Japan’s Seiko partnered with Serbian tennis champ Novak Djokovic in 2014, two years after the watchmaker’s heralded introduction of its technically groundbreaking Astron Solar GPS watch. Seiko has released specially designed “Novak Djokovic” limited editions of the Astron in the years since, and the latest timepiece to emerge from the partnership honors the flags of both Djokovic’s and Seiko’s home countries on its colorful dial. Here’s what you need to know about this week’s Watch to Watch, the Astron GPS Solar Novak Djokovic 2020 Limited Edition.
The watch’s design uses the deep blue of the Serbian flag for its main dial color and red and white, common colors to both Japan’s and Serbia’s flags, for details such as the red tip of the central seconds hand, the red numerals indicating the time zones of both countries on the white UTC indicator ring (+1 for Serbia, +9 for Japan), and the thin red line around the edge of the blue ceramic bezel. (Blue, incidentally, is also a color that symbolizes “victory” in Japanese culture.) The use of gold tone, the color of trophies, on the hands and minute track of the dual-time subdial at 6 o’clock is meant to honor Djokovic’s achievements on the tennis courts — 16 Grand Slam victories, including wins at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2019. The dial layout also includes a day-of-the-week subdial at 2 o’clock, an AM/PM indicator for the second time zone adjacent to the 6 o’clock subdial, and a date at 4:30, which along with the day-of-the-week display is the outward expression of a built-in perpetual calendar that requires no manual correction until February 2100.
The original Astron from 2012 — itself an ultra-modern evolution of a 1969 Seiko watch of the same name, which also happened to be the first quartz-powered watch on the market — was a solar-powered watch that received GPS satellite signals, enabling the wearer to adjust to any local time zone on Earth at the push of a button. This model and others that evolved from that watch boast all of that functionality along with the added convenience of allowing the wearer to also check the time in his home zone — the very functionality that appealed to the globe-trotting athlete Djokovic when he first came on board as a Seiko “ambassador.” The movement, Seiko’s Caliber 5X53 Dual-Time, connects up to twice a day to a GPS network; when the dial detects sunlight, the watch uses the GPS signal to automatically adjust to the correct local time, including during Daylight Savings Times.
The stainless steel case measures 42.7 mm in diameter and 13.3 mm thick and is finished with a super-hard coating. Water-resistant to 100 meters and magnetism-resistant to 4,800 A/m, it has a dual-curved sapphire crystal in front and a solid caseback inscribed with a Novak Djokovic signature and identifying the timepiece as one in a 1,500-piece limited edition. The watch comes on a three-link steel bracelet, with the same hard coating as the case, with an easy-adjust, three-fold push-button clasp. Also included are an extra silicone strap and a special card containing, Seiko says, “a message from Novak.” Priced around 2,600 euros (about $2,900), this newest limited edition from Seiko’s partnership with the Grand Slam winner will be available as of February 2020 in Seiko boutiques and other select retailers.