Quartz and automatic movements are often mentioned in the watchmaking industry, but when designing a watch or buying a watch, it is still a bit difficult to choose between these two movements to find the one that meets your requirements. Because both quartz watches and automatic watches are very accurate, except that quartz watches have an accuracy of 0.5 seconds, while the best automatic watches have an error of a few seconds. The average automatic watch has a margin of error of about 30 seconds.
So when you choose a movement, the accuracy, reliability, performance, design, features and functionality of the movement are all factors you must consider. So which type of watch is best? It depends on what you want from your watch, and we’ve put together a quick guide to quartz vs automatic watches to explain the terms and help you decide.
Table of Contents
Watch movement meaning
The watch movement (also known as the “caliber”) is the engine of the watch, the power source that runs the watch and its functions. This internal mechanism moves the hands and powers any complication such as a chronograph, annual calendar or dual time zone.
Movements are generally categorized into two types: quartz and mechanical movements, and mechanical movements are further divided into 2 subcategories: automatic and manual movements. For the sake of convenience in this blog post, we will only talk about automatic watch vs quartz, as automatic movements are the most common type of mechanical movements.
Quartz watch meaning
A quartz watch is a battery or solar cell powered watch whose timekeeping is regulated by a quartz crystal that vibrates at a certain frequency. The battery sends an electrical signal through the quartz crystal, and when the electrical signal passes through the crystal, the quartz crystal vibrates at a constant frequency of 32,768 times per second. This constant vibration is the basis of the movement’s timing regardless of whether the watch has an analog or digital display.
Quartz watches are different from automatic watches in that they are usually more accurate and can be self-sustaining for 3 years or more.And some complications like chronograph, dual time zones, etc. can only be realized by quartz watches because it takes the battery of a quartz watch to drive the movement to accomplish these function.
Until today, some famous watch brands still keep quartz watches as their product line, such as Omega, Tag Heuer,Longines,etc.As a quartz watch manufacturer,watchessy can help you to find the best quartz watch movement from a number of watch movement manufacturer:Swiss Ronda, Sellita, Japanese Miyota, Seiko, etc.
Automatic watch meaning
An automatic watch is a watch with a self-winding movement. These watches utilize the movement of the wearer’s wrist and arm to rotate the oscillating weight, which transfers energy to the mainspring, which then winds the watch. The wearer’s natural movement is sufficiently large to eliminate the need for manual winding. If the wearer does not wear the watch long enough or does not have enough movement, the watch needs to be wound manually by turning the crown.
The power reserve and jewel bearings vary from one mechanical movement to another. For example, the ETA 2824-2 movement has a power reserve of 38 hours and 25 jewel bearings.Miyota 9015 movement has a power reserve of 40 hours and 24 jewel bearings.TMI NH35 caliber has a power reserve of 41 hours and 24 jewels.
Quartz vs automatic watch
So after knowing what is quartz and mechanical movement watch and how they work, then how to choose the right movement for yourself in this quartz watch vs automatic? So we will compare them in accuracy, price, watch movement parts, maintenance, power source etc. to help you make the right decision.
Accuracy:quartz watch vs automatic watch
Overall both quartz and automatic watches are accurate. However, most people consider quartz watches to be more reliable because they are accurate within half a second, while automatic watches can be off by a few seconds. For example, the Japanese Miyota 2035 quartz movement has an error of 0.5 seconds per day, while the Miyota’s 9015 movement has an error of -10 ~ +30 seconds per day.
Watch movement parts
Quartz movement components are relatively simple, the number of movement parts does not exceed 20, mainly including quartz crystal, battery, coil, etc. Taking the Swiss Ronda 762 quartz movement as an example, the movement component are as follows:
- Stem(Contacted to the crown)
- Battery clamp
- Quartz crystal
- Case screw
- Train Bridge
- Dial foot(connected to dial
- 13.Watch hand holder
Tip:did you see “Swiss part” text on Ronda 762 movement？
That means that watch movement component is from Swiss but not Swiss made.
An automatic movement is a complex device consisting of a mainspring, gears, etc. It is usually made up of hundreds of tiny, intricate parts. Blance brige, Oscillating weight are the main parts. Take the Japanese Miyota 9015 as an example.
1. Setting stem
2. Oscillating weight
3. Screw for oscillating weight
4. Balance brige
6. Barrel and train wheel bridge
7. Intermediate reduction wheel and pinion
8. Barrel complete
9. Screw for barrel and train wheel bridge
10. Wheel and opinion
Because there are hundreds of movement accessories can not be an example, if you want to know more, you can check https://miyotamovement.com/product/9015/.
Price:automatic watch vs quartz movement
As can be seen from the number and fineness of the movement parts above, automatic movements require a large number of skilled and technical workers to assemble them. While quartz movements have fewer accessories and simple assembly procedures, so quartz movements have the vast majority of their assembly done by production lines. Therefore, the price of automatic movements is much higher than that of quartz movements.
Quartz watches are powered by batteries, so they generally last from one to five years. An automatic mechanical movement, on the other hand, is powered by the wearer’s natural movement, so it can last for decades.
Quartz watches are known for their durability, so you don’t need to worry about servicing your watch often. You only need to change the battery in time when the watch is not keeping time or stops. Automatic movements, on the other hand, are made up of hundreds of parts that must be kept in good condition in order to work properly, so they need to be serviced once every 3 to 5 years. This maintenance requires a professional watchmaker to dismantle the movement, re-oil and clean the parts as well as replace worn out parts.
This table summarise summarize AUTOMATIC vs QUARTZ WATCH difference.
Which is better?quartz watch vs automatic
It depends on personal preference and what you want from your watch.If you have a high demand for technology and craftsmanship or you want to see the balance wheel of the movement working through the crystal sapphire back of watch case or you are buying a watch as an investment, then an automatic watch is best for you. If you just need a reliable watch that keeps accurate time or your budget is less than $500, then a quartz watch is more suitable for you.