I thought a quick overview of what an automatic movement is and the difference to a quartz movement will help with some of the information.
Automatic and hand-wind watches, have mechanical movements.
The balance wheel inside a mechanical watch attaches to a spring which is put under tension when wound. Over simplification but I think you can picture it.
With the spring under tension it moves the balance wheel back and forth, if you have looked at a skeleton watch you will have seen the wheel performing this movement.
That movement has a count known as Beats per Hour (BPH).
So when you are looking at automatic or handwind movement specs and see numbers like 21600, 28800 & 36000 these are BPH. When divided down to seconds you will get 6, 8 & 10 bps.
As a rule of thumb – The higher the beat the better the accuracy of the movement.
Quartz watches on the other hand have a quartz crystal cut into the shape of a tuning fork. When a current is applied (battery power) it sets up a vibration. That vibration has a frequency and is measured in hertz (Hz).
You probably guessed this, a quartz watch has Vibrations per Hour (VPH).
As an example, a quartz crystal tuned to vibrate at 32768 HZ, has a frequency equal to 2 to the power of 15 which is 2 with 15 zeros after it, cycles per second.
Yes, quartz movements are a lot more accurate.
The average accuracy of an automatic watch is +25 to -15 seconds per day. While a quartz watch is about -15 seconds per month.
Despite the accuracy differences automatic watches are still very popular and owners seem to hang on to them.
So, even though automatic watches are less accurate than a quartz (BTW – if you are after accuracy search for GMT or atomic watches) I still chose an automatic diver as a the watch to become part of my everyday carry.
However, in my case, the watch had to have three basic requirements.
It is good to set some preferences for what you want or confusion and frustration sets in fast because of the over-whelming amount of choice there is.
One thing I did not want – I didn’t want a chronograph.
Update: Since I first compiled this list a couple of the watches are now unavailable or not readily so. I have replaced them with a couple from my original list of thirty.
Also when I first made this list the Alpina was under $1000. It is now over. Even though it is over I left it in because it is quite a popular dive watch and it attracts attention from readers here and on the video on YouTube.
In my research I had a list of close to thirty watches, we are looking at ten of them here.
The order is based on price 10 being cheapest to 1 being the top of the budget.
Some terms to note:
Hand-windable – means the watch can also be wound manually by using the crown.
Hacking – the ability for the crown to be pulled out to a point in order to stop the second hand.
Crown – often referred to as the winder.
Bezel – rotating dial on top of the face.
Now, head back to the top, click on any of the images and read more about the watch.
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Those ten represent a small cross section of what’s available on the market currently.
It just depends on what you are looking for.
And it’s not really a case of “you get what you pay for”
The Seiko SKX007 has all but a cult following and many people swear by these watches, which is some pretty good feed back considering you can buy one for less than two hundred bucks.
There is a couple of models in the list I consider more of a desk diver than sea diver, that’s not a reflection of their ability in the water but more about their overall design aesthetics.
I suppose the final piece is “Did I choose a watch?”
I will buy a Seiko SKX007, because I want to mod one and I think it will be fun to personalise my own watch, other than just changing straps.
Here’s a suggestion, not a recommendation because I don’t actually own one, but based on the research I’ve done and it would have been the one I bought had I not gone with the Seiko. Go take a second look at the Orient M-Force Air Diver, it really is a lot of watch for the money.
Suggestion two, for those who want a more dress looking watch with no vintages cues and no homoges to other brands take another look at the Mido. There are more than a couple of models to choose from.
Finally, if you want something a little special, go and check out the Halios Seaforth. No you won’t be able to buy one. It was pre-orders. But mark the page if they interest you and go back to it in August. I did, in the hope they may open up orders again.