Does Seiko make Smartwatches?
I would really love to answer yes, but that’s not quite accurate. If Seiko would have an Android smartwatch that looks as good as the Seiko automatic watches I would enjoy wearing one. Unfortunately, Seiko doesn’t have any real smartwatches currently. The Seiko Epson corporation which is part of the Seiko Group does, however, have smartwatches. So an Epson smartwatch is as close to a Seiko smartwatch one can currently get. However, the Epson smartwatches have been discontinued. One could argue that the Seiko Astron GPS Solar watches are kind of smartwatches but perhaps that’s not really what you are looking for.
If you want a smartwatch but haven’t yet decided what to get you will surely find my smartwatch buyers guide helpful.
Seiko watches are of great quality at an affordable price and I have worn my Seiko 5 almost daily although I am a huge smartwatch fan.
If you really must have a smartwatch that looks really good like some of the Seiko Automatic watches check my recommendation of the Garmin Fenix Chronos at the end of this article.
Epson has a few good looking smartwatches, for example, the ProSense 347 GPS Multisport Watch. They launched 5 smartwatches in 2017 ranging from 99 USD to 399USD. Looking at the Epson website for GPS watches it seems there is nothing there anymore. All the Epson smartwatches I checked are marked discontinued on the Epson website. It is stated in multiple sources that the Epson has discontinued the entire RunSense and ProSense ranges. They never did that well and it must be assumed that Epson didn’t want to compete in this very competitive market of smartwatches and fitness trackers.
Seiko produces watches with quartz, kinetic, solar, and mechanical movements of varying prices. Some Seiko watches could be called smartwatches although it’s perhaps pushing the definition.
So what makes Seiko watches special? Seiko is one of the very few fully integrated watchmakers in the world, with complete in-house capabilities in every area of watchmaking, from the development of component materials through design and manufacture to assembly and adjustment. They also have relatively inexpensive watch options in addition to the high-end luxury watches.
Seiko has several lines of watches:
- Seiko 5
- Grand Seiko
Seiko Astron GPS Solar watches
The Seiko Astron could be called a smartwatch since it does have a wearable computer. The Seiko Astron was released in 2012 and it tells time by receiving GPS signals anywhere on Earth. The original Seiko Astron was launched on Christmas Day in 1969 and it was the world’s first commercially available quartz wristwatch.
The new Seiko Astron is something special since it can adjust to any time zone and set its time with the use of GPS. The watch is also solar powered so you never need to charge it.
The Seiko Astron lacks lots of features that can be found in many smartwatches. The GPS on the Astron can’t be used to track your exercises or to provide navigation it’s there solely to tell time.
When you take an Astron out of the box, it may have to be charged. It is powered by light – any type of light will charge its battery, but sunlight is the most efficient in doing so. When the Astron is fully charged the battery will last for two months. This is much more than you need since you usually see some light daily.
While the Astron’s GPS sync functions allow it to keep time with great accuracy, the movement itself, without syncing, offers typical +/-15 seconds per month quartz performance.
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, perpetual calendar, second time zone, GPS-controlled world time with 39 time zones
Movement: Quartz, solar charging
Pricepoint: 1000 EUR Plus
Seiko Kinetic watches
Like mechanical and quartz, Kinetic is a platform. Seiko Kinetic movements convert kinetic movement into electrical energy. Seiko created in 1986 the first automatic quartz watch that combined the self-energizing attributes of an automatic watch with quartz accuracy. The watch is entirely powered by its movement in everyday wear.
Automatic quartz is the term describing watch movements that combine a self-winding rotor mechanism (as used in automatic mechanical watches) to generate electricity with a piezoelectric quartz crystal as its timing element. These movements aim to provide the advantages of quartz without the inconvenience and environmental impact of batteries.
Kinetic Perpetual combines the beauty of a classic mechanical perpetual calendar, correct until February 28, 2100, with the advantages of Kinetic – powered by the movement of your body – perpetual quartz accuracy, and up to 4 years autonomy when not worn.
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, month, perpetual calendar
Movement: Quartz, charged via movement
Pricepoint: 150 EUR Plus
Seiko Automatic watches
Seiko has plenty of mechanical automatic watches to choose from. Almost all of the lines or brands of Seiko watches have automatic models to choose from. Seiko 5, Prospex, Presage, Premier, Credor, and Grand Seiko all have automatic models.
An automatic or self-winding watch is a mechanical watch in which the natural motion of the wearer provides energy to run the watch, making manual winding unnecessary.
There is something special about automatic watches that make them so popular with watch enthusiasts. I think it’s that there is something constantly in motion in the watch and that makes it alive. Another aspect is that it needs tending to since it’s not as accurate as a quartz watch.
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, month, perpetual calendar
Movement: Mechanical, charged via movement
Pricepoint: 70 EUR Plus for some Seiko 5 models, ranging to 40 000 EUR Plus for some Grand Seiko models
Seiko 5 SNZF17K1 Sea Urchin
My personal choice for an automatic watch is the Seiko 5 Sports model SNZF17K1 also known as the “Sea Urchin“. This looks a lot like a Rolex Submariner from a Bond movie but the price point is currently under $150 on Amazon.
It’s not a smartwatch, but it looks really smart and I love it that I never have to worry about the battery running out since it doesn’t have one.
The quality to price ratio of Seiko watches is unbeatable. Seiko watches offer solid construction and looks, but with a price that doesn’t warn against using them in high impact activities. Therefore there are a ton of Seiko watches that have been put through it all; yard work, construction, moving, auto repair, sports, and anything else where your watch will take a beating.
I have worn my Seiko 5 almost daily and I don’t take it off for sports, car maintenance or any other activities. I have also worn it while swimming, diving and even in the Sauna. As you can see in the photo it does have some minor scratches but it’s still working great.
With this watch, you get a completely automatic Seiko mechanical movement with the time, day, and date. The glass is made of Seiko’s own formidable Hardlex material that is stronger than mineral glass. The case construction is all steel, and even the links are solid steel. The bracelet is secured with a triple locking clasp, that Seiko is known to construct well.
Smartwatches which look like regular steel watches
If you like the look of some of the Seiko automatic watches but you really want to have a smartwatch then the Garmin Fenix Chronos is a great option. The Chronos is a premium multisport watch with durable metal housing and bracelet and a high-strength, scratch-resistant sapphire lens.
Crafted of premium jeweler’s grade materials, fēnix Chronos is the first Garmin watch to combine a durable metal housing (containing an EXO™ omnidirectional GPS and GLONASS antenna in the bezel) with the latest outdoor navigation and fitness training features. These features include Elevate wrist heart rate technology, daily activity tracking, smart notifications, and activity profiles. The sophisticated design of this highly evolved timepiece fits your style anywhere, anytime.
I would say the only downsides are that the battery is rated to last 8 days and it does come at a suggested price of $1500 and it will eventually get outdated. Comparing this to a Seiko 5 Automatic watch which you can get for almost 1/10 of the price and it will most likely last you a lifetime.
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