Atomic clock radio signal syncing watches are so last year. Citizen just decimated the coolness factor of those watches with the Satellite Eco-Drive watch. This timepiece isn’t just a concept, but will actually be produced as a limited edition later this year – and may have its tech show up in later watches. In a nutshell, the watch keeps its time super accurate from syncing with the navigational satellites that orbit Earth as opposed to syncing with radio signals that are broadcasted from local atomic clocks.

Atomic clocks lose one second of time every 100,000 years or something like that. Maybe even longer. The point is that you’ll be long dead before they are off by even a fraction of a second. Your standard quartz watch movement is accurate to within about 15 seconds a month. Syncing to an atomic clock is a good idea, and has traditionally been done in watches that do this by relying on radio signals that atomic clocks emit. However, there aren’t atomic clocks all over the world, and neither are there such signals. If you live in the US, much of Europe, China, and Japan you can get atomic clock radio signals, everywhere else you are screwed. Even if you are in-range, the system to capture the signal and sync with it is quirky at best. I have a few atomic clock radio signal syncing clocks and am really never sure if they are getting signal or not. Navigational satellites that orbit the Earth, do however, get the signal.

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What Citizen has done with the new Satellite Eco-Drive watch is create a system that receives signals not from radio towers but from the satellites. The main advantage here is that now your watch can be hyper accurate anywhere on the planet – not just regions where the radio signals are present. The watch also has an Eco-Drive quartz movement that receives power from the sun. Your “stranded on a deserted island” choice of watch just got upgraded.

The only drawback is that the watch cannot receive a signal indoors. Think of it like a GPS unit. To receive a signal from the satellite it needs a clear line of site. The watch can receive information from one of 24 navigational satellites the are going around the earth. These satellites bounce the atomic clock information to each other so that are each all accurate. In addition to the time, the signal also has the calendar information. What amazes me the most is that the watch has enough power to do all this.

Citizen gave the watch a spacey conceptual look to go with the Satellite theme. The dial is open and is mixed with black, white, and green colors. The flange ring is a green coil, and Citizen admits that the design is meant to make people think of satellites and spaceship engines. Not stopping there Citizen went so far as to partner with makers of the upcoming Appleseed movie sequel “Appleseed 13.” It is actually the third move in the franchise… The watch in animated form will be in the movie.

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Not sure about the case size, but it is nice and large. The case will be in steel and ceramic (very cool). The crystal is also sapphire while the case is water resistant to 100 meters. Inside the watch is a Citizen Eco-Drive calibre H990 quartz movement that offers the time, satellite syncing all over the world, a perpetual calendar, second timezone, and world time. The watch will be limited and in the $3,000 price range I believe. Finals specs on price and production amounts will come later when the watch is due for release in the Fall of 2011. Very cool and I love to see the revolutionary technology from Citizen.

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