The internal working mechanism of a watch will determine how it propels the hands around the dial to keep perfect time. Whether mechanical, quartz, rechargeable, or solar-powered, the watch you wear will serve a practical purpose as well as looking sophisticated and stylish. So what’s the best watch for men in terms of movement, you ask?
If you aren’t sure which watch movement is best for you, you’re in luck, because we’ve created this very simple guide to eight of our favorite watches on the market right now. The selection comprises a mix of solar-powered watches, kinetic watches, hybrid smartwatches, quartz watches and mechanical movements – each one with its own set of unique features.
Will you choose Seiko’s expert solar-powered technology, Omega’s precise chronograph movement, a Smartwatch for keeping track of health, fitness, and communication, or Citizen’s environmentally-friendly Eco-Drive movement? Let’s see.
Whether you think you’ll love the idea of traditionally winding up your watch movement, or prefer to add a unique edge to your daily wardrobe with a high-tech solar-powered movement, it’s always a great idea to do plenty of research. Look into the best watch movements on the market before you decide to buy. You may wish to weigh up what each watch movement can offer with this simple guide we’ve created.
View The Best Watch Movements Below
1. Quartz Watch Movement
Tag Heuer Formula 1 Watch
With its oversized “6” and “12” against a deep blue dial, there’s no mistaking this Formula 1 watch from TAG Heuer. The luxury watch uses a quartz movement that powers a luminous coated central hour and a minute hand around the display, along with a vibrant orange-colored second hand.
You can clearly see the minute track around the periphery of this watch while keeping track of the days of the month with a legible date window at 3 o’clock. You can style this TAG Heuer model with casual or smart attire thanks to its classic stainless steel bracelet with logo-engraved deployment clasp.
+ Powered by a quartz movement
+ Movement protected by 200-meter water-resistant case
+ 43mm stainless steel model
+ Simple three-hand dial design
+ Anti-glare sapphire glass lens
Why We Like It – A quartz-powered movement like this one from TAG Heuer provides incredible accuracy for years of wear on the wrist.
2. Automatic Watch Movement
Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 Automatic
This Tissot Le Locle watch uses the brand’s in-house made Powermatic80 movement. As the name of the movement suggests, it can provide you with an 80-hour power source, making it a great timepiece to take away with you on business trips or vacation. You can alternate the Swiss watch with another timepiece and still have peace of mind that the movement will keep perfect time for you.
The design of this automatic watch is classic and understated. Its black dial is adorned with traditional Roman numeral hour markers, placed against a guilloche textured surface. The watch features a date aperture at 3 o’clock, balanced beautifully by the iconic Tissot band lettering at the top of the dial.
+ Powered by the automatic Powermatic80 movement
+ Traditional black leather strap
+ Special engraved transparent caseback
+ 30-meter water-resistant
+ 39.3mm steel case
Why We Like It – This automatic Swiss movement from Tissot offers an impressive 80-hour power reserve, giving you more flexibility when it comes to swapping your watch over for different occasions.
3. Eco-Drive Watch Movement
Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver
This watch is sure to add something unique to the wrist since it’s powered by light. Energy is converted into the movement for powering the hands around the dial, but what makes Citizen’s Eco-Drive watches so special is that even the dimmest light can power these watches for months.
Aside from Citizen’s eco-friendly technology, the model is also constructed from premium materials for guaranteeing robustness. The dial of the timepiece features an archetypal diving watch aesthetic, with chunky luminous hands and indexes. Elapsed time is shown on the ratcheted bezel, plus the watch’s caseback and crown are screwed down to uphold an impressive 300-meter water resistance.
+ Caliber B873 – solar-powered movement
+ Never needs a battery
+ Black dial with luminous accents
+ Rugged steel case – 48mm
+ Supple back rubber strap with wetsuit extension facility
Why We Like It – This solar-powered watch from Citizen’s Eco-Drive Promaster Dive collection features a 6mm non-reflective curved crystal lens for easy observing of the dial’s details.
4. Mechanical Movement
Victorinox’ Maverick’ Swiss Casual Watch
This mechanical watch from Victorinox features a sapphire glass caseback, giving you the chance to watch the movement as it works continually to provide accurate timekeeping. The black dial of the Swiss timepiece is equipped with luminous hands and a striking red-colored second hand.
The “9” and “3” are represented in Arabic numerals around the hour track. The model also provides the date at the 6 o’clock location. Mechanical watches like this Maverick watch create a powerful presence on the wrist, especially since it enrobes the arm with a rugged steel bracelet.
+ Powered by mechanical movement
+ Sapphire crystal glass front and back
+ 100-meter water resistance
+ Steel bracelet with folding clasp
+ 43mm case diameter
Why We Like It – You can view how the different components of this mechanical movement have been arranged through the back of this Victorinox Maverick Casual watch.
5. Solar-Powered Movement
Seiko SNE329 Sport Solar-Powered Watch
The Seiko Sport Solar-Powered watch needs no battery. Like the Citizen Eco-Drive models, it utilizes energy taken from light to keep accurate time. This multi-functional watch can provide ten months’ worth of power. The rich black dial of this Seiko watch is classic and elegant.
The white hands against a bold block color enable them to “pop” out of the wrist. Lumibright technology has been used on the surface of the hands and hour markers to ensure you may access the time come day or night.
+ Solar-powered watch
+ No need to replace batteries
+ 10 months’ worth of power once charged
+ 43mm stainless steel case – 100-meter water-resistant
+ Nylon band with buckle closure
Why We Like It – You won’t need to worry about replacing a new battery with this Seiko Sport watch. It even has a safety mechanism to prevent the watch from overcharging itself.
6. Hybrid-Smartwatch Movement
Withings Steel Hybrid Smartwatch
Despite its traditional design, this Hybrid Smartwatch from Withings is powered by a quartz movement. You can enjoy modern technology on the wrist with fitness tracking, notifications, and a myriad of apps available through this timekeeping tool.
Check your heart rate, your sleep patterns, and your fitness levels with this 50-meter water-resistant Smartwatch. Smartphone notifications will give you access to your messages and calls, plus you can now use Alexa from it. The battery is rechargeable, providing you with a 25-day battery life once charged.
+ 24/7 Tracking, Seep tracking, heart rate monitor
+ 50-meter water resistance
+ Powered by a quartz movement
+ 25-day battery life once charged
+ 20 more days on power reserve mode
Why We Like It – If you want more battery time out of this Smartwatch, you can set it to time and activity tracking only to enjoy 20 more days of power.
7. Kinetic Movement
Invicta 8926OB Pro Diver Stainless Steel Watch
This Kinetic watch by Invicta uses movement taken from your wrist and stores it as electrical energy. It’s then stored in a self-charging battery. The advantage of a kinetic watch over a normal automatic watch is that the movement provides a longer power reserve, which therefore means better accuracy since a watch’s precision depletes as movement reduces power.
This Invicta watch embodies all the necessary features of a robust diving watch. Its black dial is equipped with luminous central hands and legible circular hour markers. The screw-down crown and caseback ensure 200-meter water resistance.
+ Kinetic watch powered by Japanese automatic movement
+ 200-meter water resistance
+ Black dial with green Tritnite luminosity
+ Rugged steel bracelet
+ Unidirectional bezel and mineral glass
Why We Like It – This Invicta Pro Diver watch combines durable materials with an ultra-reliable automatic movement for hours of guaranteed power reserve.
8. Chronograph movement
Omega Speedmaster Racing Automatic Chronograph
Nothing combines timeless style with state-of-the-art Swiss technology like a Speedmaster watch from Omega. This Speedmaster Racing watch uses a Co-Axial escapement movement. Chronograph movements like this feature a free sprung-balance, equipped with a Si14 silicon balance spring for better mechanical accuracy.
This 40mm automatic Swiss made watch features the recognizable Speedmaster chronograph, with a tachymeter bezel for measuring speed based on distance. You can enjoy a 52-hour power reserve from this watch’s self-winding Caliber 3330 movement.
+ Powered by chronograph movement
+ Calibre 3330
+ 52-hour power reserve
+ 100-meter water-resistant steel case
+ 12-hour, 30-minute and small seconds chronograph counters
Why We Like It – A robust steel bracelet with a fold-over clasp will enable you to make the most out of this versatile automatic watch, pairing it with smart, casual or professional attire.
Watch Movements Buyer’s Guide
In order to gain a better understanding of whether a mechanical movement, a solar-powered movement, or a quartz movement is the best option for you, it’s necessary to take a look at the advantages of each.
Benefits of solar-powered watches
One of the best things about owning a solar-powered movement (as opposed to watch movements that are powered by quartz or an automatic movement) is that you don’t have to worry about replacing its battery every few years. Now, that might seem like a simple task, but many of us don’t have the tools or skills required to do a swift battery change ourselves, which often requires us to start researching reputable watch technicians in our local area and booking a convenient time to have the battery replacement carried out.
And in amongst all other aspects of a busy day-to-day life, you can easily forget to sort your battery replacement in time before it stops working altogether. For some, a solar-powered watch is the way to go in this day and age. These watches get all their energy from the sun. A layer of photovoltaic cells on the surface of the dial will collect light throughout the day and convert it into usable energy for your watch.
Another reason why you may want to consider a solar-powered watch could be down to the money it will save compared to paying for a new battery every one or two years, or a regular service for your mechanical wristwatch. With no manual winding necessary and no special maintenance required for its parts, you can forget about tending to your wristwatch and spend more time enjoying it instead.
Origins of the solar-powered watch
It wasn’t so long after the birth of the Japanese brand, Citizen, in 1918 that it became a major watch producer. A new company president, Eiichi Yamada took over the founder, Kamekichi Yakamazi, in 1949, and it sparked the beginnings of new things for the watch brand. The company began manufacturing mechanical watch movements before entering into their electronic phase.
Where Swiss watch brands saw the quartz crisis as a threat, Japanese companies like Citizen and Seiko seized the opportunity and began churning out quartz movements rapidly. The Citizen X-8 was the manufacturer’s first titanium watch, and the company soon began creating thin watches. The most important breakthrough for Citizen, however, was their solar-powered era.
The Crystron Solar Cell was the world’s first solar-powered analog quartz watch, which sent shockwaves throughout the entire watch industry. Re-writing history, Citizen embarked upon their Eco Drive technology during the late 1990s. The Eco-Drive watches were so unique for their time because they generated energy from the dimmest of lights. This energy would keep them running for months, even in the dark.
Citizen Eco-Drive watches brought several advantages to the wrist of the busy individual since they required no replacement of any batteries. The mechanism, therefore, eradicated the trouble and expense of having to replace a battery every couple of years. Another advantage guaranteed by a timepiece like the Citizen Eco-Drive was that its energy could be generated even when the watch wasn’t exposed to direct sunlight.
Even some solar-powered products today don’t work unless they’re exposed to the direct sun! The wearer didn’t need to worry about the watch cutting out of power because the light of any strength would keep it powering on for months at a time. Pioneering light powering technology in this way certainly revolutionized the future of watchmaking,
Is a solar-powered watch for me?
You’ll either love the idea of a solar-powered watch or not – it’s that simple. If you have a natural interest in watch technology and you love your gadgets, then there are plenty of feature-packed solar watches to choose from on the market.
Aside from the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster, there’s the Seiko Prospex range to explore, the Casio G-Shock models, and Tissot T-Touch wristwatches with a stopwatch, multiple time zones, barometer and day/date features. Solar-powered watches will also appeal to you if you consider yourself environmentally friendly, or if you’re trying to become more “green.”
They’re a “buy it for life” purchase. You may want to add a solar-powered watch to your collection for variation. It’s not uncommon for a collector to possess a mix of mechanical, quartz-powered, and solar-driven watches within his or her collection.
Most of all, if you’re looking into solar-powered watches, you won’t be the type of collector that’s dedicated solely to mechanical watch movements alone. Having more of an open-minded approach to luxury watches extends the boundaries of watch collecting, enabling you to explore the wider universe of timekeeping technology.
An overview of the quartz watch and its history
In the last week of the 1960s, Seiko created the world’s first quartz wristwatch – the Seiko Astron. It would change the course of watchmaking forever. Limited to 100 pieces worldwide, it was crafted from gold and came with an extortionate price tag. It was accurate to within 5 seconds a day.
Back then, the value was placed on how accurate a watch would perform, reflecting the inaccessible price of the Astron when it first launched. It took a while for Seiko and other watch companies to perfect the technology surrounding a quartz timepiece and figure out a way of producing their parts in larger volumes.
When the digital watch came along, the beginnings of the quartz era really got underway. Digital watches were completely electronic but also featured LED dials that would drain the battery’s energy considerably. Seiko began creating digital watches with a liquid crystal display (LCD).
Hamilton Watch Co, created the Pulsar, sparking the first phase of the quartz crisis. Production moved to the Far East, where watches could be developed much cheaper than ever before, draining economy from the Swiss watch industry. Despite the Swiss mechanical watch making a full comeback after the 1970s, watch movements powered by quartz remain a popular choice for many.
Luxury watch brands like Breitling and TAG Heuer continue to equip their wristwatches with premium Swiss-made quartz movements, and the likes of Seiko and Citizen continue to supply quartz watches to the mid-priced watch market.
Advantages of a quartz watch
There are many advantages to owning a quartz wristwatch. For a start, they’re incredibly precise. High-quality watch movements made from quartz will lose only around 15 seconds a month. Prestigious watch brand Breitling equips some of its models with a Superquartz movement, which provides accuracy up to ten times greater than standard quartz movements.
Grand Seiko models are also powered by quartz movements but are equipped with a protective shield construction to ensure the rotor remains in an air-tight construction. Some Grand Seiko quartz movements feature the Twin Pulse Control Motor, capable of turning heavier hands while preserving battery power.
The other main advantage watch movements made by quartz offer over a mechanical movement is how low maintenance they are. You don’t need to regularly service watch movements made from quartz, unlike a mechanical wristwatch. They’re, therefore, a low-cost option that can provide all the features that a mechanical watch can offer. The battery life of a quality quartz movement these days is very high, enabling you to enjoy your watch for much longer without needing to replace the battery.
Is a quartz watch for me?
If you lead a busy life and the upkeep of an automatic Swiss made watch doesn’t appeal to you, watch movements made by quartz certainly will. You can pay thousands for a quartz model, or as little as a few hundred dollars and still take full advantage of its accuracy and reliability.
More affordable brands recognized for creating high-quality quartz movements are those such as Citizen, Seiko, and Casio. Look towards the higher-priced luxury quartz watches, however, and you’ll find the likes of Swiss brands like Breitling, TAG Heuer, Tissot, and Omega sitting up there alongside the most elite of manufacturers
What are mechanical watches?
A mechanical movement works differently to quartz. These types of watch movements store energy created by the movement of your wrist in a spring, which in turn, feeds that energy into a series of gears. The energy is converted into movement, turning the hands of the watch to tell the time. There are also many intricate and complex parts to a mechanical movement, and it’s this unique arrangement of parts and hand-crafted detailing that makes a mechanical movement such a spectacle to admire and such a novelty to own.
Watch movements made from quartz actually keep better accuracy than a mechanical movement, but for many collectors and watch enthusiasts, it’s the art of watchmaking that justifies the price of a mechanical watch. Many beautiful Swiss crafted mechanical watches also showcase their movement through the back of their case. Transparent caseback features enable you to observe watch movements, their balance wheel, and other parts in motion.
They also demonstrate how these parts, including the balance wheel, are all hand-arranged to work in harmony with one another. Other models expose the balance wheel through the front dial side. If you’re still learning about how a mechanical movement works, you may have heard the term balance wheel quite a lot when reading up on watch movements. The balance wheel plays an important role in the performance of a mechanical movement. It’s a weighted wheel that rotates back and forth, returning to the middle via a spiral torsion spring.
Different types of mechanical movements
Aside from mechanical movements that transfer the energy from your wrist automatically without you having to even think about it, there are hand-wound movements to choose from also. Self-winding watches require you to manually wind your watch (preferably at the same time every day). While this seems a lot less convenient than an automatic movement or a quartz movement, connoisseurs who collect hand-wound mechanical movements are lovers of a very niche sector of the watchmaking industry.
There is something very personal about tending to your watch each day. Nurturing your watch and dedicating that time to it can be quite a rewarding element of timekeeping. Some of the greatest names in Swiss watchmaking specialize in hand made mechanical wristwatches. Brands like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe have created some of the most complex mechanical watches in history.
Omega specializes in its Co-Axial movement, which comprises parts like an additional escape wheel for promising improved performance. In contrast, Zenith created the El Primero movement specifically for an entire collection. Other brands have expertly crafted anti-magnetic parts and soft iron inner cases to protect the movement and its intricate parts from damage.
Others use silicone parts for their balance wheel and hairsprings to enhance accuracy. Rolex made the Paramagnetic Blue Parachrom hairspring for its movements, making them ten times more resistant to shock.
There are some incredibly beautiful wristwatches out there to choose from. Finding a watch that will keep you happy for many years is more complex than just choosing a style you like, however. It’s all about figuring out the best movement for you. Are you drawn to the exquisite craftsmanship of a mechanical movement? Or do you prefer the ease and accuracy of a quartz movement?
Moreover, you need to decide on a budget. How much money you spend on a watch will determine your expectations in a watch’s movement. The timepieces featured in this guide should help you decide whether you would benefit from the eco-friendly values of a solar-powered movement watch, the ease of a quartz movement, or the beauty of a hand-crafted mechanical movement.