Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Seiko Kinetic Watch Official Wireless Charger YT02A – Practical, yet expansive; A Review

I have been experimenting charging my Seiko kinetic watches wirelessly for about a year now. Using a Braun electric toothbrush charger I was able to transfer some power to the watch with a bit of ‘trial-and-error’. Unfortunately, the amount of times I had to find the correct alignment between the watch and charger for the transfer of energy to work plus the wasted time when it was not actually charging was getting to me. In the end I gave up and decided to get a real Seiko Kinetic Charger.




The Seiko Kinetic Watch Charger YT02A is currently the standard kinetic watch charger made available by the brand. Unfortunately, this particular model is not readily available in Malaysia. A simple search on the web revealed two sources that I have experienced with; Amazon and SeiyaJapan. I decided to get from SeiyaJapan as it is the cheaper source.

I have to say that this charger is not cheap. With a MSRP price of USD399.95, the demand is very limited which could be one reason kinetic technology did not take off in a big way. In fact, Seiko is now more inclined to promote its solar technology instead kinetic. A pity though as the concept of wireless charging is now gaining traction with the public e.g. the iWatch; Samsung Gear 2 as well as Samsung’s latest mobile smart phones. The establishment of an industry standard for wireless charging, the Qi inductive power standard, has pushed many devise manufacturers to incorporate wireless charging into their products. I only hope Seiko would jump on the bandwagon to kick-start further development in kinetic technology.



The Kinetic Charger YT02A is generally a flat equipment measuring 135 mm long by 125 mm wide with a height of 32 mm. There is a slight concave surface on the top so as to keep a watch centered. It weighs in at 190 g. The watch comes with an AC adapter plug plus a manual and a guarantee document.

The main module has a DC jack on the left side, a start button on the top and a Timer Setting Switch on the right side. There are two options for the timer; either a 30 minute or a 3 and a half hour cycle.

Charging a kinetic watch on the charger is rather unique. On the top of the module is a diagram with the various kinetic movement codes with the respective image of a crown. Once you have identified the kinetic movement on your watch, you would place your watch face down on the surface of the module and arrange it to follow the correct crown setting.

This is the reason why it takes trial-and-error to charge a kinetic watch using a proxy wireless charger. If you do not get the correct alignment between the induction wave and internal wiring in the watch, charging would not happen.



Then charging, the charger makes a subtle noise. This is the effect of the alternating current magnetic field transmission of approximately 1 kHz while charging. The body of the watch does get warm while being charged.

The module is designed to charge up a kinetic watch within 30 minutes. Below is a table of approximation by Seiko based on the various kinetic calibers available.


Models (series)
Charged enough for 1-sec movement (in minutes)*
Fully charged (in minutes)**
3M6
10
90
5M4
5
20
5M6; 5J2/3; 7L2; 7D4
30
210
9T8
15
180
 
* The approximate charging time required for a watch which has already run down to resume its normal operational movement in one-second intervals (The state that the watch can be worn under normal condition)
**The approximate charging time required for a watch which has already run down to be fully charged.

Unboxing

The package tracker program which is part of the EMS Postal Service showed that it was stuck in customs. I then received a notification on the local postal service that the package was detained by customs (randomly chosen) which meant that I had to pay GST for it. Oh well, can’t slip through the custom net all the time.

After going to the customs centre and paid my dues (GST is 6% in Malaysia), I walked away with my package. Later, I was made to understand that I could bargain with the customs such that the value of assessment could be reduced. Nevertheless, I wasn’t that desperate and the tax of RM61.50 was within my budget. This was based on USD238 which I paid for earlier.

In the packaging box, apart from the YT02A in another box, SeiyaJapan also included the 2016 Seiko Watch Collection magazine and a SeiyaJapan polishing cloth as complimentary gifts. How thoughtful.

Note the rather industrial looking packaging for the charger. It would seem that Seiko is not marketing this item to the general consumer (otherwise it would be much more livelier) but more towards the professional users such as watch store owners or watch repairers. Hence the reason why it is hard to get it and the steep price it commands.

The manual that came with the charger is in Japanese. However, SeiyaJapan was nice enough to print an English version of the manual. Apart from this, the other three items in the box is the induction generator plate, the AC wire and the DC convertor. Unfortunately, the AC wire has the US socket instead of the typical three-pin plug used in Malaysia. I have to get a plug adapter.

User Experience

Very simple to use. After identifying the correct kinetic movement of the watch to charge, place it over the center of the charging plate, face down. The crown should be aligned with the drawing on the charging plate. Press the 'Start' button and the button will light up red and a hum will be audible ever so slightly. Within the stipulated time, the watch was fully charged. For the first test I used my Seiko Kinetic SKA475P1 with the movement caliber 5M62.

Below is the manual:

Seiko Kinetic Energy Supplier YT02A Manual on Scribd

Photo Gallery



YT02A YT02A


4 comments:

  1. Im not familiar with Seiko Kinetic watches...but wonder what is the need for u to get the charger? Am just curios...sorry

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  2. It helps charge the internal battery if the watch is not worn. Using the charger, it can change the battery in 30 minutes what may take you 24 hours just wearing it.

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