Seiko Presents All New Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph

by Sameera Gamage

A new chapter in the history of Seiko’s Astron opens with the release of three new GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph models, alongside a Seiko 100th anniversary limited edition model.

When Seiko presented the Astron GPS Solar back in 2012, it was a revolutionary model. The timepiece works via a Global Positioning System (GPS) to be able to adjust the time to any time zone at the touch of a button. The icing on the cake was that the watch worked via generating energy from light.

The all-new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph – SSH151J1

Released last month, the latest variant of the Astron sees Seiko add the chronograph function alongside the existing GMT feature. This has been calibrated through an all-new movement, which combines these two functions together for the first time for Seiko. A total of four new Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph models will carry this new movement, with one of the timepieces being a limited-edition watch with gold accents that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Seiko brand and the legacy of the company’s founder, Kintaro Hattori.

The three models being added to the existing Astron collection come in different dial colours and case materials. Two models are presented in a 43.3mm titanium case and bracelet (SSH151 & SSH153), while the third features a 43.3mm titanium case with black super-hard coating (SSH155). The bezel is composed of two parts: a ceramic upper portion with polished finish and chronograph scale markings, and a bottom portion made of titanium frame. The timepiece has a lower centre of gravity compared to previous interactions thanks to the titanium case construction and dual-curved sapphire glass, leading to what Seiko describes as a “higher level of comfort on the wrist”.

With this new movement for the Astron comes a new dial configuration. This will be the first time that an Astron model features a sub-dial at the 12 o’clock position, which measures elapsed time in increments of 1/20th of a second. The main dial and sub-dials have contrasting colours and textured finishes, which give each timepiece a different look that will appeal to different personal tastes.

Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph SSH151

This reference features a 43.3 titanium case with two-part titanium and ceramic bezel construction. The dial is black with vertical stripes. The subdial at 9 o’clock has a purple finish as well and indicates the watch’s charging status alongside the “day of the week” indication and the in-flight mode. The other two subdials at 6 and 12 o’clock have a contrasting silver finish. All three subdials have a sunray finish.

Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph SSH153

The second variant in this new Astron collection features a polarised look compared to reference SSH151. The dial, in this case, is reversed with a beautiful white dial with stripes. The sub-dials are also reversed with sunray finishes, with 9 o’clock done in a silver colour to match the dial, with the 6 and 12 o’clock sub-dials finished in a dark purple hue.

Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph SSH155

The last reference presents a “blacked out” look. The 43.3 case, bracelet and bezel all feature titanium construction with black super-hard coating. Seiko has given the dial a purple finish, with all three sub-dials getting a different hue of purple.

Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition (SSH156)

2024 marks the 100-year anniversary of Seiko officially being recognised as a brand, as in 1924, this was the first time a watch bore the “Seiko” name on the dial. As this year represents a huge milestone for the brand, there will be quite a few limited-edition releases in celebration of this event. This new Astron collection is partaking in this anniversary celebration, with a limited-edition model being presented in black and gold.

The all-new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph – SSH156J1

The titanium case and bracelet has a black super-hard coating, as well as the bottom framework for the bezel. The top portion of the bezel, chronograph pushers, and crown has a yellow-gold-coloured titanium frame, which contrasts with and stands out well against the black finish. The reason Seiko has chosen a black and gold colour theme is because “it evokes a view of the earth at night, as seen from an orbiting satellite, an image which perfectly channels the groundbreaking technology behind the Astron GPS Solar”.

The bezel also features a different construction compared to the three new normal editions. It is without the chronograph markings and now comes with a multi-faceted ceramic upper portion, which gives an uninterrupted view of the polished bezel that plays beautifully with light as it goes from grey to black finish, depending on the angle of light.

Calibre 5X83 Movement

Seiko states that this new calibre 5X83 movement connects up to the GPS network automatically twice a day, ensuring accurate dual time zone readings. With the simple push of a button, the timepiece can also be manually connected to the GPS network, ensuring the precision of the watch’s readings regardless of the location as the watch’s world time function can measure 38 different timezones. The brand also states that “the time of day displayed on the main dial can be switched with the one on the six o’clock sub-dial by holding down two buttons for three seconds. The main dial and sub-dial hands move simultaneously, making the time required for the transfer significantly shorter with the new Caliber 5X83 than with Caliber 5X53.

Final Thoughts

Seiko’s Astron GPS Solar was already a great traveller’s companion, with the timepiece being able to adjust to any timezone immediately via the GPS network. If you aren’t too fussed about the watch not bearing a mechanical movement, then the Astron is a great choice for anyone hopping time zones. This new 5X83 movement, which is solar-powered through the dial, has a battery life of 6 months when it’s fully charged and with the watch’s functions in use, providing a high level of precision and longevity.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronograph standard collection

Now, the addition of the chronograph improves the timepiece’s use even further without compromising on dial readability or movement reliability and accuracy. The four models presented offer the buyer a variety of choices when it comes to colours and material choices. While the all-black models are certainly alluring, for me, the white dial variant stands out proudly thanks to its easy dial readability and contrasting sub-dials.

The commemorative timepiece will be available in June 2024 at select Seiko retail partners nationwide as a limited edition of 1,000, while the all-new standard Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Chronographs will be available for purchase July 2024 at select Seiko retail partners nationwide.

Reference: SSH151, SSH153, SSH155

Specification

  • Case: 43.3mm Thickness: 13.4mm
  • Case Material: Titanium case and bracelet with super-hard coating (SSH151, SSH153) and black super-hard coating (SSH155)
  • Dial: Black dial (SSH151), White dial (SSH153), Purple (SSH155)
  • Crystal: Dual-curved sapphire crystal with super-clear coating
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 Bar)
  • Movement: Calibre 5X83
  • Movement Frequency: Not applicable
  • Power reserve: Operating for approx. 6 months (when fully charged), power save mode: approx. 2 years.
  • Bracelet: A titanium bracelet (SSH151, SSH153) or a titanium bracelet with a black super-hard coating (SSH155) three-link bracelet with a three-fold clasp and a push-button release.

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $3,950 AUD (SSH151), $3,950 AUD (SSH153) and $4,250 AUD (SSH155)

Availability: Non-limited. July 2024 release. Purchase through Seiko boutiques, select retailers or online at Seikowatches.com.au

Reference: SSH156

Specification

  • Case: 43.3mm Thickness: 14.1mm
  • Case Material: Titanium case and bracelet with black super-hard coating mixed with yellow-gold-coloured titanium frame.
  • Dial: Black dial with gold accents. Gold outline for hands, hour indices and 6 and 12 o’clock subdials.
  • Crystal: Dual-curved sapphire crystal with super-clear coating
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 Bar)
  • Movement: Calibre 5X83
  • Movement Frequency: Not applicable
  • Power reserve: Operating for approx. 6 months (when fully charged), power save mode: approx. 2 years.
  • Bracelet: Titanium bracelet with a black super-hard coating with three-link bracelet and a three-fold clasp with push-button release.

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $5,995 AUD

Availability: Limited to 1000 timepieces. June 2024 release. Purchase through Seiko boutiques, select retailers or online at Seikowatches.com.au

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