In today’s article, we will be going a little bit more in depth into what a Japanese quartz movement is, and why they represent such an industry standard. In fact, the majority of quartz watches that you will come across are probably Japanese quartz watches. Throughout this article, we are going to be covering several different important aspects of Japanese quartz movements. But before we even get into that, let’s first define what a Japanese quartz movement even is.
Simply put, a Japanese quartz movement is a quartz movement that is made in Japan. That is the simple explanation. However, there may be several aspects of this that need to be fully understood first. And that’s okay, because we are going to be briefly explaining movements, and quartz movements before getting more into Japanese quartz movements specifically. So first off, what do we mean by “movement”?
Brief Explanation of Movement
Within the watch industry, you will often hear a lot of talk about particular “movements” in watches. So what is a movement then, exactly? Well it is basically what it sounds like. A watch movement refers to the mechanism that “moves” a watch.
A movement is the part of the watch that runs the watch. It is the means by which a watch is powered. you could say that a movement is the “heart” of the watch.
There are basically 2 types of movements: mechanical, and quartz. A watch that uses mechanical movement, is powered by a spring. That spring is wound, and the unwinding of that spring is what makes the watch work. Mechanical watches do not use batteries.
A watch that uses quartz movement is powered by a quartz crystal. Quartz watches use batteries. This is because the electrical current from the battery is sent into a circuit. This circuit then sends energy to the quartz crystal, causing it to vibrate. These vibrations then power the watch.
Once quartz watches debuted, they quickly began to dominate the markets. There are several different reasons for this.
- First quartz watches are more accurate than mechanical watches.
- Second, since they run off of a battery instead of a spring, they don’t require any type of winding and pretty much run themselves. This makes them much easier to use.
- Third, because they have less moving parts, they are more durable, and need less maintenance than mechanical watches.
- Lastly, quartz watches are much cheaper to produce, resulting in significantly lower prices than mechanical watches.
So now we know what distinguishes a quartz watch from a mechanical one, but what makes a Japanese quartz movement different from the others?
What Is So Special About Japanese Quartz Movements?
When it comes to quartz watches, you may have noticed that Japanese quartz is the dominant type of quartz movement. But why is this?
Well, quartz movements were originally created in Japan. Seiko actually introduced quartz watches into the market with their Astron, in 1969. So the country of origin definitely factors into the equation.
Of course, the Swiss, also created their own quartz movements. After all, it was the Swiss market that took the biggest hit when Japanese quartz watches first came out.
In addition to Swiss and Japanese quartz movements, there are others such as German, Chinese, etc. Basically the movements are labeled based on their country of origin. However, the main two type of quartz movements ever talked about are Japanese, and Swiss.
So it’s basically just these two types of quartz watch movements competing against each other. Between Japanese and Swiss quartz movements, why are the Japanese ones more widespread?
Swiss Vs Japanese Quartz Watches
Swiss watches are held to the highest standards in watchmaking. Every watch enthusiast knows that a Swiss watch is synonymous with quality, elegance, and fine craftsmanship. In fact, there are even very strict criteria for determining if a watch is truly genuinely Swiss made.
So if Swiss watches are held in such high esteem, how are the Japanese able to compete with them, and even overtake them in the quartz watch market?
The main reason for this, is that the Swiss still focus more on mechanical movements than anything else. Mechanical movements are thought of as the definition of “fine watchmaking”. As a result, it is this type of movement that is popular among Swiss watch consumers.
Sure there are some popular Swiss quartz watches such as Swatch. But once again, the majority of Swiss watches focus on mechanical movements. This leaves the market wide open for Japanese quartz movements. Like we talked about earlier, Japanese quartz watches already got a head start when Seiko released the Astron.
Since then other Japanese companies got into the mix. This resulted in several specific Japanese quartz movements dominating the markets.
Popular Japanese Quartz Movements
By far the most popular Japanese quartz movements would have to be Seiko and Miyota movements. You will find these movements being used by many different watch manufacturers worldwide.
Seiko is a well known Japanese watch brand with a longstanding history of quality timepieces. They are known for producing high quality watches at an affordable price. It therefore comes as no surprise that the quartz movements used in their watches would be very highly regarded.
Miyota also gained popularity because of the quality and precision of their movements. Unlike Seiko, Miyota doesn’t actually manufacture watches. Instead they focus just on the movements. Watch manufacturers were quickly able to recognize the superior quality of Miyota movements. Once again, good quality at affordable pricing made their movements extremely in the industry.
Japanese quartz watches have been a huge part of the watch industry for years, and will no doubt continue to be a dominating force for years to come.
Anyway, that pretty much wraps up this article. I hope that this article has been helpful in explaining a little bit more about Japanese quartz watches, and the impact they have had in the industry as a whole.
If you enjoyed this article, and want to learn more interesting facts about watches, then don’t hesitate to check out more of our info articles which can be found here