Seiko Active Matrix EPD e-Ink: New technology revolutionizing digital watches

Those who remember the ‘80s must also remember the craze we had then on anything with bleeping lights and beeping sounds. A lot of fashion accessories also came up following the trend; there were shoes, shades, bags, earrings and watches and weirder they were the better.

Thirty years since then and be prepared to be boo-ed if it’s a steel-bodied digital watch (with no to little functions) you are thinking of donning on your wrist. That’s enough to send nostalgia to backseat.

Well, not if it’s the Seiko’s new Active Matrix EPD watches. Non-analog quartz timepieces need not necessarily be uncool and this one can be worn even when you are not doing something like the laundry or mowing the lawn. Even in the boardroom, just like it was in the ‘80s.

The new Seiko undoubtedly brings back the hassle-free lifestyle the digital watches allowed. This time, it’s more polished (pun intended), highly functional and all that within a little package. Even the Holy Dalai Llama of high-nosed watch critiques can’t ignore but take notice of the great display, a highly accurate time telling and the battery that does not need replacement. Everything is convenient, every way.

Looking back to Seiko’s product lines, it is them who gave shape to the formal digital watches during the late ‘70s. However, these were plain and decent looking metal cases (with bracelet) with a LCD display, often colored. These were expensive since not plastic and thus climbed the fashion-ladder fast and high. They, however, lacked the luxury being easily available, so Seiko started playing around with the concept.

They introduced e-ink, a technology that failed to excite gadget lovers since they were found only in the ladies’ timepieces. It’s from the second generation of Seiko e-ink watches the concept gained traction and so, the Seiko Active Matrix EPD watch is here with a 300dpi (dots per inch) screen and a verrrry wide viewing angle.

EPD stands for Electrophoretic display. But you also need to understand active matrix to get the meaning fully, so here it is. In short, it’s a technology that allows the display screen refresh itself without drawing power from the battery. This is how the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader works. But Seiko’s success has been integrating it into a much smaller package.

The Seiko caliber S770 quartz movement receives power from a solar cell charged by sunlight, the same way like the Eco Drive-s. It is radio-controlled, so that’s another surprise. The rest…well, find out yourselves.

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