Kintaro Hattori is the founding father of what is known today as Seiko. The humble beginning started in the Ginza area as a clock repair service in 1877 and evolved into the establishment of K Hattori in 1881. By 1892, Kintaro Hattori purchased his 1st factory in Tokyo and the name Seikosha was born. From there, they manufactured their first clocks, which eventually led to Seikosha manufacturing Japan’s 1st wrist watch (the Laurel) in 1913. The company continued to grow and be recognized throughout the globe, leading to an impressive list of world firsts in watchmaking. One of their biggest achievements was the worlds 1st production Quartz watch, named the Seiko Astron. 43 years later, Seiko introduced another world 1st model, abel to connect to multiple GPS satellites to pinpoint your location and adjust the hands to the timezone you are standing in. The introduction of the Astron GPS Solar has once again revolutionized timekeeping and for 2013, a limited edition model has been released, which is the first in Seiko’s history to bare the founders name… The Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SAST100.
The SAST100 utilizes the same 7X52 caliber found in all the Astron GPS models, so functionality is exactly the same. The solar powered model has its solar panel found underneath its translucent black sunburst dial, and from a full charge, can go a maximum of over 2 years in the dark in sleep mode. The bezel is made of ceramic with an in-house developed antenna ring hiding underneath, to ensure easy connection with GPS satellites and no metal blocking its path. By holding the upper right button for 6 seconds, the watch will then connect to multiple satellites, configure your current location and adjust the hands accordingly to any of the worlds 39 different timezones.
The Astron GPS has a mode indicator between the 9:00 and 11:00. The main placement for the mode indicator hand is for the power reserve indicating F for full and E for empty. The daylight savings can be adjusted by pushing upper left button once and then holding down the lower right button. The watch also has an “Airplane Mode” which will turn all GPS functionality on or off. You can adjust this by pushing the upper right button once and holding down the lower right button. You can also connect the watch to a single satellite strictly to correct the accuracy, not the timezone, by pushing the upper right button for 3 seconds, the mode hand will then point to the “1″ in gold. You shouldn’t have to do this too often as the watch has a smart sensor that recognizes bright light, and will automatically connect to a single satellite for accuracy adjustments once a day.
You also have a “home time” sub-dial at the 6:00. This can be adjusted by pulling out the crown one click and using the upper and lower right buttons to adjust. This small clock does not adjust at all based off of the GPS updates. It is an independent clock that reads in 24 hour increments comes in handy when wanting to know what time it is back home when traveling.
For the Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition, you have some special traits you will not find on other Astron GPS models. It’s 47mm High-Intensity Titanium case has a black hard coating and engraved case sides (as found on the 1st LE from 2012 SAST001). The yellow gold accents on the dial, ceramic jeweled crown and pushers are also unique to this model. The city codes engraved in the ceramic bezel all in white except Tokyo, Hattori and Seikosha’s home city, which is highlighted in gold. Another great aspect is the updated hands on this model, which are wider and have more Lumi-Brite making for greater legibility.
The case-back on this model also has a golden original Seikosha logo in its center along with the quote “ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE REST” and the founders name, “KINTARO HATTORI” surrounding it. The SAST100 is limited to 5,000 pieces for the world, 2,500 of which never left Japan and is engraved with an individual serial number on the case-back.
The piece comes on a beautiful crocodile strap with a deployment clasp, but also includes a High-Intensity black coated titanium bracelet. While the croc strap gives it a slightly dressier appeal, the look of the bracelet adds sportiness and still remains very lightweight. It is definitely an added bonus to have both strap options as when you change them out, it practically feels as if you have a whole new watch.
The Seiko Astron Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SAST100 retails for $3,400 and can be purchased directly through our site HERE. It is amazing to watch a company like Seiko grow and produce such unique items like the Astron GPS. With over 10 years of development and over 100 patents, these incredible timepieces continue to impress. One thing I know for sure is that these will not be the last “firsts” from Seiko.
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