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TrueFacet's Fine Jewelry and Watch Guide

What Is The Difference Between a Mechanical Movement and a Quartz Watch?

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You know you want a watch. Perhaps you even know you want a luxury watch. Knowing these two things puts you on the path to finding, buying, and owning a fantastic watch. You’re not ready to buy just yet, though. You have a few more decisions to make.

Before you can choose your favorite brand or which watch model you like the best, you need to figure out which type of movement you want your watch to use. The two main types of watch movements are:

  1. Mechanical
  2. Quartz crystal, typically shortened to quartz

What is the difference between a mechanical and quartz watch? How will you decide? As your to-go experts for all things related to pre-owned luxury jewelry, including watches, we’re here to help you answer this question!

Learn The Difference Between a Mechanical Movement and a Quartz Watch

Think of a watch’s movement as the engine that powers the motion of its hands, its day and date windows, and anything else you can see changing. Watch movements fall into two main categories: Mechanical (both manual-winding and automatic-winding) and Quartz (battery-powered).

Mechanical Movement Watches

In all mechanical watches, a balance wheel and spring are used. The wheel oscillates at a consistent rate utilizing the force of the spring as it unwinds. This oscillation creates a back and forth motion which is similar to the movement of the pendulum.

These amazing watches are like autonomous little machines without the need for electric power sources. Rolex watches are mechanical movements, so this is certainly an option to look into.  Mechanical movements are further subdivided into two categories:

  1. Manual-winding
  2. Self-winding (automatic)

For a mechanical movement to work continuously, the spring needs to be wound periodically. If a person is a watch purist they will insist this is the right type of watch to have, and it’s the original or classic option.

Quartz Watches

Quartz watches are powered by batteries that vibrate little crystals. When an electrical current is applied, the crystal will vibrate at its resonance frequency, making it a type of oscillator. In watches, this oscillation can be harnessed for timekeeping. It replaces the role of the balance wheel and mainspring.

A quartz watch offers you superior timekeeping accuracy you won’t find in a mechanical watch. That’s not to say mechanical watches will make you late to work. A well-built mechanical watch will be extremely accurate, probably only losing or gaining just a few seconds per day. However, the quartz watch can be accurate within a few seconds per year

Watches can be a big purchase, and maintain their value and prestige for years to come. The movement a person favors typically comes down to a personal preference. Now that you have learned the difference between a mechanical and quartz watch, you can make the right choice for you!