What Is A Quartz Watch Movement?

While watches are incredibly popular, not a lot of people know just how intricate and different the internal functions of different watches can be, and how drastically these differences can affect a watches performance, as well as its price.

One of the most common and popular watch types is the quartz movement watch.

This is a specific type of watch mechanism that is widely used among almost all watch brands, and is known for its reliability and accuracy. 

However there is a lot to learn about quartz movement watches, so in this guide we’re going to unpick exactly what a quartz watch movement is, as well as some other key things to know about watch movements so you can find something which is perfect for your specific needs and budget.

Watch Movements

Watch movements, which are sometimes referred to as ‘calibers’ are the type of system that actually powers the watch and that allow it to function.

These mechanisms are essentially the key internals of the watch that move the watch hands or manage the time itself, as well as other mechanisms such as the daily calendar, stopwatch, or chronograph. 

The movement of the watch is key to the accuracy and function of the watch. In short, the watch movement is what actually makes the watch work.

There are many different types of watch movement, and various different brands use all of these different mechanisms for various models of watch.

The first thing to understand however, is that there are two main types of watch movements: Quartz and Mechanical.

Quartz watches are powered by a battery inside the watch itself, which means they don’t require any external power source.

They tend to be cheaper than mechanical watches, but are often very accurate and readily available, however the batteries often rundown over time and need to be replaced which can compromise a watches integrity.

Mechanical watches are powered by a small motor, usually housed within the case of the watch.

These motors are generally more accurate than quartz watches, but they are more complex, and therefore more expensive and can be either automatic or manual, and there are some important differences between these that we’ll touch on later.

If you want to be able to tell the difference between a quartz and mechanical watch, look at the second hand.

Most mechanical watches will have a second hand that moves continually in a slow, steady motion, which a quartz watch is known for its ticking motion as it jumps from one second to the next.

Quartz Movement

Quartz watch movements are known for their excellent accuracy and are also very reliable, requiring little day to day maintenance as long as the housing is in good order and the battery is still good.

These watches are low cost and have relatively few moving parts or internals, which make them capable of taking considerable punishment. 

They aren’t often as well crafted or as intricate as mechanical movement watches, but they can still provide you with a great and accurate timepiece that delivers everything you need out of a quality watch.

How A Quartz Movement Works

A quartz movement relies on a small watch battery as its primary power source.

This small battery sends a current through a tiny quartz crystal, which becomes electrified and creates vibrations which keep the watch movement ‘oscillating’ and thus this vibration is what drives the motor which moves the actual hands on the watch face.

So In A Nutshell Why Are Quartz Watches Worth Investing In?

Quartz movement watches are generally cheaper than mechanical watches, and offer considerable reliability and durability for their price.

For eagle eyed watch lovers however, a quartz watch is generally lower quality and doesn’t have the same craftsmanship as mechanical watches, which use far more intricate internals.

Nonetheless, for an everyday watch a quartz movement is as reliable and accurate as it gets, which is why these are the most popular watches used today.

Mechanical Watches

Mechanical Watches

Mechanical movement watches are the watches that are considered the more luxurious and sought after among watch nerds.

These watches are among the first watches ever created, and despite decades and centuries of technological advances and developments, these watches are the truest to the first watches made, relying on intricate and delicate internal components arranged in a specific way.

The key difference between modern mechanical watches and old fashioned ones is namely in the turning device, as modern watches use a smaller and more reliable built in crown instead of larger turning keys which are inserted into the watch only when they need winding up.

Mechanical pieces are hand wound and quite complex, being made up of hundreds of parts that work together in perfect unity to make the watch work.

Automatic Watches

The automatic watch is one of the most common types of wristwatch available. It’s a mechanical device that uses gears inside the watch to tell the correct time.

They are among the oldest types of watches but are still quite common.

Importantly, these watches are mechanical watches, and do not use batteries, instead relying on springs to store energy which is released slowly to turn the gears and internals of an automatic watches inner movements.

They are more mechanically intricate and complex than quartz watches, but are also less accurate than quartz and automatic watches, but the appeal is that the batteries don’t need changing and their intricate movements are much more appealing to the trained eye than a quartz watch movement.

How A Mechanical Movement Works

A mechanical movement is one of the most complex mechanisms found in a watch.

It consists of a number of parts, including a balance wheel, escapement, pallet fork, barrel spring, hairspring, and gear train.

Differences Between Mechanical Movements

The first thing you should understand is that mechanical movements are made up of many individual parts from gears to springs and all of these need to be perfectly in sync for the watch to work well which is why these watches can be more prone to damage than other types of watch movement.

The main differences are that manual mechanical watches use a crown and require regular winding up to keep the watch functioning, while automatic watches generate the energy to continue working by the natural movement of the watch on your wrist during daily use.

How Much Do Quartz Watches Cost?

The average price of a quartz watch ranges from $50-$100, but some models can reach prices upwards of $1000 depending on the brand and what additional features the watch may have.

Quartz watches are generally cheaper than mechanical watches because they rely on battery power rather than having to rely on a winder or generator to keep them ticking over.

This means that they are easier to manufacture and are therefore cheaper to produce.

However, it does mean that if you want to buy a high end quartz watch you may be able to find automatic or even mechanical watches around the same price, as there is some overlap for entry level mechanical watches and high end quartz watches.

Do Quartz Watches Need Maintenance?

Do Quartz Watches Need Maintenance

The best way to keep a quartz watch running smoothly is by keeping the watch in a relatively dry environment and not exposing the watch to impacts which could compromise the housing or watch face, as well as the internals within the watch itself.

Regular servicing is a good idea for more expensive watches too, to ensure that they are functioning well and that there are no issues with battery run down or other potential issues.

What Is Considered Good Accuracy For A Quartz Watch?

Quartz watches are known to be among the most accurate watches in the world, despite their somewhat budget prices, and this is because they are very simple and robust.

As long as the watch battery has power, the watch will be able to work. 

Typically, these watches only vary by around a second a day at the very most, while some cheaper manual and automatic watches can vary by significantly more every day, up to and including a minute either way of the initially set time.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an everyday watch then a quartz watch is probably the best option for you.

They are easy to maintain and don’t cost much to make, meaning that you can get a really nice quality watch without breaking the bank.

They also tend to be pretty reliable, and they do tend to be more consistent. If you want something that’s going to last a lifetime, then a quartz watch is definitely worth considering.

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