Spring is in the air, time for renewal, so should you be looking through your watchbox and re-evaluating your collection? Of course, if you are a normal person and not fond of watching watches, then you do not need it. But if you are one of those people who are crazy about watches, then your collection may be ready for a change, or at least a change. If so, may I suggest that you choose a quartz rather than a mechanical one for your next purchase?
If you cringe at the thought of a quartz watch, you’ve probably been conditioned by decades of anti-quartz watch conceit. I understood. I wouldn’t say that I myself am immune to it. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life wearing and loving quartz watches, but when I discovered the mesmerizing joys of the smooth sweep of a mechanical watch’s seconds hand, I decided to give quartz watches a hard pass. decided. But that too has gone its own way, and I’m reconsidering my exclusionary options right now. you should too.
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On some level, in the age of the smartphone, all watches are essentially obsolete. Although speaking personally, I would prefer to glance at my wrist to tell the time, rather than pick up the phone again. In a world of information, it is a relief to be able to rely on the elegance of a timepiece. And when it comes to quartz watches, there’s the extra peace of mind that comes with knowing that they tell time more accurately than mechanical watches.
But not all quartz watches are created equal. Your bog-standard fashion watch (with the faux-minimalist dials that are all the rage now) is likely to fall apart in a few years, and, although accurate, most quartz watches aren’t that accurate. So it is better to trust a proper horology brand like Casio or Citizen to put your money into. However, I think quartz really wins out when it comes to the level of luxury watches.
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It’s often forgotten these days, but in the 1970s, when the quartz revolution ushered in by Seiko’s seminal Astron threatened to end Swiss mechanical watchmaking, several prestigious brands responded with exquisite quartz watches which are collector’s items today. An example of this is the Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz, which debuted in 1976. Its funky seventies look with angular case and integrated bracelet inspired many other brands to do the same at the time, and you can see the timeless popularity of that design and functionality. In modern heavy hitters like the Tissot PRX or Q Timex.
Although Rolex no longer makes quartz watches, a number of luxury brands (including Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet) still do. And the fact that they put just as much time into developing and finishing quartz calibers as they do their mechanical movements ultimately makes them a better bet.
But you really don’t have to break the bank to get a good quartz watch. Take, for example, the iconic Cartier Tank. This is a build and a model that is synonymous with both serious funky heritage as well as luxury. The Tank Muste model, however, by substituting quartz movements (including both high autonomy quartz and solar) for mechanicals, ensures that you get the same experience at a much lower price. And these are just as keeper as their mechanical counterparts, meant to be worn for decades, to be serviced rather than thrown away.
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On the more rugged end of the spectrum, take a look at the toolwatch chops of timepieces like the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Diver or the gorgeous Breitling Chronomat 32. Both boast excellent quartz movements, with much more compact wear than their larger mechanical siblings. And, except for changing out the batty every few years, it will be yours to enjoy for decades. The manufacture that has truly mastered the art of high end quartz movements is Grand Seiko. This is perhaps not surprising, given parent brand Seiko’s pioneering role in quartz watch making. But even by those standards, Grand Seiko’s modern quartz movements are worth a look.
Get an excellent ref. For example SBGN003G. One of two Grand Seiko sports GMT watches released in 2019, the SBGN003 marks the debut of the GMT version of the Japanese manufacture’s renowned 9F quartz movements, the first perpetual collection. Finished with as much attention to detail as its mechanical calibre, these are not any old quartz watches. The 9F has an astonishing accuracy of ±10 seconds a year, and is made from quartz crystal that Grand Seiko grows in-house. The caliber 9F86 adds a GMT functionality, and it is a true GMT, where you can independently set the hour hand to the time zone of the place you are traveling to, while the GMT hand indicates home time. Is.
Another advantage of quartz watches as far as wrist comfort is concerned is that they tend to be much thinner than mechanical watches, especially automatic watches. The latter has to fit a mechanical movement and a rotor to keep the watch wound. Quartz movements have no such space problems, and result in thinner watches that wear more compact and also weigh less. This, again, makes them perfect for everyday grab-and-go options.
There is a column on handwound watches and watchmaking.
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