WatchTime and noted watch collector and expert Jeff Kingston have teamed up again for the 2014 edition of the popular “Inside Basel.Geneva” series of collector events, kicking off September 5 in Chicago. Among the timepieces featured there by the core sponsor watch brands is the new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph, which made its debut at Baselworld 2014.
The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph is the first version of the popular Astron GPS Solar with a chronograph function. Caliber 8X82 has GPS-controlled time and time-zone adjustment functions, like its predecessor. The new chronograph feature can time intervals up to six hours in length, accurate to 1/5 second. It is also easier to use than the earlier 7X52 caliber. Secondary functions, such as manual time-zone selection, can be activated through a new electronic setting function in the crown. The GPS time-setting function still works by a one-touch system: holding down a button for six seconds activates it.
The new Astron has an updated appearance. The case is 30 percent smaller than the previous Astron, with a diameter of 44.6 mm and a thickness of 13.3 mm. Seiko used a smaller GPS antenna to make this decrease in size possible. Additionally, Seiko has improved the light penetration to the solar cell, so the Astron can have different dial designs. In addition to the black dial used in the prior version, the new Astron comes with a blue or white dial.
The Seiko Astron GPS watch has been an “outstanding success” in the year and half since it was launched, Seiko said. The Japanese brand said that sales of the watch doubled in 2013.
Seiko offers the new Astron in eight different versions. It comes in either a titanium and ceramic case and bracelet or a stainless steel and ceramic version, and has a variety of accent colors. Prices range from 1,800 euros to 2,400 euros ($2,470 to $3,300, approximately). Seiko has also released a Limited Edition Astron to introduce Caliber 8X82. It has white dial, a ceramic bezel, and a titanium case. It comes on a ceramic and titanium bracelet or on a black crocodile strap. Only 7,000 pieces will be produced, costing 3,300 euros (approximately $4,500), and available in September.
IBG 2014 attendees will have a chance to see the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph up close and to try out its unique solar-powered functions. Click here for more on the event and to order tickets for one of the four event cities.