A Friday Afternoon Editorial: Cool Quartz

Quartz watches are cool. Yep, I said it! I'm not talking about those god-awful G-Shocks every other fifteen year old I know is wearing, I'm referring to the watches that kept this great industry  alive in the 1970's and 1980's. So before you shut down your computer and chill for the rest of the weekend, let me give you a brief education on two amazing quartz wristwatches that may be cooler than most mechanical watches. 

At the dawn of the infamous "Quartz Crisis," Audemars Piguet unveiled their Royal Oak. Though the Royal Oak's $7,500 retail price was viewed as an absurdity by journalists and reporters covering the European Watch and Jewelry Show (Baselworld), this unconventional sports watch quickly gained international recognition for its unique octagonal design and integrated steel bracelet. As a result of the growing sales of Japanese quartz watches, Audemars Piguet concluded that they would take on the task of creating a slimmer, more affordable Royal Oak with a quartz movement.

Today, these quartz Royal Oaks aren't that desirable and sell for only a fraction of the price of their mechanical counterparts. I don't see this as a negative; I see this as an opportunity to acquire a superb wristwatch from arguably one of greatest Swiss manufacturers known to man, at an inexpensive cost.

Rolex too took a step into the quartz world and devised their own retro design: The Oysterquartz. Rolex's Oysterquartz didn't look too dissimilar to the traditional Datejust, but inspiration from the Royal Oak was evident. In order to appeal to all levels of clientele, Rolex was sure to produce variations of the Oysterquartz that were quite ornate, such as this rare "Egyptian" Oysterquartz shown in the photograph below.

The current value of an Oysterquartz Datejust in steel is around $2,000. Oysterquartz Day-Dates (in white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold) are an entirely different story. Their value is hard to pinpoint and it is mostly determined by a series of common factors: Dial color/material, design of the bracelet and bezel, overall condition, and date of production.

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