeed, the case depth of Astron models was significantly reduced with the advent of the calibre 8X. 

 

Other notable improvements included a smaller rechargeable battery and the need for only half of the light penetration of the former model to power the timepiece.

Now the journey continues with a new version of the Astron GPS Solar, the new Dual-Time. This is the latest model to join the Astron collection and not only displays the local time, but the home time on a subdial, positioned above 6 o’clock. Other indications include a retrograde day display, AM/PM indicator and date display. 

 

Finally, Seiko has packaged all of this mind-blowing ingenuity into a steel case, sporting a rose gold-coloured coating and paired with a ceramic bezel.