We've written pretty extensively about Seiko here at Watch Report. We just plain love 'em. Their self-powered Kinetic watches, which use a mechanical winder to store energy in a battery driving a quartz movement, are very cool. As with a mechanical watch, an offset weight rotates around an axle in response to the movement of your arm. In an automatic, this action winds a main spring, however in a Kinetic, it actually generates enough power to charge a battery.
At Basel World this year, Seiko announced the Velatura collection of marine watches: eleven watches with four different movements, two of which are brand-new. All are Kinetic quartz, and some of the new models use a new yacht timer movement. As Christian explained in his article about the new Rolex Yacht-Master II, this is a specialized countdown/stopwatch combination used by yacht racers. If you need it, I'm sure it's quite helpful. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to buying a yacht just yet, so I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Seiko has now added the ability to handwind Kinetic watches which is a faster way to charge them. They're calling it the Kinetic Direct Drive, and we like it. Unlike the simple "gas gauge" power reserve meters that other watches have, this one is multi-purpose: as you handwind the watch, the gauge "revs" indicating how fast you're winding. Once you stop, the needle moves to indicate how much power has been stored. It's a nice and unique addition, and quite probably a lot of fun to use.
All of the models have dramatic diamond-shaped hands that I find readable and attractive, and sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coatings (a personal must-have). List prices range from €600 to €900, or $845 to about $1,200. Oh, and one more thing: we just found out they're coming to the US very soon! Naturally, we will have a review.
Update: read the Seiko Velatura SRH005 review.
By Paul Hubbard