What's the difference in quartz movements?
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  1. #1
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Confused What's the difference in quartz movements?

    I get that with automatics, the movement's make is pretty important as far as reliability, precision etc. goes. But.. we also have all kinds of quartz movements ranging from being in 10$ to 200£+ watches - heck, some are "swiss made" even (tissots come to mind).
    But what can there be so different about a quartz movement? It's going to be practically accurate anyway, no matter where it is made it will rely on the fixed oscillation rate of the quartz crystal element - casing it in switzerland won't make it beat twice as fast from all the fresh mountaingoat breath, after all. It all still runs on the same button batteries...
    So what functional difference is there between various quartzes? What makes the stuff tissot puts in their watches any better than what, say, casio puts in their analogue-display pieces? Or, heck, any of the nonames outsourced from god-knows-where, even.
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  2. #2
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    IMO,none...all quartz movements worth about $50 bucks max.

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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    Regardless of what the different quartz movements cost or are worth, there are notable differences between some movements. Typically, the higher end watch brands will use better quality materials in the movement where the cheap ones will use a lot of plastics. Cheap movements won't have jewels, where the more expensive ones will. A cheap quartz movement is made to be disposable, where the more expensive ones are made to be serviceable. There are going to be tighter tolerances in the more expensive ones which adds to the overall durability and accuracy of the movement.

    All quartz movements may be "practically accurate," but more expensive quarts movements will still usually be more accurate than the cheaper ones. For example, a quartz timex may be accurate to within 15 seconds per month, which is good... but a Grand Seiko quartz movement will be accurate to 10 seconds per year, which is outstanding.

    El Cheapo quartz movement (notice the plastic gears and other plastic components):


    Grand Seiko Quartz:


    Rolex Quartz:


    Omega Quartz:





    Quote Originally Posted by X2-Elijah View Post
    I get that with automatics, the movement's make is pretty important as far as reliability, precision etc. goes. But.. we also have all kinds of quartz movements ranging from being in 10$ to 200£+ watches - heck, some are "swiss made" even (tissots come to mind).
    But what can there be so different about a quartz movement? It's going to be practically accurate anyway, no matter where it is made it will rely on the fixed oscillation rate of the quartz crystal element - casing it in switzerland won't make it beat twice as fast from all the fresh mountaingoat breath, after all. It all still runs on the same button batteries...
    So what functional difference is there between various quartzes? What makes the stuff tissot puts in their watches any better than what, say, casio puts in their analogue-display pieces? Or, heck, any of the nonames outsourced from god-knows-where, even.
    Last edited by LJUSMC; December 18th, 2012 at 09:06.
    X2-Elijah, WnS, ShaggyDog and 7 others like this.

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  5. #4
    Ozy
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    I paid nearly 4k for a quartz. In my opinion there are great levels of difference, to me - however, the casual observer sees very little difference at all.

    I value it equally with the mechanicals in my small collection (I stopped looking for its soul somewhere between handing the cash over and walking out of the store with it)

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    WnS
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    Accuracy

    $3 watches: accuracy is much worse than mechanical watches
    $50-2000 watches: accuracy is much better than mechanical watches
    $2000+ watches: some of these are thermocompensated quartz and have accuracies of 5-10s/year

    Longevity

    Circuit boards degrade over time, why do computers get slower after several years, even after a format?

    It's hard to get good lifespan stats on quartz movements because they were only invented a few decades ago. I'm assuming they vary quite a bit depending on construction.

    Grand Seiko Quartz requires a service interval of 50 years, so they're SHOULD last 50 years+
    I'm content with my watch collection

  7. #6
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    Heh. El cheapo using a seiko battery, and grand seiko using a sony battery. Now that's an interesting divide (or is that el cheapo a seiko mov't too?)...
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dancing Fire View Post
    IMO,none...all quartz movements worth about $50 bucks max.
    you definitely don't have any knowledge about it. its just like saying "all computer worth $500 bucks max"

    just like mechanical,, some quartz are made to be cheap (mass production, not hit the second marker, not accurate enough, vibration on second hand, etc..) but some quartz are made to be high quality (high quality quartz oscillator, high precision timing, thermo compensation setting adjustment, hit dead-on second marker, high-torque , selected great material, jewel in movement, sealed cabin.. etc etc..) so not every quartz is the same.

  9. #8
    Member X2-Elijah's Avatar
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    "its just like saying "all computer worth $500 bucks max"
    Well, not really, no. Computer components differ wildly in specs and capabilities - higher frequencies, lower latency timings, better cooling / endurance to heating, different idle/load temperatures, different architectures, different expandability and form factors, different capacities (2+TB hdds), completely different technological implementations (ssds).. Watches don't have any of that - at best, there's the operating temperature range, and.. uh.. materials used? The rest stays the same... To put it blunt, you cannot overclock a quartz watch in any sensible way, you cannot put watercooling on it, you cannot increase a watch's ram or add a better graphics card, and you cannot run cisc/risc instruction sets on them. Just because a quartz watch has a pcb in it doesn't mean it is comparable to a computer.

    @WnS - main factor of pcb degrading is the constant temperature flux that computers have, going from room temp to near-90 and more at spots. That is what kills those things first and foremost. After that, it's residue buildup and mishandling. Watches don't overheat, and don't go from 18C to 95C every day... And they don't have air-cooling vents sucking in all the dust daily. So I don't think that pcb degrading is anywhere near as present as in computers, and even there I think you are vastly overstating the effect it may have on performance.
    Last edited by X2-Elijah; December 18th, 2012 at 09:31.
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    Quote Originally Posted by happyjaya View Post
    you definitely don't have any knowledge about it. its just like saying "all computer worth $500 bucks max"

    just like mechanical,, some quartz are made to be cheap (mass production, not hit the second marker, not accurate enough, vibration on second hand, etc..) but some quartz are made to be high quality (high quality quartz oscillator, high precision timing, thermo compensation setting adjustment, hit dead-on second marker, high-torque , selected great material, jewel in movement, sealed cabin.. etc etc..) so not every quartz is the same.
    well,i most S**Ted in my pants when i saw a Breitling quartz watch priced at $7K... a quartz watch for $7,000??..

  11. #10
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    Re: What's the difference in quartz movements?

    Quote Originally Posted by X2-Elijah View Post
    I get that with automatics, the movement's make is pretty important as far as reliability, precision etc. goes. But.. we also have all kinds of quartz movements ranging from being in 10$ to 200£+ watches - heck, some are "swiss made" even (tissots come to mind).
    But what can there be so different about a quartz movement? It's going to be practically accurate anyway, no matter where it is made it will rely on the fixed oscillation rate of the quartz crystal element - casing it in switzerland won't make it beat twice as fast from all the fresh mountaingoat breath, after all. It all still runs on the same button batteries...
    So what functional difference is there between various quartzes? What makes the stuff tissot puts in their watches any better than what, say, casio puts in their analogue-display pieces? Or, heck, any of the nonames outsourced from god-knows-where, even.
    The quartz oscillator is like a micro tuning fork. It takes a lot of effort to manufacture the quartz oscillator to vibrate in exact frequency. To think that the accuracy comes for free and all quartz movement worth $50 max is ignorant, JMO.
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