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!