Two years ago, Seiko launched their Prospex series globally to much fanfare. For the 1st time, customers around the world were able to purchase Seiko watches that were designed with professional specifications in mind. Today, Seiko has introduced a new type of Prospex model that incorporates the company’s GPS Solar technology along with a design developed to withstand the harshest environments of being on the open sea.
It’s hard to believe that only 4 years ago, Seiko launched it’s technological marvel, the Seiko Astron GPS Solar line of timepieces. Since it’s debut, Seiko has taken an evolutionary approach to the Astron lineup. Each year since its launch, Seiko has taken another step towards perfecting the Astron GPS Solar technology.
Following the initial 7X52 caliber, Seiko introduced the 8X chronograph caliber and dramatically altered the Astron landscape. Not only did this caliber add more features, it was also dramatically reduced in size while retaining its functionality. The size of the caliber and watches shrunk by 30% creating a much more wearable timepiece.
Introduced in 1960, Grand Seiko has been following an unwavering path of what Seiko calls “the purest essentials of watchmaking”. This path includes a clear ideal that each Grand Seiko timepiece should follow the rules of precision, legibility, comfort, and durability.
Since Grand Seiko’s introduction, these ideals have been followed to a “T”. However, this consistent forward motion does not mean there is no room for creativity and innovation. Today, Grand Seiko is giving us a taste of the future with their latest additions.
Being in the watch business for 160 years is certainly something to celebrate. Eterna is celebrating this prestigious milestone by debuting a trio of exceptional chronographs that are sure to stir the souls of enthusiasts the world over. Welcome to the NEW Eterna Super KonTiki Flyback Chronograph with an in-house Eterna movement.
In 2014, Seiko introduced a new design for the Seiko Astron GPS Solar. The design draws inspiration from the stratosphere surrounding the Earth and was thus named the “Stratosphere” collection. The “Stratosphere” series has 4 terrific models to choose from, all of which are now in stock at exceptional savings! The 1st model released in the line up was the SAS031, which we are going to take a close look at today.
The dial on both the SAS031 and its counter part in rose gold plate (SAS032) will have a faint map of the globe as viewed from the North Pole, and altered to coordinate the city codes on the inner bezel with the map. The translucent black dial stores a solar panel allowing the watch to recharge, and providing a maximum 2 year power reserve if in sleep mode. The dial lay out is the same as the previous Astron GPS models, with home time clock (an independent clock that does not adjust automatically) at 6:00 and the mode indicating hand near the 10:00. The mode hand will display the watches current power level if not in any other use. Below the power reserve is a small airplane icon. Adjusting to airplane mode will turn off your GPS receiver completely, so it cannot manually or automatically receive satellite signal. Below that is the day light savings adjustment, which can quickly be turned on or off by pushing the upper left button once, and holding the lower right button for about 3 seconds.
Above your power reserve indicator is the satellite connection indicator. When the mode hand points to “1”, this means the watch is connecting to one single satellite, just to updates its accuracy, not timezone. This will occur automatically if the watch is exposed to bright enough sunlight, due to a new smart sensor Seiko developed for this piece, or if you hold the upper right button for 3 seconds. The “4+” is engaged when the upper right button is held down for 6 seconds, and this is when the Astron will actually determine your latitude and longitude, decipher which timezone you are standing in, and adjust the hands to that timezone. Thanks to over 10 years of development and over 100 patents, Seiko has their proprietary GPS satellite corrected 7X52 caliber used in the Astron GPS Solar series.
Now we get into the new design developed for the “Stratosphere” series. You will notice that 1st of all, there are no ceramics in this line up. Typically, the GPS antenna ring (which was developed in-house by Seiko) sits underneath the ceramic bezel of Astron, in order to connect clearly. The “Stratosphere” uses a tremendous domed crystal that stretches nearly the entire diameter of the stainless steel case, an entire 48mm’s, and has the antenna underneath eliminating the need for ceramics. The case in total measures out at 18.1mm thickness, but the domed sapphire crystal is 5mm thick in itself. The crystal requires a labor intensive 10 hours of polishing in order to receive the smooth, domed, stratospheric design mimicking the second major layer of the atmosphere surrounding the Earth. The difference in UTC is easily read from the front of the dial while the city codes are big and bold on the sides.
The natural Lumi Brite material used for its luminova is spectacular. The large hands display a great amount of lume. Each index has lume, with 12, 3, 6 and 9 containing even more. The most unusual part is the ring of reflecting lume that surrounds the edge of the sapphire glass, creating a cool and futuristic look, that lights up the dial tremendously.
The pusher, crown, and pretty much the entire case design are totally different from the original series of Astron GPS. Even with the extra strength silicone strap versions, these new models seem to be a slight bit more on the dressy side, with the leather strap variations even more so. The SAS037 will be a stainless steel model on black croc strap…
And the SAS038 will have rose gold accents on a dark grey croc strap. This model is also labeled as a “Shop Limited Model” in Japan.
The SAS032 is the rose gold variation on silicone band.
As mentioned, there are four great models available at very special prices. Here is a rundown of the available models at these very special prices:
Those interested can order these new models directly on our site HERE. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-486-3996 with any questions or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.
Thanks for reading!
2015 marked not only the 55th Anniversary for Grand Seiko, but also the 5 year anniversary of the introduction of the 9S65 caliber. The advantage of the 9S65 as compared to the previous 9S5 series was the use of Spron 610 for the hairspring. They also had a 72 hour power reserve (which was originally introduced in the 9S67 in 2006), due to their in-house manufactured mainspring, Spron 510. Today we introduce you to a model that commemorates both anniversaries… The SBGR097.
Life for Nick & Giles English changed significantly one clear day in March 1995. Nick was practicing for an air display with their father Euan. But the 1942 WWII Harvard aircraft they were flying was involved in an accident. Giles, waiting to take off for the next sortie was told that his father had been killed. His brother had broken over 30 bones and probably wouldn’t make it.
Six months later, however, Nick was back in the air and being flown by Giles. But things would never be the same again. Life was too short to waste. The two brothers decided to pursue what they enjoyed most: a life crafting beautifully engineered mechanical devices.
When they weren’t flying old aircraft, Nick & Giles had spent most of their childhood making things in the workshop of their gifted father – an ex-RAF pilot with a PHD in Aeronautical Engineering. Models. Restored cars. They even helped him to build an aircraft they still fly to this day. Euan was also passionate about mechanical timepieces. He would often bring home an old clock from an auction for the brothers to try and get going again. The passion lives on in the classic curve of a Bremont timepiece.
In the late 1990s, Nick & Giles were flying across France in their 1930’s biplane. The weather was closing in. A rough-running engine forced them to make an emergency landing. Keen to avoid the French authorities, the brothers were more than happy to accept the gracious help of the farmer whose field they had landed in. They stayed in his home, the aircraft took cover in the barn. It transpired their host had flown aircraft during the war, as well as being a gifted engineer. Half-restored wall clocks lay everywhere, together with numerous engine parts. The farmer still even wore his own father’s wristwatch. The brothers promised that his warm hospitality would never be forgotten. His name? Antoine Bremont.