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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

In Defense of Quartz

With the recent revival of Swiss mechanical timepieces, the quartz movement has been pushed to the back of the proverbial watch drawer. But is quartz all that bad? Sure, the crystal-based movement is used in everything from clocks to household appliances, and its addition to electronic timepieces since the 1980s made them even more ubiquitous—and, therefore, less desirable. The latest advancements in quartz functionality, however, are reason enough to reconsider. Breitling’s new chronograph, the Cockpit B50 (shown), premieres an improved quartz movement with split-time and flyback capabilities, a second time zone display and a tachometer. Designed with aviation in mind, the Cockpit uses Coordinated Universal Time, ensuring precision across time zones. For its part, Seiko, the Japanese brand that introduced the first quartz wristwatch in 1969, has released the Caliber 9F as part of its luxury Grand Seiko line—a high-precision timepiece that has more than 3,000 times the efficiency of even the best mechanical watch.

Breitling Cockpit B50, from $6,320; Grand Seiko 9F from $4,000;


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