Ask EDC: Quartz or Automatic Watches?

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One of the most divisive topics in watches and watch collecting is the eternal conflict between quartz and automatic movements—so divisive it caused an actual horological crisis in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s always interesting to talk about since, like every other aspect of everyday carry, it can be a personal choice when choosing one’s daily driver. As avid watch enthusiasts ourselves, we love seeing the discussion on the topic, and our recent posts on our social media channels have generated some excellent responses.

This prompted me to take the time to ask the team which side of the line they stood on and why. What type of watch does the Everyday Carry team wear, and what aspects of quartz or automatic led them to choose their main movement? I interviewed the members of the team who wore watches their thoughts, and our answers (and watches) are below.

This post was last updated on 12/29/2023.

Bernard Capulong, Editor-in-Chief

My everyday carry watch is a manual-winding mechanical dress watch: the Grand Seiko SBGW289. But when I need something I can knock around that’s still compact, thin, lightweight, comfortable, and accurate, I reach for my Casio A1000D-7EF, modded with a Casio AW700 bracelet. The pairing results in a sharp, all-stainless Casio with a clean, vintage-inspired presentation and a touch of color and lightplay thanks to the mother-of-pearl dial. This was a limited edition and Europe-only release, but the regular model is still available. It’s so slim, comfortable, and lightweight that I can throw it on without worry, even at the gym. My main gripe is its meager water resistance, but it’s an okay trade-off for the style and comfort for the money. Overall, I very much enjoy and appreciate mechanical watches and the art form of watchmaking—but through the lens of utilitarian carry, I think quartz movements certainly have their place.

Mikey Bautista, Managing Editor

When I’m not using my Apple Watch for workouts, my blackout G-SHOCK DW-6900BB-1 is my first option. I use a lot of timers, alarms, and world time for day-to-day activities and work/travel while also finding my arm getting caught in the elevator or banging up against a table from time to time. The G-SHOCK covers all my bases, is one of the toughest timepieces out there, keeps great time for years, and for under $100, it’s hard to beat the overall value.

Chris Van Hoven, Staff Writer

I usually like switching between quartz and automatic watches depending on what I’ll be doing during the day, but I’ve been gravitating lately towards my Oris Divers Sixty-Five “Bico” which uses a mix of bronze and stainless steel. “Bico” comes from “bi-color” because of the two-tone aesthetic. And while two-tone watches aren’t for everyone, I love how the bronze patinas over time into its unique pattern, and no two bronze watches will patina the same way.

Jon Tolentino, Graphic Designer

Apart from a fitness tracker to monitor my steps and swims, the watch I’ve gotten the most mileage out of is my Wenger Seaforce. It’s a robust Swiss-made diver with a reliable quartz movement from a company with a storied past, all at a reasonable price. With a stylish but subtly sporty design, it’s a watch I can—and do—take pretty much anywhere and everywhere.

Adam Molina, Senior Contributor

Whether I reach for a quartz watch or an automatic one in the morning depends on what kind of day I think I will have. A no-nonsense quartz beater is my go-to for vacations, hiking, or any kind of out-of-the-norm activity. For me, that’s the G-SHOCK 6900-PT1 (the baby blue collab that Hodinkee did with John Mayer). When I go to work, to the beach, or to hang out on the weekends, I go with my DOXA SUB 300T automatic watch. It was made for underwater adventures, so I never have to worry about it getting damaged when I’m doing dishes or giving my dog a bath.

Jonathan Tayag, Senior Contributor

Mechanical movements are like film cameras, inherently worse but fun. unless you’re wearing a Spring Drive. Here’s the thing, though: I’m not too fond of the sound of ticking quartz movements. And I also hate when the markers on a dial do not align exactly with the seconds hand on a watch. Mechanical/automatic movements get around that with a sweeping seconds movement. It’s hard for me to justify spending hundreds of dollars on a quartz watch when affordable G-SHOCKS exist, and they pretty much handle the practical accuracy requirement at that price point. When we start getting into buying timepieces as works of art, I would prefer the insides be mechanical as part of the deal. While I usually wear my Bulova A-15 Pilot because of its unique dial and elapsed time functions, when it comes down to it, I will opt for my G-SHOCK 5600 if I need to leave the house in a hurry.

Raine Masangya, Editorial Assistant

In addition to the vintage, versatile style that’s the reason I got the Casio A168 in the first place, being a digital quartz lets it wear thin and also be especially affordable.

Virnie Apal, Editorial Assistant

My favorite thing about this Citizen Q&Q H010 (other than the price) is the solar quartz movement, which can charge the battery without regular replacement. It’s simple, accurate, and practical for my day-to-day use.

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