The Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch has arrived
Celebrations in Tokyo and London mark the global launch of the first watch in the world to adjust to time zones.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch
October 11, 2012
On Thursday, September 27, 2012, the Seiko Salon in Tokyo opened its doors as usual, but visitors
were greeted with a dramatic new display, featuring the new Seiko Astron GPS Solar. The center
window of the Seiko Salon in Tokyo’s landmark Wako store in Ginza featured a huge montage
of images displayed on about 50 screens, all showing the new Seiko Astron and its remarkable
functionality. In addition, the store’s famous clock tower was lit up in blue, symbolizing the global
reach of Astron’s astonishing GPS technology, extending to every corner of our planet, with its
deep blue colour as seen from space.
October 10, 2012, sees the international launch of the new Seiko Astron at the Royal Greenwich
Observatory, a setting steeped in horological history. Just as the Harrison chronometers that are
housed at the Observatory set a new standard of precision and made international travel so much
safer, so the new Seiko Astron redefines modern timekeeping by adjusting to every time zone on
The new Seiko Astron has pride of place in the main window of the
Seiko Salon at Wako, Tokyo’s leading specialty retailer.
A new revolution in time.
The new Seiko Astron is the world’s first GPS solar watch. It requires no external power source and
is entirely self-sustaining. Using just the power of light, it connects to the GPS network, and tells
time with atomic clock precision, adjusting at the touch of a button to all 39 time zones on earth.
It took almost 10 years to create the new Seiko Astron and to package its advanced functionality
in a watch that is beautiful to look at and comfortable to wear. Like its illustrious predecessor, the
1969 first quartz watch, the new Astron GPS Solar will change the way that the world tells time. To
develop Astron, Seiko developed several new technologies and over 100 patent applications have
been filed. Only Seiko can deliver what the international traveler has long wanted, a watch that
understands and adjusts to time zones.
The advances that have turned Seiko Astron from dream to reality.
1.The ultra-low consumption GPS module
In order for Astron to identify its location and maintain atomic clock precision, it must receive
signals from at least four of the GPS satellites that orbit the Earth at a height of around 20,000
kilometers. The challenge was, of course, power; it was necessary to generate up to 10,000 times
more power than needed in a standard quartz wristwatch, and about 200 times that of a radiocontrolled
watch. After an R&D process that took six years, Seiko finally succeeded in developing
a highly efficient GPS module especially designed for wristwatches that, when hunting for signals,
does not waste energy tracking satellites for which reception conditions are poor. In this way, the
new Seiko Astron GPS module realizes a spectacular saving of power consuming about one-fifth
of the electricity of a conventional GPS module.
2.The high sensitivity ring-shaped antenna
Right from the very start of the project, Seiko determined that the new Seiko Astron must be
conventionally sized and easy to wear. The question was how to house the antenna in a watch
case. Both the chip antenna, which is widely used in GPS, and the thicker patch antenna have
the twin problems of poor receptivity inside a metal casing and large size. Seiko set about
designing an entirely new type of antenna that would solve these difficulties. The solution was to
invent a highly sensitive ring-shaped antenna that can be stored on the outer part of the round
wristwatch case. By placing the antenna under the dial ring, Seiko succeeded in enhancing its
receptivity to the maximum degree, a characteristic that is further enhanced by the use of ceramic
on the bezel, as this material is superior to metal in the reception of radio waves.
3.The small & ultra-low consumption power source
Seiko Astron uses a lithium ion battery, similar to those now used in mobile phones and other
devices. However, size and reliability over time were the challenge, as such cells can break if
they are recharged and discharged too often. Astron employs a new lithium ion secondary battery
so small that it can easily fit into the watch case and its reliability is assured by a new IC that
monitors and regulates the power charge and discharge to ensure the long life and safe operation
of this rechargeable battery. This IC uses one tenth of the power consumed by mobile phone IC’s.
4.The sensor that thinks.
Seiko Astron has a sensor that manages the automatic time adjustment by judging the amount
of remaining energy and previous signal reception conditions. In this way, it conserves power
and ensures maximum efficiency in connecting to the GPS network. Once a day, when the
sensor detects solar light or other strong light, Astron automatically connects to a GPS satellite
and, if necessary, adjusts the time to maintain its astonishing precision of one second every
100,000 years. When the watch is hidden by clothing or in times of low light conditions, the
sensor remembers the time of the last successful time adjustment and seeks a satellite signal at
that time. If the stored energy is adequate, the watch receives a signal every day. If the amount
of remaining energy is low, however, the intervals between automatic time adjustments are
automatically extended to conserve power. In addition, automatic time adjustment is not carried
out when the indicator is showing “E” (for inadequate energy) or when the “in-flight mode” is
activated. Astron’s ‘thinking’ sensor adapts to the world around it and to its wearer’s lifestyle.
Seiko Astron in the watch universe
The new Seiko Astron collection is being presented in many of the world’s leading retail outlets
including the Seiko Centers in Tokyo, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and elsewhere. After its highly
successful presentation at Baselworld, Astron is being marketed this year in over 50 markets of the
world and its distribution will increase further in 2013 as production capacity increases. In 1969, the
Quartz Astron ushered in a new era in watchmaking. Today, the second Astron revolution is under
• Seiko Astron GPS Solar
• Caliber 7X52
• GPS controlled time and time zone adjustment
• Hour, minute and second hands
• Date calendar
• Perpetual calendar correct to February 2100
• Signal reception result indication
• World time function (39 Time Zones)
• Daylight Saving Time function
• Power saving function
• Accuracy: +/-15 seconds per month (without receiving a time signal and in temperatures between 5℃ and 35℃)
• Case: High-intensity titanium with black hard coating with ceramic bezel (SAST001/007)
■ High-intensity titanium with ceramic bezel (SAST003/005)
■ Stainless steel with ceramic bezel (SAST009)
■ Stainless steel with black hard coating with ceramic bezel (SAST011)
■ Case diameter: 47.0 mm, thickness: 16.5 mm
• Band: High-intensity titanium with black hard coating with three-fold clasp with push button release (SAST001/007)
■ High-intensity titanium with three-fold clasp with push button release (SAST003/005)
■ Extra-strength silicon with three-fold clasp with push button release (SAST009/011)
• Glass: Sapphire crystal with Super-Clear Coating
• Water resistance: 10 bar
• Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
• Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: Euro 2,000 - 3,300
• Limited edition: 2,500 pieces (SAST001)