Hello there! Today’s post is going to be about Tissot Quickster review. This Quickster model lineup by the Swiss brand is designed to be a modern sports watch. While the PRS 516 models are more towards motor sports, the Quickster is designed with general sports in mind. In today’s post, I’m going to cover the Quickster Chronograph (T0954173605700) model.
In essence, it’s a really good looking watch. I just love how they combine the orange accent into the black dial/case/leather strap. It’s very handsome, and with the chronograph subdials give it a more complicated look that’s very cool. No doubt it will be a great watch for casual weekend outings. It’s also not as expensive as other Swiss watches (it’s a quartz btw) so that’s definitely a plus factor.
Without further ado, let’s get on to the Tissot Quickster review shall we.
Tissot managed to create a very good looking sports watch with this timepiece. The overall theme color of the watch is black with orange and white/silver colors sprinkled around the watch.
As this watch is a chronograph (or a stopwatch. You can read my post here on what is chronograph watch all about), the dial is naturally busy with 3 subdials to show the stopwatch measurements.
First subdial at the top right is for 10 hours stopwatch measurement while the top left subdial is for minutes stopwatch measurement. The bottom subdial is the running seconds hand – that means the main seconds hand is not always moving and used solely for the chronograph. That’s the biggest flaw I can see with this watch: it has substandard quartz chronograph movement (which I’m gonna discuss at the lower section of this post).
Nevertheless, the subdials are neatly placed and designed with minimalist white markings. And do you notice how the font of those markings (subdial, tachymeter scale on the bezel ring) are so well put and fine to look at? It’s a modern font and really complement the theme of a modern sports watch here.
Orange Accent On The Dial And Strap
A very nice touch on the design of this watch is the use of orange colors with the index hour markers. Honestly, I don’t know that black and orange can get along so well like this. Seriously, the orange markers really pop up and bring the watch dial to a whole new level. And it definitely make it much more sporty.
In addition, this Tissot Quickster also uses orange stitching on the leather strap to give it a very nice contrasting. The hands of the watch are normal bar hands with lume (as with all Tissot’s sports watch models). The end of the main seconds hand has a “T” shape – another trademark design of some sort by the brand.
At the 4 o’clock position, a date window has replaced the index marker. It’s somewhat destroy the symmetry of the watch but added a function that’s very beneficial. I definitely prefer a watch with date (and day) functions as it make the watch more functional.
All in all, Tissot has managed to make this Quickster model a very handsome sports watch. I love its symmetry and orange accent on an overall black watch. The chronograph subdials are designed not to make the dial too busy, but still give it a cool complex look.
Black PVD Coated Case
To complement the black dial, the Quickster uses a black PVD coated stainless steel case which is just gorgeous and elegant to look at. There is nothing special with the case: straight sides and moderately sized lugs; but I love how the black PVD make the case so refined and great to look at.
It’s in 42 mm diameter, which is a good size that can fit most men’s wrist comfortably. It’s also quite thin at 11 mm thick – which is not surprising since it’s a quartz movement. An ETA automatic chronograph movement will take more than 13 mm thickness though (such as this Tissot Couturier Chronograph).
The lug to lug distance is about 47.5 mm and lug width is 20 mm. On the top is an aluminum ring bezel that is marked with tachymeter scale. For those that don’t know about it, tachymeter scale is used with the chronograph to quickly calculate the distance of any object. Read this post to know how it works (plus some other cool chronograph functions available).
A Mediocre Quartz Chronograph Movement
Inside the watch is a quartz chronograph movement ETA 610.211 (ETA is a movement company inside the Swatch Watch Group – the same parent group of Tissot). The usage of a quartz movement has helped to push down the price of chronographs as a Swiss automatic chronograph will costs at least $500.
Quartz is a good movement for sure. It’s cheap, allows for thinner profile and best of all, it’s very accurate often times up to a few seconds a month whereas the typical automatic watch will have that kind of accuracy in a day. For in-depth comparison of automatic vs quartz movement, read this post.
To operate the chronograph is very simple. Just push the top right pusher to start the time measurement and push it again when you want to stop the time. The main seconds hand will measure the seconds while the top left and top right will measure the minutes and hours respectively.
Sadly the ETA 610.211 quartz chronograph movement in this Tissot Quickster is mediocre compared to what we can get for the same price with other brands. For a start, the main seconds hand is use solely for chronograph function while the bottom subdial is for running seconds.
Now this is typical for most automatic chronographs since it’s the limitation of the mechanical movement but a quartz watch can easily be made such that the main seconds hand is running and can also be used for chronograph function. At least for $310 that’s what I would expect.
Another main gripe about the chronograph is how it does not sweep and moves with a normal tick-tock motion. Again, it’s something normal for quartz watches since it’s done to ensure the battery last long but for a $310, Tissot can always make a higher grade movement that have sweeping second hand while also maintaining normal 2-3 years of battery life.
With all of this, I would say the chronograph movement is mediocre and not good value for money.
So who should get this Tissot Quickster? I think it’s perfect for people who want to wear a very stylish watch as a casual watch during weekends. It’s very well designed. Not too busy and looks cool to be worn.
Who Should NOT Get The Quickster?
For a start, those that expect a great chronograph movement should not get this watch. It’s very handsome for sure, but it’s movement is quite lacking. I sincerely believe for the same price, one can always get a watch with better chronograph function. For some alternatives to the Quickster……
The Other Alternatives…
1- Bulova Precisionist 96B175
The best bang for buck (at least as chronograph watch movement is concerned) is definitely the Bulova Precisionist. With a cutting edge quartz movement that’s super accurate (up to 10 seconds a YEAR), this watch just oozes of great technology.
It’s seconds hand has beautiful sweeping action (it can act as running seconds hand and also chronograph hand) but still can maintain the normal 2-3 years battery life. Not to mention it can also measure up to 1/1000th of a second – that’s something a digital stopwatch can do.
With a very distinctive look, it’s a about the best chronograph watch that money can buy.
It might not look as elegant as the Quickster but it surely is quite cool. On top of the watch is a slide rule that can be used for so many manual calculations such as multiplication, division, square roots, etc. It also has compass ring, tachymeter and many conversion scales. A very tool/utility watch indeed.
The main second hand only functions for chronograph but I like how it has a nice sweeping action to it. Not to mention it also has split time function, a great tool for when we want to time a race or such events. It even has an alarm that can also be used to set a second time zone!
If you need a chronograph that’s not just look cool but also have all the tools that a pilot uses (even more!), this would be the perfect choice for you.
1- Handsomely stylish modern watch that looks stunning
2- Great build quality – as expected from a Swiss brand
3- A cheaper option for a Swiss watch
1- Mediocre quartz chronograph movement
2- No sweeping seconds hand for chronograph function
Want to get your hand on this stylish watch? Get it from Amazon!
Tissot Quickster Price And Where To Buy It
Wanting to get this stylish watch? Then Amazon has the best offer for it. It’s MSRP is around $495 but can be had for just way lesser than that on Amazon. Click the link below to check out the watch on Amazon.
Tissot Quickster is a very stylish watch from the Swiss brand. It really looks cool with the chronograph subdials and two extra pushers at the right side. Tissot made a great job to make the dial not so busy, thus creating an elegant sporty look for the watch. The usage of orange and white on a total black watch is another great decision by the design team.
My only dissatisfaction is with the basic chronograph movement that it has. It functions just like an automatic movement despite being a quartz – and quartz chronographs can be very very advanced and much better than this. Considering the price, I feel that Tissot can use a better quartz chrono movement to make it more valuable for money.
Hope you guys love this Tissot Quickster review. For any questions or comments, drop it at the section below. Till next time.
Cool looking chronograph watch are popular but what are the best chronograph watches for men? This post will list down 5 of the best chronograph watches for men I’ve reviewed on this site. Now let’s get on with it shall we.
1- Bulova Precisionist 96B175 – Tough And Rugged 1/1000th Second Chronograph
I have to say this Bulova Precisionist is technically the best chronograph watch with analog display. The watch looks totally rugged with its big dimension and distinct styling. The watch construction is highly detail, and I’ve never seen any other watch case that has been put so much effort in designing and crafting such as this watch.
Its run by Bulova Precisionist movement, a cutting edge quartz movement from the legendary watch maker. For a start, this quartz watch is very accurate up to 10 second per year whereas normal quartz watch is only accurate up to 10 second per month. The 262kHz on the dial signifies the very high vibration rate of the quartz movement (262144 cycles per second) that is 8 times more than normal quartz watch. It also features a smooth sweeping seconds hand, a feat that Bulova achieves by their own patented movement.
The chronograph function is sort of extraordinary. First, the chronograph seconds hand and running seconds hand is the same that is the big seconds hand. This is only exclusive with quartz watch though. Automatic watch chronograph cannot do this and need two different seconds hand for both function. This is one of the reason why I personally favor quartz chronograph over automatics.
It’s able to measure up to 1/1000th second which is just outstanding. To put in context, the Bulova Precisionist enables you to measure time until 57.845 second – that’s something you can only do with digital watch. And did I mention it looks great with the very smooth sweeping seconds hand? For a tough and rugged watch that’s also a very accurate chrono, this is the best option for you.
Another quartz chronograph on the list. This time its this popular aviation watch from Seiko. The Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 is very popular because of the cool technical look of it. It has lots (and I really mean LOTS) of scale on the watch. It has rotary slide rule (useful for various simple mathematical calculations such as multiplication, division, even square roots), compass ring, tachymeter, conversion scale (weights, length, volume) and a few others. Seiko was able to incorporate those utility scales into a good looking and cool watch.
The chronograph has split time function, which means it can pause the display while still recording the time measurement. For instance, we can stop the chronograph display (the time measurement is still continuing in background), take our sweet time to jot down the time display somewhere and then by one click, the display will catch up to the actual time measurement. Very useful for racing events that involves many laps.
This FlightMaster SNA411 is a very utility and tool like aviation watch. If you need a chronograph that’s not just look cool but also have all the tools that a pilot uses, this would be the perfect choice for you.
3- Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual AT4010-50E – Automatic Sync To Atomic Time
Citizen is very famous for their Eco-Drive quartz movement that boasts up to 9 months of power reserve and can be charged by light. This watch is no different except that it has 4 additional features: automatic synchronization to atomic time, perpetual calendar, chronograph and alarm
Every night at 2 am, this watch will try to get radio signals and automatically sync its time to atomic time. Considering the accuracy of a typical quartz watch is about 10 second per month, this watch definitely has the best accuracy of any watch at any time because it syncs every day! Just to be clear, it only works in the 4 major timezones in US (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific) plus London timezone only.
Besides that, it also has perpetual calendar (meaning we don’t need to change the date to suit leap years), fully functioning chronograph and even alarm clock! Encased in titanium made the watch much lighter than normal stainless steel and perfect for those that has allergy to normal steel. Wanting a state-of-the-art watch powered by solar and always accurate? Then this is the watch for you. Who says only smartwatches can be a technology gadget?
Let’s move on to the Swiss chronograph watches for men. Tissot has created this amazingly sleek chronograph that looks really elegant. Just compare its look to the other chronographs listed above and you will get what I mean. Tissot also produces many super cool sporty chronograph watches (such as their MotoGP limited edition watches) but they never forget their root and still continue producing elegant Swiss automatics for their fans.
The face of this watch is pitch black, contrasted by the signatures, markers and hands on the dial. It looks absolutely stunning on a black leather strap, and look quite formidable with its 43 mm diameter and thick lugs. The chronograph automatic movement is made by Swiss ETA featuring their C01.211 movement. For a quality Swiss chronograph watch, that is still affordable, this is it.
5- Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Chronograph 241526 – Military Chronograph From Swiss
Last but not least is another Swiss chronograph watch but this time with military/field watch styling. The Victorinox Swiss Army (or VSA) Infantry Chronograph has a very good looking military style design with gunmetal PVD case for that rugged look. Coupled with luxuriously applied lume on the dial, this is a full fledged handsome field watch.
This watch is powered by ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement – a legendary chrono movement in Swiss watch making history. One unique feature is the telemeter scale on it (it seems that Victorinox is hell-bent to create a real military watch with this feature). For a more adventure type of chronograph with automatic movement and made with Victorinox’s Swiss high quality craftsmanship, it can’t get better than this.
Now, you might realised that in this list I’ve listed many quartz chronographs right? But this is supposed to be an automatic watches blog for men? Well, the truth is it’s very difficult to find an automatic chronograph watch that is affordable. Swiss automatic chronographs mostly retails more than $500. Some Chinese watchmakers do produce automatic chronos for cheaper prices but I’d steer clear of them until a clear quality record has been established and verified. Fact is, automatic chronograph movements are very complicated and hence very expensive. Quartz chronographs on the other hand will cost much less and has more features- the Seiko FlightMaster SNA411is a good example of how cheap a high quality quartz chronograph can be.
Another thing to remember is using the chronograph function will use up lots of juice of your watch regardless quartz or automatic. So keep this in mind when you want to watch that little seconds hand glide =)
I hope you guys find this list of best chronograph watches for men useful. If you have any questions, feel free to put it inside the comments section below. Till next time.
What is quartz watch? How does quartz watch work? I’m sure most people always wonder how this tiny thing can show time (and very accurate too). In this post, I’m going to explain on what is quartz watch is all about, it’s history, how it works and the future of quartz watch.
A transparent quartz mineral
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in Earth’s crust (or the ground as we know it). It’s basically sand with a scientific compound name called silicon dioxide. It’s made up of the chemical element Silicon and oxygen. These elements are very abundant on earth and explains why quartz is very common. The name is derived from German word “Quarz” meaning “hard”, unsurprising because quartz is hard and usually found near rock deposits.
It’s usually colorless but can also be found in many color varieties. In fact, the gemstone amethyst is one of its varieties but with a beautiful purple shade. One of the properties of this mineral is piezoelectric. Piezoelectric means the mineral can generate electric current if applied stress. A great thing about quartz is that it’s also have a reverse piezoelectric property – it will moves or oscillates if supplied with electrical current. This unique property, combined with how abundant and cheap it is make quartz the perfect choice to be used as timekeeping device in watches.
A purple amethyst – a type of quartz. Beautiful isn’t it?
What Is Quartz Watch Then?
What is quartz watch? Simply put, quartz watch is a watch that uses quartz as its main timekeeping device. As I’ve explained in my previous article about how automatic watch work (you can read it here), watches need a way to track time. As long as the watch can track and count 1 second, the others such as minutes, hours and days can be figured out by gears (for analog watch) or digital counters (in digital watch). After all, 60 second equals to 1 minute, and so on so forth. But the main thing that a watch has to solve is how to know that 1 second.
The pendulum clock uses the movement of pendulum for this while automatic watches use balance wheel and escapement assembly to keep track of time. By adjusting the balance wheel so that it will oscillates 8 times in one second, the escapement and gears can then work out to move the seconds hand along “1 second” on the watch. Its all good but human are never satisfied.
Automatic watches need to be wound regularly and it does not track the perfect time – it will lose or gain some seconds (up to 30 seconds) a day. Even a COSC Chronometer watch will have at most +-6 seconds per day accuracy. This is not acceptable to the scientific community that relies on precise time keeping for their laboratory usage. They also need a watch that will run with little effort, something that is run by electricity for example.
And thus the search for new time keeping device started. Steel has been used but found not very good for this purpose. Around early 1920s, quartz was discovered to be perfect to be used in a watch – piezoelectric properties, abundant (not a rare mineral making it cheap to be used), need less equipment and better temperature stability. It’s also will not be affected by its position, automatic wheel balance tend to behave differently at different positions (face down, face vertical etc.) due to gravity.
An example of one of the earliest quartz clock. I can’t imagine having this in my house lol.
Quartz Wristwatch Invented By Seiko In 1969
Like any new technology, quartz watch started to be very big (see picture above of one of the earliest quartz watch). That thing is fine to be used in laboratories but not for public use. Finally in 1969, Seiko succeeded in producing the first quartz wristwatch (though I have to note here that the Swiss also invented the same thing, just a few months later).
Seiko Astron – the first quartz wristwatch produced in 1969
By reducing the size of the digital logic semiconductor (responsible for counting the vibration of the quartz crystal and sending signal to move the watch), size of quartz crystal, battery and others, Seiko managed to do squeeze all of the quartz watch movement into a small wristwatch. Their first quartz watch is called Seiko Astron and was very expensive at that time. But through innovation, mass production and cheaper semiconductors, quartz watch become cheaper. It became very popular and embraced by all over the world. For the first time, normal people can buy and use a wristwatch which is normally reserved for those well off only.
Above is a simplified diagram of a quartz watch. The best part is these components are much smaller than their automatic watch counterpart, making quartz watch relatively slimmer
How Does Quartz Watch Work?
So how does quartz watch work then? It starts from a battery cell. The cell provides electric current to power a microchip which subsequently send some current to a quartz, making it oscillates/vibrates. This quartz crystal is normally cut into a tuning fork shape as this shape is found to be the best in terms of consistent oscillation. The oscillation is picked up by the microchip.
The original frequency of oscillation is normally 32768 Hz (or 32768 times in one second). This frequency is used as it is high enough that people can’t hear it and low enough so that an inexpensive microchip can use it to derive 1 second – this is done by dividing 32768 by 2 fifteen (15) times. The microchip will then send electric current to a motor once per second. This motor will then moves the watch display hands by using gears. For a digital watch, the microchip will do the conversion itself.
An image of the inside of a Seiko’s quartz watch
For more detail explanation (caution – it’s a huge wall of text), visit this magnificent text on history of watch clock and it’s technological evolution.
Quartz Watch Accuracy
The best advantage of quartz watch is its accuracy. Most normal quartz watch has +-10 seconds per month accuracy, much better than an automatic that will gain/lose that much in a day. This is due to many factors. For start, quartz watch timekeeping is based on the quartz mineral properties and microchip – both of which is almost perfect even if mass produced. Automatic watches on the other hand is mechanical based with many gears and balance wheel springs, these are stuffs that are not perfect no matter how detail the construction it.
Another great thing about quartz watch is it’s not very sensitive to impact and temperature changes. As long as the construction of the watch is solid, nothing can destroy the movement. This is totally opposite of automatic watches that have delicate balance wheel pivot which is very prone to impact damage. It’s also easy to lose accuracy due to temperature drops.
Future Of Quartz Watch
So what’s next for it? For a start, watch manufacturers try to find ways to improve upon the accuracy. +-10 seconds per month is still not good for them. A few years back, Bulova succeeded in developing its Precisionist movement. What’s so special about it?
Bulova Precisionist is a innovation to the quartz technology with its very high frequency movement (262144 Hz), it’s sweeping seconds hand and super accuracy – all achieved with a normal watch battery life
First, this movement has a frequency of 262144 Hz (or 262 kHz) which is 8 times the frequency of normal quartz. Bulova uses a 3 prong quartz oscillator for this, which incidentally increases its accuracy to about +-10 seconds per YEAR. That’s a huge improvement over normal quartz. Remember also that quartz watch has the tick-tock motion – this is done to preserve its battery. Bulova has made the Precisionist able to generate a sweeping seconds hand motion, while also keeping its battery life at the normal 2-4 years mark. Now that’s a huge achievement! (I’ve reviewed the Bulova Precisionist watch which you can read here)
Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph shown above can keep time synchorize to atomic clock every night via radio signal. Combined with Citizen’s Eco-Drive Solar powered movement, this is a watch that’s very accurate and can run undisturbed for its whole lifetime
Other watch brands also has their own innovation. Citizen for instance has developed the Eco-Drive movement to turn the whole watch dial face into a solar panel. This makes the watch basically does not need any battery change. A watch that I’m fascinated at is the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph which in addition to having a solar panel also will automatically synchronized with atomic clock every night. That means this watch is totally accurate in the span of its lifetime!
The new Seiko Astron GPS Solar
Another great watch is the Seiko Astron. Not to be mistaken with the first generation quartz watch, this is a new version of quartz by the legendary watch brand. It is also a solar watch and can link to GPS satellites to synchronize time anywhere in the world. The advancement of quartz watches will never stop. As our technology improves, so does our watches too and I’m truly excited for what’s to come =)
p/s: Even though quartz watch has many advantages, I’m still leaning pretty heavily towards automatic watches. As stated in my article on comparison of automatic vs quartz watch<<<LINKKKK, I find automatic watch to be unique and have lots of character. Besides, I enjoy the fact that the watch I use is very different than most other common quartz watches other people use =P
I hope you guys enjoy this article about what is quartz watch and how does quartz watch work. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to ask it here. Share this article if you find it helpful. Till next time.
Today, I’m going to write about Bulova Precisionist review – a massive Chronograph watch. As Bulova has produced a couple of Precisionist models over the years, this review will be specifically about the Precisionist 96B175 model.
So what’s so special about this watch? First of all, it’s something we’ve never seen before – a very cool racing inspired watch with huge and massive case (in fact it is 46 mm in diameter – very big indeed). Secondly, the cutting edge Precisionist chronograph movement.
So now let’s take go to the Bulova Precisionist review shall we.
Diameter:46.5 mm Thickness: 18 mm Lug to Lug:60 mm Lug Width: 24 mm Case: Stainless steel case
Dial: Gray carbon fiber dial Watch Crystal: Mineral Crystal Hands:Skeleton hands with lume Markers: Index markers with lume Subdials: 4 subdials for chronograph functions
Movement:Precisionist Chronograph High performance quartz movement. 262 kHz frequency Water Resistance:300 m Other Features:Chronograph accurate up to 1/1000th second, Sweeping seconds hand, Date display, Luminous hands and markers, Tachymeter scale
First off, what is Precisionist? Well, it’s basically a quartz movement watch. But it’s not a normal quartz watch as it’s a technically higher grade of quartz. There are two marvels that Bulova managed to innovate and put inside this watch: the sweeping seconds hand and the high accuracy of the watch.
A typical quartz watch will have a ticking seconds hand. The manufacturers can always make it so the the watch sweeps (like an automatic watch) but they didn’t because that will use too much battery. In short it’s designed to be ticking for practical purposes.
Bulova managed to make this watch sweeps while also keeping the life time to about 2-4 years (like any normal quartz watch) which is a huge achivement for the company. Little information was released on how they did it but the fact is the sweeping is very smooth and will beat most automatic watch out there.
I’ve attached a video here so you can see how fluid the seconds hand move and it’s downright gorgeous!
Watch the video review above to take a closer look at the watch. Notice how smooth the seconds hand sweeping motion is
Another technological achievement that the company did is with the quartz movement. A typical quartz uses a two-prong quartz crystal for its timekeeping device. Bulova uses three-prong and this increases the accuracy and frequency of the movement.
Normal quartz has a frequency of around 32000 Hz (means it will oscillates/move at 32000 times in one second) while this watch is 8 times of that at 262144 Hz – hence the 262 kHz sign on the bottom of the dial.
This high frequency movement as well as the three-prong quartz helps to increase the accuracy of the watch further with advertised accuracy of +-10 seconds per YEAR. As a comparison, normal quartz has a typical accuracy of +-15 seconds per MONTH. An automatic? Even COSC Chronometer movements will deviate by +-6 seconds per DAY. Now that’s a huge achievement by the company.
If you are one who dislike the inaccuracy of automatic watches but still would love to have a sweeping seconds hand, then this is the watch for you. Super accurate and has that glorious sweeping hand. Just remember to change the battery after a few years – it’s battery powered after all!
It’s a huge watch for sure. Only the manliest wrist can pull it off perfectly
Massive 46 mm Diameter Watch Case
Let’s face it. It’s a massive watch. It has 46 mm diameter with an 18 mm thickness making it super big. For those with small wrists, I’d recommend you to stay away from this watch. But this watch is not just a big watch. Bulova made the watch to have this distinctive industrial look design, with sharp cuts everywhere on the stainless steel case.
There are lots of elements on the case, from the big bezel, the hex screws at the four corners (which is just for decoration only), the big ass square lugs and so on.
In short, this watch looks massive but in actuality many thoughts have been given on the case design. It’s totally unique and will definitely make a statement. You will either love it or hate it. I’d say you won’t be able to find a case with this much detail and design elements in this price range.
The watch (case and crystal) has a slight curve to it
One thing that I really like is how Bulova make the case and crystal of the Precisionist to have a slight curve downwards. It’s really pretty in my opinion. It seems that Bulova has this penchant for curvy watches (one of their latest watches, the CURV has the most prominent curvy case around). The curve makes the case more unique: where do you find a big watch that also has a curve to it?
The crystal is mineral which is something that I don’t prefer – it’s easy to scratch (I’ve written an article about watch crystals here). With an MSRP of $825, it’s only appropriate for them to give a sapphire instead. After all, most Swiss watches which has a lower price tag has sapphire.
In my opinion, this is the weakest aspect of this watch. The glass also curved giving that nice visual effect by distorting the view. Another great aspect of the watch is the 300 m water resistance rating which is very very high.
I doubt that most people that buy this watch will actually use it for scuba diving because it’s quite heavy, but to put that high water resistance sure won’t be a harm. If anything, it gives the peace of mind that this is a very tough and rugged watch that can withstand all and any punishments =)
The stainless steel bracelet attached to the 24 mm width lug is very thick, much thicker than any other bracelets I’ve seen. It’s a good fit though – you can’t have a big watch with a thin bracelet right? It’s nicely done, with detail polishing strips on it.
Overall, the watch is very massive, and solidly built. It will definitely make a bold statement about yourselves. The high level of details on the case also makes it exceptional and unique than other watches out there.
Motorsport Inspired Dial
The dial inspired from motorsports, with the a gray carbon fiber textured background. It’s a totally busy and flashy dial (as expected from any chronograph). I like how they use stainless steel and silver elements to contrast with the gray dial background. It really looks nice but also make the watch more readable.
The hands are big skeleton hands with lume while the seconds hand is yellow in color. It’s a very nice little design detail there. The markers are index markers with lume applied on it. There is minimal signatures on the dial with only the “Bulova”, “Precisionist” and “262kHz” on it.
There are a few updates to the dial with the first version having a bulova tuning fork sign at the top. The tuning fork used to be the company’s logo, but it seems they have decided to put it only at selected models. Honestly I’m not sure why they didn’t put it in this watch as it’s very special too!
4 subdials are on the watch which function as the time indicator for the chronograph. The top subdial is for 1/10 and 1/100 seconds measurement while the bottom is for 1/1000 seconds. The left subdial is for minutes while the right is for hours (until 12 hours only). The use of bigger subdials with silver outline for the top and bottom subdials keeps the watch face to have a symmetry look.
To conclude, the watch face is a very flashy and busy one as expected from a chronograph. It’s motorsport inspired with subdials that look like racing cars gauge panels. Colorful and cool looking dial on a big and rugged watch case.
Chronograph Accurate Up To 1/1000th Second
The chronograph function of the Precisionist is one of a kind as it can read time accurate to the 1/1000th second. This means it is a stopwatch that can tell you accurately that 57.768 seconds has passed.
Now that is a very big improvement over typical analogue chronographs that can only tell time up to the seconds only (i.e 57 seconds). This makes the watch as functional as a digital quartz stopwatch.
There are three pushers to operate the chronograph. The left bottom pusher is to change the mode from normal to chronograph. Top right pusher will start and pause the time while the bottom right pusher will reset the time.
Simply push the bottom left pusher to change the mode to chronograph. At this point, the seconds hand will beautifully glide to the 12 o’clock position and stay there until you push the top right pusher to start the time. Push it again to stop and take measurements.
Once finish, use the bottom right pusher to reset the time. (you can download this user manual for more information on the watch and its chronograph function)
A diagram showing the various elemtns locations and its functions
What I love about most quartz chronograph watch is how the seconds hand become a running seconds hand (ticking normally) and also be the stopwatch seconds hand. This is a huge advantage over automatic watch chronographs in which the seconds hand can only do one function only (normally become the stopwatch seconds hand and will remain stationary when you don’t use it.
There is also a tachymeter scale at the outer edge of the dial as a tool to know the speed of an object by using the chronograph and knowing the distance it traveled.
The chronograph function looks very nice (you can see the chronograph in action in the above video attached) but you have to beware that this is a battery powered watch.
If you’re interested to buy the Precisionist, then Amazon is the best place. Amazon usually has huge discount from the MSRP price of $825 from Bulova’s dealers. Click the link below to check out the best prices on Amazon.
The Precisionist is a very interesting watch. Hugely, boxy, highly detailed and solidly built watch case with a cool flashy motorsport inspired dial, this watch for sure will make a bold statement about the owner and grab people’s attention to it.
But I’ve got to say the most interesting point on this watch is its highly accurate quartz Precisionist movement. A deviation of just 10 seconds per year is totally unbelivable! The 1/1000th second chronograph also is something extraordinary for an analogue watch. For a one of a kind watch, this is it folks. Just make sure you have a big wrist or it won’t fit!
I hope you guys enjoyed my Bulova Precisionist review in this post. I would love to hear any comments or questions from you. Don’t forget to share this on if you like this article. Subscribe to my site (subscribe form is just at the right sidebar) so that you won’t miss exciting stuffs in future.
A Full Aviation Watch – The Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 Review
Fancy a full aviation watch complete with chronograph and various scales and measurements? Then you might want to look at this Seiko FlightMaster SNA411.
A bit of disclaimer: this is not an automatic but a quartz watch. I’m not really a quartz guy and prefer automatic movement (if you don’t really know what’s the difference between this two, you can read my post on the comparison of automatic/mechanical vs quartz movement here).
But an automatic chronograph will be quite expensive and usually retails for more than $400-$500. The SNA411 on the other hand can be gotten at much lesser than which is a very good bargain for such an amazing tool/utility watch.
Best affordable chronograph and aviation watch? That claim might not be too far off. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this Seiko Flightmaster SNA411 review.
Diameter:42 mm Thickness: 13 mm Lug Width: 21 mm Case:Stainless steel Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Dial:Black chronograph dial with aviation scales on the edge Dial Window: Domed Seiko’s Hardlex crystal Subdials: 3 subdials showing moving seconds hand (left), Minute counter for chronograph (top) and Alarm or second timezone clock (bottom) Bezel:Bi-directional rotating bezel with rotary slide rule
Movement: Seiko Quartz movement with split time chronograph Water Resistance: 200 m or 660 feet Other Features:Split , Screw down crown and pushers, Alarm, Luminous markers and hands, Second timezone clock subdial, Date display, Rotary slide rule for various calculations
Best Place To Buy: Amazon (Click The Link Below To Check Its Price)
The dial of the Seiko FlightMaster Watch SNA411 is a very busy dial. At first glance I can’t even see where is the markers and hands lol! But this is the face of an aviation/flight watch.
Outer edge of the black dial is full of scales of rotary slide rule that can be used for many calculations important for a pilot (I’ve explained a little bit about this below).
Being a chronograph also made the dial busier. The 3 subdials definitely take lots of space at the center of the dial until there is no free space at all.
The top subdial is for minute counter of the chronograph while the left subdial is for showing the running seconds hand.
The main second hand (with the popping yellow color which is something that I really like) is only moving when using the chronograph.
The bottom subdial is for showing the alarm (this watch actually has one!). It can also be used to set for a different time zone which is truly useful during traveling.
The bezel is black in color and has many scales on it for the rotary slide rule. It can be rotated both ways (clockwise and anti-clockwise) and is quite thick which made the watch appear smaller than it is.
The hands are normal hands with lume applied on top of them.
The markers are very small – just some small dots on the dial which are also applied with lume. Unless you are new to analog watch, this will not be a problem.
But if you are a first watch user or currently wears a digital watch, then you might have problem to tell the time because of the small markers.
Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 really has a very distinct dial design which you will either love it or hate it. It’s super busy and will turn off lots of people.
But for those that know how useful those small markings on the bezel and dial are for a pilot, they will surely appreciate what the Seiko SNA411 can do and might love this watch.
Stainless Steel Case With 200 M Water Resistance
The Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 is encased in a 42 mm diameter stainless steel case with 13 mm thickness. It has a 20 mm lug width which is fitted with stainless steel bracelet.
It is totally sturdy and solid – typical for any Seiko watch. The Hardlex crystal has a slight dome to it that is a very nice detail.
One thing that really astound me is the water resistance of the watch – it is 200 m water resistant! It’s not even a diver watch and yet it has a very high water resistance.
To achieve this, Seiko uses screw down on the watch’s crown and pushers. It does not really make any sense to give an aviation watch a 200 m water resistance rating but who cares right?
This means you can just wear this watch when swimming or scuba diving without the need to change to your diver watch. How cool is that? But of course for very deep dives I would recommend an ISO 6425 certified diver watch for your own safety =p
The SNA411 on a plain brown leather strap will shift all attention to the watch itself
One thing that you will notice is how the stainless steel bracelet seems not matching well with the watch. The thing is the watch dial is very busy with lots of things on it.
It’s actually much better to suit a busy dial watch like the SNA411 with a simpler strap to dressit down. Straps like Nato strap, rubber strap or leather strap (plain leather, not the alligator printed ones) will work wonderful with the watch.
In my opinion the stainless steel bracelet is not a good companion to the SNA411. Fortunately a replacement strap is very easy to find nowadays. Just go to any online stores (Amazon, Ebay etc) and you can find many sellers selling these straps at very affordable price.
It also looks good in this brown Nato strap right?
What is an aviation watch without a chronograph? An incomplete aviation watch. This Seiko FlightMaster watch has a chronograph to complement its duty as a fully functional tool and utility watch for a pilot.
The two pushers at the right side (top right and bottom right) are used to operate the chronograph. The top pusher is used to start and pause the chronograph while the bottom pusher can be used to reset it.
This watch also has split time function which is very useful for any sporting events.
What is split time chronograph?
It basically is used to help people to record time of events that is happening continuously like to record time of laps done in a racing event.
The top pusher will be used to start the time. Then at the moment when you want to record the time, push the bottom pusher.
This will not stop the time but just merely stop the seconds hand at that location so you can take your time to manually record the time on paper. The chronograph actually is still running in background.
Pushing the bottom pusher again will make the seconds hand to catch up to the time. I doubt most of SNA411’s owners will use this in their daily life but one thing for sure the sweeping motion of the seconds hand catching up to the time is very beautiful.
Watch this great review of the Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 for hands-on look on it. The split time chronograph function is also explained and demonstrated in this video (though the reviewer mistakenly call it fly-back)
Rotary Slide Rule? What Is That?
Before the creation of electronic calculator, slide rule is the most widely used tool in mathematics, science and engineering for making quick calculations.
It was invented in 17th century and comprises two logarithmic scales. One of these scales can be moved or slide – hence the name slide rule. It is used for various calculations such as:
A typical slide rule popularly before the invention of digital calculator
It becomes obsolete after the creation of electronic calculator which is why most people don’t know about it except for old folks that used it during their youth (I also only know about it when researching for the slide rule on this watch lol!).
Aviation watches recreate this slide rule to assist pilots make complicated calculations using their watches. I think it’s much more easier to use compared having to punch in a calculator when flying thousands of feet above ground right =p.
A slide rule on aviation watches is named rotary slide rule because its circle in shape (compared to normal slide rule that is bar in shape like normal ruler).
A diagram showing the various scales on a typical Seiko watch with rotary slide rule
The rotary slide rule on the Seiko SNA411 is more elaborate than other normal slide rules due to many scales on it. As a result, you can use the SNA411 for many calculations.
It also uses its bidirectional rotating bezel as the sliding rule (some watches has a rotating inner bezel at the outer edge of the dial – like the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist).
On top of the SNA411 bezel, there are:
Utility bearing compass scale
The outer dial has two other scales namely:
How To Use Rotary Slide Rule?
By rotating the bezel, various navigational calculations can be made (in addition to normal slide rule calculations listed above) such as:
Calculate time, speed and distance (unit on the watch is mph but interchangeable with kph)
Fuel consumption rate per hour
Fuel quantity required for a length of flight
Remaining time of flight based on fuel consumption rate and fuel in tank
Climbing altitude, rate and time
Distance – nautical mile, statute mile and kilometer
Volume (fuel capacity) – US gallon, Imperial gallon and liter
Weight – kg, pound
Speed – mph, kph
Direction (North, South, East, West)
Above is a great video showing how to do multiplication and division using the Seiko Flightmaster SNA411.
It’s totally easy when you know the “rules” to do these calculations. One tips that I need to tell you is that the decimal place (how many 000s after the number) is not really clear from the dial unlike digital calculator.
So you got to already roughly know the answer beforehand. You can read this awesome manual on Seiko’s rotary slide rule (CLICK HERE to Download) for examples of doing these calculations.
Keep in mind these calculations are only approximate and not as accurate as any calculator. It is intended only to ease the calculation process and not for really exact values. For that a calculator is better as it is more accurate.
In case you don’t know what logarithmic scale is, you can read on this wiki page here for more info.
An easy way to tell a logarithmic scale is the reducing space between the numbers (10 to 20 to 30 and so on). The scale on the watch starts with 10 btw.
Utility Compass Ring
Another great feature that the Seiko SNA411 has is the utility compass ring scale. By using this ring, we can know roughly the directions (North, South, East, West) from our location.
Simply point the hour hand to the sun direction. Then rotate the bezel until the South indicator sits between the hour hand/sun and the 12 o’clock marker. The direction on the bezel (N,S,E,W) is the direction from where you are standing.
This is for when you are located in Northern hemisphere. For those in Southern hemisphere use the North indicator instead of the South indicator.
Quartz Movement From The Creator Of Quartz Watches
The Seiko SNA411 uses quartz movement. I’m not really a fan of quartz actually (that’s why the name of this website is AutomaticWatchesForMen.com.
But as stated above, automatic chronograph watches are typically much more expensive. At just $200, there is no way we can find a fully functioning chronograph aviation watch.
Which is why I had to make an exception to this Seiko Flightmaster SNA411 – it’s so darn cheap and have all the bells and whistles in an aviation watch.
Even the poster boy of aviation watch, the great Breitling Navitimer does not have every function that the SNA411 can offer! Now that is very good for money (the Navitimer retails for upwards of $5000 btw).
The Seiko SNA411 runs on battery, which will require replacement after a few years (depends on how often you use the chronograph).
This is one of the major disadvantage of quartz watches in my opinion.
But with a very beautiful and most complete aviation watch you can find, the SNA411 is a very good choice for those starting out and would like to own their first aviation watch – before you move on to the more expensive brands =p
Where To Buy Seiko FlightMaster Watch? Get It On Amazon!
Looking to buy Seiko FlightMaster watch SNA411? Look no further than Amazon. Amazon currently lists the watch at a low prices. Click the link below to check out this watch on Amazon.
I have always been an automatic watch guy and don’t really like quartz watch in general. But this Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E really blows my mind. Although it’s a quartz wrist watch, it has a huge amount of functions that excite the techie spirit in me. It is solar powered, a chronograph, perpetual calendar and best of all it has radio controlled atomic timekeeping – all of these make this wrist watch a true feat of watch engineering.
Diameter: 42 mm Thickness: 13 mm Case: Titanium Lug Width: 24 mm Strap:Titanium bracelet Bezel:Black bezel with Tachymeter scale
Dial: Black dial with textured pattern Dial Window: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating Markers:Index markers with lume Hands: Dauphine hands with lume
Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive E650 quartz movement with analog display
Watch Functions:Solar powered light by Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, Radio controlled atomic timekeeping (in US only), Perpetual calendar, Chronograph, Power reserve indicator, Alarm, Day & date function, 12 & 24 hour time, smooth movement of hands while operating its various functions
For detail information on the watch’s various functions, download the Citizen’s setting instructions here Power Reserve: 270 days or 9 months
Water Resistance: 200 m / 660 feet Accuracy:Very accurate thanks to quartz timekeeping. In addition, with its atomic clock syncing every day, it can be said to be as accurate as an atomic clock!
Nice Design With Titanium Case For A Very Light Wrist Watch
The design of the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch is quite nice to look at. Sure there is a lot going on the 42 mm diameter watch but that’s what to be expected from a chronograph.
You can see the 3 subdials on the face that have different functions to play (more on that later). But surprisingly the dial – as congested as it may be – is very well designed.
Citizen has tried to make the watch as symmetry as they could. The use of reflecting metals such as the marker linings, subdials and outer edge of dial is a very nice touch. The inner circle of the dial is textured and contains the solar panel of the watch.
The watch is 42 mm in diameter and is not too big for most guy’s wrist. It is quite thick at 13 mm. Most quartz watch has much thinner profile but this is not your ordinary quartz watch though, so those extra milimeters are totally justified.
The lug width is 24 mm which actually make the watch looks larger. In my opinion, a 22 mm lug width is enough for watch with this size.
The material used for the case and bracelet of the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch is titanium which is a premium material for watch making.
Titanium is an element that is widely used in aerospace industry. The reason? Titanium has almost the same strength of steel, but it has almost half of steel’s density or weight. This gives it a better strength to weight ratio than steel.
Using titanium as watch material will make the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch much lighter, just about 100 g.
Not only that, titanium also is highly resistant to corrosion such as sea water and your own sweat. It’s also an inert element and it’s hypoallergenic property is a great option to those that have allergy to steel.
A big difference with stainless steel is the appearance. Titanium has a matte finish while stainless steel is more shiny or polished. The reason why titanium is pricier than steel is due to the scarcity and difficulty in molding and welding the element.
The watch is truly a technical achievement. Here is the list of functions that the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch has:
1- Solar powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology 2- Radio controlled atomic timekeeping 3- Perpetual calendar 4- Chronograph 5- Power reserve indicator 6- Alarm 7- Day and date display 8- 12 and 24 hour time
Take a look at the list above. Those are very commendable list. There are a few things that is not there that I would love to have such as compass and watch light but then you can’t really have everything right?
What I really like is how these functions helped to make the watch truly independent and can work on its own. There is no need for the owner to even set the time/day/date or anything.
It’s like a smartwatch from Samsung or Apple but with the gorgeous design of an actual watch. Let’s have a look at how these functions work.
Check out this useful video on how to use the watch’s various functions. Notice how beautiful the hands moves and glides on the dial when operating it. Citizen really knows how to impress people with this smooth hands =)
Citizen Eco-Drive Technology – No Need For A Battery Anymore
The Eco-Drive is a wonderful creation by Citizen. It uses a solar panel to convert light into electrical energy and store it inside a power cell. Not just that, the panel also can convert light from any source.
Sunlight is the best but you can still charge it by placing it beneath a table lamp or normal fluorescent light. The power cell also will last a lifetime of use so there is no need for replacement.
This technology is a step up from the quartz and automatic movement watches. It uses quartz for very high accuracy (up to only a few seconds per month.
A great improvement over automatic watches that is accurate to a few seconds in a day). But instead of a battery, it uses the best kind of renewable energy: light.
By placing the solar panel sublimely underneath the dial (which is a technical feat also!) and using a long lasting power cell, the watch can run literally forever.
The best part is the power cell that has 270 days (or 9 months) power reserve. Such huge amount of power reserve is a huge difference with 40 hours power reserve of automatic watches!
But one thing to note is that the recharging can take up to 210 hours for a table lamp (normal office light at the ceiling is too far to make a difference).
Citizen also said that the best source is sunlight, but even a sunny day will need 35 hours of direct exposure for it to charge to full capacity.
Luckily there is a power reserve indicator is situated at the top right subdial. I don’t think you need to bask yourselves in the sun for 35 hours straight.
Just charge it up under a table lamp whenever the power reserve drops to half and that should do the trick. Visit these sites for more information on Citizen’s Eco-Drive and E650 Movement recharging guide.
Radio Controlled Atomic Timekeeping
Another interesting and very useful function of this Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch is the atomic timekeeping.
In Denver, there is a radio tower at Fort Collins station that sends radio signal which contain the atomic time – which is the most accurate time on earth.
Appliances (like this wrist watch here) can tap into that signal and pick up the atomic time to reset their devices time accordingly to the atomic time.
One thing that you need to know is that this is not a GPS watch which means you have to set your own timezone (indicated in the bottom subdial).
The watch supports 5 timezones – 4 major timezone in US : Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific and London timezone. So if you are from other part of the world such as Europe, Asia (or even Alaska and Hawaii in US), the radio controlled atomic timekeeping will not work.
The watch can also be set to alternate time mode (A-TM) in the bottom mode subdial where you basically set the time yourselves. But then what’s the fun in that? =)
What the watch will do after getting the atomic time from the radio signal is to change the time into your actual timezone. The reception will be done automatically at 2am everyday or can be done manually.
Since this is a radio signal, you’ve gotta expect some restriction in usage. For example the radio signal won’t work if you are in a building, tunnel, basement etc. For best signal transmission, position the watch next to a window and it will catch it and adjust the time accordingly.
With this, you are using the most accurate watch on earth, more accurate than most watches! I’m not sure whether it is Citizen that first produced a radio controlled watch to sync with atomic time, but whoever created this is a genius.
Citizen Eco-Drive Chronograph With Tachymeter Scale
What would a high tech wrist watch be without a chronograph? The Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch also has one with a beautiful Tachymeter scale on its black bezel.
But to use this function is not as simple as other chronographs as the mode of the watch need to be changed to chronograph mode – it’s done by pulling the crown to first position and rotate the mode subdial (the bottom subdial) to “CHR” or chronograph.
The two pushers at the right 2 and 4 o’clock can then be used for the chronograph function. Top pusher will start and stop the chrono while bottom pusher will reset it.
The chrono will only measures up to 1 hour (or 59 min 59 seconds) and this is measured on the top right subdial. It’s way less than other chronographs which can go from 4 hours to even 24 hours of measurement.
It seems Citizen chose to reduce the chronograph measurement to save one subdial for other functions (which is cool with me as I don’t really think anyone would measure up to hours right?).
Tachymeter scale on the black bezel kinda gives the watch a cool look. The scale is used to measure speed of any object (works in kmh or mph) if you know the distance it traveled.
Start the chronograph when the object starts and stop it at the point you know the distance it traveled. This will gives you the speed. You can also check out my review of the Tissot Couturier Chronograph here as I’ve written about how to use the chronograph.
Alarm And Perpetual Calendar
This watch also has alarm and perpetual calendar. These two functions can also be found in automatic watches but it will cost a ton of money to own those watches.
Luckily with the latest quartz and electronic watch technology, these functions can easily be found at lower cost and affordable to average guys. The perpetual calendar is very useful as you don’t have to adjust the date at the end of each month.
The watch took into consideration the different days in a month as well as leap years, so there is no need to change the date up until 2100. Alarm function can be used by activating the alarm mode. The time for the alarm can then be set easily then. The alarm will set off for 15 seconds when time arrives.
Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E Watch Pros and Cons
Below are the summary of the pros and cons of the watch for your easy reference.
1- Syncronizes the watch with atomic time everyday making it the most accurate watch on the planet
2- Smooth and subtle moving hands while operating the watch
3- Eco-Drive technology ensures that no battery is needed
4- Power cell can last for 270 days or 9 months
5- Beautiful watch design incorporating all those indicators and subdials perfectly on the dial
6- Titanium casing makes the watch lighter than a stainless steel watch
1- Radio controlled atomic timekeeping only works in 5 timezones. If you are outside of US or London, then this watch is not for you
2- Chronograph only measures up to 1 hour
3- 24 mm lug width and bracelet make the watch appear much larger than it actually is
My Final Verdict?
The Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E is not an automatic that I loves but the techie side of me just scream with excitement when I see this watch.
It has a titanium body, great design, Eco-Drive solar powered, radio controlled to sync with atomic clock, alarm, chronograph and 24 hour time. Not to mention it has a whopping 9 months power reserve, perpetual calendar and reset the time automatically everyday.
These functions make this wrist watch to be fully independent of any human intervention – you can use it everyday and don’t need to worry about whether the time or day or date of it is correct.
Put the watch under your side lamp when you sleep is enough to charge it for a few weeks of use. Whether you are having it for yourselves or as a gift for someone else, I’m sure no man will not dislike having such a useful tool in his arsenal =)
If you are looking to buy the Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chronograph AT4010-50E, Amazon currently has a discount on it. This drops the price from its MSRP of $725. Click the link below to check out the best deal of this gorgeous wrist watch on Amazon.
In recent times, the advent of smartwatches have brought new attention to the watch world. But prior to these new technology-filled watches, watches were divided into only 2 major categories: automatic and quartz.
Well, that’s quite a summary because as I’ve written before, watches can even be divided into 20 types.
While that list consists of all things that made up a watch (movement, style and function), the majority of people only relate to what type of movement a watch has, and for that, the automatic and quartz movements are the most commonly used and known.
Automatic and quartz watches differs by the way it keeps time. What this means is how the movement mechanism inside it, or in other words, how it track one second.
To turn the clock through the seconds, minutes and hours is very simple and can easily be achieved by gears.
But how to make sure the second hand on the watch dial/face moves precisely one second and corresponds exactly to one second in real world?
This is where automatic and quartz watch differs. Automatic watches uses mechanical parts (balance wheel and escapement set to be precise) to keep track of time while quartz watches uses quartz crystal oscillation which is powered by electricity.
Automatic watch has been around for more than a century. So as you can guess, there’s no electricity back then. How do the watches at that time function then?
It’s due to the use of springs. Inside all automatic watch, there’s a mainspring that is wound tightly to contain potential energy. This spring is then released slowly (by un-wounding itself) to move the gears inside the watch.
An example of an automatic/mechanical movement. You can see how it’s actually consisted of many small parts inside it and run entirely by kinetic and potential energy
The timekeeping is controlled by the wheel balance and escapement that ensures the watch speed is not too slow or too fast.
Quartz watch on the other hand was invented in the 1960s. It uses a quartz crystal that vibrates swiftly when subjected to electric current to keep track of time.
The integrated circuit in the watch then detects the frequency of the vibration and then consequently assign the motor to move one second based on the vibration.
The usage of high frequency quartz crystal ensures the higher accuracy of the watch (+-15 seconds deviation per month) as compared to the older automatic watch (+- 15 seconds per day).
Above is an example of a quartz movement. It’s much smaller than its automatic counterpart which contributed to its lightweight and slim profile
Surely, the newer quartz watch movement has higher accuracy (well, that’s the main reason why it’s being invented in the first place) but this does not mean automatic watch is not without any advantage.
Automatic Vs Quartz Watch Movements
If you’re new to the world of watches, or just want to buy one for yourselves or as a gift, I believe it’s fairly important for you to know the pros and cons of both automatic and quartz watches.
That way, you can make a better decision on what type of watch you REALLY need to get, as opposed to buying based on marketing campaign or word of mouth.
In this section, I’ve listed out the advantages and disadvantages of both automatic and quartz watch movements so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect from both.
Automatic Watch Movement
Does Not Need A Battery To Function
Sweeping Second Hand
More Expensive Than Quartz
Unique Characteristics of Automatic Movement
Typically Bigger and Heavier
Different Than The Digital World Around Us
Most Automatic Watches Have Low Power Reserve
Generally More Beautiful Than Quartz Watch
Quartz Watch Movement
Much Cheaper To Get
Need Battery To Operate
Ticking Second Hand
Slim And Light
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Automatic Watches
Let’s see the detail explanation for the pros and cons of an automatic watch.
Advantages Of Automatic Watches:
1- Does Not Need A Battery To Function
Automatic watches are self-winding and does not need a battery to run like quartz watch. The mainspring (equal to battery) in automatic watches is recharged by the movement of our wrist while wearing it.
The trick is in the rotating semi-circular rotor at the back of the watch. As the watch moves (either while strapped to our wrist or while being shaken) the rotor will freely rotates.
Subsequently, this tighten the mainspring further, increases it’s potential energy and power reserve.
In addition, we can also manually wind the watch by rotating the crown.
As someone who had used a quartz watch before, I know how inconvenient it is to suddenly realized your watch was dead without any warning whatsoever.
It’s more frustrating when you’re in a busy day working to catch that deadline or important meeting. A dead watch can totally jeopardize this by giving a wrong time to us. Totally troublesome!
With an automatic watch, this is no longer a problem as the power reserve is replenished with your every use.
Just make sure to give a good manual wind every now and then to keep the power reserve at full. No more surprises of a dead watch =)
An excellent video showing the difference in the second hands of quartz watch (left) and automatic watch (right)
2- Sweeping Second Hand
One thing that automatic watch has that is hard to be replicated in a quartz watch is the sweeping second hand.
This is the unique characteristic of the automatic movement, by virtue of the balance wheel and escapement set.
The quick movement of these parts causes the fluid and smooth movement of the second hand as compared to the jerky tick-tick action of quartz’s second hand.
The sweeping action is actually not that different from the tick-tick action. It’s just that the second hand moves at a high rate, up from 6 beats per second (meaning in one second the hand “jumps” 6 times).
Because of this, the second hand appears to be moving smoothly though if you look at it closely, you’ll notice the minute movements.
There are also automatic watches that have 8 beats per second and even higher than that. The higher beats per second movement will gives a much smoother second hand action as it’s moving at a faster rate.
This cannot be seen in a normal quartz watch due to design. Should a quartz watch make this feature (which is possible), the battery will deplete quickly because of the amount of electricity needed.
I should also add that in recent times, there are also quartz watches that have been designed to reproduce the same sweeping second hand such as the Bulova Precisionist that has a 16 beats per second sweeping second hand.
It’s possible for a quartz watch to have this feature but it’s definitely a rarity and not common.
A battle of sweeping second hand between a Rolex Datejust (automatic watch, left) and Bulova Precisionist (quartz, right). The Bulova is a quartz with a special movement that can produce the sweeping second hand and have an amazing accuracy – at a few seconds per YEAR
3- Unique Characteristics Of Automatic Watches
Another advantage of the unique characteristics of an automatic watch. First of all, it is a heritage brought by century old of innovation.
Out of touch with recent technological advancements? Perhaps. But no one can deny how these little mechanical watches have a huge attraction to it for being what it is – an elegant timepiece brought to life by no more than moving pieces of steels.
The mechanical things inside this watch is something that is very different and refreshing. Not to mention that most of automatic watches are assembled by hand (with the exception of mass produced Swatch Sistem51 and Sistem51 Irony).
This is very different that quartz watches that are mostly assembled by robots.
Seiko SARB033, one of the most gorgeous automatic watch I’ve ever seen. Seen to the right is the exhibition caseback showing its Seiko 6R15 movement caliber.
Some automatic watches also has an exhibition caseback (such as these Seiko SARB033 and Hamilton Khaki King) which shows the beautiful mechanical parts moving around.
It’s totally beautiful and magnificent to look at. You will always wonder how the watchmaker actually make those tiny parts and assemble them together into a fully functioning watch. This is definitely not available even it the highest end of quartz watches =p
Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Chronograph is one example of how an automatic watch is able to be a stopwatch. Without a doubt, a quartz watch can be a better stopwatch but the mechanical precision and detail needed to make an automatic chronograph is simply stunning.
One more unique characteristic of automatic watches is the complications. It is basically extra functions the watch can perform such as showing day/date, moon watch, chronograph/stop watch, perpetual calendar, even chiming the time.
With every extra thing the watch can perform besides just showing time the more complex the mechanism will be – thus the name “complication”.
A quartz watch can easily achieve all of these for sure but the electronics of it just don’t have the same awesomeness as this.
Another advantage that automatic watch has is how it’s totally different than the current digital world that we’re living in.
Almost all parts of our lives are in digital: our computers where you read this blog, our smartphones where adults stare almost 3 hours everyday, our cars, television, etc.
Basically everything around us is in digital format, one way or the other.
Thus, the mechanical parts of automatic watch is a breath of fresh air as it does not depend on any digital or electronics to run with.
Personally, I feel that my automatic watch gives me a good place to de-stress after hours of working on my computer. Sometimes, you just need something different to prevent accumulating stresses from our everyday lives.
And if you’re afraid of any apocalypse scenario where no digital/electric stuffs work anymore, the automatic watch might be a good backup – just in case =)
5- Generally More Beautiful Than Quartz Watch
Just look at the most beautiful watch and you’ll surely notice that most (if not all) are automatic.
I’m not really sure why this is so but if I’m going to take a guess, I believe it has to do with the manufacturing process of automatic watches itself.
For lower priced automatic watches, it’s possible that the manufacturing will involves mass production.
But for higher grade timepieces with superior movements, it’s almost certain that it will be assembled by hand.
Since its cost is higher due to the hand assembly, it’s only logical for the design, ornamental and aesthetic of the watch to be of a high level so that the company can market it for a higher price.
Sure, there’s also beautiful watches with quartz movements, especially the ladies’ watches because of the need to keep it small.
But if we’re talking about men’s watches, dressy automatic watches with beautiful dials are the norm.
And if you’re thinking of using a watch to complete your style, an automatic might just be what you need.
We’ve looked into the advantages of automatic watches. I would be lying if I say that automatic watches don’t have any disadvantages – it do!
Here are some cons that came to my mind:
1- Lower Accuracy
Even the most accurate automatic watch with COSC Chronometer are only 4-5 seconds accurate per day.
This means that it will gain or lose 4-5 seconds per day. And this is only at the more expensive automatic watches. Normal automatic watches are can actually have 15-20 seconds accuracy per day.
Before you go into panic mode, these numbers might seem a bit too much but it’s still 99.977% accurate considering we have 86,400 seconds in a day, which is very outstanding for something that’s made of moving steel parts.
It’s definitely much inferior to quartz watches that can be a few seconds accurate in a month.
I’ve made it a habit to reconfirm my watch’s time with my smartphone every morning or before I strap it on.
I also need to add that automatic watch is NOT my main timekeeping device. For that, I have my trusted smartphone which is always right beside me (who doesn’t??).
For me, the watch is used to for it’s convenience to tell time and I personally don’t really care if it’s off by a few seconds or minutes.
2- More Expensive Than Quartz
Due to its high amount of minuscule parts, the costs of it can be substantially higher than an equivalent quartz watch which have lower part counts.
Not only that, some automatic movements can only be assembled manually by human leading to high labor costs.
This could be due to differing movement caliber and the design of the watch itself. You just can’t automate large number of different products at the same time.
Because of these factors, a good automatic watch is usually more than $100 in price, though there are some minimalist designs that is more affordable.
By the way, I have to add that Swatch was able to make a simple movement that can be assembled by robots which is the Sistem51 movement.
They are able to do this by using a simplified movement with only 51 part count. A significant improvement as the number of parts in a normal automatic watch usually is more than a hundred.
If other manufacturers can increase their production line automation level, we might be able to see drop in the price. Let’s hope for that shall we =)
3- Typically Bigger And Heavier Watch
Automatic watches typically is bulkier and heavier compared to quartz watches. This is due to those stainless steel parts used in it.
For a quick comparison, an automatic watch uses gears to move the energy from its mainspring to the timekeeping device.
On the other hand, a quartz watch uses a small battery (instead of the mainspring which is larger) and some small wires instead of the gears.
In addition, it also depends on the complexity of the movement: automatic watches with complex complications such as chronograph will be much bigger than a normal three-hands auto watch.
But some people actually prefer a heavy watch because it feels more solid and can withstand more punishment.
It gives a bit of a manly feeling with that heavy piece of steel strapped on your watch. If you also feel the same way, do let me know in the comments section below! =)
From my own experience, the first few months of wearing the watch will put some stress on your hand because of the added weight.
But after a few weeks, you will get accustomed to it and might even started missing it when not wearing the watch.
4- Most Automatic Watches Have Low Power Reserve
Even though we can recharge automatic watch by simply wearing it, it also has its own power reserve to keep it running.
If the power reserve is used up, the watch will stop working until we give it a good shake or manual wind it.
A common problem with most automatic watches is the low power reserve – I’m talking about 38 to 40 hours equal to less than 2 days.
This is only a problem for those that have more than one watch in their collection. Surely, he/she will like to wear different watches depending on the occasion, or just want to rotate wearing it.
And in just less than 2 days, the watch is dead and you need to restart and adjust the time again.
If you’re wearing your automatic watch everyday, this is not a problem for you.
There are two ways if you want to keep the watch running even without any wrist time: manual winding and watch winder. Check out my post (click the link) to find out more about these two methods.
By the way, I have to add that some companies do make automatic watches with a higher power reserve.
For example, Seiko’s 6R15 movement has 50 hours (slightly more than 2 days) while ETA’s Powermatic 80 has an outstanding 80 hours!
Best part of all, both movements can be had in the low-middle range of prices! Check out some of my reviews in this site to find out more about it.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Quartz Watches
We’ve seen the pros and cons of automatic watch. Now let’s see what does quartz watch has in store for us.
Advantages Of Quartz Watches:
1- Much Cheaper To Get
One of quartz watch biggest advantage over automatic watches is the much cheaper price.
Easy to manufacture due to lower part counts and not to mention widespread automation makes it very affordable.
A $10 quartz watch is very easy to get, though of course the quality is another different matter. On the other hand, a $10 automatic watch is near impossible to get LOL!
Without a doubt, if you’re just looking for a nice watch for your kids as their first watch, then a quartz is the perfect choice.
2- Very Accurate
Another great thing about quartz watches is its high accuracy. Due to the high frequency oscillation of the quartz crystal, quart watch retain a much higher accuracy than its automatic counterpart.
The normal standard for its accuracy is +-10 seconds per month, with more expensive quartz watches can be to the tune of +-10 seconds per YEAR (such as this Bulova Precisionist).
It’s totally on a different level than automatic watch in terms of accuracy. If you are looking for a no hassle watch that will show the exact time at any moment, than a quartz could be the perfect choice for you.
And unlike automatic watch, you don’t even have to reset the watch at all (except for when you change the battery of course).
3- Slim And Light
Another good advantage of quartz watch is how it’s much lighter than a typical automatic watch.
Well, this is not surprising since the watch is made from small number of components and don’t take up much space as compared to the automatic watch.
Try to pry open a quartz watch and you’ll see how small the components are. Do the same with an automatic watch and you’ll notice how starkly different these two are built.
Not to mention most automatic watch’s case is made of steel – another factor for its weight.
Quartz watch on the other hand, can be made from plastics which also reduces the weight of the watch.
Thinking of buying the first watch for your kid? I’d suggest stick to the quartz watch since it’s less straining on the wrist.
Disadvantages Of Quartz Watches:
Now, let’s see what are the cons of quartz watch.
1- Need Battery To Operate
Unlike automatic watches, quartz watches need battery to operate. This is one of the main disadvantage of it for a few reasons.
One, the battery will need to be replaced every few years or so. This might be a nuisance for some to do this.
Not only that, most watches don’t have a power indicator to know when your battery might die.
It can be totally unpredictable and depending on when, it can disrupt your day totally. Just imagine you are changing to go to work and wear your watch.
While in commute you check your watch and see that it’s still early so you take a detour to a local cafe for some coffee and sandwich.
When you arrived at your office, your colleagues asked why you were late. In turns out your watch is already dead and you don’t know it…. (it’s a true story that happened to me btw lol..)
Another thing that we need to be wary of is when using complications such as chronograph that can sap the battery faster.
Fortunately the Japanese released this and produced some inventions such as kinetic watch and solar watch.
Seiko has produced its Kinetic watches that can recharge your watch by the movement of your wrist while wearing it. Meanwhile Citizen is famous with its Ecodrive solar watches that are powered by light.
The beauty of these watches are the battery can lasts for months after one full recharge. This makes them a very useful watch especially for those that don’t like the hassle of changing batteries but still want a quartz watch for its accuracy.
Another thing that make quartz watch a bit lesser valued is the ticking second hand. It can be annoyingly loud or quiet, depending on the quality of the quartz watch movement.
Personally, I feel that this is an area that automatic watches really triumphed over quartz watches.
The sweeping second hand is just better to look at compared to these ticking hand.
Of course, there are some watch manufacturer that managed to produced a quartz watch with a sweeping second hand that does not reduce its battery life significantly.
But such watches (such as the Bulova Precisionist) are rare and can command a hefty price tag due to this feature.
Technical and functionality wise, quartz is definitely a step up from the legacy automatic movement.
It features a more accurate timekeeping that’s much superior. In addition, the cost to produce these quartz watches is low and very affordable to everyone.
Does this means automatic watch is useless in this age?
Like all questions, it depends..
If you’re one that need a cheap, accurate and no frills watch, the quartz might be the best watch for your.
But if you don’t really mind about the accuracy of the watch since you already carry your smartphone around (like me and literally everybody that I know), then the automatic watch can be an option.
Looking to up your style? What’s better than that good looking automatic watch. It can even be a conversation starter with fellow watch fans.
Irregardless of which, I believe that there’s no right or wrong in this debate. Don’t be swayed by what people tell you about which watch is better to buy. Do your own research and make your own mind yourselves.
Or you just ask for my opinion on what’s the best watch for your situation. I’ll be glad to help =)