The Astron moniker has had a strong association with technological innovations in the world of horology since 1969. Given its impact on the world of mechanical watches in the ensuing years, for some, it may even be a name that brings about angst and sadness. In its current form, however, Seiko uses the Astron line to continue to push forward quartz technology, equipping these watches with the latest feature set. The newest Astron GPS Solar models lean into a familiar design style that we have seen permeate the market in the last several years.

Today, I’ll guide you through the four latest references in the Seiko Astron GPS Solar collection — the SSJ013, SSJ014, SSJ015, and SSJ017.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSJ017

Irregular octagon

The integrated-bracelet sports watch is extremely popular. As collectors and enthusiasts, we see reminders of this every day. While the designs of these watches can be very different, one shape features quite prominently — the octagon. The two most famous applications are (at least here in the US) the “STOP” sign and the AP Royal Oak. The new Astron also utilizes the octagon but an irregular one. For those a bit hazy on their secondary-school geometry, this means that not all the sides and angles are equal. Geometry aside, the case is constructed of titanium and coated with Seiko’s super-hard coating to resist scratches. Measuring 12mm thick, 41.2mm across, and 48.6mm long, the Astron GPS Solar is typically sized for an integrated-bracelet sports watch.

The matching titanium bracelet tapers to a tri-fold clasp and features the Seiko Smart Adjuster function. What is this function, you might ask? If you are unfamiliar with the Astron line (as I was until reading the press release), essentially, this is a three-position, toolless micro-adjust that the wearer can operate by pushing two buttons on the clasp. It also seems significantly better in execution than the system on several higher-end Seiko (and even Grand Seiko) dive watches. Why Seiko chooses to feature this only in the Astron line is rather perplexing. But maybe if the enthusiasts make enough noise, our friends in Japan might hear it!

Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSJ013

Frequent flyer

Equipped with the Seiko 3X22 caliber, the Astron GPS Solar is quite the traveler’s watch. The movement seeks out a GPS signal multiple times per day when the watch senses sunlight to maintain an accuracy of ±1 second every 100,000 years. If, however, the watch cannot receive the signal, the movement is accurate to 15 seconds per month. The movement will automatically update the time upon arrival in a new time zone, and it has an airplane mode to avoid receiving the signal at an inopportune time. While only having to adjust a local-hour hand on a mechanical timepiece is ideal, having to simply press a button (like operating a chronograph) on the Astron GPS solar is even more convenient.

Operating battery life when fully charged is six months, and the movement can also go into power-save mode, extending operations for up to two years. Speaking of years, the Astron GPS solar does have a perpetual calendar accurate to February 28th, 2100, and it will also receive any added leap seconds. Should any of your travels take you anywhere near or over water, 100m water resistance is convenient as well.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSJ014

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Collection — options and limited editions

Four different versions of the Astron GPS Solar are available upon the debut of the new model. Three of the four inhabit the standard catalog and feature a dial with a pattern meant to evoke the quartz oscillators used in the quartz movements. The fourth dial, the limited edition for 2023, features horizontal stripes in two shades of gray. The dial furniture matches the bezel of the watch, with silver for references SSJ013 and SSJ017, rose gold for SSJ014, and black for the blacked-out SSJ015. A single sub-dial at 8 o’clock communicates the GPS signal, travel mode, and leap-second reception.

As this is a sports watch, the handset and markers are filled with Seiko’s Lumibrite compound. Indeed, the feature set is long, and the amount of information this watch can communicate to the wearer is vast. The dial layout, however, is quite simple. Telling the time can be challenging if a watch is trying to display too much information. Using the two buttons on the side of the case allows for a simple time and date function to be read almost like a three-hand mechanical watch, which might put this watch on the radar of a few enthusiasts.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSJ015

Final thoughts

Several things about the Astron GPS Solar are spot on. The design is well executed and thought out. While the case puts this watch firmly in comparison to others, it does stand on its own and even evokes some of the Grand Seiko Lion in its shape. Furthermore, the bracelet offers a feature that most enthusiasts wish for throughout the Seiko lineup. No one will argue the technology packed into this watch would make for a very convenient daily wearer, the ultimate “set it and forget it” piece, no matter where your travels take you. You might even ask, could Seiko take a design similar to this and pair it with an 8L movement?

This watch is appropriately priced for the feature set and finishing. Unfortunately, this puts it well outside of the quartz-grab-and-go budget that most of us might think of. Prices range from €2,100 (SSJ013 and SSJ017) to €2,300 (SSJ015), positioning this above a typical metal G-Shock. Additionally, featuring a limited edition at a price point below some of the standard models is also unique, but there you have it. The Astron GPS Solar is a watch this author is going to seek out to better understand. It ticks so many boxes in an unconventional way; it just might be the ultimate travel companion.

For more information, check out the Seiko website.

Watch specifications

Astron GPS Solar
SSJ013, SSJ014, SSJ015, SSJ017
Blue or gray with quartz pattern and applied indices / Gray with horizontal stripes (SSJ017 only) and applied indices
Case Material
Titanium with super-hard coating
Case Dimensions
41.2mm × 48.6mm × 12.0mm
Case Back
Solid case back
3X22 GPS Solar
Water Resistance
100m (10 bar)
Integrated titanium bracelet
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds), perpetual calendar, GPS-controlled time zone adjustment, power-saving mode
€2,100 – €2,300
Special Note(s)
Limited to 1,500 pieces (SSJ017 only)