Quartz Watches - Certified, New & Pre-owned
Leading luxury brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre , Bulgari , Chopard and Omega have created a diverse array of quartz watches for men and women. Whether you are searching for a classic vintage wristwatch from Rolex, a luxurious ladies Cartier quartz watch or a high-tech timepiece by Breitling, there are plenty of great new and pre-owned options available to choose from.
How Do Quartz Watches Work?
While mechanical watches are either wound by hand or the wearer's movements, watches with quartz movements are powered by a battery and use a quartz crystal to regulate the gears. Quartz is one of the most common minerals on Earth and is used in many common objects, from microchips to jewellery and cosmetics.
Quartz is valued in horology for its piezoelectric characteristics. The term piezoelectric means that when pressure is put on a quartz crystal it generates a small electrical current. On the other hand, if you pass electricity through a piece of quartz it will vibrate at a perfectly precise frequency. The reason why quartz is so useful in watch-making is that the frequency it vibrates at (32768 oscillations per second) is constant and can be used to produce electrical pulses at a rate of one per second.
Inside a typical quartz watch, there is a battery which sends a current through a microchip to a quartz crystal. This makes the crystal oscillate and these vibrations are converted into electrical pulses by the microchip. The pulses power an electric stepping motor, which turns the gears and makes the watch hands move with a regularly “ticking” motion. Since the vibration is perfectly regular, quartz watches are well-known for the high level of precision that they offer. However, precision of a quartz movement can be disrupted by heat changes and may cause a quartz watch to become between 10 – 20 seconds less accurate per month. To counteract this, many modern movements use thermocompensation to monitor the temperature and adjust the time as necessary.
How Much Do Quartz Watches Cost?
The cheapest quartz watches in the world can be purchased for a very low price with basic models from off-brand manufacturers available for just a few euros or dollars. However, not all quartz watches are budget timepieces and there is a big difference between a basic, mass-produced quartz watch and a high-quality model from a luxury brand. Depending on the brand, materials and features, prices for a luxury quartz watch can range from several thousand to tens of thousands.
The most affordable luxury quartz watches include models like the TAG Heuer Formula 1 with new prices starting from 910€ (1,060 US$) or the Omega Diver 300M with prices starting at 2,000€ (2,330 US$). In the mid-price range, you'll find models such as the Breitling Colt or the Bulgari Serpenti, both starting from 2,745€ (3,200 US$). The most expensive quartz watches are gold and diamond-set models, such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus 7010/1R, which has an impressive look and a price tag to match at 40,460€ (47,170 US$).
Prices for Quartz Watches from Leading Luxury Brands
|Watch Brand||Quartz Watch Model||Prices starting from (€/US$)|
|TAG Heuer||Formula 1||910€ / 1,060 US$|
|Omega||Diver 300M||2,000€ / 2,330 US$|
|Cartier||Tank Solo||2,450€ / 2,860 US$|
|Breitling||Colt||2,745€ / 3,200 US$|
|Bulgari||Serpenti SPS27BSL2||2,745€ / 3,200 US$|
|Chopard||Happy Sport||3,640€ / 4,240 US$|
|Jaeger-LeCoultre||Reverso One||4,460€ / 5,200 US$|
|Omega||Spacemaster Z33||4,900€ / 5,710 US$|
|Cartier||Tank Anglaise||6,850€ / 7,985 US$|
|Breitling||Exospace B55||7,635€ / 8,900 US$|
|Audemars Piguet||Royal Oak||11,800€ / 13,755 US$|
|Patek Philippe||Aquanaut||14,840€ / 17,300 US$|
|Chopard||La Strada||32,435€ / 37,800 US$|
|Patek Philippe||Nautilus 7010/1R||40,460€ / 47,170 US$|
Top Quartz Watch Models
Over the years, the top watch-making houses have introduced original quartz watches, as well as versions of their most popular designs with a quartz movement. High-end jewellers like Bulgari, Chopard and Cartier have been especially successful in creating a market for elaborately jewelled luxury quartz watches. Chopard's Happy Diamonds, with their signature moving diamonds behind the crystal, are a perfect example of an iconic quartz watch that continues to be popular year after year. What these watches may lack in technical complexity compared to those with a mechanical movement, they certainly make up for in eye-catching good looks.
Other watch-makers have chosen to approach quartz watch design by developing bold, sporty timepieces that offer the best of modern technology and convenience. The Omega Spacemaster Z-33 pilots watch has powerful digital features including a perpetual calendar, chronograph and flight planning tools that wouldn't be possible with a mechanical watch.
Finally, there are those brands which have decided to offer just a few of their iconic models with a quartz movement, for example, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Pre-owned and Vintage Quartz Watch Models
While some collectors prefer newly introduced watches, there are many out there who enjoy owning vintage models that have been discontinued by the manufacturer. In some cases, older quartz watches will be cheaper than more modern offerings, however limited editions and very rare pieces can considerably more expensive. Vintage Rolex quartz watch from the 1970s and 80s are widely available on the pre-owned market, with prices from around 2,570€ (3,000$US) for a Rolex Datejust . Meanwhile, a pre-owned Patek Philippe Classic manufactured in the 1980s can be purchased from around 5,850€ (6,930 US$).
Why Choose a Watch with a Quartz Movement?
Although quartz movements do not have the intricate appeal of mechanical movements, this type of watch offers a number of benefits: precision, affordability, easy maintenance and increased range of functions.
- Quartz movements have the advantage of providing a higher level of precision than hand-wound and self-winding movements do, ensuring that quartz watches keep time with almost perfect accuracy.
- Quartz watches can be more affordable than mechanical watches. It is often possible to buy a lower-priced quartz version of an iconic model from your favourite brand. The lower prices can also make watches more accessible to those who want to expand their collection.
- Quartz watches do not cost a lot to maintain. When newly purchased, an original quartz watch battery will last around 4 years. After that, the battery may need to be replaced annually, however this is not an expensive service.
- Functions such as calculators and internet connectivity can only be powered by a quartz movement, making a quartz watch into a top choice if you are looking for these particular features.
How did the Quartz Revolution Affect the Swiss Watch-Making Industry?
Watch-making was changed forever with the rise of quartz watches in the 1970s. Sometimes called the Quartz Revolution or the Quartz Crisis, it was a challenging time for traditional European watch brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolex, Breitling and Cartier . Many smaller watch-makers closed down and thousands of people lost their jobs in the industry. The increase in availability of cheap quartz watches from overseas meant that many people were no longer choosing to invest in more expensive Swiss-made automatic and manual-winding watches.
Despite the trend for quartz watches, Swiss-made mechanical watches started to make a come back in the 1980s. Particularly influential was Gerald Genta designed Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, a robust, sporty sports watch very different to the wrist-wear available at the time. The steel watch, along with other high-end designs from brands like Patek Philippe and Rolex, helped to re-establish interest in hand-wound and automatic watches.
Today, Swiss-made timepieces are some of the most highly sought after in the world and are renown for their exceptional quality of craftsmanship and technology. Luxury watch-making houses regularly present collections which include models with quartz movement options as well as their famous hand-wound and automatic calibres.
Why Do Women's Watches Often Have Quartz Movements?
Throughout their history luxury brands like Chopard and Cartier have produced a wider range of quartz watches for women than they have for men. The main reason for this is that traditionally, women's fashions have leaned towards smaller, more slimline timepieces. Quartz movements generally allow for sleeker cases and creative case shapes than their mechanical equivalents. Brands have also found that it is often the aesthetic appeal rather than complex technical mastery that influences women in which watch they choose to buy. Though larger mechanical watches for women are becoming more readily available as preferences and fashions change, the quartz watch remains a timelessly popular choice for ladies across the globe.