October 29, 2007 Seiko has launched a new range of "Kinetic" watches which automatically generate electrical energy through the wearer’s wrist movement. Now entering their third decade, the latest Kinetic incarnation offers a second winding function called “Direct Drive” which gives the wearer the option of winding the crown to power the device.
Kinetic Direct Drive shows not only the power held in reserve, but also the level of power generated when the wearer hand-winds the crown. The wearer can see, in real time, the direct transfer of power from his or her winding of the crown to the reserve.
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The Direct Drive Indicator hand on the face of the watch indicates the amount of power generated by how much it moves – the more power generated, the more the hand moves. The Direct Drive hand starts moving when the winding starts and if the crown is wound in short strokes or gently, the hand only moves a little, but if the crown is would with sufficient speed, the hand makes a large move across the indicator dial, much like the hand on the tachometer of a car. When the winding is halted the hand also stops to show how much power has been generated to that point.
After the winding is complete, the hand pauses at the "Real-time Power Indicator" function for 4 seconds, then it goes back down to the zero position and moves up again to show the total amount of power reserve, which is now the sum of the original power reserve amount and the newly generated amount. Winding the crown for 5 seconds will give generate power for an estimated 1 hour while winding for 2 minutes will generate enough power for a day.
Since they unveiled their first Kinetic prototype at the 1986 Basel Fair, Seiko has sold over 8 million Kinetic watches. The new line of Kinetic Direct Drive timepieces include the Velatura models - available from USD$1150.
In Australia the Velatura Kinetic Direct Drive and the Premier Kinetic Direct Drive are available from AUD$1,600 and AUD$1,250 respectively.
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