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Difference Between a Quartz Watch and a Mechanical Watch

A. Lange & SohneFeatured Post / June 26, 2013

Watch enthusiasts are very passionate about luxury watches and enjoy showing off their knowledge. For new watch enthusiasts, it can be very intimidating attempting to enter into the world of horology. Crown & Caliber is here to help. There are several topics that one needs to know to truly be considered a watch enthusiast. Also, it is always a good idea for veteran enthusiasts to brush up on their knowledge, as well.

Many of our fans often ask us questions about different watch topics. One question that we are often asked is “What is the difference between a quartz and a mechanical watch?” For all of you seasoned watch enthusiasts, this is knowledge that comes second nature. However, you had to learn it somewhere. For the new watch enthusiasts, it is time for you to learn this important information.

So, what is the difference between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch?

The difference between the two is the way the watch is powered. A mechanical watch is powered by an internal balance wheel that oscillates back and forth as the mainspring unwinds. The mechanical movement was first created in 1760 and has continued to be improved upon throughout the years. There are two types of mechanical watches: self-winding and manual winding. A manual mechanical watch is a watch that can be wound by manually turning the crown on the case of the watch. A self-winding mechanical watch is wound by the natural movement of the watch on the wearer’s wrist. The movement of the watch turns a rotor in the interior of the watch, which then turns the mainspring. There are many small and moving parts inside the case of the watch, each one intricately placed in a precise position and all pieces working together. Mechanical watches are the result of many hours of work from talented watch makers. Because of the level of work and craftsmanship that goes into a mechanical watch, they are quite expensive. Also, mechanical watches are not made in mass, making them more rare and increasing their value. Many mechanical watches are made as limited or special editions. If properly taken care of, mechanical watches can last several years, even decades.

Companies such as A. Lange & Sohne, Patek Philippe, and Breguet are known for making some of the most incredible mechanical watches.

A. Lange & Sohne Sax-o-mat

Breguet Tourbillon

Patek Philippe

A quartz watch is powered by a battery. Quartz watches are easier to make and can be made in mass, causing them to be cheaper in price. When the first quartz watch was created in the 1960s, people became enthralled by this new technology. This fascination had a significant and negative impact on the purchase of mechanical watches. Because quartz watches can be made quickly and in mass, they are significantly less expensive than mechanical watches. There are two types of quartz movements: analog and digital. Digital watches have no moving parts and the time is displayed on a digital screen. Analog watches have hands that show the hour, minute, and second.

Which one should you buy? It all depends on preference. Both keep accurate time, but are made completely differently. If you are interested in a watch that is hand-crafted and will last for many years, mechanical watches are the way to go. If you are just concerned with a watch that keeps accurate time, but is cheaper and not quite as beautifully crafted, then a quartz watch will fit your needs just fine.

For more important watch knowledge, visit these pages:

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Crown & Caliber

Crown & Caliber, the first online marketplace exclusively devoted to consigning luxury watches, offers a simple, safe and profitable medium to buy and sell luxury timepieces. Since its inception in 2012, Crown & Caliber has revolutionized the way vintage timepieces are bought and sold. More about Crown & Caliber

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