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10 Watches That Prove Quartz Is Better Than You Think

Quartz watches are often looked down upon, but they’re more reliable and accurate than their mechanical counterparts.

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Quartz was long considered something of a four-letter word in watch geekery due to its association with mass production — as opposed to the illustrious “soul” and “craftsmanship” of a mechanical watch. But considering a good number of watch brands use mass-produced movements from third-party suppliers, these are things we probably shouldn’t get too caught up in anyway, at least when talking about watches on the lower end of the price spectrum.

Here's the thing, though: quartz watches are fantastic for a lot of reasons. Aside from battery changes, they don’t require much servicing and they’ll be more accurate than even the most expensive mechanical watches. Further, more watch brands have recently been making quartz watches with enthusiasts in mind. Best of all is that aside from some particularly special high-end quartz watches, you can find some incredible timepieces under $1,000 — many of them far, far below that.

Timex Q

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Timex makes some of the best quartz watches in the sub-$200 range, and that goes especially for those that draw on past designs to make great vintage-inspired watches. The popular "Q" (for quartz") series is emblematic of this idea, featuring a Rolex Pepsi-style motif with 12-hour bezel markers, a blue dial and a cool bracelet that completes the retro package.

Diameter: 38mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Buy Now: $179

Braun BN0211

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Braun’s BN0211 has won both a Red Dot and an iF award, so if you’re really looking for something design-focused at a low price, this is your watch. It comes with a slim stainless steel case and, for Bauhaus fans, a dial reminiscent of early Braun watches and wall clocks designed by legends Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs.

Diameter: 38mm
Water Resistance: 30m

Buy Now: $244

Brew Mastergraph

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Inspired by coffee culture, the New York City-based independent brand Brew consistently comes out with tasteful, well-priced and well-executed designs. It's even tough for mechanical watch snobs to deny the brand's attractive proposition. The Mastergraph uses a Seiko VK68 meca-quartz movement and has an unusual scale specifically meant for timing the perfect espresso pull.

Diameter: 38mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Buy Now: $375

Citizen Promaster GMT

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Along with its great dive instrument looks, the Promaster has the Citizen’s lauded Eco-Drive quartz movement, meaning you won’t have to worry about a battery change once every couple years since they're powered by exposure to light. Further, it features a GMT function for keeping track of your home time zone while abroad, and a slide rule bezel in case you’re really against using the calculator on your iPhone.

Diameter: 44mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Buy Now: $420

Seiko Prospex SUN065P1 Kinetic GMT

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Similarly, this Prospex watch from Seiko features a GMT hand and a mechanism to keep battery changes fewer and farther between. But rather than solar charging, the Seiko uses a system similar to the rotor in an automatic watch — when you wear it, you wind a rotor that generates energy to juice the battery right back up.

Diameter: 47.5mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Buy Now: $495

Bulova Lunar Pilot

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The Speedmaster wasn’t the only watch worn on the moon — during the Apollo 15 mission, Commander David Scott wore a custom-made Bulova chronograph in place of his NASA-issued Speedy. While that watch was mechanical, the homage here uses a chronograph version of Bulova’s Precisionist high-beat quartz movement, so rather than the seconds hand ticking once every second like that of a standard quartz watch, it smoothly sweeps across the watch’s dial.

Diameter: 45mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Buy Now: $478

Farer Frobisher II

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Though the brand has plenty of great mechanical watches, Farer got its start with good ol’ quartz like this Frobisher II model. It takes on the look and feel of a classic explorer’s watch, but is made modern with a larger (but still modest) 39.5mm case size and a dose of color on the dial. As a bonus, the crown is a piece of bronze that will patina with age.

Diameter: 39.5mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Buy Now: $475

Yema Superman French Air Force

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Hisotric French brand Yema has a track record of supplying watches to the French air force. It continues to do so in 2020 with a special edition made for modern pilots based on its Superman dive watch design dating back to the 1960s. There are mechanical versions as well, but if you're a pilot and might rely on your watch, you'd probably want the accuracy of quartz.

Diameter: 39mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Buy Now: $499

Marathon TSAR Quartz Medium

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Built to U.S. Military standards, the Marathon TSAR is a tough watch in a small package. Coming in at only 36mm, it’s still a super tough and submersible to 300 meters. It also featurestritium gas tubes for luminescence, which is a bright and colorful touch.

Diameter: 36mm
Water Resistance: 300m

Buy Now: $700

Hamilton Ventura

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When it launched over 60 years ago, the Ventura was known for 1) being Elvis Presley’s watch in the film Blue Hawaii and 2) using Hamilton’s innovative Model 500 electric movement. Though the 500 wasn't ultimately reliable enough to surpass mechanical watches, it paved the way for modern quartz-regulated watches. Today, the Ventura is powered by a quartz movement, but keeps the original’s now-iconic asymmetrical case from industrial designer Richard Arbib, who was known for his over-the-top, Jet Age designs.

Diameter: 32.3mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Buy Now: $845

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