The Seiko Astron GPS Solar ($2,115) is billed as a World’s First: a watch that recognizes all 39 current world time zones by tapping into the global network of GPS satellites for location and time. Presumably, if you’re standing at the corner of Dillingham and Front in Columbus, Georgia and walk across the Dillingham Street bridge to the Phenix City Amphitheater in Phenix City, Alabama, the hands will shift to an hour earlier because you crossed the river and changed time zones (although Seiko offers caveats if you’re near a time zone boundary). Hope you didn’t miss the show.
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The Astron is being released in new form as a celebration of Seiko’s 100 years of watchmaking; indeed, there is a 5,000-piece Limited Edition black titanium version available, in tribute to Seiko’s founder, Kintaro Hattori. The 47mm case sports a gold crown, pushers (context-sensitive to the function you’re accessing at the moment), and hands, along with gold lettering in select places on the bezel and dial, completed by both a crocodile strap and titanium bracelet. (The non-limited-edition versions tout either stainless steel or titanium with gold, blue, white, slate or orange accents.) This is all rounded out with 10-bar water resistance and a sapphire crystal treated with Seiko’s proprietary Super-Clear coating.
For such a high-tech world timer, the Astron is remarkably uncluttered. There’s a time zone chapter ring on the bezel, and adjacent to that, a ring indicating the time difference between the various time zones and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). The Astron takes light (sunlight, office lights, any light, really) in through the dial and converts it to power reserve. A full tank will last six months — up to two years with the Power Save function activated. There’s a 24-hour sub-dial at 6:00 and a multifunction indicator at 10:00. The Astron’s movement, the Seiko 7X52, is accurate to one second in 100,000 years thanks to time signals from space (there are atomic clocks in those GPS satellites). The calendar is perpetual, with no resetting needed until March 1, 2100. Just don’t leave it in your dresser drawer. We break it all down for you above.