The Best Quartz Watches Prove Mechanical Isn't The Only Option In 2020
Something mega is happening at Timex. For every painstakingly engineered, heritage-drenched, jewel-encrusted timepiece that wafts out of the various Swiss manufactures, an inexpensive, interesting, irreverent watch drops out of the Timex production line. Seemingly, we see a new collab (Snoopy, Todd Snyder, Soph, NASA, etc), a new archive reissue or a new way to spend around £100 very wisely every week.
The latest tremendous Timex is the next reissue in a series from the Seventies, following on from the excellent, Pepsi-bezel Q Timex 1979. The 1978 ‘Falcon Eye’ is at once clean and midcentury-ish, but also kind of sleazy, in that way only stuff from the Seventies can be. It is loyal to the original, with a woven steel bracelet, dual-tone case, and striated blue dial. It’s waterproof to 50metres and equipped with a day-date function, all within a sleek, lightweight, 38mm package. Such brevity is possible thanks to the quartz movement within, a technology that revolutionized watchmaking when it emerged in the late-Seventies.
Reissue Falcon Eye 38mm Stainless Steel Bracelet, timex.com
Big Bold Jellyfish 47mm Transparent Dial Silicone Strap, amazon.com
Seiko Prospex Street Series 42.7mm Stainless Steel Case, goldsmiths.co.uk
Watchmakers discovered all the delicate, complicated mechanics that literally made a watch tick could be replaced with a small piece of quartz, charged with a low current of electricity. Essentially, such charge makes the stone vibrate at a supremely constant and regular rate, which could, therefore, regulate a watch’s measurement of time with ease. It led to a boom in accessibly priced watches—such as Swatch—and nearly killed the mechanical watch industry altogether. Luckily, the latter has regained its prominence, but quartz watches are very much still around, and in 2020 they can offer serious bang for the buck. A quartz watch reliably keeps near-perfect time for as long as its battery has juice, so if you want something inexpensive and dependable, it could be the perfect fit.
American Classic PSR Digital Quartz 40.8mm x 34.7mm, jurawatches.co.uk
Aquaracer 43mm Diameter, amazon.com
F-80 Classic 41mm Gold Case, ferragamo.com
There are big names that specialize in quartz—such as Swatch or Timex—but plenty of watchmakers better associated with fine mechanical timepieces use it, too. Seiko, for example, is proud to make scores of ‘fine’ quartz pieces—the Japanese company holds the timekeeping qualities of the crystal in very high esteem indeed – and understandably, as the first-ever quartz watch was the Seiko Astron, in 1969. Tag Heuer uses quartz in its collection, as do Hamilton, Cartier, Rado, and scores of other storied names.
Fashion brands are also using quartz movements to great effect in their watches. Gucci is the key proponent, as demonstrated by the Dive and the new Grip collection. And Salvatore Ferragamo uses quartz in its F-80 collection, and in the wonderful, rectangular Portrait. One should never balk at the expertise, engineering, and effort that goes into a handmade mechanical watch, but one should never turn one’s nose up at the humble, everyman strength of quartz, either.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.