On the Brand: The Most Accurate Mechanical Watches


Luxury watches have come to represent many different things, but at the heart of these pieces remains a single quest: exceptional precision. Since the dawn of mechanical watches, watchmakers have been obsessed with creating ever more precise movements that are immune to shock, temperature changes, magnetism and the force of gravity itself.

For centuries, the best watches in the world have been defined by how accurately they tell time. Thanks to modern technology and a culture of constant innovation, today’s leading watch brands are making further progress in this quest, using advanced materials and ingenious movement designs to create watches of unparalleled precision. previous. Here are some of the best.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon

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There is one thing that represents the brilliance of the best watchmakers in the world: the tourbillon. Patented in 1801, this complex mechanical complication was created to combat the effects of Earth’s gravity on pocket watches, and it remains the hallmark of fine, highly accurate timepieces more than 200 years later. (Price upon request)

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738R

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738R

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True to its elite status as the world’s most coveted watchmaker, Patek Philippe doesn’t just meet existing standards of precision, it creates its own. The micro-rotor movement inside this iconic design is marked with the Patek Philippe seal, which not only indicates extreme precision, but also an exceptional degree of hand-finishing. ($43,400, at Humbertown Jewelers)

Bulova Accutron Spaceview 2020

Bulova Accutron Spaceview 2020

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By the 1960s, Bulova’s electric tuning fork movements were among the most precise on the planet. For 2020, the brand has made a triumphant return with this watch, which relies on a proprietary electrostatic movement comprised of a precision-engineered motor and turbine system to generate power. ($3,995)

Tudor Black Bay ceramic

Tudor Black Bay ceramic

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This new Black Bay model is special for two reasons: not only is it the very first Tudor with a ceramic case, but it is also the first to be certified by both the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. (METAS). In short, this means that its manufacture caliber movement is probably the most accurate ever made by Tudor. ($5,660)

Citizen Promaster Navihawk AT

Citizen Promaster Navihawk AT

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Quartz watches – those powered by batteries rather than rotors and mainsprings – may not be as glamorous as their mechanical counterparts, but they are far more accurate. Case in point: this advanced chronograph, which uses radio signals from an atomic clock to automatically set its date and time, resulting in a margin of error of just one second in 100,000 years. ($995)

Seiko Prospex SNR031

Seiko Prospex SNR031

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If two words explain why Seiko watches are so unique and coveted, they are these: Spring Drive. Rather than choosing between a quartz or mechanical movement, Seiko combined the two, resulting in a sophisticated 30-jewel automatic movement with a quartz regulator. While the operation of a Spring Drive movement is complex, the benefits are anything but: accuracy of +/- 1 second per day, plus a 72 hour power reserve. ($7,800)

Louis Vuitton Tambour Damier Graphite Race Chronograph

Louis Vuitton Tambour Damier Graphite Race Chronograph

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The iconic French brand may be best known for its leather goods, but it has also made strides in watchmaking. Among Louis Vuitton’s latest creations is this sporty chronograph inspired by Virgil Abloh’s runway collections, featuring a finely decorated Swiss automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve. ($10,250)

Frédérique Constant Highlife Automatic COSC

Frédérique Constant Highlife Automatic COSC

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In the world of watchmaking, the initials “COSC” and the word “chronometer” are shorthand for a timepiece of exceptional precision. The acronym stands for the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, an independent organization that tests watch movements and designates the most accurate chronometers among them – like this Highlife Automatic COSC – as chronometer-certified. ($2,595)

Mido Ocean Star 600 stopwatch

Mido Ocean Star 600 stopwatch

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You can shell out a lot more for a pro-grade diver’s watch and still get something less accurate than this flagship Mido, which boasts robust 600m water resistance, a ceramic bezel and a helium escape valve. Whether you scuba dive or not, the COSC-certified movement will keep this watch running reliably for years to come. ($2,150)

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Stopwatch

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Stopwatch

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You might look at this Seamaster and see a classic steel sports watch, but Omega sees a Master Chronometer. This designation indicates a watch that has undergone exhaustive testing by METAS for magnetic resistance, chronometric accuracy on and off the wrist, isochronism (the accuracy of the movement at different levels of power reserve), power reserve, temperature and water resistance. It’s as impressive as it sounds. ($8,550)

About Robert L. Thomas

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