I recently had a chance to wear Vario’s Eclipse watch on their Harris tweed strap. The watch is quartz, but with a reason to exist, where we might not normally want to pay attention to quartz. What if you had a quartz watch that beat convincingly like a classic mechanical slow-beat movement?

Vario brings an interesting quartz watch. The dial is simplified, with printed markers. The hour markers are longer than the minute track, lending a classic, tasteful early 60s look. The hands are simple, with beveled edges. The case itself has simple svelte lugs and a classic small crown. The lugs have lug holes in them, making strap changes easy. Are you getting it? Every choice here is a classic, vintage choice: lug holes, small crown, printed markers, hands with beveled edges, floating gently over a sun-ray dial.

The strap is also an instant classic. The straps for the Vario Eclipse are Harris tweed, finished with leather on the inside. The buckle is signed Vario. The straps are available in Ash, Coal, Cobalt, Lavender, Merlot, Peacock, and Pecan. Ash and Coal (grey and black) are particularly nice.

With the pyrite (silver) dial, and the Ash (grey) wool strap, the quartz watch is the picture of style. It’s sized in 38mm, and wears comfortably on my 6.5 inch wrist. The straps are a little short if you have a larger wrist, but they’re just so comfortable.

Why, you might ask, would I spend all this time on a quartz watch when there’s a perfectly good hand wound movement on offer from Vario? For this reason: the quartz movement is the Seiko VH31. It has the unique property of beating at 4Hz, or 4 ticks per second. If we’re talking oscillations per hour, it’s 14,400. This has the effect of making it look like a very precise slow-beat vintage watch. When you turn the crown clockwise, the hands move clockwise. This is the opposite of ETA movements, but does mirror some other classic movements. The hands are spaced evenly on the canon pinion. I want to see this movement in more watches.

The video explains a little more about how it works:

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John and I regularly discuss how quartz movements with simplified dials don’t seem like a good use of effort or money. Except we were wrong. The best quartz movement for a vintage styled watch, lug holes like a vintage watch should have, housed in a 38mm case, topped with a domed crystal, and genuine Harris Tweed wool straps? For the $178 that’s asked, I just don’t see how you can go wrong.

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Vario Eclipse
  • Price: $178 (early pricing, regularly $218)
  • Who we think it might be for: You like a classic watch with the reliability of quartz
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes. Pyrite. Ash.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I’m always a little unhappy with this sort of case and seeing the crystal gasket at the periphery of the dial. On Pyrite, it’s nearly invisible, but on a dark color dial, it sticks out.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: The tweed, and the excellent choice of movement.

Tech Specs from Vario

  • Case diameter: 38mm
  • Height to apex of crystal: 10mm
  • Case thickness: 7mm
  • Crystal: 3mm scratch resistant double dome sapphire (anti-reflective coating on inner surface)
  • Case material: 316L stainless steel
  • Dial: Convex silver colour sunburst dial
  • Strap: 20mm Harris Tweed strap
  • Movement: Seiko VH31 quartz movement (4 Hz) Ticks 4x/sec
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM

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By Victor Marks

sometimes described as "The best bang since the Big One."

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