Last year Citizen unveiled the super cool Eco-Drive Satellite Wave, which could sync with GPS satellites; the watch even came with its own Appleseed XIII anime trailer. This year at Baselworld Seiko will unveil its own GPS watch, the Astron.
Named after Seiko’s first quartz watch, the Astron appears to be more high-tech than the Citizen Satellite Wave. According to Seiko the Astron syncs with four or more GPS satellites daily, automatically updating the time and time zone, but the watch can also be synced manually if necessary. It takes a mere six seconds for the watch to sync, and 30 seconds for it to sync and then change time zone.
It is solar powered, just like the Satellite Wave. There is no mention of the Seiko’s power reserve. In contrast the Satellite Wave will only sync once every three days, if it is exposed to sunlight, one reason why it has a 2.5 year power reserve on full charge. Furthermore the Citizen needs to be set to a different time zone manually. The Seiko has similar accuracy to the Citizen, +/- 15 seconds a month, though in practice my Satellite Wave is dead on.
|The Astron is solar powered with dial acting as the solar cell|
The Seiko Astron is 47 mm in diameter, and available in either steel or Seiko’s proprietary Bright titanium alloy (which is lightweight and has an unusual shine for Ti). The titanium versions are available only on bracelet, while the steel versions are on rubber straps.
Notably, these retail for USD1900-2600, less than the JPY336,000 (USD4100) the Citizen retailed for.
Delivery starts in September 2012.
Here are specs and prices (Yen prices shown include Japanese tax of 5%):
SAST001 – black dial with gold indices, ceramic bezel, Bright titanium case and bracelet with black hard coating, worldwide limited edition of 2500 pieces – EUR3300
|Seiko Astron SAST001 limited edition|
|Seiko Astron SAST001 limited edition with recessed case sides for weight reduction|
SAST003 – black dial with white indices, ceramic bezel, Bright titanium case and bracelet – JPY199,500 (~USD2450)
SAST005 – black dial with gold indices, ceramic bezel, Bright titanium case and bracelet – JPY199,500 (~USD2450)
SAST007 – black dial with white indices, ceramic bezel, Bright titanium case and bracelet with black hard coating – JPY210,000 (~USD2580)
SAST009 – black dial with blue indices, steel case and silicon strap – JPY152,250 (~USD1870)
SAST011 – black dial with white indices, steel case with black hard coating and silicon strap – JPY157,500 (~USD1930)
|Seiko Astron SAST003 (left) and SAST009|
In short the Citizen is more expensive and less high-tech than the Seiko. But the Citizen looks way, way cooler. The Citizen in its green and black ceramic is interesting enough to make it an attractive purchase – I bought one – but the Seiko looks boring and just like another other electronic gadget. Seiko has also put up a dedicated Astron site, but it is in Japanese.
|Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave|
This book profiles a dozen watchmakers, including Kenji Shiohara of the Seiko Epson Micro Artist Studio.
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