The results are in, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Click here for a refresher on my motivation & methodology (and last year’s results) if interested, but this time I'll jump straight into the sample updates & rankings/scores.
Following your suggestions after my first attempt at this little project, I’ve spent the past year expanding my collection to include many of the popular Swiss, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian watches/movements. New combatants include:
-Vastly expanded Swiss line-up with several 8-beat ETAs of different grades, a Tissot Powermatic, several watches with the new STP1-11, and an Omega co-axialOf course an entry level trinity (or Lange) or mid-level JLC/GO would have been welcome additions, but you’ll either have to wait for version 3.0, send me your lottery winnings, or make a donation to m̶y̶ ̶c̶o̶l̶l̶e̶c̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ahem…“science.”
-Several 8-beat Seikos from the 6R family, a pair of 6- and 8-beat Miyotas, and a high beat Grand Seiko 9S85
-Two new Seagull three-handers, a 6-beat ST1612 and an 8-beat ST2130
-Chronos! The legendary Valjoux 7750 and the shockingly good Sea-gull ST1901
I’m also waiting on the Rolex 32XX to trickle down to a watch I’d actually want to own, though a Tudor MT5600 (hello, Black Bay Bronze) will likely join the stable in a couple weeks.
As before, I include multiple measures of how well these movements perform, most of which are derived from existing standards (e.g. COSC, GSIS), others I constructed on my own. The goal of any capable timepiece, of course, is precision (measured here as a low variance)--keeping accurate time in any position and any state of wind. Watchmakers have spent centuries trying to meet these challenges, and should be celebrated for how much they've managed to squeeze out of this "ancient" technology. Not all who play the game play it equally well, however, so let's sort out the pretenders from the contenders.
For those of you who may have slept through statistics, the general rule is the smaller numbers (variance), the more precise the movement. The sole exception is column 1 (basically a weighted average of precision and isochronism), wherein bigger scores are better. For a quick overview interpretation of how well any watch (or region) performed, the columns are color-coded, with green=good performance, red = poor, and yellow = average.
The “Top 3” watches of this year's contest are emphasized in bold/italicized font, along with the "former champ" from last year's showdown, the Tissot Visodate (ETA 2836-2). Remember, my goal was to sample and analyze the movements in the watches, rather than each specific make/model (which would require hundreds, if not thousands of cases). While there's certain to be some variation across makes and models using the same movement (e.g. two watches with a Seiko 7S or 6R), the biggest differences are between movements, not within. I'd venture that 90+% of mechanical watches sold worldwide use one of the movements sampled below. So without further ado, let’s take a look at scoreboard:
Previous write-ups on the new Top 3 available here (Omega Co-axial), here (STP1-11), and here (Grand Seiko Hi-beat).
Questions and comments always welcome. Have at it!