How much do we know about movements when it comes to buying a watch? For many years, watch collectors and enthusiasts are constantly debating what’s the most precise movement. Before we start, we need to know the basic information about watch movements.
There are 2 kinds of movements in the market. They are quartz and mechanical movement.
Quartz is a commonly used timekeeping technology. Harnessing the energy of a charged gem may sound like something from a fantasy TV series Game of Thrones, but the fact is, this is what you'll find inside your watch today. A minuscule crystal of quartz is electrified by a small battery to cause the quartz inside to pulsate with a precise frequency. The frequency is broken down through an integrated circuit where power is released through a small stepping motor setting the watch hands in motion. That means you never have to worry about winding, since the battery-powered quartz takes care of it automatically.
Quartz movements generally keep the most accurate time, losing only a few seconds per month, and have low maintenance costs (usually the only work needed is a simple battery change).
A mechanical watch movement can be made up of hundreds of parts and powered by a mainspring, which releases energy through a system of gears regulated by an escapement. The escapement mechanism checks and releases the flow of energy in fixed amounts using an oscillating balance-spring and wheel. Every function of a mechanical watch is engineered without electronic influence. Therefore you need to wind an automatic watch to keep the watch accurate. Automatic watches are a subset of mechanical; they feature self-winding mechanisms that work by harnessing the wrist’s movement from the wearer to keep the watch hands moving.
While quartz movements may win in terms of accuracy and affordability, and mechanical movements are the favorite for luxury and tradition given the fact that high level of quality and craftsmanship.
But because of the high intricacy of making mechanical movements, it also required watch specialists to service the watch. It usually takes every five years to send your mechanical watches for service and the fee may be expensive compared to quartz as it only requires a change in battery every 2 years.
Also quartz movement typically sustains shocks better than mechanical movements due to less intricate parts.
No matter what you choose, both quartz and mechanical movements have their own strengths. It all comes down to your personality and your requirements. When it comes to perceived values, there is an emphasis of higher craftsmanship in mechanical movements but that doesn’t mean quartz movement have less. Always remember that you are your own personality and the watch should reflect who you are and not what society wants you to be.