The single most differentiating factor between a Quartz Watch and a Mechanical Watch is the Watch Movement which is also called a “Calibre” in horological terms. Watch Movement is basically the internal engine that powers the watch and operates its functions.
But, When it comes to buying a watch, watch movement might not be the only factor to consider. There are many other reasons that appeal to the normal crowd when it is needed to differentiate between a Mechanical and a Quartz Watch. Let us explore those differences in detail.
1. Watch Movement
A battery is needed for a Quartz Watch Movement as a power source. In order to create power in the Quartz Watch Movement, an electrical current is sent through a small Quartz crystal from a battery.
This current induces a vibration at a resonating frequency in the crystal. This vibration keeps the oscillation going and thus operates the system to move the watch hands.
Mechanical watches are quite old-fashioned when it comes to Watch Movement. This is because they use the energy from a manual would spring to provide power to the watch.
As we know that a wound spring stores energy and this energy is transferred through a series of other springs and gears as the spring unwinds to its normal state. This is how a Watch Movement in a mechanical watch is maneuvered.
When it comes to Accuracy, Quartz Watch is much more efficient than Mechanical Watches. To put things into perspective, a Mechanical watch loses or gains 5 to 10 seconds per day whereas a Quartz watch loses around 4 seconds per month.
There are some mechanical watches that may be off by a few minutes in a month period.
The reason behind the significant inaccuracy of mechanical watches is the moving components which can easily get out of the period over time.
This loss or gain of time can be seen in all types of mechanical watches ranging from the average ones to premium luxury watches such as Omega, and Rolex, depending on the intricacies of the movement of the small gears.
Reliability is a subjective matter when it comes to Mechanical and Quartz watches. If Accuracy is the factor for you to define reliability, Quartz watches are the winner here. But, when it comes to lifespan and craftsmanship, mechanical watches are so well-designed, they can be passed on to generations to come.
With proper care and utter maintenance that is required by mechanical watches, they are pretty much indestructible and can be used for generations to come. This is the reason why they are often exhibited as family heirlooms. Thus, it won’t be an exaggeration when they say Mechanical Watches are built to last many lifetimes.
A Quartz timepiece can last around 25 years or so if the quality is supreme. Over time, the internal wirings and parts break down thus rendering the watch useless. You can try and replace the inner mechanism if it doesn’t cost you more than the watch itself.
While Mechanical Watches can last for more than a century, they are much more susceptible to damage as they are made up of multiple small moving parts. Further, a Mechanical watch can be fixed only by a skilled watchmaker, provided that the spare parts are readily available.
Moreover, if one has to repair a premium Mechanical Watch like Rolex, the spare parts can be costly. At times it can cost more than buying a new watch. So, it will be wise to replace the watch entirely.
Quartz Watches are incredibly durable and can withstand extreme amounts of wear and tear. Watches like G-Shock are made to handle rough handling and conditions and they won’t break down easily unless you decide to break them.
While durability is pretty great with Quartz Watches, Longevity is not much and there is always a risk of electric circuits breaking down over the years.
Mechanical Watches need proper maintenance as they come with lots of small gears and connecting parts. It is like any other mechanical luxury you own which needs regular servicing and inspection.
The gears and bearings need to be oiled or lubricated so that they can operate smoothly. In general, you need to pay a visit to a skilled watchmaker once every 3-5 years to service your Mechanical watch.
Newbies often ignore this important information and it leads to a complete breakdown of the timepiece. Consequently, repairing a damaged Mechanical watch might cost you way more than it needs for its maintenance and servicing.
As far as Quartz Watches are concerned. They do not have many movable parts and they are not that susceptible to wear and tear. Thus, it needs minor maintenance like replacing the battery.
7. Size and Weight
The movable parts (gears and bearings) inside a Mechanical timepiece or watch are made up of heavy metals combined with the rotor. The rotor itself needs to be heavy so that it can turn and shift efficiently when the user is wearing it to wind the mainspring.
On average, a mechanical watch can weigh around 100 grams and have an average thickness of around 10 mm.
The Quartz counterparts are quite light as they are devoid of any moving gears except for the second hand. Thus, they can be designed to be smaller and thinner.
The average weight of a Quartz watch is around 70 grams with a thickness of 6 mm.
Since Mechanical watches are much more complicated to build and expensive metals are used to make the gears and bearings, they are much more expensive compared to Quartz watches.
At times, the sole purpose to purchase a Mechanical Watch manufactured by a company like Rolex or Rado is to flaunt the social status rather than to use the watch itself.
After a detailed discussion spanned over several criteria, it is still a subjective matter when it comes to deciding what built-type watch to buy. If your purpose is to use a watch for its functional purpose and are looking for sheer accuracy and durability, you can opt for a Quartz watch without a second thought.
But, if you are looking for something to make a statement and turn heads in a crowd, you can go for a mechanical Watch.