Polling the Audience: Automatic vs. Quartz
Above Photo Credit: jurvetson
Yes, automatic watches are cool. Through engineering, springs, and gears, your watch won’t need a battery. And yes quartz is cheap and easy. It’s the automatic transmission of watch making. But the bottom line for me is this: If it feels like it’s built well, looks great, and keeps the time, then I don’t care if it runs on Mexican jumping beans.
The devotion to Automatic watches seems akin to the devotion some have for selvage denim. That’s great if you’re all about the Japanese looms. I’ll be more than happy with my 501s and Todd Sheltons.
The following examples are all automatics. Some are affordable, some aren’t. Quartz alternatives are thrown in for comparison’s sake, and they don’t always make a strong case for their side. Votes go at the bottom of the page.
Under $100: Invicta Pro Diver – $81.98 | Orient Black Mako – $98.91
Both used as evidence that autos can be inexpensive. If Invicta and Orient can make autos for under $100 that get great reviews on Amazon, why can’t or won’t the other guys? This $1000 watch from Movado? It’s a quartz.
The Quartz Alternative: Invicta Pro Diver Silver-Tone – $69.99
Seiko 5 SNZH63 – $135.00 | Seiko 5 SNZH27 – $142.95
The Seiko 5 line is legendary for its affordable automatics. They’re dependable, durable, and it’s just a matter of finding one with an exterior to your liking. Both of these carry their stainless links well, but both would look excellent with a leather band swapped in. And at around $140, you can afford to switch out the band.
The Quartz Alternative: Seiko SNN233 (with chronograph) – $216.00
Hamilton Silver Dial Field Watch – $393.75
And you thought the new J. Crew Timex was pricey. If you have smaller wrists and a larger wallet, $400 will get you a lot of good looks with this one. Nice silver dial, an even better stand out crown.
The Quartz Alternative: That damn Timex 1600 from J. Crew – $195, or the Wenger Teragraph – $135
Tissot T-Sport PRS 516 Black Dial – $394.98 |Silver Dial – $408.99
There’s not a lot of pure watch making companies that produce time pieces in the Tissot price range. Nothing really below the mid $200s, with Autos starting near $400. Mainly modern styling.
The Quartz Alternative: Tissot T-Sport PRC200 Chrono – $269.88
ESQ Automatic Black Teju Leather Strap – $450.00
The ESQ line is the easiest brand to see where Auto and Quartz separate in price. Made by Movado, the automatic price starts to sniff half a grand. A very VERY similar looking watch with a quartz movement clocks in around $300:
The Quartz Alternative: ESQ Chronicle Black Teju Leather Strap – $295.00
So where do you come down on the auto vs. quartz issue? Cast your vote below, and feel free to drop a comment in the comments section as well. Let’s try to keep any potential snobbery to a minimum.