Likes Likes:  2
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Limited Edition (SSE039)

  1. #1

    The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Limited Edition (SSE039)

    The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time Limited Edition (SSE039)





    The mother of pearl dialed limited edition SSE039.

    Along with Grand Seiko and the Prospex Master Series, Topper Fine Jewelers is now featuring Seiko Astron. This line is distinct from any of our other offerings in several ways. It is the first solar powered watch as well as the most accurate timepiece we have ever carried. The accuracy is achieved by the watch's ability to synch up with GPS satellites. When synched, the accuracy goes up from +-15 seconds a month to +- one second every 100,000 years. This post will take a look at the SSE039, the 3000-piece limited edition Dual-Time model that retails for $2,700.

    The GPS syncing method that Seiko uses is more effective than that used in watches that pair with traditional Atomic clocks. This enables the watch to work not only beyond radio range of the world's 17 Atomic clocks, but literally anywhere in the world. This feature, and the accompanying increased accuracy that goes with it, is bound to be as attractive to those who enjoy cutting edge innovation as it is to those who travel to remote locations. Most who own this watch will likely never get to appreciate the perfect time synch of their watch in a remote jungle or mountain range. That of course would not be possible with a watch needing to link via radio waves to a terrestrial Atomic clock. In this respect it's similar to a professional dive watches whose helium escape valves will never see duty for most owners.

    As would be expected, owning a solar powered watch is a different user experience than that of mechanical or battery powered timepieces. Instead of winding a mainspring or changing a battery, the watch needs to be powered by a strong light source (natural or artificial) entering the dial. It takes 65 hours of direct light exposure to charge the watch to its full six-month power reserve, or approximately six minutes for each day of reserve. That means after an initial few hours of post purchase charging under a lamp, you can maintain a sufficient power reserve in perpetuity if you spend any time at all outdoors. This is possible because the regular exposure to light will constantly be putting more energy into the watch than it consumes.

    Perhaps the most signature feature of the SSE039 is the mother of pearl dial. Seiko describes this as a particularly challenging material for light to penetrate. In fact, previous generations of the Astron movement which were less efficient at charging would not have been able to use it. However with the technology in the new 8X series movement, there appears no indication that this model charges any less efficiently than Astrons made with more translucent dials.

    There are two basic subdivisions of 8X watches: Dual-time and Chronograph. As would be expected, Dual-Time watches feature a second time zone while chronograph models feature a stop watch. The major hallmark of the 8X models relative to the 7X which came before it is a reduction of diameter and thickness. Most models of the previous 7X series featured a 47mm case that was around 18mm thick. In contrast, the 8x series are almost universally 14mm thick with a reduced diameter of 45mm or less. However, the SSE039 is an outlier in diameter when compared to the rest of the 8X models. It boasts a 48.7mm case which is even larger than the prior 7X series. Its 13.2mm thickness remains under 14mm like the other 45mm models in the 8X series.




    A previous generation 7 series Astron SAS037 featuring a case 47mm in diameter and 18mm thick. It is 4mm thicker than the current 8 series watches.

    Previous versions of the Astron such as the SAS037 pictured above featured a sapphire crystal that extended past the world cities and to the bezel edge. While I think that sapphire bezels look great on on dive bezels such as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Bremont Supermarine, and Squale Master series, it didn't quite work as well in this execution. Instead of looking space aged, its "bubble" effect distortion just made for poor legibility. All of the current Astron models in the 8 series feature crystals that stop at the bezel instead of ones that encompass them.

    The SSE039 sports an attractive blue ceramic bezel. It maintains the scratch resistance of the previous generation and makes the presentation of the time zone city names look more legible and even elegant. Though the color will vary to match the dial, all of the 8X models feature a ceramic bezel.

    The use of ceramic in the SSE039 also extends beyond the bezel. Though most of the case and bracelet are titanium, the most likely to be scratched surfaces of the bracelet center link and sides of the case are white ceramic. The ceramic material will keep the watch looking more pristine, and looks particularly good paired with the white mother of pearl dial.

    The Dual-Time functionality is provided via a two-handed, 12-hour subdial at 6 o'clock with a small AM/PM indicator for the second time zone adjacent to the subdial. The date appears in an aperture at 4 o'clock, and the day of the week via a scale with retrograde hand at 2 o'clock.

    The use of mother of pearl on men's watches generally flirts with being too flashy or out of place with the rest of the watch design. In this instance, I think Seiko did a good job of subtly applying the material and effectively pairing it with a chapter ring, bezel, and case construction that enhance it without it feeling over the top.

    The Astron is quite different than traditional mechanical watches. As such, even seasoned watch collectors will need to study the manual to quickly get the most out of their new Astron. For more information about how Astron works, check out FAQ section of Seiko's Astron website. (The FAQ is actually for the 7 series. While the watches have been upgraded for the 8 series, the 7 series instructions still apply.)



    The blue hands with large lume strips of the SSE039.


    The charging meter of the SSE039. This area of the watch also indicates how many of the required four satellites are acquired when you manually sync the watch.


    The date indicator, retrograde day of the week indicator, and AM/PM indicator of the second time zone.


    The twelve-hour display of the second time zone.


    The SSE039 case is titanium with ceramic on the case sides and center link of the bracelet.


    The screw-down crown and the caseback with unique limited edition number. This one is 2076 of 3000.


    The lume signature of the SSE039.
    Last edited by robattopper; Sep 25, 2015 at 05:09 AM.

  2. Likes OrangeSport, DJW GB liked this post
  3. #2
    Great review. These are fascinating watches, and I had no idea you could use a MOP dial in this way..
    G-Shock: GW3000B-1A
    Rolex: Submariner 14060M
    Accurist: 1961 Shockmaster (Gold) & 1965 Shockmaster (Steel)
    Omega: Speedmaster Professional 3570.50.00
    Meistersinger: Perigraph AM1002
    Ben Sherman: S489.OOBS
    Rotary: 1990 Quartz (Gold)
    Steinhart: GMT Ocean One 39mm
    Certina: DS Super PH500M & DS PH200M

  4. #3
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    8,538
    I think if I was a true traveler this would be on the got to have list.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About Us
We are an independent and wide-ranging forum for watch enthusiasts. From mainspring to microchip, from Europe to Asia, from micro-brand to boutique - we cover it all. Novice or expert, we want you to feel at home. Whether it's asking a simple question or contributing to the fund of horological knowledge, it's all the same hobby. Or, if you like, you can just show us a picture of your new watch. We'll provide the welcoming and courteous environment, the rest is up to you!
Join us