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Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori was born in 1860 in central Tokyo, during a time of massive social change and industrial maturation for Japan. The timepiece repair business he established at the tender age of 17 would grow into Japan’s preeminent watch and clock manufacturer. For the 160th anniversary of Hattori’s birth, Seiko has released a special edition of its groundbreaking Astron GPS Solar watch.

The original Astron from 2012 — itself an ultra-modern evolution of a 1969 Seiko watch of the same name, which also happened to be the first quartz-powered watch on the market — was a solar-powered watch that received GPS satellite signals, enabling the wearer to adjust to any local time zone on Earth at the push of a button. This model and others that evolved from that watch boast all of that functionality along with the added convenience of allowing the wearer to also check the time in his home zone. The movement, Seiko’s Caliber 5X53, connects up to twice a day to a GPS network; when the dial detects sunlight, the watch uses the GPS signal to automatically adjust to the correct local time, including during Daylight Savings Times.

In this new special edition honoring Kintaro Hattori, the 42.8-mm case and bracelet are made from titanium with an extra-hard, scratch-resistant black coating. The high-gloss bezel, made from Zirconia ceramic, has sixteen facets — one for each decade since Hattori’s birth. The sober black tones of the case, bezel, dial and bracelet (a black crocodile leather strap is also included) are accented with gold-toned details, including the crown, the pushers for time-zone adjustments, the hour and minute hands and dual-time subdial, and the applied index at 12 o’clock.

Also gold-toned is the watch’s solid caseback, which bears three references to Kintaro Hattori and his legacy: The trademark “S” that he registered in 1900, large in the center; his motto, “One step ahead of the rest” curving above it; and the name “Seiko,” first used in 1924 and now world-famous, above the motto on the rim. The case is water-resistant to 200 meters and antimagnetic to 4,800 A/m. The watch is delivered in a special presentation box with a commemorative Seiko “S” badge and including a card carrying a message from Kintaro’s great-grandson Shinji Hattori, the current Chairman & CEO of Seiko. Limited to 2,500 pieces and priced at $3,900, the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition will be available in October 2020 (Kintaro’s birth month) at Seiko boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide.

Manufacturer: Seiko Watch Corp., 8-10 Toranomon 2-Chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8467, Japan
Reference number: SSH073
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, dual time with AM/PM indication, world-time function, perpetual calendar correct to 2100
Movement: Seiko Caliber 5X53, quartz, GPS-controlled time and time zone adjustment, power-save function, automatic DST adjustment function
Case: Titanium case with super-hard black coating, zirconia ceramic bezel,
Bracelet and cla­­sp: Titanium bracelet, super-hard black coating, with three-fold push-button release clasp
Dimensions: Diameter = 42.8 mm, height = 15.6 mm
Price: $3,900, limited to 2,500 pieces
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