Does the possibility exist in your life that you might end up on a deserted island for an indefinite period of time, yet still require accurate and precise timekeeping without the hassle of batteries or winding your watch? If so, Seiko’s got you covered.
The Seiko Astron watch is the world’s first GPS Solar watch, meaning it uses GPS for time and the sun for power. Though it does not actually track your position, the watch has the ability to sync its time to your location on the globe precisely. On top of that it is also fully powered by a solar battery built right into the dial.
Unlike it’s predecessors – radio controlled (RC) watches – the Astron connects directly to satellites. RC watches on the other hand receive terrestrial signals from stations with atomic clocks and need to be set manually to their respective time zone. The Astron uses a Seiko ring antenna, capable of clear reception regardless of posture, to receive signal from orbiting satellites up to 12,400 miles/20,000 km away. The second hand even indicates how many satellites the watch is connected to by ticking to the respective hours. Thanks to this new technology, the watch automatically selects the correct time zone and even adjusts for daylight savings time and leap seconds. All for the low, low price of just $2300.
Powered by the sun, the Astron never needs to be charged or wound. It may show up fully depleted, but simple exposure to any type of light will charge it. In direct sunlight, just six minutes are enough to power it for an entire day, but the power banks are much deeper. To get the dial up from empty to full, the watch charges for a full 65 hours and runs for an astonishing 2 months in active mode and 6 months in sleep mode. Active mode checks GPS location and accurate time at every opportunity, whereas sleep mode only checks when the dial is exposed to bright light or at a specific time once a day in insufficient light.
Unfortunately, the GPS works only as a receiver and does not actually provide tracking. This is important because conventionally the “GPS” title indicates that a device is designed to relay your geographic location. The Astron, however, only uses the Global Positioning System to set accurate time and nothing else.
We applaud Seiko for the truly incredible technology that’s packed into this beautiful timepiece. Specifically, creating a wristwatch that connects to satellites orbiting the earth yet is somehow only powered by a solar panel the size of a US dime coin. We are looking forward to the generation that is able to bounce that signal and earn the conventional “GPS” title.