HANDS-ON: Ready for anything – the Seiko Astron SSE170J1 HANDS-ON: Ready for anything – the Seiko Astron SSE170J1

HANDS-ON: Ready for anything – the Seiko Astron SSE170J1

Felix Scholz

Seiko’s Astron (the new GPS one, not the groundbreaking quartz one) is a pretty incredible piece of kit. Ostensibly, it tells the time, day, date and a second time zone. But the trick is in the method. The Astron, thanks to GPS technology, keeps track of time by talking to satellites — a quite cool party trick.

Given its go-anywhere accuracy and automatic time zone adjustment, it makes sense that the Astron is billed as an adventure watch for the travelling set. And never has that been more apparent than with this watch. Don’t mind the ‘Solar Executive Sports Series’ name, this watch is, in fact, the most rough and tumble Astron yet.

The incredible versatility of the solar 8X53 is matched by the super-hard titanium case (with rose gold tone in this case) and ceramic bezel. The rich, golden brown ceramic bezel, by the way, is inlaid with UTC times on the top and IATA codes on the side, all of which, in a neat trick, have some impressive luminous powers. The shape of the case is more streamlined, too, a more rugged sporty look that downplays the still hefty 46.7mm diameter and 14.5mm height. Best of all, though, the Sports Executive Series boasts a solid 20 bar of water resistance, making it more than a match for the hotel pool. The sporty look is completed by the blocky black crown guards.

There’s a few options in this new, curvaceous and water-friendly Astron line-up. A straight up-and-down black dial, as well as a very pretty blue option. For me though, I’m quite taken by the high contrast, high bling SSE170J1. It’s not a subtle colour scheme, but, then again, with its big build and complicated face, the Astron was never really an under-the-radar (or should that be satellite?) proposition, so why not own it?

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Executive Sports SSE170J1 Australian pricing

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Executive Sports SSE170J1, $4200