To exhibit, or not exhibit, quartz movements? Your answers to the question To exhibit, or not exhibit, quartz movements? Your answers to the question

To exhibit, or not exhibit, quartz movements? Your answers to the question

Zach Blass

Snobbery is an unfortunate element, at times, within the watch community. Fortunately, there are many moments where #watchfam comes together — charity auctions for Ukraine and breast cancer are just a few examples. But on social media, where much of the dialogue surrounding watches happens these days, sometimes you need to bring a riot shield to protect you from the harsh critiques and commentary. One facet of the watch world that is frequently subject to snobbery is quartz watchmaking. To some, quartz watches lack the romanticism, classicism, and elegance of traditional watchmaking. Especially after the quartz crisis, which nearly killed off mechanical watchmaking for good, there are strong attitudes and perspectives towards quartz watches. These days, however, both spaces are thriving and, while some cannot accept this, they are happily coexisting.


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When the new Grand Seiko SPGP017 Limited Edition dropped, the discussion of quartz, its value, and beauty, once again came to the forefront of watch community discussion. After a recent post on our Instagram regarding whether or not quartz movements were worthy of exhibition, it is clear for every naysayer there are also collectors rooting for quartz to be on display.

Keep it closed: The detractors

Some of you exhibited a strong disdain for quartz exhibition; in certain cases more eloquently than others.

casebacks for quartz

Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but some were quick to dismiss the idea entirely — offering up little analysis beyond ewww quartz, ewww batteries.

casebacks for quartz

casebacks for quartz

Others respectfully revealed they did not see beauty in quartz exhibition, but the common thread throughout those engaging with the post — that do not see quartz calibres as worthy of exhibition — was a lack of explanation.

Yes… but we have some suggestions

Movement Picture
Grand Seiko’s 9F86 Quartz Movement

A lot of commenters believed there could be beauty in a quartz calibre, but also had suggestions on how to make it appropriately beautiful for exhibition via a sapphire caseback.

casebacks for quartz

casebacks for quartz

These enthusiasts commonly appreciated the decoration of the 9F quartz calibre that sparked the discussion, but felt that one element that is an eyesore is the battery itself. Many suggested that the battery should be coated to colour match the golden hue of the movement, while others felt the battery lacked decoration — one user proposing a battery decorated with perlage.

casebacks for quartz

One Seiko lover expressed an interest in taking things a step even further. Like the others, the battery was the only point of contention. But, as someone appreciative of quartz, Seiko in-house quartz in particular, @vintageseiko felt the battery was missing a “bird” motif (to put it lightly). This would serve as a symbol to annoy quartz snobs, and proudly stand in defiance of their dismissive opinions.

We demand more quartz exhibition!

A strong contingent in the comments was all for the exhibition of quartz calibres; the 9F, in particular.

casebacks for quartz

In fact, many felt Grand Seiko should make 9F exhibition standard rather than solely for limited editions.

casebacks for quartz

Like above, a lot of commenters were supportive of quartz exhibition beyond Grand Seiko’s repertoire.

When you push the instinctive quartz snobbery away, and separate the tech from the aesthetic, it makes sense that a calibre, regardless of its escapement status, can be decorated — and why not show off decoration?

My own thoughts…

The Grand Seiko SPGP017 that sparked this conversation

Ultimately, the answer, in my opinion, is if something is well-decorated then show it off. I also agree, in the context of Grand Seiko, that quartz is a proud part of the brand’s heritage and emblematic of their expansive knowledge in all facets of watchmaking. So, why hide it? That being said, quartz these days is often an avenue for watch buyers to buy a highly accurate timepiece at a lower price. Decoration, and exhibition with sapphire glass on its own, will raise the price on a given quartz watch. Therefore, unless there is heritage at play, or a more than solid effort to decorate the calibre, I would say keep the caseback closed. We often say the same thing with mass-produced mechanical calibres, and I feel the same rules apply here for quartz.