INTRODUCING: The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kojima Productions Limited Edition SSH097 INTRODUCING: The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kojima Productions Limited Edition SSH097

INTRODUCING: The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kojima Productions Limited Edition SSH097

Fergus Nash

Seiko’s pop culture collaborations have offered a sensational demonstration of playfulness and creativity in watch design of late. You need only look to their Street Fighter or Naruto-inspired Seiko 5 lineups to see just how unique these watches can be, but the latest collaboration with recently-independent Kojima Productions takes things up a notch, bypassing the entry-level and going straight for the luxury quartz model that is the revitalised Seiko Astron. Taking inspiration from the cutting-edge quartz technology that Seiko embarked on in the late ‘60s and the GPS-powered digital sorcery of modern watches, this Astron sets to explore unknown galaxies through its links to Ludens, the bad-ass sci-fi mascot of Kojima Productions.

Kojima Productions is the Tokyo studio led by Hideo Kojima that devised the cult game Death Stranding that won the “PC Game of the Year” at last year’s Golden Joystick Awards. The watch is packed with almost as many references to Ludens as it is with high-tech functionality, with the most evident being the carbon fibre weave pattern on the dial reflecting the skeletal mask which Ludens wears beneath his space helmet. The weekday, 24-hour, and alternate time zone subdials are integrated on a single plane, representing the interlocking hinges between his rather medieval looking spacesuit of armour. The Ludens iconography can also be seen on the caseback and 9 o’clock subdial which, along with the other gold accents, match his various plates, caps, and rivets along his suit. The semi-skeletonised hand-set also refers to the spear-topped flag which Ludens bears, ready to claim undiscovered territories. The final hint is all around the bezel, which has UTC codes in the Kojima Productions font as well as their signature “From Sapiens To Ludens” tucked away below 6 o’clock.

Whether you’re a fan of Death Stranding and Metal Gear or not, this Astron is a looker. Its super-hard coating not only protects the typically softer titanium case from scratches, but the appearance of blackened metal ultimately reflects something you’d expect to survive the apocalyptic wastes between the United Cities of America. The gold and white details punctuate the charcoal monochromatic theme with accuracy, lending the watch some powerful legibility despite its blacked-out indices. The complexity of the subdials is minimised by their distinct hands, and it also somewhat disguises the date window at 4:30 which is neatly framed by another black window.  


The calibre 5X53 movement has come a long, long way since Seiko’s original 35SQ quartz movement from the 1969 Astron. While the vintage movement quoted an accuracy of +/- 0.2 seconds per day, the newest generation of Astron 5X watches use multiple GPS satellites to synchronise your watch multiple times per day, granting an accuracy of +/- 1 second per 100,000 years. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the ritual of setting your watch, then the Astron is the ultimate in ease of use. With one push of a single button, the hands will fly along to the exact local time of wherever you are, even adjusting for daylight savings if necessary. Combine that with the solar charging negating the need for battery changes and the Astron 5X range delivers some of the easiest watches to throw on and wear in the world. 

Available in a run of 1000 pieces and priced at $4950AUD, this Seiko clearly isn’t playing by the regular rules, but nor is it offering the regular specifications. Although the dimensions are chunky with a 42.8mm diameter and 14.7mm thickness, the titanium case ensures the entire watch and bracelet weighs only a meagre 103g — around two thirds of what you’d expect an equivalent steel watch to weigh. You get a dual-curved sapphire crystal with a super-clear coating, 200m of water resistance and, of course, all of the technology involved with the 5X53 movement — automatic hand synchronising, dual-time display, the GPS reception, a perpetual calendar until the year 2100, and so much more. Plus, perhaps the most wonderful feature on a Seiko, is an articulated bracelet with a proper milled clasp, including a Smart Adjuster function for easy adapting to changes in temperature. It’s watches like these where the line between Seiko and Grand Seiko starts to blur.