There are two popular types of watch movements used to power watches, quartz and mechanical. But there’s another that combines the best of both movements.
A Meca-Quartz watch movement combines the accuracy and reliability of a battery-powered quartz movement with the snappy, mechanical feel, and smooth sweeping second hand of a chronograph.
In this article, we will explore the Meca-Quartz watch movement in great detail, how it works, watches that use them, and if you should buy one.
What is a Meca-Quartz?
As its name implies, a Meca-Quartz watch movement is a combination of both quartz and mechanical elements.
To understand the meca-quartz, it is helpful first to understand how quartz and mechanical movements operate.
In short, a mechanical watch is powered by a mainspring, which you must manually wind, typically every 2-3 days. On the other hand, a quartz watch is powered by a small battery.
A meca-quartz watch movement combines the best of both worlds. A quartz-powered electronic movement powers the watch’s main timekeeping functions, resulting in much greater accuracy than mechanical movements. At the same time, a mechanical module operates the chronograph. This gives the chronograph pushers a mechanical, snappy feel, and results in a smooth sweeping second hand.
The Benefits of a Meca-Quartz Watch
- The pinpoint accuracy of a quartz watch
- Never stops running (unlike a fully mechanical watch)
- Doesn’t need to be wound
- Smooth sweeping chronograph second hand
- The snappy, tactile chronograph pusher
- Often more affordable than fully mechanical chronographs
How Does a Meca-Quartz Watch Work?
Like any quartz watch, there’s a battery, a quartz oscillator, and one stepper motor that keeps the watch’s time.
However, what sets meca-quartz apart is the addition of a mechanical module that operates the chronograph function.
This module has a gear train that sits inactive until the chronograph pushers are pushed, activating the gear train and causing the chronograph to begin running.
And when you reset the chronograph hand, it immediately snaps back into place as a mechanical watch would.
Does the Second-Hand Sweep on a Meca Quartz?
As mentioned, the chronograph in a meca quartz watch is powered by a mechanical module. Therefore, the second hand will sweep just like it would on any other mechanical watch.
However, the timekeeping function is still powered by quartz, so the second hand will tick in 1-second intervals rather than sweeping smoothly.
Popular Meca Quartz Movements
- Seiko VK63
- Seiko VK64
- Seiko VK67
- Seiko VK68
- Seiko VK73
- Miyota Meca-Quartz
Popular Meca Quartz Watches
- Dan Henry 1964
- Orient Neo ’70s (full review)
- Seiko Speedtimer
- Brew Chronograph
- Yema Rallygraph
Should You Buy a Meca Quartz Watch?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.
Meca-quartz watches are quartz-powered, meaning they are more affordable, extremely accurate, and require little to no maintenance.
Still, because they are primarily quartz-powered, meca-quartz watches lack the ‘soul’ of an actual mechanical watch.
So, If you’re looking for an accurate, low-maintenance timepiece, then a meca-quartz is an excellent option and may scratch the itch for the often much more expensive mechanical chronograph you’ve been looking for.