It was 2012 when Seiko first introduced their new interpretation of the Seiko Quartz Astron (the worlds first Quartz watch in 1969), introducing the Seiko Astron GPS Solar, the worlds first GPS controlled solar watch. On September 19th, Seiko Watch Corporation had the official launch of the new variation, the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph, bringing not only new functionality to the Astron, but also reducing its size roughly 30%! Today we are proud to bring you our first review of the new Astron GPS Chrono’s, featuring their 8×82 caliber.
The SSE001 will be the 1st in the series and limited to 7,000 pieces world wide. The first thing people may notice is that this is the only Astron GPS to have a white dial. Thanks to a more efficient way to convert light to energy, Seiko was able to achieve new dial colors for the Astron GPS models. The SSE001 will also have a few distinct differences compared to the rest of the chronograph line up, including a faceted bezel design, unique crown and a case width of 45mm. The titanium bracelet on this model will also have ceramic center links, with titanium for the rest of the bracelet and case. This limited edition will also include a black leather strap with three fold deployment buckle.
The rest of the silver toned titanium collection will include SSE003 (black dial), the SSE005 (blue dial pictured above), and the SSE007 (black dial with yellow gold accents). These use Seiko’s proprietary Bright Titanium which is 40% the weight of stainless steel, just as hard, and is capabale of receiving a unique finish. All models in the Astron Chronograph collection will be finished in Zaratsu polishing technique, giving it a distortion free mirror finish and then a special hard coating (known as DiaShield) is applied. DiaShield can increase the scratch resistance to nearly twice the hardness of stainless steel and protects its beautiful finish.
Other models in the Astron Chronograph line up will have a black hard coating process as seen in the SSE009 pictured above. Along with the SSE003, 005 and 007, these will have a rounded bezel as opposed to the faceted on the limited edition. These will also have city code indicators engraved into the bezel, making for easy manual timezone adjustments if necessary. Another new feature in these new Astron’s is the addition of an electronic crown. The electronic crown makes it easier to manually adjust timezones by pulling out the crown one click, the seconds hand will point to the current city code you are set for, and you turn the crown to the new desired timezone. The hands from there will adjust themselves. For daylight savings adjustment, all you need to do is hold down the upper left hand button for about four seconds with the crown out one click. This will turn daylight savings either on or off.
Not all of the new Astron Chronograph’s will be titanium. They have also introduced several models in stainless steel, that also use DiaShield. The SSE011 is the first in the collection with black dial, stainless steel bracelet and a red accent at the tip of the second hand. The pushers for the chronograph on the right hand side are different in design then the titanium models but do function the same. The chronograph functions as most do, using the upper right hand button to start and the lower right to reset. Those two buttons do not have any other function aside from working the chrono.
The SSE013 will have a black hard coated stainless steel case and bracelet and blue accents on some of the indexes. The bracelet for the steel models differs from the titanium, using a 5 piece link bracelet, versus the titanium’s 7 piece. The weight difference is pretty substantial with titanium pieces at 110g, steel on bracelet at 175g, and steel on rubber at 125g. Another interesting note on the stainless models is that these will have a ceramic bezel with engraved tachymeter as opposed to the city codes. This allows to measure time and distance with its 1/5th of a second chronograph. The ceramic bezel still maintains its purpose as on the orginal Astron GPS models, with the in-house developed antenna ring underneath. Airplane mode, which turns off the GPS receiver, is much easier to do on the chrono’s. Just hold down the lower left button for four seconds.
There will be 2 models in the line up featuring an extra-strength silicone strap. SSE015 (pictured above) and SSE017 (black dial, black hard coated case, and orange accents). These will both have a 3 fold deployment clasp and is extremely comfortable to wear. The SSE015 has a great sporty feel to it with white chapter ring and silver/white sub dial rings. It is very easy to distinguish all going on within the three sub dials. The 10:00 sub dial will measure your actual running seconds. Once GPS satellite connection is initiated by holding the upper left hand button for six seconds, the hand will indicate how many satellites you are connected to as well as if you received successful connection pointing to “Y” for yes and “N” for no. Your 6:00 sub dial show your current power reserve (which still maintains the 6 month power reserve running, or up to 2 years in sleep mode), unless you are connecting to satellites or running the chronograph. The hand will point to the “1” if the upper left button is held for three seconds. This means you are connecting to one single satellite for an accuracy update (which this also does automatically when exposed to bright light). When held for six seconds, the 6:00 hand will point to the “4+”. This is to pinpoint location and adjust the hands to that timezone, using multiple satellites. When running the chronograph, the 6:00 hand will measure up to 6 hours and your 2:00 sub dial is used to measure minutes. Your center second hand will only be used for measuring up to 1/5th of a second, only when the chronograph is running.
The crowning achievement in the new 8X82 Astron GPS Solar Chronograph series is its size. At 30% smaller then the originals, the chrono’s are much easier to wear for dress or casual. Measuring at 45mm on the Limited Edition, and 44.6mm wide on the rest of the series, these pieces are much more wearable and compare to a typical self-winding chronograph at only 13.3mm thick!
The prices in stainless steel vary from $1,825 on strap to $1,875 on bracelet. The titanium models are all $2,450, with the limited edition SSE001 at $3,300. You can view and purchase and of the new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronographs HERE, including three new limited edition models SSE019 in all black hard coated titanium with rose gold accents. The first ladies Astron GPS with white ceramic, mother of pearl dial and diamond markers labeled SSE021. Finally, the new Novak Djokovic Limited Edition SSE022. These three models are scheduled for November delivery.
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See our video review below…
See a lot more pictures below…