It is no surprise that 90% of watch buyers consider appearance alone. They don't care about the internal mechanism of a wristwatch. Yet, watchmakers spend a considerable amount of time carefully designing the interior of your wristwatch. If you are looking to learn about the differences between quartz and mechanical watches, you are at the right place. In this blog post, we will share all the details about the internal components of a wristwatch. So, keep reading to learn more.
How Do Mechanical Watches Work?
Mechanical watches fall into two sub-categories — manual winding and automatic winding wristwatches.
In a manual watch, the wearer has to wind the wristwatch physically to tighten its mainspring. This winding action gives power to your wristwatch to work for 40 hours. Usually, manual wristwatches have a power reservoir that keeps the watch running for 10 additional days before winding. However, it becomes troublesome to wind your watch to keep it working.
Automatic mechanical watches have an oscillator that removes the need for manual winding. The oscillator takes power from batteries that keep the watch running for months. On the other hand, some mechanical watches are powered by hand movements. When the wearer moves his hands, the oscillator collects energy to automatically wind the watch. However, these watches must be worn every day. Leaving them dormant for more than 24 hours means you have to set the time again.
Both automatic and manual wristwatches have the same build quality and material. However, the manual watch has a gear spring that needs to be wound every time it runs out of energy. It might seem troublesome for some people, but true watch enthusiasts prefer manual wristwatches because of their vintage design.
How Do Quartz Watches Work?
Quartz movement was first introduced in 1969 as an alternative to manually winding your wristwatch. The Japanese manufacturer Seiko introduced the quartz movement and soon took over the market and replaced mechanical wristwatches.
Quartz watches run on battery which eliminates the need to manually winding your watch. The battery transmits the watch's internal parts, and an electric circuit converts this vibration into a pulse. Each pulse is of one second, which powers the second hand, causing ripple effects that move the minute and hour hand.
Quartz movement is more accurate than mechanical watches because you miss a few seconds every time your watch shuts down and needs winding. This translates into minutes and sometimes hours behind. Since quartz watches run 24/7, they tend to be more accurate. Moreover, quartz watches run on the electrical pulse, which makes them more authentic in telling time. However, our wristwatches aren't 100% accurate because time depends on light movement and the earth's rotation.
Difference Between Mechanical and Quartz Movements
Now that you know how both watches work, it will be easier to understand their difference. Here is how quartz movement is different from mechanical movement.
A Bit Laggy
When comparing quartz and mechanical movement side-by-side, it's easy to notice that one is laggy while the other is smooth. In this case, mechanical watches tend to lag, and the secondhand doesn't complete the entire distance between each minute mark. Moreover, quartz movement is an individual tick, while mechanical movement is a sweeping motion.
The sweeping motion of the mechanical movement is a bit laggy, which means you are going behind a few seconds every day. In long-term use, mechanical watches tend to lose track of time, and you might need to set them to the right time.
The main difference between quartz and mechanical wristwatches is their design and usage. While mechanical wristwatches require winding quartz watches run on batteries. This is a dramatic turning point in favor of quartz watches because your watch is always telling time and on time. On the other hand, quartz watches can easily be mass-produced because quartz crystals are in abundance, whereas making a mechanical wristwatch is a rare talent. Therefore, mechanical wristwatches might be slightly expensive compared to quartz watches.
The tipping point in the comparison between quartz and mechanical watches is the need for maintenance. While quartz watches need battery replacement, mechanical watches rarely need a new winding mechanism. Quartz batteries are easily available, while the mechanical winding mechanism is rare to find. However, quartz batteries run for more than 4 months and sometimes even a year. So, you don't have to change the batteries too often.
Which Is Better? Quartz or Mechanical Movement?
While both watch designs have their pros and cons, it depends on your personal preferences. If you love antique designs and miss your childhood winding your father's wristwatch, you might get nostalgic wearing a mechanical watch. However, if you prefer your watches run on their own and don't require any effort for checking the time, a quartz watch is best for you.
Mechanical and quartz watches are both beautiful timepieces. If you are deciding based on appearances, you won't find much difference. However, quartz movement is best for you if you prefer to keep your wristwatch up and running without much involvement. However, if you are a fan of antique designs and mechanical work, you might enjoy a watch that uses mechanical movement.
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