Novak Djokovic has been the Seiko Astron GPS ambassador since 2014. Since then, Seiko didn’t stand still and kept developing the GPS movement. It became much smaller, more energy efficient and is capable of receiving information from 4 satellites. Just a while ago, Seiko introduced a new limited edition of 35oo pieces only, with a mother-of-pearl dial and a titanium case with rose gold color coating. Let’s have a look!
Quartz powered watches remain to be a bit difficult to accept for us watch enthusiasts. They almost single-handedly killed the entire Swiss watch industry in the 1970s, “allowed” big brands to produce utter junk till far in the 1980s and took away the soul from many watches. On the other hand, it allowed Swatch to produce cheap mass produced watches again in order to fund the resurrection of a couple of those Swiss powerhouses and turn them into healthy companies again. So yes, even by hearing the word ‘quartz’, the little hairs in our necks might rise a bit, but on the other hand we respect it for allowing watches to be super precise, cheap and have interesting complications or functionality.
Some brands turned the quartz movement into an art, like the Rolex Oyster-Quartz or Seiko’s very own Grand Seiko 9F quartz movement (see above). And to be dead-honest with you, I’d prefer a 9F quartz movement over some of the mechanical movements out there.
Not as pretty, but very useful, is Seiko’s caliber 8X22. This is Seiko’s movement that is capable of receiving signals from four different satellites to automatically display the most accurate time, wherever in the world you are (40 time zones). Its perpetual calendar will show the correct year up to 2100. If there is no reception of GPS, thus no synchronization, it will be as accurate as any other Seiko quartz watch. We did an in-depth review on the Astron GPS here, explaining to you how it works.
Below, an image of the Seiko caliber 8X movement (left) and its predecessor, the caliber 7X series movement. Look at how small the battery is for the new caliber type and (not pictured), the ring antenna went from 38mm to 35.5mm in diameter.
Back to the Seiko Astron GPS Novak Djokovic edition. To commemorate the partnership between Seiko and the winner of Roland Garros 2016, there is this limited edition watch of 3500 pieces only. In order to make it stand-out from the other Seiko Astron GPS models, this watch comes in a rose gold coated titanium case. This gives the watch a bit of warmth. The black bezel and the black croco strap give a nice contrast to the watch. According to Seiko, the watch combines elegance and sport. But there is more.
As you can see, the dial of the Seiko Astron GPS Novak Djokovic Limited Edition is made of mother-of-pearl. It gives the dial a nice glow of green, purple and blue colors. It is not a very common material to use for a mens watch, but since the watch itself is big (44.8mm x 12.4mm) there is no need to doubt its masculinity. The applied rose gold markers and the rose gold hands match with the case and folding clasp and give enough contrast with the MoP dial to be perfectly readable.
We’ll find the model name printed relatively large at 6 o’clock (ASTRON) where ‘GPS’ and ‘Solar’ are printed below the brand name at 12 o’clock. You will also see a smaller sub dial, where there’s an indicator for ‘flight mode’ (like your phone probably has as well), power reserve indicator and a Daylight Saving Time indicator (time can be corrected manually in DST zones). The watch is solar powered, and only when it receives enough light, the watch automatically receives GPS signals. With the pushers, you can put the watch in airplane mode and synchronize time (via GPS).
On the caseback of this Seiko Astron GPS Solar, you will find the engraved signature of Novak Djokovic. Besides the engraving on the back, you will receive a card with a personal message from Novak. All watches also have a unique number (out of 3500), which is engraved on the caseback.
This Seiko comes on a croco strap with folding clasp. It is a three-fold clasp with pusher in order to release it. The strap is actually quite nice and fits better than the one we had on one of our previous Astron GPS models, that we reviewed. The thick padded strap fits nicely to the case due to its round ends and is quite comfortable on the wrist. The clasp is nicely finished and has the same rose gold color coating as the case itself.
As I wrote previously in this article, watch ambassadors aren’t always a perfect fit. However, in this case, one of the best tennis players that travels the world all the time and a Seiko Astron GPS makes a lot of sense. Whether this rose gold watch with mother-of-pearl dial is something else, but rest assured, Seiko has a lot more different Astron GPS variations in their collection.
The finish and quality of this watch, in combination with the functionality need to justify a list price of 2000 Euro (prices elsewhere in the world might vary a bit). The fact that it is a Djokovic limited edition, and only 3500 pieces being made are less relevant to be honest. I am not heavily into tennis, but if you are, this might be a plus for you! With the quality of the watch and finish of the components is absolutely nothing wrong, it is actually on a very high level. I’ve witnessed this myself during last year’s trip to Seiko Japan. You can read about it in this report.
More information on this Seiko Astron GPS Solar World-Time Novak Djokovic edition can be found here. If you are able to visit a Seiko Astron authorized dealer or Seiko Boutique, ask for reference number SSE105.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more