New Releases Watches

Seiko Introduce Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box with New Movement and Integrated Bracelet

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box SSJ017 2023 Titanium Limited Edition

Seiko has one of the most diverse ranges of wristwatches of any brand in the world, with watches that range from refined to adventurous and from classical to modern. Their latest launch, the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box, falls into the latter category by embracing an industrial style and a brand-new movement.

There are four watches in the new collection and in classic Seiko style they’re known simply by their reference numbers: SSJ013, SSJ014, SSJ015 and SSJ017. In terms that will actually help you tell the difference between them all, they are (in order) the titanium, rose gold, black and limited-edition versions. All four of them have 41.2mm diameter cases in titanium, while the rose gold and black models then have a super hard coating in their respective colours on top.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box Jet Black SSJ015 Lume

Stylistically, the cases lean towards the industrial aesthetic that’s becoming increasingly popular at the moment. The facetted octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet give it that post-Genta sports luxe appearance, although at less than £2,000 calling it sports “luxe” seems like a stretch. It’s an ongoing discussion here at Oracle Time HQ how to define these kinds of watches. After all, a Royal Oak and this Seiko Astron are leagues apart and yet they tick a lot of the same boxes.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box Jet Black SSJ015
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box Rose Gold SSJ014

One of the main similarities between these and the Royal Oak are the dials. The titanium, rose gold and black versions each feature a textured pattern of rectangles that looks like an elongated version of Audemars Piguet’s signature Tapisserie. Seiko are calling their pattern “Crystal Box” which is what gives the collection its moniker. The limited edition is more distinctive with a horizontal striped pattern featuring alternating finishes, but that just puts it in Patek Nautilus territory.

Although, to say that Seiko is jumping onto this trend now would be incorrect. The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box is inspired by the original quartz Astron from 1969, just before those early-70s Genta designs were first making waves. However, I would say that this modern interpretation emphasises those stylistic elements to a far, far greater degree than any previous Seiko.

Beneath the surface of the watches is a new movement, the 3X62, an updated version of their GPS Solar movement with enhanced reception of solar signals. Essentially, because it’s better at detecting light, there was more design freedom to explore new concepts.

The movement features hours, minutes, seconds, date and watch status indicator functions. The watch status indicator is located on the subdial at 8 o’clock and displays the receiving process of GPS satellites as well as the watch’s charging status, leap second data receipt and in-flight mode. Plus, with the GPS system working, it will remain accurate to the second for 100,000 years, a downright existential length of time.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box Sapphire Blue SSJ013
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box Rose Gold SSJ014
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box Jet Black SSJ015
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box SSJ017 2023 Titanium Limited Edition

Of the four designs my favourite is the limited-edition model SSJ017. The dial gives it a slightly sleeker appearance, plus it has a similar price to the standard editions and isn’t overwhelmingly exclusive with 1,500 pieces available. Indeed, at £1,800 it’s actually the same price as the titanium version and more accessible than the £1,900 rose gold and £1,980 black editions.

There’s no avoiding that they’re pricey for Seiko, especially being quartz, but another way to look at it is that the Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box is a sports luxe bargain.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Seiko Astron GPS Solar Crystal Box
  • Ref: SSJ013 (sapphire blue dial), SSJ014 (grey dial, rose gold bezel), SSJ015 (black dial, black case), SSJ017 (grey dial)
  • Case/dial: 41.2mm diameter x 12mm thickness, titanium case with super hard coating, sapphire blue (SSJ013), jet black (SSJ015) or grey dial (SSJ014, SSJ017), titanium bezel (SSJ013, SSJ015, SSJ017) with rose gold coloured coating (SSJ014)
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
  • Movement: Seiko calibre 3X62, quartz movement
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, GPS controlled time and time zone adjustment, perpetual calendar correct to yeah 2100, high speed time zone adjustment, signal reception result indicator, power save function, +15 seconds per month
  • Strap: Titanium bracelet (SSJ013, SSJ014, SSJ017) or black coated titanium bracelet (SSJ015)
  • Price/availability: £1,800 (SSJ013, SSJ017), £1,900 (SSJ014) and £1,980 (SSJ015)

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Junior Content Producer for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. While a relative newcomer to the magazine, he's nonetheless a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better.

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