Johnny Lee, Author at Exquisite Timepieces
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Best German Watch Brands

Switzerland and Japan typically come to mind when one thinks of watch brands and watchmaking. However, a third country to the party is Germany. Germany has a rich history of watchmaking, and as an indicator, German brands are somewhere between Swiss brands and Japanese brands when considering different factors. Today we will discuss a variety of brands, including A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, NOMOS, and more.

History of German Watch Brands

There are varying accounts of the origins of watchmaking in Germany. Based on my research, German clock-making and watchmaking trace their roots back to the 1700s in the town of Pforzheim. Several watchmaking institutions were established in Pforzheim to create job opportunities and a workforce at that time. These and the demand for wristwatches became a catalyst for Glashütte, eventually becoming a vital region for watchmaking in Germany.

The impact of World War I on German watchmaking had the effect of reform. The War brought about the significance of the wristwatch as it shifted focus away from pocket watches and their production. World War II also significantly impacted German watchmaking as many factories were destroyed due to heavy bombing, and as a result, they closed.

Following World War II, whatever watchmaking within Germany was taken over by the State, and progress waned. Following the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, signs of innovation and evolution returned. Several of the watch brands in this discussion were founded or re-born following 1989, so this was a crucial period in German watchmaking history.

German Watch Brands vs Swiss Watch Brands

Let us consider how German watchmakers compare with the Swiss in a variety of characteristics. Firstly, the label “Swiss Made” means something special to the general public. Thus, given the public perception and marketing, Swiss brands have a point over German brands, but this could soon change with time.

Regarding the variety of brands, Switzerland trumps Germany due to a broader array of Swiss brands at every price point. Historically, watchmaking has been the “bread and butter” of the Swiss manufacturing industry.

Even as I look at my current collection of watches, over 40% are Swiss Made, and the rest are made up of Japanese brands. This is not to say that German timepieces are lacking, but Swiss Made watches are more accessible and promoted.

In terms of build quality, German watch brands take a point over their Swiss rivals. Germany is a country renowned for their high-quality engineering, including watches. Some German watch brands use submarine steel, Tegiment steel, and hardened coating, to name a few features. German watches are also typically sturdy and have tight tolerances.

So, expect nothing less, as this is German engineering at its pinnacle. Concerning movements, the Swiss have a wider variety of standard use movements that have been shared throughout many brands, namely ETA, Sellita, STP, Soprod, and La-Joux Perret.

German watchmaking is outshone here, but this does not tell the bigger picture regarding in-house manufacture movements, as German watchmakers have a host of in-house movements. For example, NOMOS has the in-house Alpha hand winding movement within their Club Campus series of watches at $1,500 MSRP.

That is great value for money when considering the price of in-house movements from Swiss brands, which typically begin at much higher price points. Now, we will inspect several German watch brands in more detail alphabetically.

1. A. Lange & Söhne – German Watchmaking at Its Finest

A Lange Sohne

A. Lange & Söhne was founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845 in Glashütte. But they were severely affected by World War II as their production ceased in 1948 due to the division and occupation of Germany. Following the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, A. Lange & Söhne was re-born with the efforts of Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange.

My grail watch brand is A. Lange & Söhne because they are the only watchmakers that assemble every watch movement twice in a process called the “two fold assembly” process, which allows the mechanical pieces within the movement to be adjusted to perfection.

In addition, their most affordable watch (The Saxonia) is finished to the same standard as their more expensive watches, such as the Zeitwerk and Datograph. The Lange 1 Moon Phase is highlighted because of its distinct designs to A. Lange & Söhne. It has an asymmetrical dial, yet it is beautiful and interesting.

The dial layout contains the hour and minute hands, small seconds, large date cut-outs, moon phase, and power reserve; this is perfectly imperfect. The movement of the watch is displayed by the exhibition case back and finished to the highest standard. So I recommend this brand wholeheartedly as you will be amazed by it on many levels.

Notable Watches: Grande Lange, Zeitwerk, and Datograph.

2. Archimede – Outdoor Companion

Archimede has roots going back to 1924, with Karl Ickler founding their original family business. Following the dormant period of the brand during World War II, it was rebuilt by Karl’s two sons. The company is now managed by Thomas Ickler and remains an independent and family-run business. In 2003, Archimede came to the forefront with their modern release models and as we know the brand today.

What makes Archimede interesting is their variety of designs with their tool and vintage-styled watches. My friend Kim purchased the Archimede Outdoor in 2018, and his opinion of the watch is that it is of “…military grade and can handle tough environments and handle extreme conditions”, so it is a great watch for exploring and an excellent choice for a GADA Watch (Go Anywhere, Do Anything).

The Archimede Outdoor model has a barrel-like shape with 39mm or 41mm case sizes. The Outdoor models vary with simple 3 hands with date or chronograph and are extremely anti-magnetic. But what makes this ready for the wild is that the watchcase uses a hardened coating and is 200 meters watch resistant, so you can dive, hike, cycle, and surf with it. 

Notable Watches: Pilot and Klassik.

3. Damasko – German-Made Watches With Robust Construction

What makes Damasko watches great and robust? Maybe it is because they use submarine steel and have a hardened coating.

A key watch model of their current lineup is the DK30 range of watches; these contain their in-house A26-1 movement. This is impressive at the starting retail price of €1,645. The watch’s blue or black military-style dial also contains cross hairlines, which allows the watch to remain legible and yet adds an extra touch to it. This watch is a great tool with robust construction and Damasko’s hardened coating, enabling them to withstand more hits than a heavyweight boxer.

Notable Watches: DS30 and DC Chronographs.

4. Glashütte Original – Elegant Watches Designs With Innovative Watchmaking

Glashutte Original Karree Perpetual Calendar Moon

When I think of Glashütte Original, elegance and innovation come to mind. Glashütte Original has roots dating back to 1845, but I wish to focus on the brand in its modern form, which began in 1994. Since then, it has represented high-end watchmaking, which is obvious when viewing its finishing and movements.

In 2000, Glashütte Original was acquired by the Swatch Group but still remains distinctly German in design and heritage. My first experience with Glashütte Original occurred in March 2017 when I visited the Glashütte Original Boutique in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore with a friend. Richard Goh, Boutique Manager, pleasantly greeted us.

We sat down, and Richard allowed us to try on a variety of watches; one of the models that stood out to me at the time was the Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date in blue and gray dials. I remember being impressed by the beautiful dials, sturdiness of the case, and finish of the movement through the exhibition case back. Since then, I’ve told myself that I will own a Glashütte Original watch.

Notable Watches: SeaQ and Pano.

5. Hanhart – High-Quality Military Chronograph Watches

Hanhart has Swiss-German roots, having been founded by Johann A. Hanhart in the village of Diessenhoffe, Switzerland, in 1882. In 1902 he relocated his company to Schwenningen, in southern Germany. Hanhart created the world’s first reasonably priced mechanical stopwatch in 1924, and ever since then, they have been renowned for stopwatches and chronograph watches. 

The iconic Steve McQueen was a notable wearer of Hanhart, specifically the Hanhart 417 Chronograph Watch. The modern iteration of that watch is the Hanhart 417 ES Chronograph Watch in 42mm and 39mm case sizes.

These are faithful to the original watch by combining design with history with the 2-sub dial layout on a lovely leather bund strap. The watch is ready to be worn and taken into action like it was intended to be when created as a military tool watch.

Notable Watches: Pioneer One and Pioneer MK I.

6. Junghans – The Original Minimalist Watch

Junghans watch

Junghans personifies the saying that “less is more”. Junghans was founded in 1861 and, in 1866, began making clocks. In the 1930s, Junghans began fitting their movements within wristwatches, and in 1946, they ventured into chronograph watches.

Moving forward, the 1950s was the catalyst for Junghans as we know them today, and they began working with Max Bill (scholar of Bauhaus) in designing kitchen clocks. In 1961, Max Bill worked with Junghans to create a wristwatch, which has since become the brand’s icon that watch enthusiasts admire.

So it’s no surprise I am promoting the Junghans Max Bill collection consisting of automatic, hand winding, chronograph, solar, and quartz models. Each utilizes the simple dial layout consisting of minimalism and thin lines as hour and seconds markers. 

Some models even contain small Arabic numerals and small seconds, but one look at them, and you can tell the models are all related. The Max Bill collection also includes a variety of case sizes from as small as 32.7mm to 40mm. Thus, this collection can be for any gender as it is clean, simple, and does not contain superfluous features.

Notable Watches: Chronoscope, Form A, and Form C.

7. Laco – One of the Original Flieger Manufactures

Laco was founded in 1925 and is famous for being one of the five original Flieger manufacturers for the pilots of the German Luftwaffe. Their watches were created to be large, legible, and built for battle. Yet, Laco watches are distinct and simple.

Typically, Flieger watches are larger in size, 46mm, and upward, as they were designed to be as legible as possible when flying in the skies. But the watches I choose to recommend are smaller and suitable for wearers. The Aachen and Augsburg Flieger watches are notable because they represent great value and tradition. The price point begins at $410 MSRP, which is exceptional as it’s accessible and affordable.

Those models are available in 39mm and 42mm sizes, making them suitable for various wrists. Also, those watches have black, blue, and white dial variants. My preference is the black for due to the connection with the original Flieger watches. However, the white dial makes for great summer wear. Thus, if you can, give the brand an opportunity and open up your horizon.

Notable Watches: Leipzig and Heidelberg.

8. Montblanc – Traditional Instruments

“The pen is mightier than the sword” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839. Montblanc is a very famous brand within the sphere of writing instruments. However, many may not be aware that they are a German brand. In 1997, Montblanc added time-telling instruments to its catalog, and it has grown ever since.

The Montblanc watch that should be on your radar is the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph GMT (with R200 movement). One look at this watch, and you are mesmerized because so much is happening on the dial. The timepiece consists of three sub-dials with the main time and GMT on the center dial, then on the lower left is the running seconds hand, and on the lower right is the chronograph minutes counter. 

Also, most people tend to miss the day and night indicator on the peripheral of the 8 and 9 o’clock markers, which is a subtle touch on an elegant watch. Easily missed is the date indicator on the peripheral of the 3 and 4 o’clock markers. These details allow the watch’s dial to appear symmetrical and beautifully proportioned. In my opinion, this is the icon within the Montblanc watch collection.

Notable Watches: 1858 and Heritage Collection. 

9. Moritz Grossmann – Haute Horology

From a modern perspective, Moritz Grossmann was founded in 2008 by Christine Hutter. She had acquired the right to use the name of the famous German Watchmaker. Since then, the brand has gained a following with high-end watch collectors due to the brand’s artisanal hand finishing to that of the standard of true haute horology. According to reports, Moritz Grossmann produces approximately 200 watches a year.

The Heritage collection from Moritz Grossmann is simply stunning and they have created masterpieces in every detail, from the proportions of the watch, dial color, and hands on the dial to the engraving on the movement. These are the reasons why the brand charges upwards of €29,400 for their watches. In my opinion, Moritz Grossmann creates works of art on your wrists, which are worth every cent they charge, but that’s just my two cents.

Notable Watches: Central Seconds and Universalzeit.

10. NOMOS Glashütte – Classic Designs & Beautiful In-House Movements

Nomos Glashutte Autobahn Director's Cut A3

NOMOS Glashütte can be considered a new kid on the block in German watchmaking as Roland Schwertner founded the company in January 1990. The style of watchmaking by NOMOS can be regarded as Bauhaus, given that many watches feature simple dial layouts with modern designs.

A unique set of aspects of NOMOS that should be highlighted is their in-house movements and product finishing. The Alpha Hand Winding movement and DUW automatic movements are great value-for-money in-house movements that do not break the bank, and typically, in-house movements indicate innovation from the brand.

The case finishing of NOMOS watches is typically mirror-polishing to a high standard. The movement decoration includes ribbing and a perlage finish, which adds beauty to such an outstanding watch. The NOMOS watch I highlighted is a watch I previously owned, the Club Campus Nacht in 38mm. The story of how the watch entered my collection began with Baselworld 2017.

NOMOS presented this as a watch to be gifted following graduation or a great achievement. The Club Campus contains a sterile case back (also available in the exhibition case back) if one wants it engraved with a special message. I love this idea. I was impressed by the case finish and thinness of the watch (being less than 9mm thick) due to the in-house Alpha hand winding movement.

My experience with NOMOS has been very positive, but a critique is that the lugs are very long for the case size. The long lugs also show a sizable gap between the strap and the watch case. However, these criticisms are easily overcome on larger wrists or the use of a one-piece nylon strap.

Notable Watches: Zurich World Time, Orion, and Ahoi

11. Sinn – The Ultimate Tool Watches

Sinn watch

Sinn has a well-documented pilot and military history, having been founded by Helmut Sinn (pilot and flight instructor). An interesting fact is that Sinn produced the cases for early Bell & Ross watches. Since Sinn’s inception, its focus has been on military watches and cockpit clocks. Also, Sinn utilizes submarine steel for many of their watches cases along with Tegiment coating, which makes their watches highly resistant to scratches. 

Moreover, some Sinn models include dehumidifying technology built inside via a capsule. The capsule indicator on the side of the lugs shows when the watch has accumulated too much moisture, and then at that stage, you should contact Sinn to get the watch serviced.

The Sinn 556i is a great watch, though; firstly, the case size of 38.5 mm and a thickness of 10mm. These measurements make it a universal size, as those with small to medium wrists can wear it. Also, the dial is glossy black, and the gold-plated rotor of the watch has been customized by Sinn to add an extra depth of quality. Overall, the Sinn 556i is fantastic, over-engineered, and dependable.

Notable Watches: Sinn 104, Sinn 856, and Sinn U1.

12. Tutima – Best of Both Worlds

Tutima may be a lesser-known watch brand, but they produce both tool and dress watches with immaculate quality, thus making them ideal to be on your radar. Tutima was founded in 1927 in Glashütte and specializes in military and tool watches.

I highlight the Tutima M2 Seven Seas diver watch and the Patria dress watch range. The Tutima M2 Seven Seas is a dive watch released in 2022. The watch has several dial color variants, including blue, yellow, green, and red. Although colorful dials are not something revolutionary, these colors make the watch feel more trendy and suitable as a fun weekend watch. 

Furthermore, the Patria range is a hidden gem in German watchmaking as it contains an in-house hand-winding movement with excellent case, dial, and movement finishing comparable to watches costing upwards of $10,000. The Patria comes in stainless steel or 18K rose gold, but, in my opinion, go for the stainless steel option as it is a bargain and can be had for less than the price of a Rolex Submariner on the secondary market.

Notable Watches: Saxon One and Grand Flieger.


In summary, we’ve inspected several German Watch brands that should be on your radar. From my own experience, having owned the NOMOS Club Campus, I can attest that German watchmakers offer exceptional quality that can be seen and experienced in the metal better than in images. 

Also, with many Swiss watch brands raising prices regularly, it is a great time to purchase your first German watch or add more to your collection. It will only be a matter of time before word gets out on German watch brands and their popularity skyrockets. To my audience, danke!

15 telemeter watches

Telemetry can be defined as using specialized equipment to send, receive, and measure data over a long distance. The equipment for the purposes of this article is the wristwatch. We will be reviewing 15 of the best telemeter chronograph watches.

Before we jump into the background of telemeter watches, watch complications are often focused on aesthetic design rather than function. As a result of modern technology, such as smartphones and smartwatches, wristwatches have become obsolete. 

For example, scuba divers typically use dive computers rather than dive watches for timing purposes. However, this is not to say wristwatches with interesting complications should no longer be produced. So let’s begin the journey of highlighting telemeter scale watches. 

About Telemeter Watches

The telemeter scale is based on the speed of sound in relation to distance, an example being calculating the distance from when the event first becomes visible to when it becomes audible. You may use a telemeter scale with a chronograph watch to determine your distance in various situations. Thus, telemeter scales tend to go hand in hand with chronographs due to the multiple timing capabilities.

Telemeter Watches Purpose

Soldiers used telemeter watches during World War II as it allowed them to determine their distance from their target. For example, a soldier would fire missiles and start the chronograph timer. Once the soldier heard the target being hit by the missile, they would stop the timer.

They would then read the telemeter scale of the wristwatch, and the reading would allow the soldier to know the distance they are from the target that was hit. Another instance where the telemeter scale may be used is to measure a lightning storm.

For example, one would start the chronograph once the flash of lighting can be seen and then stop once the sound is heard. The chronograph hand lines up with the telemeter scale, and one would then read the scale and know how far away the storm is.

The Best Telemeter Watches

Now let’s look at the specific telemeter watches.

Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope (ref. 329.

Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope (ref. 329.

With all the recent commotion of the Omega MoonSwatch, the Speedmaster Chronoscope is a breath of fresh air because this is a Speedmaster without the hype. This timepiece combines the Speedmaster Moonwatch with Omega Chronographs of the 1940s. Our focus here will be the steel version of the Chronoscope.

The Chronoscope comes in at 43mm in diameter, 13.22mm thick, 48mm lug-to-lug length, and a lug width of 21mm. It wears excellently given the larger dimensions; the lug-to-lug length allows it to be maintainable on the wrist for medium to smaller-sized wrists. 

Also, the watch comes in three dial variants in the stainless steel models, a blue dial with silver sub-dials, a silver dial, and a panda configuration (silver dial with black sub-dial layout). The Chronoscope uses a two-register sub-dial layout with a snail dial design in the center.

The movement housed in this timepiece is the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9908. It is accurate to between 0 and +5 seconds per day variance, making this the most accurate watch movement on the list.

The only negative is the odd 21mm lug width, as 21mm straps are more difficult to source. Either way, this watch looks best on the stainless steel bracelet that Omega created.

Overall, I feel that Omega has produced a fine timepiece that strays slightly off the path from your standard Speedy watch. The Omega Chronoscope is priced at $8,600 (leather strap) or $9,000 (steel bracelet)  

Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary Chronograph (ref. 5975R-001)

Patek Philippe 175th Anniversary Chronograph (ref. 5975R-001)

Patek Philippe is part of the “Holy Trinity” of watchmaking and arguably the best watchmaker in the world. They are also renowned for their complications, including annual calendars, moon phases, and chronographs. 

The particular model we will review is the 175th Anniversary Chronograph in rose gold. Patek produced only 400 models in the rose gold version, making it an extremely sought watch, and even now, it rarely appears on the secondary market.

In terms of case sizing, the Patek is compact for a chronograph with a diameter of 40mm and 10.25mm thick. This means that it is extremely wearable for daily wear and can easily tuck under a tight cuff. 

The movement within the 5975R-001 is the caliber 28-520 base. This caliber maintains a power reserve of up to 55 hours. This movement features a column wheel and a flyback function that allows for continuous timing capability.

These features come together uniformly and establish the 5975R-001 as a premium chronograph and appropriate for the 175th anniversary edition timepiece. A critique of this timepiece would be its availability, given that it is an anniversary edition and is limited. Thus, if you intend to purchase this, the secondary market would be your best option.

Longines Telemeter Chronograph (ref. L2.780.4.18.2)

Longines Telemeter Chronograph (ref. L2.780.4.18.2)

Longines has an illustrious history dating all the way back to 1832. They were once considered a rival to Rolex before the Quartz Crisis, but times have changed. Nonetheless, this means that Longines has a rich heritage in its archives to refer to. Many of Longines’ recent releases have been stunning, and the Telemeter Chronograph is no different.

The design of the Telemeter timepiece is based on a chronograph watch produced by Longines in 1933. The watch measures a round case of 41mm and houses the Caliber L688, an automatic movement with a column-wheel chronograph. The column wheel within the movement makes this timepiece special, as this typically appears in high-end chronographs.

The Telemeter Chronograph features a sapphire crystal and an exhibition case to view the movement. The timepiece’s dial features a three-register sub-dial layout with a 4:30 date position. The dial is white lacquered with black numerals. The watch features blue steel Breguet hands that exude elegance and finesse.

A few negatives of this watch are the lack of water resistance and the date wheel. This watch is 30m water resistant, which means, at most, you can wear it while washing your hands. The second is subjective; the date wheel is positioned at 4:30 and is awkward. 

Tissot Telemeter 1938 Chronograph (ref. T142.462.16.032.00)

Tissot Telemeter 1938 Chronograph (ref. T142.462.16.032.00)

Tissot is currently hitting it out of the park with its heritage-inspired pieces, and this includes the Telemeter 1938 Chronograph. This timepiece is exquisite in design. It features a two-register sub-dial layout, measuring running seconds and chronograph minutes.

Two dial variants are available, black with gilt accents and a silver dial with blue hands. The watch is 42mm in diameter, 13.9mm in thickness, and 22mm lug width. The chronograph pushers are ovular in shape. There is no lume on the dial.

Thus, these design elements make it a dressier design. The timepiece features a sapphire crystal and an exhibition case for the wearer to marvel at or show others, as this could be a conversation starter.

The numbers and sizing lean towards a medium to large wrist size. However, I recommend trying on the watch in person before making a decision. The price of the watch is $2,025.00

Oris Big Crown Telemeter Chronograph (ref. 01 674 7569 4064-07 5 21 56)

Oris Big Crown Telemeter Chronograph (ref. 01 674 7569 4064-07 5 21 56)

The Big Crown series of Oris watches was built to be used as pilot military watches. The Telemeter Chronograph within the Big Crown series seems very fitting due to the nature of the telemeter scale and its association with the military. 

This is a true tool watch in form and function. Each detail of this watch has a reason for it, from the lume to the plexiglass crystal and more. We will highlight some of the key features below.

The Oris is 43mm in diameter, 21mm lug width, and features an exterior telemeter bezel insert. The crystal is actually a plexi-domed material; this harkens to vintage watches. 

I’ll add that plexiglass may scratch easily, but you can buff out scratches with Polywatch and a microfiber cloth. The large crown allows wearers with gloves to access and wind the movement. So, Oris considered a variety of users when creating this timepiece.

Negatives of this Oris timepiece are the odd lug width of 21mm and the lack of water resistance at 3 bar. One would hope that a military field watch could withstand harsh environments and be able to take a beating on the battlefield. The watch is priced at $2,025.00 

Eterna 1940 Chronograph Telemeter (ref. 7950.78.54.1261)

Eterna 1940 Chronograph Telemeter (ref. 7950.78.54.1261)

Eterna has had a significant impact on the watch industry. Without Eterna, there would be no ETA and no Swatch Group dominance within the watch industry. So we should appreciate their existence along with their Chronograph Telemeter timepiece.

This timepiece screams 1940s design and takes the wearer back to when watches were utilitarian tools. The telemeter has a case diameter of 42mm and 14.1mm thickness. It features a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, making it less reflective when worn outdoors or under intense lighting.

The Telemeter features large rectangular pushers and a large crown for easy access. There are two variants, one with a black dial and gilt accents and the other with a black dial and silvery white accents.

The movement is unique as it is a flyback chronograph. This means that the user can reset the chronograph timer without stopping it, which is convenient when timing something continuously. In my opinion, this is a beautiful timepiece.

The case is curvaceous, and it wears comfortably on the wrist. However, a couple of critiques are that it may be difficult to find an authorized dealer to try on Eterna watches and the 4:30 date wheel that disrupts the symmetry of the dial.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 18 (ref. CAR221A .FC6353)

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 18 (ref. CAR221A .FC6353)

The Carrera and Monaco are icons of TAG Heuer. But the Carrera Calibre 18 will be in the spotlight here. The Carrera has all the features you would want from TAG Heuer. There is no “TAG” on the dial; the dial features a panda configuration (silvery dial with two grayish sub-dial registers) and multi-faceted lugs associated with the Carrera case. 

Also, this watch is extremely wearable compared to the Monaco, which wears large due to the flat case back and slab-like sides. Let’s inspect the details of the Carrera.

The Carrera watch wears svelte with a 39mm case diameter. It features a sapphire crystal for protection. The dial layout is clean and simple with minimal information on the dial. The Carrera features a date wheel at the 6 o’clock position, which can easily be missed, thus maintaining symmetry on this gorgeous yet simple dial. 

The watch is 100m water resistant, which is a nice feature to have as it means you can technically swim with it. Overall, this timepiece maintains lovely vintage styling in modern form.

A negative aspect of this Carrera model is that it is discontinued. So, you would have to source this from a third party or secondary market.

Zenith Captain Chronograph (ref. 03.2117.4002/23.C704)

Zenith Captain Chronograph (ref. 03.2117.4002/23.C704)

Zenith is known for creating one of the first automatic chronograph movements in 1969, the El Primero. But Zenith is also known for their military pilot watches; we will inspect one of them here. 

The Captain Chronograph features a dual-register sub-dial layout. Therefore, unlike the typical three sub-dial layout, it is extremely legible, and the dial is not cluttered. There is plenty of lume on the dial of this Zenith to make it ideal for activities in the skies.

The watch measures 42mm in diameter, 12.5mm in thickness, and 50.2mm lug-to-lug length and features a sapphire crystal and an exhibition case back to view the gorgeous automatic movement. 

The winding crown is large for easy gripping, and the chronograph pushers are rectangular with vintage styling. The case of the Zenith is mainly brushed with very little polishing, which is appropriate as this is not a dress watch.

The Zenith features the 4002 caliber movement that allows for approximately 52 hours of power reserve and is a high-beat movement. An interesting aspect of this particular El Primero movement is that the second position of the crown (typically associated with adjusting the time) allows the user to adjust the date. 

Junghans Meister Telemeter (ref. 27/3380.02)

Junghans Meister Telemeter (ref. 27/3380.02)

Within Junghans, there are two iconic collections, the Max Bill and Meister collection. For this list, we will be looking at the latter collection, specifically the Telemeter chronograph watch. 

This modern watch draws inspiration from Junghans’ first telemeter and tachymeter scale chronograph watch created in 1951. The Meister Telemeter is a vintage style yet features a casual enough appearance. It is available in a black dial as well as a silvery white dial variant.

The case of the watch measures 40.8mm in diameter and 12.6mm thick. It comes with the option of a steel bracelet or leather band. I recommend the stainless steel bracelet because it is easier to source a good aftermarket strap than a bracelet. 

The watch comes with a domed sapphire crystal and exhibition case back, showing off the nicely decorated movement. The chronograph pushers are ovular in shape. It is also 50m water resistant, which is not bad for a dressier chronograph watch. Having experienced this watch in Asia, photos do not do it justice.

The sapphire crystal is highly domed, and it wears very comfortably on the wrist due to the compact case profile and slimness of the watch. I was tempted to purchase it at the time but held back. The watch retails for €2,290.00

Alpina Alpiner Chronograph (ref. AL-750SG4E6)

Alpina Alpiner Chronograph (ref. AL-750SG4E6)

Alpina is associated with classically styled sports and tool watches. The Alpiner Chronograph is part of that heritage. The Alpiner Chronograph is similar to the Heuer Carrera mentioned above as it features a silver dial with two grayish sub-dials.

The difference is that the sub-dials here are in a vertical arrangement, thus adding a nice touch to differentiate it from other chronograph watches. The case size is 41mm in diameter, and there is a sapphire crystal protecting the watch dial.

Upon first inspection, it appears that this Alpiner is a two-register sub-dial arrangement; however, it features three sub-dials. The running seconds sub-dial is nicely camouflaged at the 9 o’clock position. There is also a date wheel at the 6 o’clock position.

Despite the layout arrangement, this watch appears symmetrical. Moreover, a great added design element is the pump-style chronograph pushers. This is just tempting the wearer to start the chronograph timer of this timepiece.

Although this watch is discontinued in production, it is possible to source this through the secondary market, given the lack of demand for the brand. But a positive is that it can be bought at a bargain price.

Dan Henry 1939 Military Chronograph

Dan Henry 1939 Military Chronograph

Dan Henry is a well-known watch collector within the community. He set out to create great-looking watches with vintage styling. He also intended these watches to be accessible and affordable to a large audience. One of those timepieces is the 1939 military chronograph. 

According to Dan Henry, he wished to pay tribute to chronograph watches of the 1930s because of their beautiful dials, along with the vast amount of information on the dials. Surprisingly, Dan Henry watches offer enough variations in their watch models that will likely suit a lot of people. Let’s inspect the 1939 chronograph in more detail below.

In terms of sizing, the case measures 41mm in diameter, 13.9mm in thickness, and 49.2mm in lug length. The watch features a 22mm lug width, so you can easily swap out the strap for a host of aftermarket options. Thus, this watch wears beautifully and comfortably on the wrist. 

The timepiece features a sapphire crystal and is available with two dial color options; chocolate with gilts accents and silver with blue accents. There are two sub-dial registers on the dial. Also, date and no-date options are available for this timepiece, but I am drawn toward symmetry, so I’d recommend the no-date version.

Also, might I add that this is also the most affordable of all the watches discussed today due to it housing a quartz movement manufactured by Miyota. Lastly, the 1939 chronograph is limited in production so get them while you still can. The watch is priced at $270.00 

Hanhart Pioneer TachyTele

Hanhart Pioneer TachyTele

The Hanhart Pioneer TachyTele has a military history that dates back to 1939. According to Hanhart, the watch’s name comes from the two sets of scales on the dial, the tachymeter (used for measuring speed) and the telemeter. 

The Hanhart’s lower chronograph pusher has a distinctive red covering, and this was introduced in 1938 as a warning mechanism to prevent pilots from resetting the stop timer. The red color on the pusher was previously a red lacquer painted over the chronograph pusher, but it is now manufactured out of ceramic/ plastic to ensure longevity.

The Pioneer wears remarkably well, given the case diameter of 40mm and 15mm thick. The watch features a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The dial is available in off-white or black; both colors contrast well and are easily readable. 

The ETA 7753 automatic movement is the watch’s heartbeat, with 42 hours of power reserve. This is a good, tried, and tested movement. Overall this is a solid timepiece with excellent build quality, and it will impress the wearer.

I find it difficult to criticize this timepiece as it is a “Swiss Army Knife” given the 100m water resistance, screw-down case back, lumed hands, and numerals, along with a fluted rotating bezel. This is as much of a tool watch as one could buy without many compromises. Pricing of this watch starts at €1,990.00 

Poljot Strela Chronograph (ref. OF38CYS)

Poljot Strela Chronograph (ref. OF38CYS)

Many may have not heard of the brand Poljot Strela since the brand comes from Russia. The Poljot Strela Chronograph’s greatest claim to fame is being the first watch to go to space on the 18th of March, 1965, as it was used during the mission. 

So this is Russia’s equivalent of the Speedmaster Moonwatch. This was significant at that time because Russia was engaged with the USA in the Cold War and the “Space Race”.

The Poljot Chronograph watch has a case diameter of 38mm, a thickness of 14.8mm, and a lug-to-lug length of 46mm, thus making it a very compact and wearable watch on the wrist. The dial of the watch is white with a two-register sub-dial layout. The dial is unique as it features multiple concentric circle patterns on the main center dial and sub-dials.

The movement contained within the watch is the Poljot manual winding Caliber 3133. The movement can be seen through the exhibition case back. It is nicely decorated with Geneve stripes. The movement features a power reserve of 48 hours, which is decent.

But the magic of manual winding watches is the wearer’s connection with the watch because you need to engage with it by winding it at least every 2 days; otherwise, it will stop.

Although this timepiece is limited to 300 pieces, it is also the most affordable mechanical watch on this list today, coming in at under $900. Several online stores sell this watch from Europe. So, if you are interested in purchasing it, then do some research before taking the “giant leap”. 

RGM 455-CE Classic Chronograph Enamel

RGM 455-CE Classic Chronograph Enamel

RGM is an American watchmaking company that was established in 1992 and coincidentally the year of my birth, making us both 31 years of age at the time of this article. Watches of the 1940s inspired the design of the 455 classic chronograph model. 

The particular model being highlighted is the enamel version. Enamel is a difficult material to work with, and this tends to result in more failures than successes due to the heat treatment applied to the dial. 

However, RGM has performed an outstanding job in their ability to produce the Grand Feu real glass-fired enamel dial. The white enamel dial compliments the steel blue hands. The center of the dial features the snail-like tachymeter scale, adding a subtle touch to this timepiece.

The case size of the watch is 38.2mm and 13.9mm thick. Lug-to-lug length is 47mm, and lug width is 20mm, which ensures plenty of aftermarket strap options. For me, these measurements are the sweet spot, as I prefer watches that are 50mm or under in lug-to-lug length. 

According to RGM, the automatic movement is decorated with Cote de Geneve stripes and perlage finishing. But a downside is that this movement is covered by the stainless steel case back. The watch retails for $7,950.00 

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph (ref. MB125581)

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph (ref. MB125581)

The final watch is the Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph. This is arguably the most unique in design and function. As this is a Monopusher chronograph, there is only one pusher on the watch that controls the chronograph timer. The pusher is an extension of the crown. 

In addition, the 1858 line of watches is part of the high-end range of the Minerva watch collection from Montblanc. This collection is gaining more attraction, and what better way to start than with their Monopusher Chronograph.

The timepiece has a 42mm case diameter, and the stainless steel case is finished immaculately with satin brushing. The dial features two tones, namely black and cream/ beige color. There are two sub dials on the dial, making it simple and convenient to read from. 

This watch features a sapphire dome crystal that shows off the vintage style. The timepiece features lume on the handset and numerals. The Monopusher is also 100m water resistant. In my opinion, these features help to make this timepiece a great GADA watch (Go Anywhere Do Anything).

A negative of this watch is the branding; Montblanc watches are not that popular. But this means discounts can be obtained on their timepieces. This Monopusher Chronograph sells for $5,400.00  


In conclusion, watches with telemeter scales are not exactly a new or groundbreaking technology. Those who appreciate the chronograph complication along with the scale will likely do so for aesthetic reasons. The watches listed above are not intended to be a full guide of telemeter scale watches.

But they are a gateway into telemeter timepieces. And to end on a quirky note, John F. Kennedy once stated that “we must use time as a tool, not as a couch”, and so a reminder that watches are made to be used as tools.

Best survival watches

When I think of survival watches, a few images come to mind, notably G-Shock watches and the iconic image of Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing his Seiko H558 in the movies “Commando” and “Predator”. However, as technology within timepieces has advanced, so too has the ever-growing list of multifunctional and rugged watches.

Survival watches are tool-based timepieces that contain unique complications, making them invaluable in potentially life-threatening situations. Below, we will review the best survival watches currently available on the market and explore who these watches are tailored for.

About Survival Watches

Historically, one could argue that diver watches were the earliest form of survival watches. Typically, countries commission timepieces for their military. In the past, these included the iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Rolex Submariner, and Zodiac Sea Wolf.

However, with the advancement of modern technology, brands beyond the traditional watchmaking industry have entered the survival watch market. These brands now include G-Shock, Garmin, Suunto, and more. This shift can be attributed to the increased popularity of outdoor exploration, particularly following the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions globally.

Survival watches should boast key features that enable the wearer to use them in emergency or life-threatening situations. Examples of such cases include being stranded, navigating underwater environments, or even dealing with health-related emergencies.

What To Look For in Survival Watches?

Survival watches should ideally incorporate the key features mentioned below, making them genuine tools for the wearer. Let’s move forward and explore these features.

Build Quality

This is one of the most crucial aspects of a survival watch. The build quality must meet high standards because these watches are intended for practical, rugged use. You can typically expect the main case material to be 316L stainless steel or titanium. Additionally, having a sapphire crystal is preferred, but mineral crystal or Gorilla Glass (smartwatches) is also acceptable.

Water Resistance

This is crucial for anyone using their timepiece as utility equipment, as a watch with a higher water resistance rating can withstand harsh environments. Ideally, a survival watch should have a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, allowing the wearer to swim with their timepiece without concern. You never know when an explorer might encounter the sea, and as the saying goes, “prepare for the worst”.

Survival & Safety Features

A diverse range of features is essential for a survival watch because you never know when you may find yourself in an emergency situation. These features may include compasses, GPS capabilities, a pulse oximeter, comprehensive health tracking functions, safety and tracking features, as well as enhanced mapping functions, to name just a few.


I firmly believe that every tool watch should feature lume on the dial or, alternatively, a backlight. This enables the wearer to read and operate their timepiece in low-light conditions. I wore my Omega SMP Bond while ascending Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia in 2017. 

During the early hours of the morning, when I and my fellow climbers began the second leg of the ascent, I could easily check the time on my Omega SMP Bond due to its strong lume. Therefore, I highly value watches with excellent lume, not to mention they look cool in the dark!

15 Best Survival Watches You Can Buy Today

Now, let’s review the list of 15 survival-type watches.

Timex Expedition North Tide-Temp-Compass (ref. TW2V03900QY)

The first timepiece is from Timex, which I will refer to as the Tide-Temp-Compass. This variant features a gunmetal gray case crafted from 316L stainless steel. With a case size of 43mm, it strikes a balance between being large enough for practicality and fitting the tool nature of the watch.

Survival-oriented features of this watch include an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, luminescent hands, and hour markers, as well as 100m water resistance. One of its more unique attributes is what Timex calls the “Tide-Temp-Compass movement’s bidirectional center hand”.

This function serves to indicate local tide and temperature conditions, ensuring the wearer is headed in the correct direction. The Tide-Temp-Compass feature is especially valuable for mountaineering or hiking enthusiasts. The Timex Tide-Temp-Compass sells for between $249 and $269, depending on the strap/bracelet configuration.

Suunto Core All Black (ref. SS014279010)

Suunto’s fitness tracking devices have surged in popularity over the past decade, earning their place alongside Garmin in terms of quality and demand. The Core All Black case is crafted from composite material, featuring an aluminum bezel and mineral crystal glass.

With a 49mm case size, a true round shape, and a thickness of 14.5mm, it’s akin to having a sleek electronic compass on your wrist, making it both stylish and well-suited for outdoor adventures.

This rugged timepiece boasts survival-oriented features, including an altimeter, barometer, compass, temperature sensor, storm alarm, sunrise/sunset data, and a depth meter for snorkeling. These functions fulfill essential needs for anyone exploring the great outdoors.

The Core All-Black sells for $219.

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400-1

G-Shock is renowned as a pioneer in survival watches, owing to its rich heritage and enduring popularity for being extremely tough. The Rangeman is a solar-powered timepiece equipped with a multi-band 6 function.

This means it utilizes radio waves to receive time signals from atomic clocks worldwide, including in Japan, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China. Once the time is accurately set, the watch automatically synchronizes with the atomic clock daily.

As a proud owner of a G-Shock GWM5610 with solar and band 6 functionality, I can personally vouch for its exceptional timekeeping accuracy and convenience. With dimensions measuring 53.5mm in case size and 18mm in case thickness, the Rangeman is undeniably substantial on the wrist, but this ensures you’re always aware of its presence.

The Rangeman boasts an array of survival features, including ultimate shock resistance, 20-bar water resistance, an altimeter, barometer, world timer, stopwatch, LED backlight, and more. Having experienced a variety of G-Shock timepieces, I wholeheartedly recommend the Rangeman as the ultimate survival watch, given its unparalleled durability, reliability, and advanced technology.

The Rangeman costs $330.

Garmin Instinct Crossover Solar Tactical Edition

The Instinct Crossover Solar stands out as one of Garmin’s highly regarded smartwatches. Garmin boldly claims that this timepiece is “Built to military standards” and boasts an “Infinite Battery Life”. Let’s explore below to see why these claims hold true.

Garmin substantiates its claim of infinite battery life by incorporating solar power charging into this watch. Additionally, this Garmin model features a dual-layered bezel and 100m water resistance, designed to withstand the rigors of challenging environments.

This makes it not only thermal and shock-resistant but also aligns with the military standards claim. With a case size measuring 45mm in diameter and a thickness of 16mm, it strikes a balance on the wrist thanks to its short lug-to-lug length.

Alongside these attributes, it offers an array of valuable survival features, including dual-format GPS, stealth mode, a kill switch (not as sinister as it sounds), tactical activity tracking, safety and tracking functions, ABC sensors, weather reports, and more.

Furthermore, the Instinct Crossover Solar received the prestigious Red Dot Award in 2023, a globally recognized mark of excellence in product design.

The Instinct Crossover Solar Tactical Edition sells for $499, but it’s commonly discounted.

Alpina AlpinerX Sports Watch (ref. AL-283LBB5AQ6B)

The AlpinerX represents one of the more traditional Swiss watchmaking brands featured here. Inside the AlpinerX, you’ll find a smart quartz movement, ensuring precise timekeeping. This choice is apt, considering that automatic movements are more susceptible to damage or displacement if subjected to impact.

With a substantial 45mm case size, the AlpinerX offers a dual analog and digital display on the dial, justifying its larger dimensions. The watch boasts an array of features, including a screw-down crown that provides it with 100m water resistance, orange hands for enhanced readability, a rotating compass bezel, and sensors on both the dial and case for tracking altitude.

These, alongside the rest of the watch’s features, should suffice for most outdoor enthusiasts. The AlpinerX Sports is discontinued, but the secondary market indicates prices of less than $800.

Coros Vertix 2 Adventure Watch

Coros is a relatively new player in the smartwatch industry, founded in China in 2014. The Vertix 2 boasts a substantial case measuring 50mm in diameter and 15mm in thickness, aligning with the larger size commonly found in survival watches. 

It features a sapphire crystal, a titanium alloy case and bezel, an impressive battery life of up to 140 hours when using GPS, and up to 60 days of regular use. Additionally, it comes equipped with a compass, altitude sensor, barometer, heart rate monitor, and various mapping functions.

The Vertix 2 costs $699.

Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG2000-1A1

The Mudmaster, the second G-Shock mentioned on this list, stands as a higher-end offering compared to the Rangemaster. One of the key distinctions is its use of forged carbon in the bezel and a carbon fiber-reinforced composite case, elevating its quality.

Much like the Rangemaster, the Mudmaster also boasts a solar-powered timekeeping mechanism coupled with the multi-band 6 function. These features, which I wish every G-Shock had, prove invaluable for maintaining precise time without the need for manual adjustments during daylight savings.

Measuring 54mm in diameter, 61mm lug-to-lug, and 16mm in thickness, the Mudmaster is designed to withstand dust and mud, showcasing its ruggedness. 

In addition to ultimate shock resistance and 20-bar water resistance, it offers a comprehensive set of survival features, including an altimeter, barometer, world timer, stopwatch, digital compass, high-brightness double LED backlight, and a rarely seen sapphire crystal in G-Shocks.

This Mudmaster is undeniably one of G-Shock’s top tool watches, packed with a plethora of useful features. As a more premium G-Shock, this Mudmaster is priced at $800.

Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Master Series (ref. 3740)

The Bear Grylls Survival Ref 3740 stands as the second Swiss-made quartz watch featured here. Luminox proudly declares that this timepiece is “designed to be your trusty companion in any outdoor adventure”.

One of the standout features of this watch is its association with Bear Grylls, the former member of the British Special Forces. Knowing that it meets Bear Grylls’ seal of approval adds to its credibility and appeal.

The Bear Grylls Survival is meticulously crafted from carbon, with dimensions measuring 45mm in diameter and 14mm in thickness, ensuring a lightweight and comfortable wearing experience. 

What sets it apart is the luminescence achieved through a self-powered illumination system employing tiny micro gas light sources—a unique Swiss technology that guarantees luminosity for up to 25 years. These micro gas lights are strategically placed on the hands, dial, and even the 12 o’clock marker on the bezel.

This Luminox Bear Grylls Survival is listed at $995 directly from Luminox, and savvy shoppers can enjoy a 10% discount by applying a coupon code, making it an even more attractive purchase.

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar Edition

Garmin touts the Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar as a watch designed for those who dare. This Garmin timepiece is available in three sizes: 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm, with the 47mm case version (with a thickness of 14.5mm) taking center stage.

This Garmin watch is loaded with a multitude of survival features, such as solar charging, Garmin’s exclusive Power Sapphire lens, an LED flashlight, multiple maps, weather reports, a pulse oximeter, ABC sensors, and much more. It seems Garmin is giving you everything but the kitchen sink.

Garmin’s reputation precedes it, but what sets this model apart is the premium materials used, likely enhancing its durability. While I may not have extensive experience with smartwatches in general, I’m inclined to consider Garmin for its versatile smartwatches, given its positive reputation and brand heritage.

Garmin places a premium price tag of $899 on the Fenix 7 Pro.

Marathon Pilot’s Navigator With Clip-On Wrist Compass (ref. WW194001BK)

The Pilot Navigator was born from a collaboration with Kelly Air Force Base in 1986, giving it a rich military heritage and genuine battlefield experience.

With a case size of 41mm and a thickness of 13mm, the Pilot Navigator is the smallest and most wearable watch on this list. Its high-impact composite fiber shell case ensures resilience against impacts while maintaining its pristine appearance. 

Tritium tubes on the dial, a great alternative to standard lume, provide excellent visibility in low light, and a sapphire crystal shields it from scratches. One drawback is its 6 ATM water resistance, which allows for wear in the shower but isn’t suitable for swimming.

However, considering its identity as an aviation timepiece, a pilot’s concerns would likely extend far beyond a water-damaged watch. The Pilot Navigator timepiece is priced at $450, and the additional clip-on wrist compass can be acquired for an additional $25.

Luminox Recon Nav SPC (ref. 8831.KM)

The Recon Nav SPC belongs to Luminox’s Recon series, designed for Navigation Specialists tasked with maintaining a vigilant patrol along designated routes until reaching their objective.

The Recon NAV SPC 8831 dial incorporates a user-friendly walking speed tachymeter, which can be read in kilometers or miles per hour. These timepieces are equipped with a movement featuring a GMT complication, enabling the wearer to track a second timezone.

With a case size of 46mm and a case thickness of 13.5mm, this Luminox watch offers practicality. Additionally, the watch strap includes three common map scales and an inch/cm measurement and comparison chart. It also houses a removable compass for added functionality.

Like the previously mentioned Luminox model, the Recon Nav SPC also boasts Luminox’s self-powered illumination system, utilizing tiny micro gas light sources that guarantee luminosity for up to 25 years. The watch features a sapphire crystal, ensuring durability. With a water resistance rating of 200m, it’s suitable for diving or snorkeling.

The Recon Nav SPC has been discontinued but can still be found in the secondary market for approximately $500.

MTM Black Status (ref. STATBBL2DBKR2MTM)

MTM is an American company with over 30 years of history, founded by Joe Casis, a former member of the Israeli Special Forces. The Black Status is a smartwatch with a sleek military aesthetic, thanks to its black-coated titanium case. Measuring 45mm in diameter and 16mm in thickness, it’s a robust choice.

The hands and hour markers are equipped with Super LumiNova for excellent visibility in low-light conditions. A layer of Sapphire Crystal protects the dial, and it offers a commendable water resistance rating of 100m, making it suitable for swimming.

This timepiece also packs several important features, including Multiple Timezones, Navigation, a Compass, Weather updates, an Alarm, a Chronograph, and a Countdown Timer. The primary focus of the MTM Black Status is its stealthy military appearance, combined with the brand’s strong ties to armed forces.

The MTM Black Status is priced at $750.

Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar Black

The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar Black watch offers an impressive array of features, encompassing maps, an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, a storm alarm, weather forecasting, solar charging, heart rate tracking, and a diverse range of workout tracking capabilities. 

What’s particularly intriguing is that Suunto manufactures this watch in Finland, utilizing renewable energy sources. For individuals passionate about promoting green energy and who aspire to minimize their carbon footprint, choosing this Suunto timepiece is a meaningful step in the right direction!

The watch case comes in at 49mm by 13.6mm thick. It weighs only 74g and incorporates Glass Fiber Reinforced Polyamide in its case, Titanium Grade 5 for the bezel, and a sapphire crystal for the display. The strap is made of a comfortable silicone material. 

One area where this Suunto model stands out compared to its competitors is in battery life. It can last up to an impressive 60 days in daily mode, a significant advantage for extended outdoor adventures when charging opportunities may be limited. This makes it an incredibly valuable feature to have.

The Suunto Vertical Titanium Solar sells for  $839.

Casio Pro Trek Pathfinder PAG240-1

The Pro Trek Pathfinder features a double-layer liquid crystal display with a register ring equipped with triple sensors. It comes equipped with Tough Solar technology, offering directional, barometric pressure, altitude, and temperature measurement functions.

With dimensions measuring 51mm in diameter, 57mm lug-to-lug, and a thickness of 15.3mm, this Casio timepiece won’t easily slip under a cuff. One notable convenience is its large buttons, allowing users to operate it even while wearing gloves. 

The buttons are also well-protected from knocks and unintended bumps by guards on each side. The resin strap is securely fixed to the lugs of the case using screws.

While the Casio Pro Trek Pathfinder is a versatile watch, excelling in no particular area, it provides ample functionality for the average hiker or outdoor enthusiast.

The Pro Trek Pathfinder is available for $280, making it one of the best value propositions on this list.

Garmin Tactix 7 Pro Edition

Garmin proudly labels the Tactix 7 Pro as “Built for the field,” positioning it as Garmin’s ultimate smartwatch.

Survival features abound in this remarkable Garmin watch, encompassing GPS functionality, a Power Sapphire lens, an integrated flashlight, night vision capability, safety and tracking features, ABC sensors, weather reports, a multitude of workout-related trackers, an aviation mode that empowers wearers to navigate aircraft to precise locations, and much more.

What sets this Garmin watch apart is the fusion of tactical GPS with solar power. Garmin goes the extra mile by encouraging owners to share images of themselves wearing the Tactix 7 Pro in various environments, whether it’s in the gym or atop a mountain summit.

This timepiece is a “beast” of a Garmin watch, ready to handle anything thrown its way. The Tactix 7 Pro represents the pinnacle of Garmin’s survival watches, and its premium status is evident in its price tag of $1,299.99.


In essence, survival watches live up to their name—they are timepieces you’d want to have by your side during times of danger or an emergency. The watches featured above are more than capable of enduring rugged conditions while offering multifunctionality.

They empower wearers with a wide array of tools, from navigating in the right direction to withstanding water exposure and much more. Therefore, if you’re frequently outdoors or have a spirit of adventure, it’s worth considering some of the watches mentioned above as your reliable companions.

Best Garmin Aviation Watches

Garmin watches have gained immense popularity in the last decade. This surge in their prominence aligns with the rapid advancements in modern technology like smartphones, artificial intelligence, and more. 

Notably, Garmin watches have positioned themselves as the preferred choice for multi-sport smartwatches, putting them in direct competition with the Apple Watch. Thus, within their domain, they stand as formidable players demanding serious consideration.

In this review, our focus will be on Garmin’s aviation-oriented watches. These timepieces offer a diverse range of functions, spanning from navigation assistance to comprehensive health monitoring. If you’re intrigued by the world of Garmin watches and wish to delve into their features, join us as we explore these remarkable devices.

About Garmin Aviation Watches

Garmin, founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min H. Kao, is an American technology company. The name “Garmin” is a fusion of the first names of its founders.

Their debut offering, the GPS 100, emerged in 1990 as a panel-mounted GPS receiver tailored to the maritime market. In the following year, Garmin expanded its product range by introducing a handheld GPS device.

Shifting to 2007, Garmin began making inroads into mainstream sports, notably through sponsorships. They became sponsors of the English Premier League on multiple occasions. In 2008, the company also backed the EF Pro Cycling professional cycling team.

Through persistent investment and research, Garmin has continually progressed. Their commitment to innovation has enabled them to distinguish their products from other brands. Consequently, they’ve successfully developed a range of aviation watches across various price points. These aviation watches have redefined industry standards.

Garmin’s present lineup of aviation watches encompasses the D2 series, comprising the Air X10 and Mach 1 models, as well as the MARQ Aviator.

What are Garmin Aviation Watches used for?

Below is a list of key features of Garmin Aviation Watches.

Navigation System – Garmin aviation watches encompass the “Direct to Navigation” function, enabling wearers to navigate to specific locations or waypoints within the global aeronautical database. Additionally, these watches allow users to find the nearest airport efficiently. The premium Garmin aviation watches offer an advanced moving map feature, greatly aiding pilots in preemptively addressing potential challenges that might emerge during flight planning.

Weather Monitoring – Garmin’s aviation timepieces offer a multitude of weather-related functions, granting access to crucial aviation weather data such as METARs, TAFs, and MOS2. These features provide insights into parameters like winds, visibility, barometric pressure, and more. Given the unpredictable nature of natural elements, these capabilities prove invaluable for ensuring safety and preparedness in the face of potential changes. Thus, prioritizing safety remains paramount.

Health Monitoring – This capability is not limited to just Garmin’s aviation watches; it’s also a prominent feature in many of their non-aviation timepieces. Whether you’re running, swimming, or cycling, Garmin ensures comprehensive health monitoring across various activities. This indispensable feature is a cornerstone of your Garmin tool watch. It encompasses hydration tracking, sports apps, health statistics, respiration tracking, workout creation, and an array of other functionalities.

Altitude & Other Flying Parameters – This domain is where Garmin’s aviation watches distinctly outshine any other smartwatches currently available. In the realm of aviation, Garmin has solidified its leadership with an impressive array of flight-related functionalities. These encompass the Barometric Altimeter, allowing wearers to gauge their attained altitude. Notably, there is also a vibrational alert for when an altitude is reached that requires additional oxygen for the wearer.

Moreover, Garmin incorporates the Pulse Ox Sensor, enabling wearers to monitor their pulse oximetry to grasp how effectively their body adapts to the diminished oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Additionally, the top-tier Garmin Aviation watches incorporate an emergency mode, flight logging, and more. The features mentioned here comprehensively fulfill typical requirements in aviation, offering a robust toolkit for pilots.

Smart Connectivity – Garmin’s watches boast intelligent connectivity, facilitating seamless pairing with your smartphone through the Garmin app. This functionality empowers wearers to effortlessly synchronize data from their phones to their watches in real-time. Moreover, it ensures swift access to updates and notifications as they become available. This clever attribute equips Garmin watch wearers to stay in the loop.

Best Garmin Aviation Watches

With that said, here’s the complete lineup of Garmin aviation watches you can get your hands on today:

Garmin D2 Air X10

Garmin’s tagline for this watch series emphasizes it as the “smartwatch for pilots”. The D2 Air X10 serves as the foundational aviation watch crafted by Garmin, akin to the standard iPhone in Apple’s smartphone collection.

Much like Apple’s approach, this standard model lacks certain features, such as the moving map and certain lifestyle-related functionalities. Nevertheless, it remains equipped to automatically log in-flight data health metrics and seamlessly synchronize with the Garmin Pilot App.

The D2 Air X10 features a digital display, GPS capabilities, a pulse oximeter, an array of workout functionalities, and seamless smartphone connectivity.

The D2 Air X10 features a case crafted from fiber-reinforced polymer, complemented by a stainless-steel rear cover and bezel. It boasts a case size of 43.6mm and a thickness of 12.6mm. The lug width measures 20mm, while the watch itself weighs 51g. It holds a water resistance rating of 5ATM.

Ideal for fledgling pilots or those with an adventurous spirit, the D2 Air X10 serves as an aviation smartwatch catering to daily routines while seamlessly syncing with smartphones. In conclusion, among the three Garmin timepieces under scrutiny, the D2 Air X10 stands as the more budget-friendly choice, priced at $549.99.

Garmin D2 Mach 1

According to Garmin, the D2 Mach 1 is a watch designed to “accelerate the adventure”. Serving as Garmin’s premium aviation watch, the Mach 1 boasts a range of robust features tailored for both aviation enthusiasts and everyday use. It includes essential components like a dynamic moving map and radar overlay, features that were absent in the D2 Air X10 watch.

Beyond its aviation-focused attributes, the D2 Mach 1 is equipped with a digital display, GPS, Pulse Oximeter, comprehensive health tracking capabilities, interactive animated workouts, and an array of smartphone integration functions that facilitate updates and notifications. To draw a parallel with Apple’s iPhone lineup, the D2 Mach 1 can be likened to Garmin’s equivalent of the iPhone Pro series in the realm of Garmin’s aviation watches.

The D2 Mach 1 boasts a case crafted from fiber-reinforced polymer, complemented by a titanium rear cover and titanium bezel. Its dimensions include a case size of 47mm and a thickness of 14.5mm, with a lug width of 22mm. 

The weight of the watch head is a mere 59g, and it holds a water resistance rating of 10 ATM (100m). Safeguarding the display is a sapphire crystal. These specifications are impressive, considering the improvement of smartwatches in the last decade. 

Designed for seasoned aviators, the D2 Mach 1 serves as a comprehensive aviation smartwatch capable of serving as a dependable backup should any cockpit equipment issues arise. It stands as a trustworthy companion for experienced pilots. To top it off, the D2 Mach 1 occupies the mid-tier range with a price tag of $1,299.99.

Garmin MARQ Aviator

Garmin boldly proclaims the MARQ Aviator as “the quest for excellence has reached new heights”. Undoubtedly, this stands as the pinnacle of aviation smartwatches not only within Garmin’s repertoire but also within the entirety of the smartwatch industry today.

The MARQ Aviation transcends the boundaries of exceptional software; its high-tier hardware and impeccable build quality rival those of luxury Swiss watch brands within the same price bracket.

Encompassing all the features and functions found in both the D2 Air X10 and D2 Mach 1, the MARQ Aviation goes beyond with an array of additional capabilities. It incorporates safety and tracking features alongside enhanced mapping functions. Returning to the Apple iPhone analogy, the MARQ Aviator can be likened to Garmin’s equivalent of the iPhone Pro Max series in the realm of aviation smartwatches.

The MARQ Aviator boasts a titanium case (Grade 5) with a bezel crafted from a composite of titanium (Grade 5) and ceramic. Its dimensions encompass a case size of 46mm, with a thickness of 15mm and a lug width of 22mm. Despite its robust features, the watch head weighs a mere 47g, thus light and comfortable on the wrist. Sporting a water resistance rating of 10 ATM (100m), the watch employs a remarkable dome sapphire crystal to safeguard the display.

Designed with the seasoned pilot in mind, the MARQ Aviator caters to those with an affinity for luxury Swiss watches who seek a single timepiece that encompasses a myriad of functionalities. Serving as a notable alternative to pilot watches like the Rolex GMT Master II or the Breitling Navitimer, this timepiece stands as the epitome of aviation smartwatches in terms of both software and hardware prowess.

To complete the picture, the MARQ Aviator comes with a premium price tag of $2,400.

Alternatives to Garmin Aviation Watches

For those seeking a technical aviation watch from a well-established watch brand or simply seeking an alternative, I’ve outlined three options below.

Citizen Promaster Altichron (ref. BN5058-07E)

The Citizen Promaster Altichron is a watch brimming with practical functionalities, powered by the Eco-Drive movement that harnesses solar technology to ensure continuous operation. Crafted for adventurous spirits, this timepiece features an altimeter capable of measuring altitudes from 1,000ft to 32,000ft, alongside a compass and date display.

Sporting a substantial 47mm size, the Promaster Altichron’s dimensions are fitting, considering the array of complications and features showcased on its dial. The watch boasts a rotating compass bezel, an electronic compass, a power reserve indicator, and luminous hands and hour markers. 

With a water resistance rating of 200m, there’s no need to fret about water exposure. It’s fair to say that this watch exudes a robust and masculine aura, ready to conquer the most demanding of environments.

With a retail price of $595, the Promaster Altichron offers remarkable value. Keep in mind that Citizen frequently hosts sales throughout the year, making it possible to acquire this timepiece at a discounted rate.

Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Day Date Auto (ref. H77785733)

The Hamilton Khaki X-Wind stands as a remarkable aviation watch, and my admiration for this timepiece has endured over time. The one factor that has kept me from making a purchase is its substantial 45mm case size. Nevertheless, the Hamilton Khaki X-Wind embodies the quintessential tool watch aesthetic, and its visual appeal has consistently held my attention. Once worn, you’ll find it difficult to part with this utilitarian timepiece featuring three crowns.

The dial is graced with a day-date complication positioned at 9 o’clock. The dial’s outer periphery showcases a numbered ring designed for drift angle calculations. Additionally, an outer rotating bezel facilitates wind speed calculations, factoring in both headwind components and crosswind angles. These functionalities prove invaluable for assisting pilots in calculating angle and wind speed to ensure precise aircraft landing.

Initially priced at $1,245, the Hamilton Khaki X-Wind was eventually discontinued by the brand. However, it’s still possible to acquire a new piece through authorized Hamilton retailers or on the secondary market.

Breitling Aerospace Evo (ref. E79363101B1E1)

The Breitling Aerospace Evo stands as a prime example of a luxury quartz watch, renowned for its abundance of action-packed features. Originating in 1985, the Aerospace collection has seen continuous evolution under the Breitling brand.

Built from titanium, both in its case and bracelet, the Aerospace Evo combines comfort and lightweight wear on the wrist. The case measures 43mm in diameter, boasts a thickness of 10.8mm, and flaunts a lug-to-lug length of 52mm, accompanied by a lug width of 22mm.

As per Breitling’s description, the Aerospace Evo hosts an officially chronometer-certified SuperQuartz™ caliber. Its user-friendly control system, activated by the crown, encompasses an array of functions, including a 1/100th of a second chronograph, countdown timer, second timezone, alarm, audible time signal (minute repeater), and calendar display.

A rotating bezel allows for countdown timing, enhancing the timepiece’s functionality. Additionally, the Aerospace Evo features LCD digital displays positioned beneath the 12 o’clock marker and above the 6 o’clock marker, with the added convenience of backlighting.

The Aerospace Evo has genuinely piqued my interest, joining my curiosity for the Navitimer Chronograph collection within the Breitling lineup. With a premium price tag of $4,450, some might question the cost of a quartz watch. However, when considering the chronometer specifications and the plethora of advanced technology packed within, the value proposition becomes evident.


Garmin Aviation Watches offer a broad range of functions that can prove exceptionally valuable for pilots and even explorers. These timepieces present pilots with an accessible navigation system at the mere turn of a wrist, particularly handy in case the plane’s navigation features encounter malfunctions. 

The integrated weather monitoring application becomes a vital tool, enabling pilots to anticipate and assess flight path conditions. Additionally, the altitude measurement function can be vital for pilots as they must vigilantly monitor the aircraft’s height during flight, ensuring safe navigation and averting altitude conflicts with other airborne craft sharing the same airspace.

Owning a Garmin Watch could indeed simplify a pilot’s life, yet these watches might not cater to everyone’s preferences. As an avid watch collector, I’ve managed to resist the urge to own a smartwatch presently. 

Nevertheless, on occasion, I use my wife’s Apple Watch during workouts to track my heart rate and calories burned. Technological advancements continually refine Garmin Watches, mirroring the broader march of progress. Therefore, embracing these technological strides is akin to embracing the transformative evolution in the commercial aviation industry over the years.

In the watchmaking industry, automatic and quartz movements are widely employed to power watches. Consequently, the debate surrounding quartz versus automatic watches has become a constant topic of discussion within the watch community. Both seasoned collectors and newcomers will likely encounter at least one of these watch types.

Seiko introduced the first quartz watch in 1969, thereby revolutionizing the watchmaking market and sparking what is now known as the “Quartz Crisis”. Numerous Swiss watchmakers faced financial difficulties as a direct result. Nevertheless, in recent years, driven by the significant influence of social media, automatic watches (and hype timepieces) have experienced a resurgence. For the purpose of this discussion, our primary focus will be on comparing quartz and automatic watches.

About Quartz Watches

When it comes to how quartz watches work, a quartz movement can be described as an electronic circuit board housing coils, a magnet, an oscillator, and a piece of mineral quartz. Powered by a battery, the mineral quartz vibrates multiple times per second. These vibrations, in turn, cause the seconds hand to tick once per second.

The consistent and precise vibrations serve as the foundation for the accurate timekeeping mechanism of the quartz movement. Furthermore, due to their relatively low number of mechanical parts, quartz movements require minimal maintenance, are affordable, and rarely experience malfunctions. These advantages make quartz watches ideal for individuals seeking a simple timepiece that reliably tells the time.

About Automatic Watches

Automatic watches are often known as self-winding timepieces since they incorporate a rotor that automatically winds the watch as the wearer moves their wrist. When the watch is in motion, the rotor spins, transferring energy to the mainspring and effectively winding the movement.

Additionally, regular wear of an automatic watch enables the movement to build and sustain a power reserve, similar to adding oil to a car. This means that even when the watch is taken off and set aside, it will continue to run due to the stored power reserve. The timepiece  will only stop once the power reserve is depleted.

Quartz vs Automatic Watches: History & Origin

Quartz watches made their debut in 1969 with the introduction of the Seiko Quartz Astron. This marked a significant milestone for Seiko and a turning point in the Swiss watch industry. The impact was so profound that it led to the demise of numerous Swiss watch brands during the “Quartz Crisis”.

In terms of historical timeline, quartz emerged as a newer technology that effectively replaced the older and outdated automatic timepieces. However, in present times, quartz watches coexist alongside automatic watches.

On the other hand, automatic timekeeping devices have been in existence for over a century. The earliest known automatic watch dates back to the 18th century. Evidence indicates that Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet was one of the first to successfully design and create an automatic pocket watch. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that automatic wristwatches gained popularity and captured the general public’s interest. Notable examples from that era include the Cartier Tank Normale and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.

Fast-forwarding to the present, automatic timepieces have significantly evolved and become more refined. Interestingly, within the watch-collecting community, there seems to be a preference for automatic watches. Despite being less accurate, more expensive, and requiring more maintenance compared to quartz watches, automatic timepieces hold their appeal. This preference could be attributed to sentimentality, personal taste, and appreciation for engineering and craftsmanship, among other reasons.

In today’s world, automatic watches are considered a luxury since we no longer rely on them solely for timekeeping. With smartphones serving as modern-day pocket watches, fulfilling a multitude of purposes in our daily lives, the choice to wear an automatic watch becomes a deliberate choice driven by personal appreciation.

Pros & Cons of Quartz Watches

Every individual has their own preferences and reasons for choosing either quartz or automatic timepieces. Let’s begin by examining the pros of quartz before delving into the cons.


Firstly, quartz watches excel in their timekeeping accuracy, rarely losing or gaining time. This precision is particularly valuable for individuals who rely on accurate timekeeping throughout their day. Secondly, quartz timepieces are known for their reliability and low maintenance requirements compared to their automatic counterparts.

Quartz watches exhibit minimal deviation, ensuring that once the time is set, it remains accurate and less susceptible to environmental and positional factors. Furthermore, quartz watches do not rely on kinetic energy from the wearer.

This means that individuals do not need to engage in physical activities to power the watch’s timekeeping mechanism. Once again, this highlights the low-maintenance nature of quartz watches.

Thirdly, when it comes to reliability, the durability of quartz timepieces is worth noting. The inner workings of a quartz watch involve an electronic system comprising coils, mineral quartz, a microchip, an oscillator, and a battery. As a result, if a quartz watch is subjected to impact or dropped, the likelihood of damage to the quartz movement is significantly reduced.

In comparison, an automatic movement relies on mechanical components that can potentially become displaced or dislodged due to impacts. Such occurrences can adversely affect timekeeping or, in the worst-case scenario, cause the movement to stop functioning altogether.

Furthermore, regular servicing is typically not necessary for quartz timepieces, apart from the occasional battery replacement every 1-2 years or as needed. This aspect brings about less concern for the wearer in terms of maintenance and upkeep.

Fourthly, affordability is another advantage of quartz watches compared to their automatic counterparts. As an example, let’s consider the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m, which was released in the 1990s in both quartz (ref 2541.80) and automatic (ref 2531.80) models.

I personally own the Seamaster Professional 300m ref 2531.80, which was my first luxury watch purchase. It is an exquisite timepiece that has accompanied me on my travels around the world.

Returning to the topic at hand, the quartz and automatic versions of the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m share the same appearance, differing only by a line of text above the 6 o’clock position on the dial. However, when they were initially released, the quartz version was more affordable than its automatic counterpart.

Even in today’s secondary market, the automatic version commands a higher price. Consequently, if you find a watch you like and it is available in both quartz and automatic versions, opting for the quartz model can save you some money.

Lastly, quartz watches are typically thinner and lighter due to their simpler movement design without any additional mechanical components. With fewer parts, they weigh less, allowing for slimmer watch cases. This results in quartz watches feeling more comfortable on the wrist and, at times, barely noticeable in terms of weight.


On the other hand, it’s important to acknowledge that quartz watches have their fair share of disadvantages as well. Firstly, there exists a stigma within a segment of the watch community that considers quartz watches to be cheap and disposable timepieces.

This perception is more prevalent with fashion watches, where prices are often significantly inflated compared to the actual manufacturing cost. These watches lack value and can end up costing more to repair than the sum of their parts.

Secondly, quartz watches typically feature a seconds hand that ticks once per second rather than sweeping smoothly like the seconds hand of automatic watches. This has led to a misconception perpetuated by pop culture and media, with phrases such as “Rolexes don’t tick” becoming common. These misconceptions reinforce the notion that quartz watches are cheap.

However, as you have learned, this is not always the case. Additionally, quartz watches are often influenced by fashion trends. Many fashion brands that sell watches incorporate quartz movements into designs that align with specific trends or styles.

However, these styles are often short-lived and quickly become outdated. Consequently, the watch may be perceived as disposable as fashion trends come and go. Additionally, fashion brands often lack historical significance within horology and typically exhibit a noticeable lack of quality control in their watches.

What’s more, there is often an association of lesser craftsmanship and quality with quartz watches when compared to automatic watches. Automatic movements consist of a greater number of parts, requiring more time and attention to assemble, whether done by machines or humans. 

However, with a few exceptions (such as the FP Journe Elegante), most quartz watches are assembled by machines on a production line. Consequently, the level of skill and effort involved in producing a quartz timepiece is generally lower than that required for an automatic counterpart.

Finally, it’s worth noting that quartz movement watches utilize lithium batteries. If a quartz watch is not worn for an extended period and stops running, there is a possibility that the battery could leak. This leakage can lead to damage to the watch movement, requiring a major overhaul or even replacement of the quartz movement itself. As a result, servicing costs for quartz watches can be higher than usual.

Below is a summary of the Pros of quartz watches:

• Highly accurate 

• Reliable & low maintenance

• Durability

• Affordability

• Lightweight & thinner

Below is a summary of the Cons of quartz watches:

• Stigmatized as being cheap

• Fashion influenced 

• Lacks craftsmanship and quality 

• Battery Leaks may damage movement 

Pros & Cons of Automatic Watches

Now, let’s delve into the pros and cons of automatic watches, starting with the positives first.


Firstly, automatic watches have the potential to last beyond one’s lifetime if they are properly maintained and kept in good condition. Regular servicing, including seal changes, ensures the continuous reliability of the timepiece, making it usable for many generations to come. This longevity makes automatic watches a worthwhile investment.

Secondly, automatic watches possess a distinct sentimental value and carry a sense of soul. They are often cherished as family heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next. Just imagine the significance of receiving your grandfather’s watch on your 18th birthday or wedding day.

These truly special occasions in one’s lifetime are made even more remarkable by the presence of an automatic timepiece, which adds a touch of history and tradition to these cherished events. Thirdly, automatic watches boast a higher level of quality and craftsmanship compared to quartz timepieces. This becomes more apparent when one removes the case back and observes the intricate mechanical components of an automatic movement.

The gears, cogs, bridges, and screws are meticulously assembled within the movement with specific and precise tolerances. Even the slightest dislodgement or looseness of a small piece can significantly impact the timekeeping accuracy of an automatic watch. Therefore, a high degree of engineering is involved in creating each automatic timepiece to ensure it operates according to the manufacturer’s specific timekeeping standards.

While not every automatic watch reaches the same level of Swiss excellence, for those that do, there is an undeniable sense of owning something truly exceptional. Such watches embody the dedication of time, effort, and mastery that goes into their production.

Fourthly, automatic watches feature sweeping seconds hands, which are often perceived by the general public as a hallmark of higher quality and craftsmanship. As mentioned earlier, many individuals believe that all Rolex timepieces have a sweeping seconds hand, but the Rolex Oyster Quartz collection challenges this perception.

Furthermore, automatic watches possess a timeless and traditional design and essence. Automatic timepieces were invented several decades prior to the introduction of the first quartz watch in 1969. As a result, there is an artisanal heritage associated with the craftsmanship of automatic watches. They are often characterized by a refined and enduring design. 

For example, automatic wristwatches gained greater popularity in the 1920s, and vintage models from that era are still cherished and worn by watch collectors today. This demonstrates that the designs of early automatic watches have stood the test of time and remain relevant even in the present day.

Lastly, automatic movements are visually appealing. They consist of numerous mechanical parts such as the mainspring, cogs, screws, bridges, rotors, and more. While the level of finishing may vary across different watches, in general, the intricate interplay of these mechanical components is captivating to behold. Automatic movements offer a dynamic and engaging visual experience, contrasting with the seemingly static nature of quartz movements when viewed with the naked eye.


Nevertheless, there are still drawbacks to automatic movements, despite their popularity among watch collectors. Firstly, automatic watches are generally less accurate in terms of timekeeping compared to quartz watches. The advancements in quartz movement technology have far surpassed automatic technology regarding basic timekeeping.

A notable example is the Citizen Caliber 0100, introduced in 2019, which is considered the world’s most accurate quartz movement. This exceptional movement is housed within the Citizen watch reference AQ6021-51E. With an accuracy rating of +-1 second per year, this quartz watch sets a remarkable standard that cannot be matched by any automatic movement.

As someone who has owned several Citizen watches, I have come to trust the brand’s quality and believe in the reliability of their bold timekeeping claim. Secondly, automatic watches rely on winding or kinetic movement from the wearer to power the automatic movement. The most common automatic movements have a power reserve ranging from 38 to 80 hours.

However, watches with a shorter power reserve may pose a challenge. For instance, if you stop wearing your watch on a Friday evening, by Monday morning, the watch may have stopped running, requiring manual winding to restart the movement.

Furthermore, some owners of Seiko watches powered by the newer 6R automatic movement (with a 70-hour power reserve) have reported that when the power reserve runs low, the timekeeping of the watch becomes erratic and lacks stability compared to the older 6R15 Seiko movement (with approximately 50 hours of power reserve).

Additionally, not everyone enjoys the inconvenience of needing to regularly engage with their watch. Some individuals prefer to set the time once and have it maintain accuracy for an extended period without the need for regular winding or involvement.

Thirdly, owning an automatic watch entails greater maintenance requirements to ensure its longevity. Regular servicing intervals are necessary to maintain the accuracy of the movement at a high standard. Additionally, automatic watches may require more frequent changes of gaskets or seals, especially if the timepiece is frequently exposed to aquatic environments. 

These maintenance tasks are crucial for preserving the water resistance of the watch case. The cumulative effect of various maintenance-related work can lead to significant expenses associated with owning an automatic watch.

Fourthly, automatic timepieces tend to be more expensive than their quartz counterparts due to the craftsmanship and engineering involved in their production. As mentioned in my previous example of the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m, you may find a more affordable option with the same appearance in a quartz model. By opting for the quartz version, you can save money while still enjoying the brand heritage and prestige associated with it.

Lastly, the presence of numerous mechanical parts in automatic movements results in thicker and heavier watch cases compared to quartz timepieces. The increased thickness may impact comfort on the wrist or hinder the watch from sliding under a dress cuff, especially in the case of thicker automatic dress watches. While the thickness may be appropriate and desired for certain timepieces like dive watches, many individuals would appreciate a thinner automatic movement and watch case if given the option.

Moreover, the weight of an automatic watch can become an issue if it is particularly heavy and worn for extended periods. This can lead to discomfort depending on one’s activities throughout the day. Additionally, there is a myth that the weight of a watch is a common indicator of its quality.

While this may hold true for precious metal watches (e.g., yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum), it is not always the case. For example, Richard Mille employs titanium as the primary material for the watch cases of several of their models, which challenges the notion that weight alone determines quality.

Below is a summary of the Pros of automatic watches:

• Reliable long term 

• Heirloom factor

• Higher quality & craftsmanship 

• Timeless & traditional 

• Aesthetically attractive movements 

Below is a summary of the Cons of automatic watches:

• Less accurate 

• Requires winding 

• Higher maintenance 

• More expensive 

• Heavier & thicker 

Quartz vs Automatic Watches: Which One Should You Choose?

Below, we will explore additional factors that are relevant to both quartz and automatic watches. Considering these factors can help you determine which type of watch best suits your needs.


There is no doubt that quartz is the more accurate movement. When you set the time on a quartz watch, you can be confident that it will maintain a high level of accuracy. On the other hand, automatic watches require either regular winding or consistent wearing to keep the power reserve from running empty.

Price & Availability

Once again, quartz timepieces come out on top in terms of price and availability. They are generally more affordable and easier to find compared to automatic watches. Quartz watches offer great value for money as they perform the same essential function of telling time. Additionally, due to the higher demand for automatic watches, quartz timepieces are more readily obtainable in the market.

Service Cost

Once again, in terms of affordability, quartz watches come out on top in this category. Quartz watches typically require a battery change every 1-2 years, which is a simple service that can often be done at home with the right tools to open the case back and replace the battery.

There is no need for major overhauls or oiling of mechanical parts with quartz watches. In contrast, servicing an automatic watch can be costly due to the complexity involved in disassembling the movement and replacing any broken mechanical components.

It usually requires taking the timepiece to a professional watchmaker who will carefully examine and service the watch. Even for watch enthusiasts like myself, the most complex service I have performed on my own timepieces is to remove the case back and regulate my watches by adjusting the regulation screw or pin.

Watch Variety

This is a category where automatic watches excel over quartz watches, particularly due to the longer history of automatic watch production compared to the introduction of quartz watches in 1969. Automatic watches offer a greater variety of options, as mentioned earlier. 

However, it’s important to note that they are also in higher demand, especially when it comes to “hype” watches and models from renowned brands such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Audemars Piguet. This popularity can be a double-edged sword for luxury watch brands, as it creates both opportunities and challenges in meeting the demand for their coveted timepieces.


In conclusion, quartz and automatic watches each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Quartz watches are known for their superior accuracy, while automatic watches often exhibit a higher level of craftsmanship. However, comparing the inner workings of quartz and automatic watches is akin to comparing apples and oranges.

Rather than favoring one type over the other, it is important to appreciate the diverse range of watches available to us as consumers. As a fellow watch collector, I welcome the growth of the watch community, whether it is driven by the popularity of automatic or quartz watches.

Alternatively, we could delve into the realm of Seiko’s Spring Drive movement watches, but that discussion can be saved for another time.

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