We Watchnerds are usually snobbish about watches with quartz movements. The argument is that true watch lovers appreciate the artistry of a mechanical. I have to say that they are exceptions as not all quartz watches are made equal, we must appreciate also the history in making some watches with quartz movement. This article will give a brief history of the quartz movement and then highlight some of our favorite quartz watches that will take their place in history
Long before it became fashionable for watch enthusiasts to look down on quartz watches. Quartz was once the most cutting-edge technological change to the watch industry. This period where Quartz exploded was called the Quartz crisis due to the technologies disruption of the traditional mechanical watchmakers.
1969: Seiko produces the Astron, the first commercially-available quartz watch. It costs 450,000 yen, about ~ $8,000 today.
A quartz movement uses an oscillator, regulated by a piece of quartz and powered by a battery, to keep time. Most of the watches manufactured and sold on the high street rely on quartz movements as they’re inexpensive to make and are extremely accurate.
With Mechanical movements a mechanical calibre uses an uncoiling metal spring to distribute power to the watch hands. This spring is wound up in two different ways:
The way I use to tell easily if a watch is quartz vs mechanical is to look at the second hand. The mechanical second hand will sweep smoothly along and around the dial. A quartz watch will tick once each second as its goes around the dial
Originally introduced as a ladies' watch, the success encouraged F.P.Journe to introduce a larger size for men, while still keeping the quartz movement.
F.P Journe is known for being a very high end watch maker with detailed finishes. Despite being the entry-level watch for the brand, the watch has a very detailed case finish, with exposed screws on the bezel and an alternating brushed and polished surface case .
The calibre 1210 is a quartz movement developed by F.P. Journe that goes into standby mode, meaning the hands freeze but the microprocessor inside continues to keep time, once it is still for 30 minutes. In standby mode the battery is supposed to last 18 years.
In F.P. Journe tradition the Elegante also has bridges and plates of the quartz movement in red gold, as it does for its mechanical timepieces. Conceived to be more attractive than most quartz movements, the movement is visible through the display back.
I included this watch on the list as it is still the benchmark that combine analog and digital readout of time and other functions. The 1st version debuted in 1985 . Unique were the two inverse LCD displays that showed lighter numerals and text on a dark background, thanks to a polarization-sensitive dichroic filter. This is an example fo a very practical watch that you can take to the ends of the earth without a worry
Grand Seiko. The high-end Japanese watchmaker is known for their classic mechanical and Spring Drive calibers, but they also makes some of the most impressive quartz watches currently on the market. Its is argued that the Grand Seikos 9F Quartz calibers are some of the finest in the market currently featuring inhouse technology and very high full metal construction and high accurate timekeeping
The GMT Feature the Caliber: 9F86 Quartz
The Caliber 9F86 is from the same DNA as the original 9F, but incorporates a GMT function that allows the watch’s precision to be maintained when the hour hand is adjusted independently
Its no secret as a frequent traveler I am a big fan of GMT watches. There are a few things you want to make sure you have with you at all times when traveling and a reliable good looking GMT is one of them. The Gran Seiko ticks the boxes when it comes to great looks, calibre, reliability and artistry
During the Quartz revolution Rolex, a traditional mechanical watch maker set out on a quest to manufacture their own quartz movement. In 1977 the Rolex Oysterquartz was born. It was also the first Rolex to come with a sapphire crystal; a feature which took seven years for other Rolex collections to have the sapphire glass.The Oysterquartz unfortunately never translated into a success for the company even though it remained in its calendar until 2002. Today its has been come a collectable for watch enthusiasts due its novelty
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