The Seiko Astron Limited edition watch (model S23617) commemorates the 40th anniversary of Seiko’s pioneering introduction of the first commercial quartz watch. Available in Fall 2010 in a limited edition of 200 worldwide and only 40 in the US at a suggested retail of $5000. The new Astron pays homage not only to the original design, but also to the pioneering spirit and innovation of its predecessor. The caliber 9F sets a new standard in quartz technology.
The hands are larger and longer than usually found in a quartz watch. This is made possible by the use of a special two-pulse circuit and motor which generate much higher torque.The second hand aligns perfectly to the markers, thanks to a special jumper that incorporates a hairspring.The date changes instantaneously. In fact, it takes just 1/ 2,000 of a second, far faster than in any normal watch.
Seiko Met the Quartz Watch Design Challenge and Changed the Way the World Tells Time
The vast majority of probably a billion watches worn today are based on quartz technology. If your watch requires a battery, or even if it is powered by solar energy, it is likely to be regulated at its heart by a vibrating quartz crystal. But how was this ubiquitous quartz watch technology developed and commercialized?
Seiko Project 59A
It all started in 1959 as ‘Project 59A’ at a research & development lab at Seiko. Pierre Curie had discovered in 1880 that when an electrical current is passed across a quartz crystal, the crystal will vibrate at a fast and very precise speed. The question was how to utilize this effect in a practical application. Seiko engineers produced the first quartz timepiece in 1959, a clock actually used by a tv station in Japan, but it was OVER 6 FEET tall and is shown at left. Clearly, miniaturization would be the next challenge!
During the 1960’s, as America and Russia raced to the moon, Seiko engineers were racing to reach a different goal. They developed an open-style stepping motor, which made significant size reduction possible. Seiko engineers also reduced power requirements by inventing new integrated circuits, ultimately inventing a C-MOS IC which made it possible for a quartz movement to run for more than a year on a button-type battery.
The Quartz revolution takes off with the Seiko Astron
The original Seiko Quartz Astron had an 18 Karat gold case and went on sale in Tokyo on December 25, 1969 in a limited edition of just 100. The Quartz Astron was precise to five seconds a month, 100 times more accurate than most mechanical watches. The Astron introduction turned out to be a momentous day for the entire watch industry as it laid the foundation for revolutionizing the watch industry, which, until then had been dominated by mechanical watches manufactured in America, Switzerland and by Seiko in Japan.
If you are interested in the limited edition Astron, please contact us at 800-572-8263 for availability.
Princeton Watches is an authorized Seiko Internet Retailer, carrying the complete line of Seiko Watches The Seiko Astron will be available in October and we will only have one available on a first come first serve basis, so please contact us if you are interested.