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Which is Better: Quartz or Mechanical Watch?

Posted on February 10, 2022 by Armando Alverio

Traditional mechanical watches had their roots in the 14th century. The mechanical watch is powered by a wound spring and the balance wheel modulates the moment. The invention of the quartz watch in the 70's has dominated the watch industry. Today, 90 percent of all watches manufactured are quartz watches. Quartz watches are cheaper, more accurate, dependable and require less maintenance. Quartz watches are 60 times more accurate than mechanical watches. A quartz watch loses or gains 1 minute a week as a mechanical watch may lose 1 minute weekly. This translates to larger inaccuracies for longer amounts of time. In a month you'd lose 4 minutes to get a quartz watch as a mechanical watch loses around 4 minutes in a month. The quartz crystal is accurate due to its exceptionally substantial oscillations of up to 32,768 cycles per second.

Quartz watches have few moving parts. Moving components cause friction and wear and tear and because of this they're more vulnerable to breakdown. By having less moving parts quartz watches don't have breakdown as frequently as mechanical watches. Additionally, the gear train of a mechanical watch is under continuous load in the mainspring whereas the gear train in a quartz watch isn't under any load.

Mechanical watches also need servicing every 3 years to maintain the watch working in good shape and tell the time correctly.

Mechanical watches need winding up which provide reserve power of 40 hours. An automatic watch depends on the motion of the wrist to power itself. But nonetheless, if you don't wear it all of the time and just wear sometimes, you'll discover time on the watch has stopped and you will need to correct the time. A quartz watch powered by a battery is continually powered and tells accurate time constantly and don't need time adjustment. Obviously you do want the change the battery after two to three decades.

Mechanical watches have longer lifespans than that of quartz watches. A mechanical watch can last forever with proper maintenance and servicing. If it break down, components are almost always available for repair. A mechanical watch may become a collectible and it can fetch high resale value because of its rarity. A quartz watch on the other hand features digital circuitry which has a limited lifespan. You can't fix it because the electronic components for it could be obsolete by then.

Finally, a mechanical watch isn't as sensitive to extreme cold temperatures as quartz watches. In extreme cold, the mechanical watch still keeps functioning while the cold will briefly shut down the battery of the quartz watch.