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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been lusting after my grail watch, the omega Aqua terra sky fall blue, specifically the mechanical version. However, if I'm being honest with myself, it will likely be many years, if ever, until I have anything close to the free capital to buy it. Even if I could, I doubt I could stomach the concept of spending the cost of a nice new (and at least for me) upscale watch every 5 years to service it, let alone try to sell that concept to my wife.
What I could do, conceptually, would be to find the quartz version for a decent price used, which would (if I understand things correctly) only need servicing if it broke down. However I have trouble with this option for a few reasons.
1) as a mechanical engineer, I have a much easier time appreciating the mechanical watches than the quartz ones (not saying I can't, I have a wonderful quartz longines, just not quite as crazy about Quartz)
2) at this point I'm neither a watch noob nor an expert, so I've spent the past couple months looking down my nose at any non-HAQ (non grand seiko) quartz watches.
3) I just don't know that much about Quartz movements, especially whether any particular workmanship goes into them

Please help me understand. Is there anything at all special about an Omega quartz watch over say, a Casio (or no name dollar store) watch? Is most of the quality of a watch in the movement? Is there really enough in the casing/ crystal/ dial/ details to justify this price? I LOVE the look of the watch, but if it's just that, both sea gull and ball have homages to this, ball's being particularly nice.

In short, can people help my understand and appreciate the world of upscale watches outside the movement, as well as the world of quartz watches?


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Well - what's special about Omega quartz is the case, dial, bracelet, hands, crystal - all have same craftsmanship as the mechanical version. Just the movement used is quartz rather than mechanical. From manufacturer's perspective - the true cost difference is not huge. But from owner's perspective - you have to determine if mechanical vs quartz matters. As you said - many here appreciate mechanical watches due to all the gears and complexity of the movements.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with quartz - they are fine watches, often sharing same case\dial\crystal (Omega AT being the example), and can deliver excellent timekeeping with minimal hassle (servicing interval less frequent, easy battery change, etc). What they lack is the mechanical soul. Some will laugh at that as craziness of inanimate objects having a "soul", but for many here - that's why we collect watches (vs using iphone to tell time).

If I may be bold, I'd suggest that you go ahead with a mechanical watch, just not Omega. If it's a question of many years before funds are available for Omega AT, there are many wonderful affordable mechanical watches that can be a pleasure to own and wear.

If you are looking for a nice mechanical watch, there are hundreds available in <$500 range.
If you like Omega AT design specifically, I would recommend one of similarly designed watches. While not a big fan of homages in general, one can appreciate limited funds and look at all the options - Seagull and Orient Star both make AT homages, Mido and Tissot have a bit more unique watches, but some similar design elements
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I appreciate the in depth response, especially regarding the workmanship of the other parts of the watch. I'm not so much asking about the difference between mechanical and quartz, as I already appreciate the mechanical movement. I have two mechanical watches that I adore, a garage-yet-still-beautiful Kenneth Cole, and a really nice and more expensive (at least for me) and high quality Hamilton GMT.
My question here is more whether, as in mechanical watches, there is a world of quartz movements in which there are nice/ desirable Quartz movements with workmanship put into them (outside of seiko) or whether a Quartz watch is a Quartz watch regardless of whether is is a $4 vending machine watch or a $40,000 Audemars Piguet


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It's a matter of time before someone brings up a Grand Seiko. I don't know much about their currently line up, but if you like their style, they offer probably the best quartz movement in the industry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Heh I brought it up myself in my original post as an exception. I know that they live in a class of their own (and frankly love them) but they definitely SEEM to be an exception to the rules. I'm trying to ignore them in this particular example.


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My question here is more whether, as in mechanical watches, there is a world of quartz movements in which there are nice/ desirable Quartz movements with workmanship put into them (outside of seiko) or whether a Quartz watch is a Quartz watch regardless of whether is is a $4 vending machine watch or a $40,000 Audemars Piguet
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There are indeed appreciable differences in quality. Not all quartz are the same.

However, IMHO offhand, the only quartzes worth having (with exceptional movements) are the following:

- Grand Seiko Quartz (all having the 9F Movement)
- Citizen Chronomasters (with CTQ Movement)
- Citizen Campanolas
- Breitling Superquartz
- (possibly) Sinn UX
- Some vintage tuning fork movements, although you'll feel it come maintenence time

The Omega AT Quartz, unfortunately, is not one of these.
 

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I don't know precisely what you mean by "workmanship" OP, but I can say that there is a large spectrum of quality when it comes to Quartz movements and yes, some Quartz movements are much more desirable than others. I have a Certina DS-2 which has a 251.264 ETA PreciDrive movement (COSC) and this is a bit more desirable than my other DS-2 which has the ETA F06.411 PreciDrive, which itself is considerably more desirable than my Victorinox Nightvision which has a Ronda Normtech 705. Why is one more desirable? Well, things like how many motors a movement has, whether it is thermo compensated, to what accuracy can it measure, what battery type/ life it has, etc. are why.
 

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A quartz luxury watch is the same as a mechanical luxury watch. The difference is the movement. So yes there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between a Casio and an Omega. This is not a knock on Casio, they make excellent watches and I own a few but they are not luxury watches.
 

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What is worth having or not is subjective in nature.

In terms of accuracy, the Omega Quartz watches should be very accurate, as most good Quartz watches should be, so that may not be a distinguishing factor. But there is the end of life indicator that is present in the Omega AT Quartz, this will let you know that a battery change is imminent and therefore prevent issues that could occur with dead/dying batteries left in a watch. The movement is also rhodium plated, which helps reduce the effects of abrasion and/or corrosion.


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I love my very own Omega Seamaster Pro, quartz midsize version. Very well finished. Nothing to be ashamed.
 

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I've been lusting after my grail watch, the omega Aqua terra sky fall blue, specifically the mechanical version. However, if I'm being honest with myself, it will likely be many years, if ever, until I have anything close to the free capital to buy it. Even if I could, I doubt I could stomach the concept of spending the cost of a nice new (and at least for me) upscale watch every 5 years to service it, let alone try to sell that concept to my wife.
What I could do, conceptually, would be to find the quartz version for a decent price used, which would (if I understand things correctly) only need servicing if it broke down. However I have trouble with this option for a few reasons.
1) as a mechanical engineer, I have a much easier time appreciating the mechanical watches than the quartz ones (not saying I can't, I have a wonderful quartz longines, just not quite as crazy about Quartz)
2) at this point I'm neither a watch noob nor an expert, so I've spent the past couple months looking down my nose at any non-HAQ (non grand seiko) quartz watches.
3) I just don't know that much about Quartz movements, especially whether any particular workmanship goes into them

Please help me understand. Is there anything at all special about an Omega quartz watch over say, a Casio (or no name dollar store) watch? Is most of the quality of a watch in the movement? Is there really enough in the casing/ crystal/ dial/ details to justify this price? I LOVE the look of the watch, but if it's just that, both sea gull and ball have homages to this, ball's being particularly nice.

In short, can people help my understand and appreciate the world of upscale watches outside the movement, as well as the world of quartz watches?


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If you want the automatic there is no point buying your way up with a quartz version which you will never enjoy. A Omega quartz does not come cheap.

Different story with Tag Heuer. Their quartz offerings are cheaper (especially on the grey market).
Have you had a look at some Tag Heuer Aquaracer offers (automatic or quartz) in their lineup? The design very broadly bears some semblance to the Omega Aqua Terra.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In the end I doubt I'll be buying the quartz, as they never made the quartz version in skyfall blue. But I'm appreciating the different points of view. I'm still not sure about getting homages, as I'm not sure whether it's going to scratch the itch for the time being or just drive me crazy.
There's also a more irrational overriding desire to own an omega, which I'm trying to get rid of because I can't really ascribe any sensible reason to it. For some reason, I just love the brand.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wish it was that simple, there is no saving. Any money saved will be put aside for tuition, eventual house upgrade, vacation, kids, retirement etc. And maybe, just maybe one day I'll be successful enough that I can afford this kind of expense.
Any watch over $500 that comes to me in the coming years will be a gift from relatives for some event or another. Maybe a birthday, but likely that will be limited to about 1200, maybe 1500 if I can add a bit to it. It's all a question of priority, and expensive hobbies are low on that list.


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There are indeed appreciable differences in quality. Not all quartz are the same.

However, IMHO offhand, the only quartzes worth having (with exceptional movements) are the following:

- Grand Seiko Quartz (all having the 9F Movement)
- Citizen Chronomasters (with CTQ Movement)
- Citizen Campanolas
- Breitling Superquartz
- (possibly) Sinn UX
- Some vintage tuning fork movements, although you'll feel it come maintenence time

The Omega AT Quartz, unfortunately, is not one of these.
I tend to agree. Just to clarify, the Chronomaster calibre is A660 (CTQ is part of the model designation), the new Eco-Drive versions are cal A010.

A couple of years ago Omega downgraded the AT quartz, reducing the dial quality and changing the movement calibre. The old movement was not HAQ, but it was decent and had an independently adjustable hour hand. That is not the case anymore and there is nothing to recommend the current AT quartz. Choose a better quartz watch or save up for the AT automatic.
 
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