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Thread: Quartz movements that sweep. Educate me.

  1. #1
    Master mr noble's Avatar
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    Quartz movements that sweep. Educate me.

    I recently had a Bulova Accutron II which was a Quartz movement but one which had a sweeping second hand. It was a great movement. All the pluses of Quartz precision like not needing to set it when worn in rotation, but also without the annoying tick tock second hand. I think it ran at 11hz? Is that right?

    Which other movements do this too?

    I'm keen to find a nice daily beater at about 39mm in a similar style maybe to my Omega AT Quartz. In fact, it's a shame hat the AT Quartz movements don't sweep. They ought to, for the money they cost!

    How come some tick and others sweep. Is there a vast cost difference in manufacture?

  2. #2
    Master snowman's Avatar
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    Very few (none?).

    Compared with a tuning fork Accutron though, the quartz ones aren't that smooth at all.

    If you look at a number of automatic watches, you'll see that the actually tick 'sub-second' and that some tick faster than others, so seem smoother.

    The quartz Precisionist movement simply ticks sub-second, which is unusual for a quartz movement, but I think it's true to say that the Smiths Seafire does too (and any watch that shares its movement, presumably).

    The old tuning-fork electronic watches really seem to sweep completely smoothly, but I guess they just 'tick' faster than anything else.

    M.

  3. #3
    Master Wibbs's Avatar
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    In the early days of quartz(early 1970's) a number of those movements had a smooth sweep hand(Beta 21/Longines UltraQuartz/Bulova Accuquartz). Basically because before Girard Perregaux came along with their stepping motor which doled out the seconds in "ticks" the movements used variants of the tuning fork mechanism as a stepping motor to transmit the power to the hands. The GP design was less complicated, more robust and had the best trade off in battery life versus performance, so everybody followed them and that's why the vast majority of quartz down to today tick in one second steps. Interestingly in their original adverts GP promote this way as being more "precise". It's basically down to the plethora of very cheap quartz' that followed (and the perception of quartz as being lesser) that has muddied that. Indeed there have been examples of mechanical movements that ticked in one second steps, but it's an added complication and I believe an expensive one.

    So if you want the convenience of quartz and a sweeping hand then your only real option is the vintage route, say a Beta 21 engined Omega or an Accuquartz. Some of the Omegas are very nice and of a "modern" size too. However going vintage brings its own issues.

    There is another option though; the Seiko Springdrive. They have a very smooth sweeping seconds. The smoothest of all(tuning forks etc as Snowman says tick so fast the human eyeball sees it as smooth). The springdrive works differently, so it's "truly" smooth and there are a lot of models to chose from and it's a truly innovative mechanism design.

  4. #4
    Craftsman ArghZombies's Avatar
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    Yeah, there are really only 2 obvious options for smooth second-hand Quartz watches. Either:

    a) 200 Bulova

    or

    b) 4,000 Seiko Spring Drive

    I don't think there is any middle ground options there unfortunately.

  5. #5
    Sandoz Swissonic. Cost me about 40, I believe it's from the 70s, but is like new.

  6. #6
    Master mr noble's Avatar
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    Thank you Wibbs for the very informative reply. That's interesting to read. I hadn't realised that the ticking function was an added complication!

    In that case, I think the posted above is right. It's another precisionist movement or a spring drive, which will be way over budget.


    Thanks for att the help. The muddy water is clearer.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mr noble View Post
    Thank you Wibbs for the very informative reply. That's interesting to read. I hadn't realised that the ticking function was an added complication!

    In that case, I think the posted above is right. It's another precisionist movement or a spring drive, which will be way over budget.


    Thanks for att the help. The muddy water is clearer.
    Or a Seafire.
    It's just a matter of time...

  8. #8
    I have seen a lot of fake Hublots with a quartz
    Movement and a smooth sweep . Even chronos. So, there must be an option beyond the ones mentioned.

  9. #9
    Master snowman's Avatar
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    Maybe they use clock movements? They're big enough

    The wife bought a cheapish quartz kitchen clock recently and it sweeps perfectly smoothly.

    M

  10. #10
    Craftsman ArghZombies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Maybe they use clock movements? They're big enough

    The wife bought a cheapish quartz kitchen clock recently and it sweeps perfectly smoothly.

    M
    That would explain the Hublot. You could easily fit a wall clock movement in one of those.

  11. #11
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzo697 View Post
    Sandoz Swissonic. Cost me about 40, I believe it's from the 70s, but is like new.
    If talking hummers, I'm wearing an Omega f300hz as I type. It has a lovely smooth sweeping hand (and feels lovely on a new shell cordovan strap, but that's by the by). Love them, and if people haven't handled one, the hand really is a lot smoother/floaty than any auto I've seen (I suppose technically the Megasonic is even smoother but to my eye, I cannot say that I can tell the difference). The batteries don't last all that long though...

    On quartz, there's the Bulova (I recall it has the stepper function apparent on most quartz but that it steps more frequently), or depending on your take on quartz, Seiko's Spring Drive. I'd be interested to know if there are others.

  12. #12
    Craftsman
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    I don't get it Mr Noble. Haven't you got a sweeping second Accutron for sale in SC at the moment?
    I looked at it yesterday and nearly got in touch, which would have been weird as you are the only person I've ever bought from on any forum and I nearly did it again.
    I decided to wait til Eddie opens and buy the prs18q which I was given the money for originally instead though. Plus I got in touch with another seller who wanted a trade only and I think he may keep me in mind if he spots something for sale.

  13. #13
    Master mr noble's Avatar
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    Hello!

    Yes I'm selling the Bulova on SC, and that's the watch which sparked this thread. I wanted to know if there are any other watches with similarly excellent Quartz movements.

    I've just not bonded with that particular watch, it's a touch to big for my liking. Sadly, I can't see any other Bulova watches that float my boat.

    I think what I really want is a 39mm Aqua Terra with a sweepy hand Quartz inside.


    Hope you're still enjoying the one I sold you :-)

  14. #14
    Master Gruntfuttock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Maybe they use clock movements? They're big enough

    The wife bought a cheapish quartz kitchen clock recently and it sweeps perfectly smoothly.

    M
    Seiko produce these movements for wall clocks and you used to be able to buy them from Maplin.
    A quick Google finds this:
    http://www.craftmaterialsupplies.co...._Movement.html

    http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-Torque-C.../dp/B005LH5Q88
    Last edited by Gruntfuttock; 1st January 2015 at 21:33.

  15. #15
    Master lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Anything that 'ticks' faster than 16 Hz will look smooth, for the same reason a movie looks like fluid motion.

  16. #16
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    I think the Seiko Spring Drive "escapement" brake operates at 8Hz. It looks smooth to me. I have a Paul Smith quartz watch with a smooth-ish movement too, that predates the Bulova Precisionists by about a decade. I posted a video of it it here once, but I've lost the Youtube link.

    edit: found it



    Paul
    Last edited by Tokyo Tokei; 2nd January 2015 at 06:14.

  17. #17
    Master Guz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post
    I think the Seiko Spring Drive "escapement" brake operates at 8Hz. It looks smooth to me. I have a Paul Smith quartz watch with a smooth-ish movement too, that predates the Bulova Precisionists by about a decade. I posted a video of it it here once, but I've lost the Youtube link.

    edit: found it



    Paul
    Nice wee video and a decent looking watch too, like the case style.

  18. #18
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    Anything that 'ticks' faster than 16 Hz will look smooth, for the same reason a movie looks like fluid motion.
    8hz will do it as the number of ticks is double the hz count.

    Eddies Seafire is 2 hz ( 4 ticks/sec ) which is half that of most mechanical watches. I've not taken the back off but am assuming the deep case back is to house the larger battery necessary to allow this.

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