10 Watches That Prove Quartz Is Better Than You Think

Quartz has long been considered a four-letter word in watchmaking due to its association with mass production – as opposed to the illustrious “soul” and “craftsmanship” of a mechanical watch. But a fair number of mechanical watches also use mass-produced movements from third-party suppliers, so those are things we probably shouldn’t get too involved with anyway. Here’s the thing, though: quartz watches are fantastic for many reasons – even superior in many ways.

Are quartz watches “good?”

Aside from battery changes, they don’t require much maintenance, they’ll be more accurate than the more expensive mechanical watches, and they’re naturally tough. Moreover, more and more watch brands have recently made quartz watches with enthusiasts in mind. Best of all, aside from some particularly special high-end quartz watches, you can find some amazing watches under $1,000 – many of which are way below that.

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Quartz vs Mechanical vs Automatic

The motor inside a watch is called a movement, and there are mainly two types: quartz and mechanical. The quartz is powered by a battery and keeps the time thanks to the vibration of a quartz crystal. Mechanical watches, on the other hand, are powered by the controlled unwinding of a spring and keep time via an oscillating wheel and a complex system of gears.

While quartz is more practical and superior in many ways, many enthusiast hobbies are based on the perceived history and interest of the “traditional” clockwork of mechanical watches. Quartz, however, is increasingly accepted by collectors and enthusiasts – and is generally much more affordable.

Close up of a quartz swatch watch

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“Automatic” refers to a kindly mechanical watch in which the spring is wound “automatically” by a rotor which rotates with the movement of the wearer’s wrist. Watches without this feature require you to wind the mainspring manually by turning the crown, and this type of watch is called “manual” or “hand-wound”. For everyday use, automatic is often preferred over manual for convenience.

Casio G-Shock GWM5610 Solar Rugged

The toughest quartz watch

Casio G-Shock GWM5610 Solar Rugged

G-Shock was founded on the premise of building super tough, functional and accessible watches, and naturally, quartz was the only real way to do that. The 5600 series has been around since the 1980s and is emblematic of the brand’s ethos and original design. There are cheaper versions, paying a little more for Tough Solar (solar charging) is well worth it. It’ll take a harder hit than any other watch, and it won’t set you back much in almost any version you choose.

  • Features: Stopwatch, alarm, backlight
  • Cut: 42mm
  • Water resistance: 200m

    Q Timex Reissue

    Best Cheap Quartz Watch

    Q Timex Reissue

    There’s no better representative of the stylish, inexpensive analog quartz watch than a classic Timex. The Q Series Timex Reissue is a modern interpretation of a quartz watch made by the brand in the late 70s with the word “Quartz” proudly emblazoned on its dial. In its current form, it has color options including this all-black treatment with a 12 o’clock bezel. The watch retains the classic look of an old fashioned diver’s watch with a killer retro strap and offers plenty of style for the money.

    Features: Rotating bezel
    Cut: 38mm
    Water resistance: 50m

    CAC G10

    Many watch enthusiasts like to romanticize the use of mechanical watches in the military, but the truth is that armed forces around the world made the leap to quartz whenever they could because it’s simply more practice. The G10, for example, was used by the British Armed Forces in 1980. Cabot Watch Company (CWC) still manufactures the G10 today to the same standards, i.e. you still get a very simple watch , durable and no frills. .

    • Features: Lume, battery hatch for quick replacement
    • Cut: 38mm
    • Water resistance: 50m

      Bulova Lunar Pilot

      Best Quartz Chronograph

      Bulova Lunar Pilot

      The Speedmaster wasn’t the only watch worn on the moon – during the Apollo 15 mission, Commander David Scott wore a bespoke Bulova chronograph to the moon’s surface in place of his NASA-issued Speedy. While that watch was mechanical, the tribute shown here uses a chronograph version of Bulova’s Precisionist high-frequency quartz movement. Rather than the seconds hand ticking once per second like a standard quartz watch, it smoothly sweeps across the watch face.

      • Features: Chronograph, black PVD case
      • Cut: 45mm
      • Water resistance: 50m

        Seiko Prospex Solar Diver “Arnie Safari”

        Seiko

        Seiko Prospex Solar Diver

        Another sonic example of the value for money that the Prospex range offers, Seiko’s “Arnie” diver’s watch features a serious look and a combination of analog and digital (ana-digi) displays. It’s not only absurdly badass (as evidenced by its appearance on the wrist of an Arnold Schwarzenegger in several ’80s action movies), but it’s also solar-charged and packed with features.

        • Features: Solar charging, chronograph, second time zone
        • Cut: 47.8mm
        • Water resistance: 200m

          Marathon Diver Quartz MSAR

          Marathon Diver Quartz MSAR

          Built to US military standards, the Marathon MSAR (Medium Search and Rescue) is a rugged watch in a small package. At just 36mm, it’s small by today’s standards but still super tough and submersible up to 300 meters. It also features tritium gas tubes for luminescence, which is a nice, bright, and colorful touch.

          • Features: Lume tritium, diving bezel
          • Cut: 36mm (also available in 41mm and 46mm versions)
          • Water resistance: 200m

            Longines Conquest VHP

              Longines

              The most innovative quartz watch

              Longines Conquest VHP

              Swisswatches.com

              $1,000.00

              Even among HAQ (High Accuracy Quartz) watches, the Longines Conquest VHP (Very High Precision) is one of the most accurate analog watches in the world, guaranteeing an accuracy of approximately five seconds per year. How does the VHP proceed? Longines has added tons of cool tech to the movement, like a “gear position detection” system that checks the exact gear position and corrects the display if it’s inconsistent with the quartz time base. The watch can also be readjusted after a shock or in the presence of a magnetic field.

              • Features: Perpetual calendar, HQA precision
              • Cut: 41mm
              • Water resistance: 50m

                Junghans Max Bill Mega Solar

                Courtesy

                Best Quartz Dress Watch

                Junghans Max Bill Mega Solar

                Many brands like Casio and Citizen have supplemented their quartz watches with atomic timekeeping via radio signals, but Junghans was first here in 1990 with the introduction of the MEGA 1. Today, the German watchmaker puts technology in its iconic Max Bill design, giving the classic Bauhaus the ability to adjust its time to radio time signals. Plus, a perpetual calendar keeps the date accurate up to the year 2400, and solar charging means it’s as worry-free as it gets.

                • Features: Radio-controlled timing, perpetual calendar
                • Cut: 38mm
                • Water resistance: 30m

                  Sinn UX EZM 2B GSG9

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                  Sinn UX EZM 2B GSG9

                  Fishing
                  watchbuys.com

                  $2,550.00

                  You can always count on Sinn to deliver glorious overkill for their tool watches, and the brand doesn’t disappoint even when working with quartz. The Hydro UX is a quartz version of the brand’s U1 diver, which means it rocks an underwater-grade stainless steel case (really). What really sets the watch apart, however, is that it’s all oil-filled (again, really). The oil essentially makes the watch readable from all possible angles (even underwater), and because a mechanical movement and a bunch of oil wouldn’t cooperate, Sinn turned to the thermo-quartz movement. compensated ETA 955.652.

                  • Features: Thermo-compensated, oil-filled housing, diving bezel
                  • Cut: 44mm
                  • Water resistance: 5000m (really)

                    Grand Seiko Sport GMT SBGN023

                    Best Luxury Quartz Watch

                    Grand Seiko Sport GMT SBGN023

                    grandeikoboutique.us

                    $5,450.00

                    First released in 1993, Grand Seiko’s Caliber 9F remains one of the most advanced quartz movements ever made. Thermo-compensated, accurate to within 10 seconds per year and sealed so that, apart from battery changes, the watch needs no maintenance for 50 years. There are other impressive little details, like a spring to prevent backlash and a high-speed motor that changes the date in 1/2000 of a second. It’s a wonderfully over-engineered movement that matches the exquisite case and dial finish that Grand Seiko is known for, and this version from the Sport collection offers a GMT function as a bonus.

                    • Features: GMT, HQA accuracy, quick date
                    • Cut: 40mm
                    • Water resistance: 200m

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                      About Robert L. Thomas

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