When Seiko introduced the world to the first quartz wristwatch, the Astron, on Christmas day in 1969, it was a gift of mixed blessings. On the one hand, we were given incredibly simple, accurate and reliable timekeeping technology that promised top performance at an affordable price. On the other, it ushered in the Quartz Crisis: an immediate thinning of the herd and the near decimation of a centuries-old Swiss saga of craftsmanship and mechanical artistry. Because of this, the crystal-powered timepiece that was once dubbed the way of the future today carries a dubious connotation in serious watch circles — no matter how well made it may be.
That needs to change. The quartz watch was our introduction to timekeeping — the gateway drug that spurred our talk of ticks and led to our appreciation of mechanized complications — and like our first car, it demands respect. Battery-powered watches pack incredible complications, intricate details and robust build quality into an infinitely wearable and affordable package. Though a quartz timepiece probably won’t be anyone’s grail watch, even the most ardent watch snob would be proud to strap any of these six upon his wrist.