Quartz watches don’t seem to mind being called upon need and then looked down upon once job is done. They are pretty confident about their stand in the world of finer, furthermore complex time-related calculations that mechanical calibers can only dream of. Or, achieve them just as concept; not for meeting the demands of the mass. There will be huge expenditures involved, which might even take the millionaires aback! The $24 Million worth Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication is one such fine example. For something more affordable, you may have a look at the Louis Moinet Meteoris, the Lange & Söhne Grand Complication, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie, the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 or if you want to stick to a name the world knows – the Rolex Antimagnetique Ref. 4113 from 1942! They are priced between $4.6 million and $ 2.7 Million and would damage your bank accounts a lot less.
That great price has reasons behind. It’s not just the appearance or about the movement alone; it’s about how well they have been put together and for how long they can keep their good work up. Obviously, you are not going to subject them to surroundings that might pose as a threat.
Quartz wins here. Not only are they more accurate, there are less moving parts and are therefore, more resistant to shocks and knocks. Still, if you want to stay largely within the mechanical domain and don’t mind a bit of modernity amidst tradition, the following might interest you. They are a great midpoint between being purely mechanical and slightly silicon; the best part is, they won’t bring down your bank balance by leaps and bounds.
- The Zenith Defy Lab: Based on the 148 component, 18-jewel Zenith Oscillator Calibre ZO 342 movement, it is powered by an oscillating weight adorned with the Côtes de Genève The movement vibrates powerfully (when in action) because Zenith’s new oscillator – a single, monolithic 0.5 mm thick skeletal disc made of silicon oxide-coated, mono-crystalline silicon – has replaced its spring balance. The Deep Reactive Ion Etching or DRIE process uses plasma to make deep and precise etchings on the disc, tolerances for which are lesser than the gauge of a human hair. The rate of vibrations is 15Hz. every hour; now increased to 18vph. The oscillator takes advantage of the spring-like (compliant) quality of silicon, much the same way it has been in the Ulysse Nardin Anchor Escapement or in the Genequand oscillator from Parmigiani Fleurier. Other qualifications for the movement are –
- It is chronometer certified.
- It is antimagnetic (ISO-7644)
- It is insensitive to temperature (ISO-3159) and gravity.
- It has a precision rate of 0.3 seconds per day, whereas COSC requires only +6/-4 seconds per day for chronometer certification. This precision is maintained till running power left doesn’t drop below 5%.
- The movement needs no lubrication.
- Spring Drive: Arguably, the first and most accurate spring-powered movement, the Spring Drive is the next best thing to purely mechanical and its seconds-hand sweep is way smoother than Zenith’s, despite being 3 times higher in frequency than the Spring Drive and bringing 30 ticks a second. The Seiko delivers 0.5 seconds per day accuracy just like the Zenith but needs no oil, which is another way to portray very long service intervals. For further details about the Spring Drive, you may look here and here.
Some might raise the question that despite using all the fine, high-end technology, they are just playing dress-up. Really??? Just how much more accurate the Seiko 9F- and the Citizen Caliber 0100 are? Or – the Bulova 21- calibers commonly known as Accutron? Even with the 360 Hz. beat?
A pretty simple answer if we go by the figures alone; however, it’s always desired that you get into the basics first. However, it can be said that none of these are playing just a dress-up; they are some of the most interesting and beautiful watches with intrinsic qualities and not defined by their movements alone.
We’d love to hear your views on this. Leave a reply below to let us know which brand of watches mentioned above interest you more on the context of accuracy and why so, with any personal story that you’d like to share.