This all sounds very complicated and you might be thinking “So how does this actually work?” Well, if you’re in a suburban or rural area, it works quite well. We took the watch out to the less densely populated areas around New York City and had no problems getting the Astron to accurately set itself time and time again. But in Manhattan operation could be a little frustrating. On a wide street downtown you might get a few satellites, but between skyscrapers you can find yourself frustratedly staring at the dial only to get an “N” reading.
Overall, the Astron is a really cool concept – a watch that is solar powered, automatically sets the time and date to the correct timezone, and has a perpetual calendar good to 2100. Essentially it’s the go anywhere, do anything watch that requires only the push of a button to be accurate. The fact that due to the pitfalls of GPS it has a tough time in cities is frustrating, but we admire Seiko’s drive to push what a timepiece can do. The concept here is very good, but it seems like there is still much work to be done to make this a truly compelling product.
The steel model we tested is priced at $2,300, with prices on other models ranging up to $3,850 for the black titanium limited edition. For more information, check out the Astron site here.