Why Automatic Watches Still Thrive in a Quartz World: A Seiko Case Study

In an age where quartz watches offer unprecedented accuracy and convenience, one might wonder why automatic watches still command attention and admiration. Seiko, a brand renowned for both its quartz and automatic timepieces, serves as an interesting case study to delve into this fascinating dichotomy.

The Quartz Revolution

The advent of the quartz movement in the late 20th century revolutionized the watchmaking industry, bringing about a level of accuracy and affordability previously unimaginable.

  • Precision: Quartz movements are incredibly accurate, often deviating by just a few seconds per month.
  • Maintenance: They require very little upkeep, largely limited to battery replacements.
  • Affordability: Quartz movements are generally cheaper to produce, resulting in a lower retail price.

The Enduring Allure of Automatics

Despite these advantages, automatic watches continue to thrive. Seiko’s automatic offerings, like the iconic SKX007 and Turtle SRP777, remain popular, especially among enthusiasts. Here’s why:

  • Mechanical Intricacy: Automatic watches are marvels of engineering, capturing the imagination of horology enthusiasts who appreciate the craftsmanship.
  • Perpetual Motion: Powered by the movement of the wearer’s arm, automatic watches symbolize a connection between man and machine.
  • Heritage: Automatic timepieces often hark back to a rich history, evoking a sense of nostalgia and timelessness.

Seiko: Straddling Both Worlds

Seiko is unique in its dual commitment to both quartz and automatic movements, a strategy that has positioned them as a leader in both realms.

  • Innovation: Seiko consistently innovates across both types of movements. The Kinetic series, which merges quartz accuracy with a rotor system similar to automatics, exemplifies this.
  • Range: From the budget-friendly Seiko 5 series to the luxurious Grand Seiko automatics, there’s a mechanical option for every taste and budget.
  • Quality: Seiko’s automatic movements, like the 7S26 and NH35, are reliable workhorses that appeal to modders and purists alike.

The Emotional Quotient

Beyond the mechanics and the heritage, automatic watches offer an emotional dimension that quartz timepieces often lack. The ritual of winding a watch, the pleasure of observing a sweeping second hand, and even the need for occasional regulation create a tactile and emotional connection.


The longevity of automatic watches in a quartz-dominated market isn’t an accident; it’s a testament to the enduring allure of mechanical complexity, emotional resonance, and a historical legacy. Seiko serves as a compelling case study, deftly straddling both worlds and offering the best of both to consumers. For those in the modding community, the mechanical nature of automatic watches also provides a deeper canvas for customization and personal expression.

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