Differences between Quartz Clocks and Automatic Clocks

When you are about to buy a new watch the first question you face is which one should you buy: quartz or automatic watch?

While most people have heard of the terms “quartz” and “automatic” about watches, not everyone is clear about what they mean or how they influence the functioning of a watch.

Quartz watches are watches with electronic machinery whose movements are derived from the vibrations of a quartz crystal.

This crystal has an electrical current generated by a battery and this is how the quartz movement is powered. Quartz has a property called “PiezoElectricity”. Its main characteristic is that it vibrates or oscillates when it is crossed by an electric current of alternating type.

It is also true that you will find watches that combine “digital quartz” machinery. They are analogical-digital. That is, they are quartz watches that usually have either a digital function or show another time digitally.

Advantages of Quartz Clocks

  • They are more accurate than automatic watches
  • They are generally cheaper compared to the same range of automatic
  • They are lighter

The disadvantages of Quartz Clocks are the following

  • They need a battery that, depending on the brand, will run out in a shorter or longer time (at least 1 year)
  • Once the spare parts are sold out and out of production your solution is more complicated
  • The maintenance costs are higher in the long run because with the battery replacement if you want to keep the water tightness, you will have to change the seals and make the water tightness test for every battery change
  • If you want to keep your watch because you don’t use it, you will have to remove the battery, because in time the battery will end up getting sulfated and spoiling the watch
  • They pollute more than automatic watches because they require a battery that must be recycled.

An automatic watch is a watch with a mechanical movement that, thanks to its technical complexity, can wind itself up thanks to a rotor that turns around a pivot and acts on the spring loading mechanism. While it is true that mechanical watches can be passed on from generation to generation, they require more thorough care, which is why they usually need to be serviced by a specialist every five years or so. The workmanship for this adjustment must be professional to ensure its performance and the components for the spare parts are of high quality. This combination means that maintenance will increase costs. 

The main handicap of automatic watches is that their technology is inferior, not in keeping with the times, never better. Normally, aesthetics aside, when you buy a watch you do so because you want it to tell the right time, and mechanical watches are less accurate than quartz watches in this sense.

But automatic watches also have their appeal, as they remind us of the genuine art of the master watchmakers. This is why fans of the most purist watches tend to prefer this type because of the complexity of its mechanism. In a way, it is as if it were a living being what you wear on your wrist. And yes, it does reduce its performance over time, but don’t we all? As you can see, it is a more personal relationship between watch and person, not so much a compliment and an owner. True watch lovers appreciate the character and interest that an automatic watch represents.

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