Eight years after Seiko debuted its GPS-connected, light-powered Astron, the Tokyo-based watchmaker launches a new Astron dedicated to Seiko’s founder Kintaro Hattori. The new Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary watch commemorates Hattori with a special sixteen-facet zirconia ceramic bezel, representing one facet for each decade since Hattori’s birth.
This latest Astron, powered by the GPS-controlled Caliber 5X53, is a dual timer with automatic high-speed timezone adjustment (including Daylight Savings Time) while traveling in any time zone, with accuracy to 15 seconds per month even without receiving the GPS signal. The watch’s 42.8mm case and bracelet are made of titanium with a scratch-resistant coating. The watch’s dark hue, accented in gold, is meant to honor Seiko’s heritage.
Seiko has placed Hattori’s name and three reminders of his legacy on the case back, including the trademark “S” that he registered in 1900. His motto “One step ahead of the rest” appears above it near the name Seiko, which the company first used in 1924.
Seiko is offering the watch, a limited edition of 2,500, in a presentation box with a commemorative “S” mark badge and includes a card carrying a message from Kintaro’s great-grandson and the company’s current Chairman & CEO, Shinji Hattori.
The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition will be available in October, the month of Kintaro’s birth, at Seiko Boutiques and at selected retail partners worldwide. Price: $3,900.
Specifications: Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition (Limited edition of 2,500)
Movement: Caliber 5X53 GPS controlled time and time zone adjustment, dual-time with AM/PM indication, perpetual calendar correct to Feb 2100 , automatic DST adjustment, high speed time zone adjustment , time transfer function , signal reception result indication, world time function (39 time zones), power save function. Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (without receiving a GPS signal and at temperatures between 5°C and 35°C)
Case: 42.8mm x 15.6 mm titanium case with super-hard black coating zirconia ceramic bezel, dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistance to 200 meters, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m,
Bracelet: Titanium with three-fold clasp with push button release. A crocodile strap is also included.
Frederique Constant this week brings back its Highlife collection, one of the Geneva watchmaker’s earliest lines, updated with an integrated steel bracelet and a contemporary dial design. The watchmaker debuts the newly returned collection with three new models: The Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Highlife Heart Beat and Highlife Automatic COSC.
All three new Highlife models display the same 41mm case as the original collection from 1999, but the new dials feature a globe design that the Geneva brand says is “intended to unify the collection and symbolize the Earth, harmony, and perfection of the circle.”
While not Frederique Constant’s first integrated bracelet, these Highlife debuts mark a premiere of a newer, interchangeable bracelet that allows the wearer to swap the bracelet without additional tools by pressing on the two pushpins at the end of the bracelet or strap to disconnect it from the case and click a new one into place.
Versatility is a focus here. Each watch will come with an additional leather strap and a rubber strap, and Frederique Constant is also offering a set of three additional crocodile calf suede straps in brown, blue, and black (purchased separately).
When it made its first perpetual calendar four years ago, Frederique Constant stuck to its mission of offering a high value-to-price ratio across all its collections. That premier Slimline Perpetual Calendar model wowed collectors and critics alike with its thin Caliber FC-775 movement, attractive dial layout and a double-take price (less than $9,000 for the steel-cased model).
With this latest example, the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, Frederique Constant’s continues that mission. The watchmaker’s starts with that in-house FC-775 perpetual calendar caliber and places in the newly integrated steel case/bracelet, fronted by the globe design on the dial.
As with previous examples, the new Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture features three counters: day at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock and moon phase at 6 o’clock. The watch’s polished hands and all the index hour markers are topped with a luminescent material.
Frederique Constant is making three different variations of the watch. One (pictured above) offers a very cool two-tone style that combines steel and rose gold plating on the bezel, bracelet, and crown. For added luxury you’ll also get a textured black rubber strap with a rose gold-plated buckle.
The second version features a blue dial with silver hands and index hour markers and comes with a blue rubber strap and a steel pin buckle. The third version comes with a white dial, silver index hour markers, a black leather strap and a black rubber strap. Prices start at $9,095.
The new Highlife Heart Beat collection revisits this brand’s initial ‘iconic’ design.
When it debuted in 1994, the Heart Beat was only serially produced non-skeleton Swiss-made collection that boasted an open dial, displaying the automatic caliber’s escape wheel at the 12 o’clock position. Frederique Constant kicked off a design trend with that original Heartbeat collection, and today regrets the fact that it never protected the initial design, an error the brand says was “rooted in the brand’s youthful inexperience.”
The new versions retain that open window into the movement at the top of the dial, which here appears at the pole position on the globe dial design. Portions of the automatic Sellita-based FC-310 caliber are visible from both front and back through the sapphire crystal.
The new Highlife Heart Beat is now available in three different steel versions. The first offers a white dial and rose gold-plated case with only a brown leather strap and a brown rubber strap. The second features a blue dial with a steel bracelet, complemented by a blue rubber strap and the third features a black dial with a steel case and bracelet and arrives with a black rubber strap. Prices start at $1,995.
New and Certified
As the first COSC-certified watch from Frederique Constant, the new Highlife Automatic COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) echoes the original Highlife collection from 1999.
The simplest design of the new globe-dial Highlife collection, this time-only series combines the hands seen on the Heart Beat and the date from the Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, but powers them both with its automatic Sellita-based Caliber FC-310.
Look for four models: one with a two-tone steel bracelet and a white dial, one with a steel bracelet and a blue dial, and a model with a black leather strap and a white dial. The fourth design offers a variation with a rose gold-plated case and a black dial, all set with a brown leather strap and shipped with a rubber strap in the same shade. Prices start at $1,895.
Casio’s Edifice collection has long been the more conventional, metal-cased choice for those who enjoy the laundry list of high-tech features found on Casio’s wildly popular G-Shock watches, but prefer a thinner, polished case under their sleeve. Earlier this year Casio further endeared itself to all who even sometimes want a more traditional steel watch by releasing new full-featured Edifice bracelet models inside even slimmer cases.
The Casio Edifice EQB1000D-1A is a recently released example of that Edifice focus. I’ve been wearing this watch for a few weeks, and it feels more luxurious than I expected for a brand known more for fit and function rather than eye-candy. Perhaps it’s the watch’s shiny aqua day/mode scale and matching second-time-zone hour hand.
Most likely, that tinge of luxury is the result of its thinness. The watch is slim (just 8.9 mm thick compared to the 13.1mm of the previous models), an update Casio made despite incorporating the same multi-hand display, Bluetooth and Tough Solar functions.
And of course, when using the Casio Edifice app in conjunction with the watch, myriad additional features are available to wearer. Connecting via Bluetooth, the watch gets much smarter, accessing the correct time for up to 300 cities worldwide, even updating with the latest time zone and daylight saving time information.
Also when connected, the watch resets regularly four times a day by the smartphone to show both home time and world time correctly. You can also reset the watch manually with just a push of a button when crossing between time zones.
For the forgetful, however, there’s one feature that might prove to be the most useful: the Phone finder. Pressing a button on the watch causes your phone to sound a tone, even if it is in silent mode. This means you can quickly locate your phone if it’s reasonably close. I found that if I left my phone even fifteen feet away, the alarm would continue to sound.
But even without the connectivity, the watch offers more than you’d expect for what is essentially an analog model. Its dual timer enables users to view the current time plus the time in another time zone simultaneously –with a clear indication (at 12 o’clock) of daytime or nighttime at that zone. Additional features include water resistance up to 100 meters, a 1/1000th second stopwatch, 200-lap memory, a daily alarm and a full calendar.
All these features would tend to tax the battery life on a standard smartwatch, but here, despite the Bluetooth and additional connected features, the Edifice EQB-1000D is actually smarter. It doesn’t need to be charged every day, or even every month. Casio’s superior Tough Solar feature allows a fully charged internal battery to last for five months, even if you or your watch hasn’t seen any sunlight for weeks. That’s because the Edifice’s battery charges from not only sunlight, but also from any artificial source, including florescent or LED light.
The Casio Edifice EQB1000D-1A also boasts a sapphire crystal (not always found at this price point) with non-reflective coating. Priced at $330, it will be also be available with a sportier versions (with added tachymeter bezel) that opt for a black dial with red accents and a silver stainless steel band (EQB1000XD-1A; $330) and with a black dial with blue accents and a black IP coated stainless-steel band (EQB1000XDC-1A; $380).
Specifications: Casio Edifice EQB1000DC-1A
Tough Solar (Solar powered)
Mobile link (Wireless linking using Bluetooth
Dual time (Home city time swapping)
One-second stopwatch (measuring capacity: 23:59’59). Others: Flyback, direct timing start from the timekeeping mode
Power Saving (hands stop to save power when the watch is left in the dark)
Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
Analog: 3 hands (hour, minute (hand moves every 10 seconds)
Four dials (24-hour, day, dual time hour and minute, dual time 24-hour)
Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (with no mobile link function)
Approx. battery operating time:Five months on rechargeable battery (operation period with normal use without exposure to light after charge) or nineteen months on rechargeable battery (operation period when stored in total darkness with the power save function on after full charge)
Size of case /total weight: EQB-1000D………49.9 x 45.6 x 8.9 mm / 130 g
My Rolex Explorer is peerless. It does it all without ever letting me know it is there. When I do see it, no one knows the time more than I do.
By Saad Choudry
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives, wrote Anne Dillard. I have been wearing a Rolex Explorer on my wrist for the past year. It is the kind of watch you forget is there after a while. That’s why I haven’t taken it off since I got it. It becomes part of the furniture of your life.
My days are quite unremarkable and, admittedly, my life is too. The Explorer, however, has a bi-modal persona that suits me rather well. It disappears when I do not need to know the time. When I do need to read the time, the Explorer presents it with uncompromising sangfroid. That is perfect for how I live my life. This personality was certainly deliberately crafted, but not with my life in mind.
It started by Rolex answering the call of the unknown. From the 1930s, Rolex began equipping numerous mountaineering expeditions with Oyster watches. The feedback from these intrepid expeditions was used to create the Professional category of watches that served as tools for time telling and nothing more.
Rolex watches have taken part in some of humanity’s greatest adventures since, with one notable example being the 1953 conquest of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Rolex used information gained from this expedition and combined feedback from other climbers to launch the first Explorer watch in the same year.
Later, the model’s performance was enhanced with a reinforced case and more legible dial. Over the years the watch has more or less retained its distinct looks, but has been endowed with much of the technical progress Rolex has made to date. To quietly evolve, yet seemingly stay the same is no mean feat.
Ten years on since its last major redesign, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer enters this new decade looking fresh as ever. The recipe makes one wonder sometimes why there are other watches in the first place.
It all starts with a corrosion-and-water-resistant stamped stainless steel case. The 39mm size suits modern tastes and isn’t unbecoming for a three-hand tool watch. The lugs are long and slim, meandering around the case to seat the watch flat and low on the wrist. The bezel is also flat and low, mimicking the stance it allows the watch to achieve when worn. This is no disco volante. This is stealth.
The bracelet is sturdy but soft at the same time, never feeling intrusive or meddlesome, as the clasp with its double locking feature secures a comfortable fit. Once it’s on, it’s not going anywhere. And it will hardly ever be there because as it hunkers down, its mirror-polished case band and lug profile reflects the surface of your arm while the polished bezel reflects the world around you, your entire existence and place in the universe appearing infinitely cast into its metallic soul. You see yourself in your watch. You also see a fine level of workmanship unusual for this type of watch.
Originally a tool, the finish of the case and bracelet is of very high quality but it is the muted grace with which it has been applied that really impresses. It is not ceremonious.The brushing on the case and especially the bracelet is linear, consistently sharp, and luxuriously soft – of generously high standard and very silky to touch.
Rolex has always made great watches, but the fit and finish today makes them better than they have ever been. The standards remain high throughout the construction of the watch. The Twin Lock screw-down crown and its handling is so expertly weighted that operating it might as well be telepathic. There is a feeling of assurance in the well-defined sharp knurling of its toothed circumference.
The Explorer’s 100-meter-water-resistant caseback, also screwed-down, has a straight brushing that soothes like poetry upon feeling it against my hairy wrist every morning. The sapphire crystal is flat, and thankfully devoid of anti-reflective coating because when viewed right it lets you admire a dial that has few equals.
The handset may look familiar, but it is unique to the Explorer. The dial below it is also unique. The applied white gold triangle at 12 o’clock is designed so that its vertex angles will allow the legs to correspond with the points where the middle end link meets the bezel’s peripheral edge. As if that wasn’t erudite enough, the lollipop on the seconds hand kisses the tip of the triangle tangentially with every revolution. It is a joy to watch it happen.
The 3, 6, and 9 hour marker array that the Explorer is known for is handsomely proportioned and crafted with immense deftness out of white gold, as are the remaining applied baton hour indices. All three hands and all the hour markers are generously filled with Chromalight, a proprietary luminescent material that glows a soft aquamarine that isn’t brighter than its competition, but lasts longer.
The cruciformly symmetrical dial has a very subtle granularity to it, its matte varnish contrasting perfectly with a crisp white printed minutes track surrounding it. Held together by the ROLEXROLEXROLEX rehaut, it is a fantastic way to tell the time. And it is the way it tells the time that makes the Explorer special.
Its unadorned opulence speaks to the nuanced craft that Rolex has perfected over the years. There is no pageantry about the way the 31-jewel Caliber 3132 crunches out time all day long. It works as advertised – no fuss, no problem – with the Parachrom hairspring rendering magnetic influences from modern life powerless and the Paraflex shock absorber ensuring that it keeps ticking, even when you’re slip slidin’ away.
Failing to fall outside its chronometer mandate, it provides a consistent 4 Hz companionship that an insurance commercial wouldn’t even dare. To keep matters simple, the only complication is a sweep seconds. Contrary to contemporary trends, this brutal simplicity might make it the thinking man’s sports watch of choice. There is nothing to see but a well-made legible watch with accurate timekeeping that offers the comfort of a versatile package. If brevity is the soul of wit, the proverbial Explorer is its embodiment. In my opinion, it is all the better for it.
Once the bracelet is sized and the watch is worn, its ergonomics are immediately apparent and you go about your day never noticing it is there. The center of gravity of the watch lies somewhere inside the wrist, I’d wager right in the middle, which makes it a model of excellent balance made possible by the robust and well-finished double folding clasp. This balanced design brings equilibrium to wearing, reading, using, and ultimately living with the watch. That makes it fit right in to my life.
For my needs and for my tastes, my Rolex Explorer is peerless and it does it all without ever letting me know it is there. When I do see it, though, there isn’t a guy around for miles who knows what time it is more than I do.
The Rolex Explorer is a 39mm stainless steel watch with black dial, luminous hands and markers, and is powered by a self-winding movement with a 48-hour power reserve. It has been hanging out with me unwaveringly through every unremarkable day for the past year. I get the feeling, however, that this relationship has only just begun.
Saad Chaudhry lives in Munich and enjoys shifting gears in his sports car.
Greubel Forsey debuts a red gold version of its QP à Équation, an ultra-complicated timepiece with complete perpetual calendar, tourbillon and equation of time function. The watch, which was awarded the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award for the best Calendar in 2017, utilizes a type of ‘mechanical computer’ to manage all the changes in the displays.
This ‘computer,’ Greubel Forsey’s seventh invention, is an entirely integrated twenty-five-part component composed of a stack of cams with movable fingers that shift the indications on the dial and caseback. The month’s cam changes the month (seen on the front of the dial) and also moves the Equation of Time disc on the back. The years’ cam controls the leap year indication (front) and also the year and seasons on the back.
In summary, the dial side, now chocolate brown-colored, displays the 24 hours of the day and night, the day of the week, the large date, the month, the hours and the minutes; the movement side shows the equation of time and the seasons and the year. Price: $695,000.