Differences between mechanical/ automatic watches vs. quartz

Differences between mechanical/ automatic watches vs. quartz

What are the differences between mechanical & quartz?

Jacobs the Jewellers sell a wide variety of watches, mechanical, automatic or quartz. 

Mechanical Watches have many advantages.  A reassuring ‘tick tock’ sound can be quite a pleasant experience and gives an informal indication as to performance. Knowing one is wearing a complicated piece of machinery is quite an empowering feeling which, when coupled with the craftsmanship involved in the watch form part of the allure . Regular servicing ensures performance of this sort of watch and in reality, mechanical watches are good enough for most people's everyday lives in terms of accuracy of timekeeping. In general the old fashioned element of mechanics calls to our emotional side, as well as being more environmentally friendly with no batteries.

Of course, this type of watch is not without its disadvantages. It requires servicing – at financial and time cost. Its timekeeping is less accurate than quartz. They are normally more expensive than quartz watches and less durable too. Many modern mechanical watches are very robust. A slight tendency to be less water resistant than quartz watches is also a feature, as it requires more servicing than quartz. The inherent need to wind and pull the crown out increases the chance of dirt, moisture etc in. For automatics, they stop if not worn – which to some can be a pain to reset.

Quartz watches have advantages too; a greater accuracy and generally a longer life with no service aside from battery. There is little adjusting or regulation required and has wear on the internal gears than mechanical. The convenience of no winding needed means that they can be left in a drawer and taken out to wear at any time. For an analogue quartz watch (as opposed to digital) its common Battery low indicator is useful (e.g. a stepping second hand). Quartz watches can also be very cheap and are generally slimmer in size movement than mechanical watches, especially automatics.

 Disadvantages are that battery stops are a nuisance, as they require reseal after. A small risk of short circuits is possible but remote and irregularly integrated circuits break, as they are quite delicate. There is a risk of permanent destruction of the integrated circuit if near magnetic field (a mechanical watch is affected too but can be reversed). The circuits are vulnerable to Electromagnetic Pulses, though these are rare.  An essential part of the movement, a quartz watches battery life is unreliable and potentially some parts may become obsolete like batteries or circuits, which may prove problematic in later years for servicing. Electric contacts may become dirty and require cleaning which is a nuisance and in reality, as with mechanical watches, they still require servicing – a cost and time inconvenience.

You can take a look at our watch range here, Cartier, Longines, Tag Heuer all have a mix of mechanical / quartz watches whereas Bremont are all mechanical. 

If you'd like to know more, or would like us to help you with an enquiry, do make contact.

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Article by Adam J

Adam J

Adam's been working at Jacobs since 2003, has a professional jewellers diploma and looks after the business as whole.