Quartz vs Mechanical Movement Watches: Which is Right for You?

by TimeOnYourHand

Do you know the difference between mechanical and quartz watches? This guide will explain the differences and go over the advantages of each type.

Buying a timepiece is definitely a personal decision that requires considering the function and design on the watch. There are two basic types of watches you can choose from: mechanical and quartz watches. If you're trying to choose a luxury watch, this decision is a good first step. Both watches have their advantages, whether it's improved accuracy or true craftsmanship. Here's an explanation of the two types of watches and why you may prefer one over the other.

Image credit: Jimmy Smith at Flickr

What is a Quartz Watch?

Courtesy of Wilson Hui at Flickr

Quartz watches use a battery that activates a special Quartz crystal in the movement to vibrate 33 times each second. These vibrations are then sent to a small computer chip which moves the motor and the watch hands. These watches were first created in the 1960's and now dominate the industry. Most watches for sale today are quartz-powered.

Credit: Wilson Hui at Flickr

Advantages of a Quartz Watch Over Mechanical

Quartz watches are definitely the most accurate choice, so you'll want a quartz watch if you need very precise timekeeping. Most well-made mechanical watches are accurate to 2-3 seconds every day while a cheap quartz watch is accurate to at least 0.5 seconds every day. A quartz watch is also able to withstand shock better than a mechanical watch so it may be a better option if you're very active or drop your watch occasionally. Because these watches don't have many moving parts, they're also easier to maintain.

Do you prefer mechanical or quartz watches?

What is a Mechanical Watch?

Mechanical timepieces use energy from a wound spring to keep time through regulated energy release that moves gears and the watch escapement. Most luxury watches with mechanical movements run for around 40 hours per winding, although some can go up to 10 days on a full wind. When you buy mechanical watches for sale in Miami or anywhere else you're buying something that represents a long history of human ingenuity and development. These watches are seen by many as a work of art. Each is carefully assembled by expert watchmakers and, while some technology upgrades have been made, these watches have not changed much over the decades.

Image credit: Alexkerhead at Flickr

There are two types of mechanical watches available: self-winding and manual. A manual watch requires you to turn the crown to hand-wind the mechanism while a self-winding watch using the movement of your wrist to keep time.

Why Choose a Mechanical Watch over a Quartz?

Mechanical watches are handcrafted by watchmakers and are truly a pleasure to behold. Some buy them as a moving work of art, while many feel mechanical watches have a soul that mass-produced quartz watches simply cannot match. With a mechanical luxury watch on your wrist, it's difficult to forget the hours of labor that went into its production. Many mechanical timepieces are also produced in very limited numbers so you can own something that very few people on earth have the privilege of wearing.

Image: Panerai Skeleton Watch, courtesy of Jimmy Smith at Flickr


Mechanical timepieces from Patek Philippe, Hublot, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet also have a long history attached to them. As long as they're properly maintained, mechanical watches can definitely outlast a quartz version and become a true heirloom piece. They're designed to last for generations, so they may be passed down to children and grandchildren to enjoy and wear with pride. They may be repaired by watchmakers as long as the parts are available, while quartz batteries become obsolete.

Mechanical watches also tend to hold their value better, which may be a consideration if you plan to sell your watch in the future.

Which is Best?

It comes down to this: if you want something highly accurate and affordable, choose a quartz watch. Quartz watches come in many styles, allowing you to choose something that speaks to your personality and tastes. If you want something more unique and luxurious, a mechanical luxury watch is a better option for you. Mechanical timepieces are moving works of art and many feel they have the heart and soul you will never find from a quartz watch.

Updated: 10/02/2012, TimeOnYourHand
 
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Rose on 01/15/2014

Mechanical movement watches will never need their battery replaced - so in theory they could become antique pieces that you hand down to your children safe in the knowledge they'll still work

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