On December 26th, 1969, Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko changed the watchmaking world forever by introducing the world’s first quartz watch — called the Astron. To call what they started a “revolution” is apt, as their invention truly did reshape the entire watchmaking industry with its aftereffects still quite prevalent today. You see, feeding electricity through a quartz crystal to produce vibrations, Seiko proved that it was possible to make a reliable and accurate watch movement at a fraction of the cost of the far-more-expensive automatic movements of the time.
Today, quartz watches are a timekeeping staple and are, in fact, more abundant and widely available than any other style of watch movement currently around. And while there’s an argument to be made that the craftsmanship of automatic movements is perhaps finer (or at least more desirable), quartz watches are absolutely nothing to scoff at. They’re trustworthy when built well, they’re available in a wide variety of watch styles — from divers to pilot watches and everything in-between — and they’ve got a wide-ranging budget perfect for just about any class of wearer. We’ve rounded up 20 of our favorites on our guide to the best quartz watches.
Timex Archive Navi Harbor Watch
Inspired by military models, the Timex Archive Navi Harbor watch is a modern and budget-friendly take on an iconic timekeeper. This particular one also boasts a stainless steel case protecting its quartz movement inside, as well as a ballistic nylon strap — with goes great with its 100m water-resistance rating.
Citizen Eco-Drive CA0649-14E Watch
A racing-styled timepiece, the Citizen Eco-Drive is marked by its tachymeter bezel and perforated leather strap. On top of its automotive styling, it also comes with a solar-powered quartz movement — meaning you don’t have to replace the battery — and it has chronograph functionality for a little extra splash of utility.
Seiko Prospex PADI Solar Dive Watch
Leave it to the creators of the original quartz wristwatch to dominate the category, even to this day. Of course, if we’re going to be forced to choose a single one of Seiko’s offerings, it might just have to be this Pepsi-dialed special-edition dive watch. Boasting a signature offset crown and a silicon-wrapped stainless steel case, this handsome watch is a stand-out style piece that can actually handle a bit of punishment. And since it has a solar-powered quartz movement, you never have to replace the battery.
Instrmnt T-42 Watch
For some folks, a watch is meant to tell time and look good — with little else crowding its visage aside from a straightforward dial. If you fall into that group, then you’ll likely love the pared-down Instrmnt T-42 you see here. With simple and small markings, a date window, a handsome and durable PVD-coated stainless steel case, and a vegetable-tanned leather strap, this minimalist watch is a stunner that does a lot with a little.
Braun BN0035 Classic Chronograph Watch
Braun is a staple brand of the Bauhaus movement if there ever was one. And, as it turns out, they’ve had a bit of a revival lately. Their BN0035 watch, which you can see here, helps to exemplify their resurgence — boasting a reliable quartz movement, chronograph functionality, a trio of colorway options, and an integrated leather strap.
Jack Mason D101 Diver Watch
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Jack Mason knows a thing or two about imbuing their timepieces with the spirit of Americana. And their D101 Diver watch is proof of that — boasting bold details and clean styling that would look as good in the boardroom as it would actually out on the ocean. It’s powered by a reliable Japanese Miyota movement, is a genuine diver with a 300m water-resistance rating and rotating dive timer bezel, and this example comes with a handsome steel link band.
Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph Watch
This limited-edition Bulova watch boasts styling that harkens back to the Omega Speedmaster that was famous for being the first watch on the moon — but at a fraction of the cost. Of course, if you’re on a tight budget, that is a welcome fact. Still, this watch is plenty reliable with its quartz movement and also boasts chronograph functionality, a tachymeter bezel, a pair of interchangeable straps, and more.
Tissot Couturier Chronograph Watch
Kind of a hybrid between a traditional dress watch and a racing-inspired timepiece, the Tissot chronograph you see here has a clean case free of a cumbersome bezel yet still boasts a tachymeter scale around the outermost edge of the dial. It also has a trio of large subdials that are easy to read at-a-glance yet don’t get in the way of the watch’s regular timekeeping abilities.
Hamilton Khaki Field Watch
Possibly Hamilton’s most iconic watch ever made, the Khaki is a staple of the field watch category and has been for years and years. This quartz-powered one bears all the signature hallmarks of the lineup with an affordable price point to match. On top of that, the contrasting brown strap, silver stainless steel case, and black dial with white markings are as eye-catching as ever. You truly can’t go wrong with the Hamilton Khaki.
Filson Chronograph Watch
You might not expect a gear brand like Filson to be making worthwhile timepieces, yet here they are doing exactly that. A new edition to their catalog inspired by its predecessor, the Field Watch, the chronograph capitalizes on the big, bold styling of its brethren, but also boasts a bit more functionality in the form of a duo of functional sub-dials. We’re also quite fond of the color scheme of this quartz chronograph, but there are also a number of different options if this one doesn’t quite strike your fancy.
Bamford Mayfair Predator Watch
Bamford is quite well-known in the watchmaking industry for releasing special customized editions of Rolexes. As it turns out, however, they also offer their own lineup of smart-looking watches at a fraction of the cost of their opulent custom projects. We’re especially partial to this blacked-out ‘Predator’ take on their Mayfair diver. It has sinister styling, yet it is still quite easy to read — making it ideal for just about any occasion. And it helps that it has a tough matte ceramic dive timer bezel to tie it all together.
Casio G SHOCK Mudmaster GWG1000-1A3 Watch
Very few “best of” watch lists would truly be complete without a Casio G-SHOCK — and this list is definitely not an exception. Powered by a quartz movement and with digital bits integrated therein, this is one of the most useful watches anywhere, bar none. It boasts the brand’s signature Triple Sensor tech and shock-resistance, has a built-in LED light for easy reading in any conditions, and it is practically indestructible.
Timex American Documents Watch
A love letter to everything Americana, Timex has released a lineup of Swiss-powered USA-built watches that are truly stunning. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from the brand that brought watchmaking to the States. On top of its handsome American-made case and leather strap, it also boasts an “Aged Waterbury Brass” caseback coin and crown insert and comes with its own cherry wood storage box — a nod to the mantle clocks Timex made over a century ago.
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon Watch
For those not in the know, the Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon is nearly indestructible. In fact, they literally ran it over with a tank and it survived without losing any functionality. And that makes it an exceptional timepiece. That’s helped by a reliable quartz movement, handsome visage, and survival-friendly paracord strap.
Shinola The Canfield Sport Chronograph Watch
Shinola is an American legacy brand of which we are quite fond. And one glance at their Canfield Sport chronograph watch can help you glean as to why that is. While the styling is abundantly apparent, this watch also features a reliable quartz movement to keep it ticking right on time, chronograph functionality, a date window, a sturdy metal link band, and some of the cleanest lines we’ve ever seen on a watch of its class.
Luminox F-117 Nighthawk 6422 Watch
In case you can’t tell from the name or its angular styling, this impressive pilot watch was actually inspired by Lockheed’s F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft. It boasts a unique PVD-coated matte gunmetal stainless steel case with a matching link band, a bi-directional rotating bezel, Luminox’s signature self-powered dial illumination, and has a 200m water-resistance rating. Unfortunately, this head-turner isn’t as stealthy as its namesake, but that might be a good thing.
TAG Heuer Monaco Watch
TAG Heuer’s Monaco is undoubtedly one of the most iconic watches ever built. And while the varieties that Steve McQueen wore are probably the most desirable, they’re also extremely expensive. For a good deal less, you can get this reliable quartz version to wrap around your wrist. It’s handsome, accurate, and comes in a trio of colorway options — so you can customize your style as you see fit.
Sinn Hydro UX SDR Dive Watch
Sinn’s Hydro UX SDR dive watch is made out of the same steel used in the construction of German submarines — and that’s reason enough to earn it a spot on this list. However, when you pair that with a reliable quartz movement, extreme temperature resistance, a dive timer bezel, an offset crown, and a sapphire glass crystal, it’s easy to see what makes this watch so damn impressive.
Breitling Colt Quartz Watch
In case you’re not familiar, one of Breitling’s proudest achievements is their ultra-reliable SuperQuartz movement. And that very movement is housed inside of the Colt Quartz watch you see here. In fact, that movement is actually a whopping 10 times more accurate than traditional quartz movements. Pair that with a durable stainless steel case, rotating bezel, and a striking blue dial and this watch is a surefire winner.
Omega Speedmaster Spacemaster Z-33 Chronograph
One of Omega’s most unique watches in the entirety of their lineup, the Spacemaster Z-33 was actually made with the input from professional pilots in mind. It boasts a titanium case inspired by the brand’s 1969 Flightmaster, has an LED display that auto-adjusts based on ambient light, It’s water-resistant to 30 meters, has a built-in resonance chamber to boost the sound of its alarm, and boasts a number of other handy functions — including UTC plus two time zones and a perpetual calendar.
What’s The Difference: Quartz Vs. Mechanical Watch Movements
If you’re wondering what it is, exactly, that differentiates the watches in the guide above from those with automatic power, you can learn about it all on our guide explaining the difference between quartz and mechanical watch movements.