Before the advent of the smartphones, along with the meteoric rise of mobile devices, may it be from Apple or from Google or from any silicon loving companies out there. The wristwatch was the pinnacle of gadgets and gizmos. Manufacturers inserted complications to extend the functionality of the watch, Pilots require either a GMT-hand or a world time clock, people in the motorsports business needed a chronograph, divers required a dedicated divers watch and so on. In the world today, all of these has already been replaced by a digital device, and mechanical watches has taken a back seat and serve more so as a luxury item rather than a tool. That is though until they met the new Seiko Astron.
The original Astron back in 1969 was the world's first quartz watch. Now, the proverbial Japanese watch company is reinventing the iconic piece that revolutionizes the entire watch industry back in 70s. The new Astron however will become another first from the watch industry. It is perhaps the first watch to be equipped with a low power GPS. With the GPS inside this piece, it would enable the piece to communicate with up to 4 satellites, just like any other GPS devices out there, to be able to identify the exact date and time from every timezone on this planet. One hit of a button the watch synchronized with its location in just under a minute.
Perhaps fans from the other Japanese watchmaker, the one who introduced a so called G-Shock to its line, will argue that such a feat is already an existing technology with their timepieces, which is done with atomic clocks that emits radio frequencies to synchronize it's time. But the problem here is that not all places on Earth has reception to their towers. While the Astron only requires clear skies and you'll be sync in no time. The Astron also comes with Solar charging that gives it the ability to charge its battery from any light source. A watch that is self-reliant and can even give most automatic mechanical watches a run for its money. Plus the fact that it's also equipped with a perpetual calendar, no date adjustments needed, even for leap years!
Casio just recently introduced a bluetooth 4.0 enabled watch, to be able to sync everything from your mobile devices. Seiko on the other hand took it a step further, by completely removing the piece's dependency on digital devices. It doesn't mean though the piece can replace your mobile phone, but with the technology infused into it, it beats most mobile devices out there when it comes to time telling. And the best thing about it is that it is an analog piece! The Astron will come it 6 different configurations, from stainless steel to titanium and is sized at 47mm diameter and water resistant of up to 100 meters. At 47mm is a little large for folks with smaller wrists, once this baby comes in 39-41mm, then we're talking! The new Astron will retail around 2000-3000 Euros (2500-4000 USD). Hit the video after the jump to see the piece in action.
Don't forget to check out Seiko Watches to find out what the brand has to offer for this year's Baselworld. Perhaps something different from the Swiss dominated exhibit.
The folks at Rolex weren't too keen on keeping secrets. Rumors have been flying around that the behemoth of a Swiss company had already filed for a trademark on the name "Sky Dweller" a fews week prior to Baselworld. Now that the horological world is on a standstill for the entire exhibition, Rolex had indeed released a new piece in their collection. It is almost crazy to think that such a brand who is so conservative in their styles, and the way they make simple adjustments to their existing collections to make a new watch, would be releasing an entirely new piece of micro engineering beauty. Introducing, the new Rolex Sky-Dweller and what better way to introduce the entire thing than to show a video release of it, coming from Rolex themselves.
From the initial looks of it, it seems that the Sky Dweller is sort of a mixture between a standard Date Just II and a GMT Master. With its Roman numerals marking and a dual timezone, it is indeed that the Sky Dweller will probably be replacing the GMT Master as the dedicated Pilot watch for Rolex. The Sky Dweller is a first from Rolex to have an Annual Calendar, meaning it will be able to distinguish between a 30-day month from a 31-day month with the exception of February (We leave that to the whizzes from Patek Philippe.) With the new Annual Calendar complication, comes with a new in-house movement, the caliber 9001. Also, Rolex has equipped the piece with a rotatable bezel, that allows setting of the date, local time or reference time, in which they call it the "Ring Command". The piece will be available in white gold, yellow gold and Everose gold. As with most Rolex releases, we expect the steel version to be coming out next year.
A few days left to go before Baselworld 2012, and watch companies have been showing their sneak peeks of what they have to offer for 2012. We already seen what Tissot is coming up and now, perhaps Zenith is on to the same direction to enrich their heritage and bring back the golden age of watch making.
Introducing two new models to the popular El Primero line. The El Primero Chronomaster 1969 and the El Primero Chronomaster Open Grande Date Moon & Sunphase, that was quite a mouthful. This 2012, will see the return of the glory day of Zenith through these two models. The El Primero, being the first automatic chronograph released back in 1969, is probably one of the most sought after chronograph ever, even more popular than the Rolex Daytona. Heck, the Rolex even had the Daytona used the same movement the El Primero had before Rolex made its own.
The 2012 edition will feature the same colors as the original 1969 model. However, the watch will be sporting a new Zenith El Primero movement that is worthy of its ancestry. The Calibre 4061, beating at a high frequency of 36,000 vph, deviating from the standard 28,800 vph just like before. The increase in frequency results to a higher accuracy of the chronograph. You can also see, a cut-away portion the dial, in the 10 o'clock position, the heart of the movement. The open-heart construction reveals the work of Zenith design engineers and watchmakers, relocating the escapement to the 10 o'clock. The watch will be a 42mm stainless steel case, a size that is already been proven standard for our generation. The piece will come with a choice of either a triple folding alligator strap with rubber lining (shown on the photos), a stainless steel pin buckle or a stainless steel triple folding clasp. All of which are worthy of the Zenith Chornomaster name.