If you were to tell someone who knew nothing about watches that there were two types; one that was incredibly expensive and not quite as accurate, and the other that was affordable and much more precise and easy to maintain, you’d forgive them for thinking the former was the more popular of the two. Mechanical watches are the type that enthusiasts most revere. They require more technical know-how and craftsmanship to operate and, like vinyl record players or other revived mediums, have an appeal rooted at least partly in their analog roots. Quartz, on the other hand, gets short shrift.
That isn’t to say that quartz watches aren’t worth your attention. Far from it. If you are willing to pick up something that isn’t exactly the apple of every collector’s eye, you can get yourself a truly great wristwatch from a recognizable brand without spending a fortune. Yet, one of the problems with these types of watches is their ubiquity. How can you even begin trying to pick one out when there are so many to choose from? Thankfully for you, we’re here to help. We’ve spent time combing through forums and articles to put together a list of the best quartz watches out there.
Timex Expedition Scout Chrono
When folks think quartz, they think affordable watch. And when they think affordable watch, they think Timex. Out of all the styles of watches that can take a licking and keep on ticking, the Expedition Scout Chronograph is among our favorite. It’s a truly capable chronograph, with subdials capable of counting 1/20th of a second, 60 seconds, and 30 minutes, as well as a date window at the four o’clock index. A handsome watch with a classic look.
Withings Activite Pop
One of the best demonstrations of the benefits of quartz movements may be the Withings Activite Pop. This minimalist watch features a subdial that doesn’t track seconds, hours or tenths of a second – but your daily activity level. When paired with an accompanying smartphone app the watch is a powerful fitness tracker that can not only help you keep the time, but can help you stay on top of your physical fitness.
Once you look at watches like this from Braun, the German consumer products company, it is maybe not as surprising to learn that Dieter Rams was their head of design for over 30 years. This quartz watch boasts a clean, minimalist design that doesn’t sacrifice one iota when it comes to functionality. With three subdials and a date window – it is just about all you could ask out of a quartz wristwatch.
Tissot Swiss Quartz
A Swiss made quartz watch with Roman numeral indexes around its 38mm face and a date window at three o’clock. The hour and minute hands have a hollow, angular look to them that seem fitting with the jagged angular Roman numerals, while the second-hand remains thin and in contrast.
Victorinox Men’s Watch
Boasting a big 43mm display case with a big, black bezel around the exterior with second indexes – this watch from Victorinox is ready for a day out on the water or on the trail. For easy reading at night, the dial includes luminous indexes on both the face and subdials. Depending on your preference you can pick this watch up with either a stainless steel bracelet or a NATO strap.
One of the real advantages of quartz movements is their relative rugged quality. With fewer moving parts, there is less opportunity for something to get knocked out of synch – making it easier for you to keep track of time no matter where you are or what you are doing. In no watch is this more evident than in Casio’s G-Shock. This almost comically rugged rubberized timepiece is designed to be mud resistant, water resistant, and legible in low light conditions. A great pick for those who need a watch that’ll stand up to the elements.
A101 Aviator Watch
For a more paired down watch that is simple and easy to read in low light situations, this great aviation watch from Jack Mason is the perfect pick. Running on a Japanese Miyota quartz movement and featuring Super Luminova markings across its face – this quartz timepiece is as reliable as it is handsome.
Citizen Super Titanium
Out of all of the quartz movement watches you’ll come by, Citizen’s Eco-Drive watches are among the coolest. These watches receive their charge not from a battery that you have to occasionally replace, but via a solar panel set below the face of the watch. This makes it so you never have to worry about screwing open the back of the case to keep the thing running. To top it off – considering their look and functionality – they come in at a reasonable price.
Bulova Moon Watch
Omega doesn’t have a monopoly on space watches. In fact, Bulova too had a watch that accompanied astronauts up to our closest heavenly neighbor. Specifically, Bulova’s watch went on the first lunar rover expedition in 1971. This reproduction features a high frequency 262 kHz quartz movement that provides serious accuracy on both the main dial and three subdials of this stark, black and white watch.
This Swiss watch rooted in a Bauhaus aesthetic has a really fun and unique movement to it. When the second hand on this watch hits 12, it stops for two seconds – then the minute hand jumps forward and the second-hand resumes. This wasn’t some flight of fancy on the part of Mondaine – it is actually the way all Swiss railway clocks operate. It is a very slight unique twist on this quartz watch, but a fun one all the same.
Tag Heuer Carrera
One of the cooler things about quartz watches on the higher end of the spectrum is that they often use their own in-house movements rather than movements purchased off the shelf. Generally speaking, this makes for a more bespoke and accurate feel to the watch. Tag Heuer’s movement on their Carrera, for instance, has a variation of only a few seconds per month. Outside of just the mechanics of the watch, it is particularly handsome. With a black face, rose gold indexes and hands, and a stainless steel 36mm case – it can serve well as a dress watch.
Grand Seiko 9F
A lot of stuffy watch nerds scoff at more expensive quartz watches. Why not spend the cash on something like a mechanical movement? The Grand Seiko 9F Quartz may honestly provide the best counter argument to that. The pioneer of quartz technology, Seiko’s limited 9F watch has an incredibly impressive accuracy of plus or minus ten seconds in a year. More than just a fancy movement, this watch has an attractive and refined look to it, a domed sapphire crystal, and a reasonably sized 37.2mm case.
Sinn Hydro UX
There are so many cool things about this watch it is hard to know where to start. First off, the case is made out of a submarine steel. This makes it really resistant to salt water corrosion as well as anti-magnetic. Secondly, the case of this watch is completely filled with oil. Yeah. You read that right. The oil in the case makes it so there is absolutely no glare on the watch either under water or on land. Along with these really unique features, the watch has a big, clear face with a bright lum that makes reading it in the dark easy. All things said a top notch diving watch.
Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33
Omega’s Speedmaster was taken to the moon. The Skywalker X-33 was built to go to Mars. This watch from Omega boasts a dizzying array of functions that are displayed on the watch face’s LCD display. Chronograph, GMT, mission time, alarms, you name it and this beast of a quartz watch has it. And thankfully, due to the quartz movement in the watch, it is as comfortable to wear on the blue planet as it is on a 1,000-day mission to Mars.
At a certain point, wristwatches take on so much capability that they almost shouldn’t be defined as just watches. Breitling’s Emergency is right on the line. This SuperQuartz powered timepiece doubles as a lifeline for adventurers. Whether caught on a mountain or stuck in the desert, wearers can pull out an emergency beacon from the watch that calls on rescue services to come and pick you up.
Japanese Precision: 12 Best Seiko Watches
Seiko is one of the best when it comes to making quartz watches. Take some time to check out some of their best offerings in our list of the best Seiko watches for men.