Here at Worn & Wound, it’s no secret that we like watches that address a great value. And we mainly focus on watches that are well inside the means of most enthusiasts, either spontaneously, or after some time spent tenaciously saving. But sometimes, something comes across the transom from a brand we love that is absolutely not in the Worn & Wound wheelhouse, but still 100% worth talking about, for a variety of reasons. Today is one such occasion, as Seiko, frequently discussed here as a passage level gateway down the watch hobbyist rabbit opening, has announced their strong gold Astron 50th Anniversary piece. Proposed retail price? $36,000.
Seiko Quartz Astron 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
- Case Material: Yellow gold
- Dial: Gold with vertical hairline pattern
- Dimensions: 40 x 12.8mm
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 10 bar
- Crown: Push/pull
- Movement: Caliber 3X22
- Strap/bracelet: Crocodile leather
- Price: $36,000
- Reference Number: SBXD002
- Expected Release: December
Before we get into the better purposes of the new, excessively restricted, strong gold Astron, it’s worth rehashing a tad of Seiko history. In addition to all the other things that happened in 1969 (the moon landing, Woodstock, the debut of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ) it was notably the year that Seiko uncovered the primary commercially available quartz watch. The Quartz Astron of 1969 would signal difficult occasions ahead for many Swiss watchmakers, as the prevalence of the far more affordable and easier to maintain quartz timekeeping technology became mainstream, moving the force dynamic in the watch world dramatically between Switzerland and Japan. But in 1969, the technology was not the slightest bit ubiquitous at this point, and Seiko’s first quartz timepiece was something of an exotic (and costly) curiosity.
In the 50 years since the primary quartz watch, timekeeping technology has made a lot of advances. Both quartz and mechanical timekeeping are essentially better than they were 50 years ago, and many brands, Seiko in particular, have explored different avenues regarding new techniques for regulating time altogether. That brings us to the advanced incarnation of the Astron, which is Seiko’s top of the line of GPS Solar watches that are controlled by light and use GPS situating to maintain, essentially, perfect time by synching up with low earth orbit satellites. The idea here is that at the touch of a button, your solar-fueled watch will obtain a perfectly accurate time signal anywhere on the planet. In this way, not exclusively do you presently don’t have to stress over battery changes, but in any event, setting your watch is virtually automatic.
The restricted release Astron seen here is an incredible similarity for the original Quartz Astron, although some small changes have been made to a great extent. The star of the show, of course, is that strong gold case, While the case flanks are profoundly cleaned, the top side of the case has a hand-engraved decoration that isn’t simply distinctive, but incredibly extravagant. Personally, I love the blending of traditional handcraft here with very good quality technology, which is something Seiko has a knack for getting simply right.
Also significant, the development utilized in this Astron, Caliber 3X22, is totally new, and establishes a precedent in slenderness for a GPS based solar caliber. Anyone who has had a chance to handle different watches in Seiko’s Astron line understands that the cases will in general be on the large side, so the slimmer profile here is certainly newsworthy, and one expectations we’ll see this development trickle into more mass-market Astrons soon. The 3X22, when set to connect to a GPS satellite twice each day, is said to be accurate to one second like clockwork. That’s not a typo.
It’s completely fitting, maybe even a little poetic, that Seiko would pay tribute to their own horological innovation of 50 years ago with one of their new horological innovations. While the Astron mantle has been passed from quartz to GPS solar, and it’s exciting to consider what an Astron marked watch may look like 50 years from now.
The 1969 Quartz Astron 50th Anniversary Limited Edition will be available at Seiko boutiques in December, in a restricted version of 50. Seiko