There are many types of watches, but today, we’ll focus on the following: automatic and battery operated. Automatic watches are powered by the movement of your wrist, while battery-operated, also dubbed quartz watches, use a battery as a power source.
The question we’re pondering today is – which one is better? Automatic or quartz? That’s a tough question to answer. Not impossible, though. We just have to take a good look at both of them, compare them head-to-head, and see which one comes out on top.
Shall we get started?
What Are Automatic Watches And How Do They Work?
Automatic watches are powered by the movement of your wrist. As you move your wrist, a weight (called a rotor) inside the device spins. This motion winds the watch’s mainspring, which powers it.
Automatic watches are very accurate, and they don’t need to be wound as often as regular mechanical ones. However, unless you wear them regularly – they will stop ticking until you strap them back on.
What Are Quartz Watches And How Do They Work?
Quartz watches are powered by batteries. A battery sends an electric current through a piece of quartz crystal. The quartz vibrates at a very precise frequency (32768 times per second), and these vibrations power the device.
Quartz watches are very accurate and they don’t need to be wound. However, the batteries will eventually die and need to be replaced, and you will lose or gain a few seconds a year, but that’s not something you should ever worry about.
Pros & Cons Of Automatic Watches
The best way to figure out whether something’s good or bad is to make a pros and cons list. So, let’s start with the good stuff first.
- They are fairly accurate
- Batteries aren’t required
- Do not need to be wound if worn regularly
- Often look brilliant
- Can last for days on a single wound
Automatic watches are fairly accurate, although less accurate than battery-operated watches. However, the difference is imperceptible.
They don’t require batteries, either, so they’re a more environmentally-friendly option. But, more importantly, they’re not dependent on any power source other than the movement of your wrist. So, forget about battery replacements every two years.
Unlike regular mechanical ones, automatic watches don’t need to be wound if you wear them regularly. The motion of your arm will keep them ticking.
Additionally, many people feel that automatic watches look more elegant and luxurious than battery-operated ones. Now, we understand that whether something’s beautiful or not is purely subjective, but all things considered – we have to agree with this assessment. Unless we’re looking at a basic Casio automatic version. Those look plain and boring.
Finally, let’s talk about the power reserve. Some automatic watches require daily wounding to keep ticking, but that’s not true for every model. Some can last up to 10 days, although most of those will cost you an arm and a leg. But, you don’t have to overpay for power reserves. Some mid-range, affordable brands like Boderry can last a few days on a single wound. An automatic Boderry watch comes with a power reserve of 72 hours, which is more than respectable.
Now, let’s check out the cons.
- They get less accurate over time
- They need to be worn regularly
- Often very expensive
Unfortunately, these things will become less accurate as time goes by. And, we don’t just mean it’ll lose a few seconds a year, we mean ten or so years from now you’ll have to get it tuned, which could be rather costly. Now, it goes without saying how unfortunate that is considering you’ve probably paid a hefty sum for it in the first place.
Also, if you’re a type of person that wears a watch occasionally – it’s probably best you don’t get an automatic. The reason being is that they need to be worn to keep them ticking. Not only will it be annoying setting your watch every time you pick it up again, but if you only wear it every now and then, you will eventually damage the delicate parts inside and destroy your prized possession.
Last but not least, automatics are often very expensive. You’re looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a decent one, and if you want something luxurious, be prepared to spend anywhere from a few thousand to tens, even hundreds of thousands. And, if you really want to ball out – some cost a few million, so knock yourself out.
Pros & Cons Of Quartz Watches
Quartz watches are many folks’ favourite, and here’s why.
- Don’t require wounding
- Often quite affordable
- Very accurate
Quartz watches are those that uses a battery to power the movement of the hands, so they don’t require wounding. This can be seen as a pro or a con depending on your preferences. Many people find that not having to worry about winding their watch is a huge convenience, while others miss the ritual of winding it every few days.
Quartz watches are also often quite affordable, especially when compared to automatic ones. This is because they don’t have as many moving parts and don’t require as much craftsmanship to create.
Also, they are very accurate. This is because the battery provides a consistent power source, unlike an automatic watch which is powered by the movement of your wrist. This means that quartz models will usually gain or lose less than a few seconds per year.
Thanks to the far simpler mechanism and the lack of many moving parts, quartz watches are often fairly lightweight. This can be a benefit if you find heavier models to be uncomfortable.
Finally, quartz watches are low-maintenance. Since they don’t have as many moving parts, there is less that can go wrong and they don’t need to be serviced as often as automatic ones do.
On the other hand…
- Require a battery
- Difficult to repair
- Can be short-lived
Quartz watches require a battery in order to function. While this is not a huge inconvenience, it can be something to consider if you are looking for a model that can just stop anytime a battery runs out.
In addition, quartz watches can be difficult to repair if something goes wrong. This is because the mechanism is much more complex than that of an automatic watch, so there are fewer replaceable parts. This means that if something does go wrong, it is often cheaper and easier to just replace the entire device rather than trying to repair it.
Finally, quartz watches can be short-lived. While it is true your quartz Tissot or a Grand Seiko will last you a lifetime, something more in line with a regular Joe’s budget might not. Better yet – it probably won’t.
Final Verdict – Which Is Better?
The way we see it, both automatic and quartz watches have their ups and downs. In the end, it all boils down to what you are looking for in a watch – not to which one is better.
Some will praise the intricacy of an automatic piece while others will revel in the simplicity of a good quartz. Does that mean one is right and the other is wrong? No. They’re both right.
What do you think?