Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy An Automatic Watch

why-buy-an-automatic-watch

Automatic watch is beginning to become more popular nowadays thanks to its novelty. But is that the only reason to own one?

So why should anyone buy an automatic watch? There are 10 reasons why you should buy an automatic watch:

  1. It is a unique type of watch and has character
  2. Does not require a battery to be used
  3. Has sweeping seconds hand that is cool to look at
  4. It has some of the best looking watch designs and craftsmanships
  5. To appreciate the great effort and engineering behind it
  6. The experience of wearing it is different from normal quartz watch
  7. It can last for a long time to be passed on to your descendants as heirloom
  8. Can be an investment vehicle as it retains its value well
  9. As a statement of your exquisite taste
  10. Will make for a good conversation starter with fellow watch fans

1. It is Unique And Has Character

One of primary reasons why you should buy an automatic watch is its uniqueness and character, because of its mechanical timekeeping that’s free of any electric or electronics.

Thanks to its affordability, quartz watch is the norm nowadays. And that’s the start of how electronics conquer our world. After that, phones, and then smartphones, are widespread and almost everyone have them. Coupled with TVs, laptops and other electronic devices, our lives seem to revolve around electronics.

Now while I do enjoy electronics (I did write this article using a computer), I do yearn for something different. I can’t run away from smartphones, laptops, TVs, cars, etc but I can make the decision to buy an automatic watch that does not use any electric/electronic device inside it.

And that’s why automatic watch is much more unique nowadays in the era of modern civilization where everything requires electricity to be used. Automatic watch uses a novel mechanism that’s run entirely based on moving gears and parts to keep time. This characteristic is found to be very cool and is one of the main reasons why its popular among watch fans.

2. Does Not Require A Battery

The second reason why anyone should own an automatic watch is it does not need a battery to operate. Automatic watch relies on the natural wrist motion that stores potential energy inside the watch for it to operate. There is no need for a battery inside it because everything is done mechanically.

This is quite useful as it means there is no need to change the battery every 1-2 years like a normal quartz watch. Simply strap the watch to your wrist and it will run or you can also manual wind it by rotating its crown to directly top up its potential energy inside the mainspring.

In addition, less pollution is being discharged as there is no harmful batteries being thrown away every year. This characteristic of automatic watch quite possibly makes it the most environmentally friendly watch types around as it only uses the common mechanical parts made from metals without any harmful chemicals found in batteries and electronic chips.

3. Has Sweeping Seconds Hand

why buy an automatic watchThe next cool features of automatic watch is sweeping seconds hand. This is one of its main characteristics that will enable you to tell an automatic watch from quartz watch easily.

An automatic watch will have a sweeping or gliding seconds hand motion as opposed to the ticktock/1 second jump of quartz watch. The reason for this lies in how their movement works.

Inside an automatic watch, the timekeeping is done by a balance wheel that is designed to oscillate in a fixed frequency (often times 6 or 8 beats per second). With each beat, the balance wheel will cause the seconds hand to move through a set of gear trains and hence, the seconds hand will move very fast, at a rate of 6-8 times per second.

This seconds hand motion give the effect of sweeping or gliding seconds hand that is very cool to look at.

For a quartz watch, the integrated circuit inside it is the one responsible for timekeeping (with the help of a quartz oscillator). The IC will then send a signal to a step motor to move the seconds hand every second, hence the jumping seconds hand.

It could, theoretically, make a sweeping seconds hand by signaling the motor to move 6-8 times every second (like automatic watch) but this will consume more electrical energy (and bigger battery) and increase the wear and tear inside the watch (cause it to be more expensive as better materials are needed to be used).

4. It Has Some Of The Best Looking Watch Designs And Craftsmanship

What does Rolex, Omega, Tag and other higher end watches with good-looking designs have in common? That’s right, most of their watches have automatic movement in it.

As its unique and has better character, automatic watch is currently positioned at the top end of watches with beautiful designs and exquisite craftsmanship. The reason for this is that watchmakers know that they can’t market and compete in terms of pricing with the very affordable quartz watch.

Which is why most automatic watchmakers design and market their watches to the rich and famous by using precious metals (gold, titanium etc.) and handcrafted parts to create some of the best looking watches in the market. By focusing in this niche market, it has helped automatic watch industry to survive despite having a cost disadvantage against the cheaper quartz watch.

Another main reason why automatic watch is just so nice to look at is because its mostly made out of metal instead of plastic. The parts need to be metal because of the high amount of moving parts which require for the robustness and strength of metal.

In order to hold the weight of the metal parts, the outer casing also need to be made out of metal. This gives the chance for watchmaker to create an exquisitely polished metal case which is truly beautiful to look at. And thanks to the heft from all the metal, automatic watch also feels heavy and has some heft in it which makes for a pleasant wearing experience.

5. To Appreciate The Great Effort And Engineering Behind It

In this current age of electronics, how can anyone create something that do a complex thing without relying on electronics?

True enough, timekeeping is very easy with a quartz watch. A small piece of quartz movement is sufficient to tell time. You just need to hook up a battery cell and it will run. In fact, many great things were born out of electronics such as smartphones and smartwatches (which is really cool btw).

But then on the other side, we have automatic watch that seeks to keep time accurately (almost) without relying on electronics. It uses mechanical moving parts in the form of balance wheel to keep time. There’s also the power reserve and self-winding module and time display module.

And then to cram all of these into a very small footprint that can be worn on our wrists. Now that’s something that not everyone can do. There are no less than 100 small parts in an automatic watch and all of them need to be designed, manufactured and assembled perfectly for the watch to run.

There’s a lot of effort put into these watches. Without a doubt, automatic watch is a culmination of centuries of mankind’s effort in timekeeping and I personally, have a great joy to wear one on my wrist =)

6. Experience Of Wearing It Is Different From Normal Quartz Watch

The next reason to buy an automatic watch is to because it has a different feeling when being worn as compared to the normal quartz watch.

I’m pretty sure most of you guys already own a quartz watch before (my first watch was a quartz when I was a kid). It’s a great piece of watch and just works without any fuss. But as I’ve mentioned above, its run entirely by electronics which kind of making it quite boring to be used. There’s no real fun in wearing one, to be honest.

Automatic watches, on the other hand, is something entirely different. Like all mechanical devices, you need to pay attention to how it performs so that you can use it correctly.

There’s the matter about its power reserve, you might need to manual wind it, there’s more resetting need to be done (especially if you have a lot of watches in your collection), you need to keep track of its accuracy, need to be aware and bring it to service, and a lot of other stuffs. While it seems like a lot of work to do for a watch, I found that this gives me a chance to interact with my watches kinda like the watch is a living being – which I really enjoy =)

In addition to that, automatic watch also has the self-winding mechanism in the form a free moving rotor that moves with wrist motion. This kind of mechanical feedback makes wearing the watch something that’s really special and not found in other watch types.

7. Can Last For A Long Time And Good Item As Heirloom

Automatic watch also can last for a long time and is something that you can keep as an heirloom for your descendants. In fact, many vintage watches on the market right now are automatic watches, with some of them can keep running. If being kept properly, automatic watch can easily outlive you and passed on to the next generation.

One reason for its longevity is because of the high use of metals inside the watch, with the stainless steel type the most usually used. Metals are robust and can last long, provided its not rusted – which is what stainless steel is all about. Just keep it out from moisture, store it in a dry place and you will be able to keep the watch intact for years.

As the movement, its not as long-lasting because the oils used as lubricant will go bad after 5 or so years. But this is not a cause for concern as sending the watch to be serviced will do the trick. In fact, many vintage automatic watches are running fine now after being serviced. When push comes to shove, you can always replace the movement entirely with a new one, provided that it will fit inside the case.

8. As An Investment Vehicle (Some Watches Only)

Quite like a vintage car, automatic watch can also be a good investment vehicle, though this only applies to some watches.

As mentioned above, automatic watch can easily last for a long time and after a few years, there might be a demand for it. This is because with changing style/trend, some watch models will be discontinued to follow the latest trend.

Case in point is with watch sizes. A few decades ago, anything bigger than 38 mm diameter is unthinkable. But now, most of the watches are in 40mm++ diameter. With clothes, watch style is continuously evolving and something that is hot now will not be so a few years later.

This creates a demand for yesteryear watches whereby some people might still want to hold on to that kind of style or watch model. They might not be able to afford these watches years ago due to many reasons and now, since they can afford it, they are willing to get these previous generation watches for their collection. This creates a thriving market for vintage watches and with the right condition, automatic watches can still keep most of their value.

But then, only some automatic watches can be regarded as an investment vehicle. This mostly revolves around the higher priced watch with a unique standing around the watch community such as stainless steel Rolex Submariner. This watch is one of the few that can be said to be an investment in itself thanks to how popular it is.

One of the key things to remember is an evergreen design from a good brand will be a sure win. And this is why the Submariner is such a hit because its design have been mostly unchanged from decades ago – proving just how popular and evergreen it is. So do your research prior to buying a watch solely for investment purpose to avoid losing out in the end.

9. Statement Of Your Exquisite Taste

If you see someone wearing an automatic watch, what do you think of him/her? Without a doubt, you’d think about how rich he is (depending on the brand/watch price) but another thing that will spring into mind is how good his taste is.

Automatic watches almost always have a good design. Though it depends on the price and brand, I found that most automatic watches are impeccably designed even for a normal low-end models, more so than a normal quartz watch.

And when worn on your wrist, it will be a statement on what your taste is much like the other elements of your outfit. Wearing an automatic watch will easily elevate your style without even trying.

10. A Good Conversation Starter With Fellow Watch Fans

I’ve been able to strike conversations with strangers just from commenting on their watch.

Yes, its unthinkable, but when you’ve been deep down into watches, did your research, own a few of them, sooner of later you can easily tell what kind of watches anyone is wearing.

But most often than not, my conversations will start by me being intrigued with the other guy and asking about their watch. Apart from the watches that I own, there are many watches that I only know from reading online and stumbling upon them in real life on another guy’s wrist will definitely get me excited.

And that’s also what usually happened with me. Often times, some guys will strike a conversation with me on a watch that I’m wearing – it can be either because he’s also an automatic watch fan or because the watch is really handsome (see point no. 4 & 9 above). If you don’t wear an automatic watch, these conversation opportunities will not exist.

By the way, have you noticed that most magazines about finance and business have full page ads featuring automatic watches? This is because most of the rich wear automatic watches and if you want to appeal and connect with them, wearing an automatic watch yourselves could be a great way to that.

Are Automatic Watches Worth It?

So are automatic watches worth it? Yes, automatic watches are definitely worth your money based on the 10 reasons above. It’s one of the non-electronically device that we can have right now and as an automatic watch owner, I’ve been very happy with my watches.

But then again, not everyone might be suitable to own one of these as it also have its own disadvantages that might be a deal-breaker for them. For example, if you’re looking for a very accurate watch or something that is very lightweight, then a quartz watch might be the best for you. I’ve written an entire post about the differences of automatic vs quartz watch that you can use (click here to read it).

In addition, I’d like to recommend that you start out with the cheaper variations of automatic watches before buying something that costs thousands of dollars and then finding out and automatic watch is not to your liking. I’ve had a couple of friends splurged on Rolex Submariner worth thousands of dollars to reward themselves only to not use the watch after some time because its not keeping a “correct time”.

Such costly mis-purchases can be avoided if you try out with cheaper watches just to test the waters and see if automatic watch is for you or not. If you’re interested in getting an affordable watch, check out my 10 best affordable automatic watch under $200. If its too cheap and you want to get something more expensive, then my collection of the top 30 automatic watches under $1,000 might be able to help you.

Related Questions

What is the reliability of quartz watch compared to automatic watch? In terms of reliability, quartz watch is able to keep better time compared to automatic watch. This is because it uses an electronic circuit with quartz oscillator that can keep time accurate to +/- 10 seconds per month. (Read my previous article on how quartz watch can be so accurate).

What is automatic watch lifespan? Automatic watch can last forever provided that it is not damaged and being serviced based on manufacturer’s recommendation which can vary from 3 to 5 years (read more about automatic watch service in my previous post here).

I hope this article about why anyone should own an automatic watch will be beneficial to you. Do let me know what you guys think about by commenting below.

Cheers!

How Accurate Is Seiko Automatic Watch? I Own 4 Of Them And This Is My Answer

Seiko is a giant watch company that makes all sorts of watches from automatic to quartz to solar. Its automatic watches is famous for being affordable but this begs the question of how accurate is seiko automatic watches?

So what is Seiko automatic watch accuracy? Based on my experience, Seiko automatic watches have great accuracy, less than +/- 6 seconds per day of deviation which is higher than the +/- 10 seconds per day that I’d consider as good accuracy (for accuracy, lower value is better).

I came to this conclusion based on my experience owning 4 Seiko automatic watches over these past few years. But it should be noted that, just like other brands, the accuracy did reduce after few years depending on how you used them. In addition, I’m going to share what I think about Seiko automatic watches and if it’s a good watch to buy.

Seiko Automatic Watches Have Great Accuracy

Seiko automatic watches all have great accuracy out of the box based on my experience with 4 Seikos (low-mid ranges). It’s quite hard to believe as the published accuracy specifications all show that their accuracy is quite high.

Below is the list of the watches that I own and the kind of real life accuracy that I got from them vs published accuracy specification from Seiko:

  1. Seiko SARB033 (6R15 movement): Less than 5 seconds per day vs +25/-15 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)
  2. Seiko SKX013 (7S26 movement): Less than 4 seconds per day vs +49/-20 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)
  3. Seiko Sumo SBDC003 (6R15 movement): Less than 5 seconds per day vs +25/-15 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)
  4. Seiko 5 Worldtimer (4R36 movement): Less than 6 seconds per day vs +45/-35 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)

All of the real life accuracy measurements were performed by using apps for watch accuracy check (I used the app watchcheck, though toolwatch app also seems to be a good option).

Seiko SARB033 worn hand
My Seiko SARB033

Now if you’ve read my previous article, I’ve mentioned that to me, a +/- 10 seconds deviation per day is considered a good accuracy for automatic watches (though you might want to have a higher accuracy for more expensive or chronometer watches).

This value is based on real life usage pattern in a week. Suppose that my watch will gain (or lose) 10 seconds daily, then at the end of the week, it will still be within a minute off the actual time.

This is important because I don’t want to have to adjust the time during mid-week, where I tend to get busy and just want to grab the watch and go to work without having to check if the time is off or not. Hence, the +/- 10 seconds per day accuracy works well for me.

And that’s the reason why I’m very happy with my Seikos. As you can see, the watch ranges from very affordable (the Seiko 5 @ ~$100) to low-mid range (Seiko Sumo @ ~$500) with the SARB033 and SKX013 in between. And all of them have great accuracy with less than 6 seconds deviations per day! Now that’s definitely something that I’m happy with =)

How About Its Accuracy After A Few Years?

The accuracy of my Seikos deteriorated after years of use, but most of them still within the manufacturer’s specification.

Just like all mechanical devices, automatic watch will also deteriorate and that’s the case with my Seikos. From my experience, the accuracy reduced but it depends on many factors.

As the watch was used, there are wear and tear on the various moving parts inside it. Not to mention the lubricants used in the watch will be less viscous over time – all of these are the factors that reduced the accuracy of the watch over time.

Another important factor is how heavily used and how harsh was the watch subjected to. This is very important that because automatic watch is a delicate device, using it for outdoor activities might be too much for it to handle and can wreak havoc on its movement.

For my SARB033, I found that the accuracy is still intact around less than 7 seconds deviation per day after about 2 years of use. I’m very happy with this watch as it’s my go to watch for work as it has the great quality all around with beautiful simplistic styling.

I should also mention that I never use this watch for anything outdoor – just normal regular desk job and going out socializing with friends. Since I also take great care not to bang the watch on any hard surface etc, I guess that also contributed to the great time the watch has even after 2 years.

(If you want to know more about Seiko SARB033, read my detailed review about the watch here)

My Seiko SKX013 is another gem with accuracy only diminished to less than 8 seconds deviation per day after using it for 2.5 years. Now, I’m most astonished with this watch because even though it has the previous generation’s 7S26 movement inside it, it kept great time, and even beat the newer 6R15s out of box!

The best thing that I love about this watch is how light it is on hand. It’s my go to watch for when I went swimming thanks to this (replacing my heavier Sumo). I would also bring this watch with me whenever I’m traveling as it’s lightweight and frankly, quite cheap (I bought it around $200) so if something were to happen during my travel, I won’t be burned much and can still manage to fork out some money to get another SKX013 LOL!

But putting that aside, this little dive watch had really impressed me with its great accuracy over the years.

The Seiko Sumo SBDC003 is another story. I had the Seiko Sumo for 4 years now and sadly, the accuracy had diminished to around 25-30 seconds gain/lost per day.

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo Dial
My Seiko Sumo SBDC003 after 4 years

Now, I should note that I was quite brave when I got the watch. It’s one of Seiko’s Prospex watches – a line up of sports watch that give the impression that you can use it anywhere, anytime for whatever purposes. A real rugged dive/sports watch if I can say.

And coupled that with the handsome features of the Sumo, before long I found using it for anywhere. I wore it to work, to swimming, to gym, to jogging, even to doing yard & construction works!

The Seiko Sumo performed brilliantly and doesn’t bat an eye on these things. But it turns out I was actually abusing the watch as its accuracy suffers greatly. I still love it to bits but its lack of accuracy is a deterrent from me using it more frequent. Not to mention that I have other watches with better accuracy in my collection.

The takeaway from all of this is that no automatic watch, no matter how heavily advertised it is for diving or sportiness, can still work well if you wear it for frequent physical activities. In the case of my Sumo, it still works great but the lack of accuracy makes the watch less useful to me currently. I guess it’s time to take it for a service..

Last but not least, my Seiko 5 Worldtimer. This is my first automatic watch that I bought 5 years ago and now it its accuracy had diminished to 30 seconds deviation per day. I did use it as much as possible like my Seiko Sumo but I guess since it’s not a real diver watch, it does not have that robustness built into it.

Coupled with it being a bit left out from my wrist for a few years, its accuracy suffers greatly throughout the time.

All in all, Seiko automatic watches have great accuracy out of box, but how good the accuracy is after few years will depend on how heavy you use them. Not using it for heavy physical activities will definitely lengthen its life and keeps its accuracy in an acceptable range.

Do Seiko Automatic Watches Have Good Quality?

Seiko SKX013 worn on hand
My Seiko SKX013

So do Seiko automatic watches have good quality? Without a doubt, my answer is yes, it has good quality. I’ve been a huge fan of them since my first automatic watch (the Seiko 5) and a lot other watch fans think the same.

At first, the mark of quality comes from the exterior of the watch. While the finishing touches depends on the watch’s price, Seiko really did a great job in ensuring their watches have good quality finishing.

But again, there are some kinks here and there such as the famous issue on rotating bezel not aligning perfectly. Notwithstanding those smaller issues, the watch is well-made and really robust for everyday use.

That brings me to my next point, robustness of the watch. As I’ve shared earlier, my Seiko Sumo and Seiko 5 was able to go through a harsh level of use, ranging from normal watch for work, to exercising, swimming, and even jogging. And both of the watches can get through all of these while still intact and working (albeit with some effect on accuracy).

Although the Sumo was perfectly within my expectations, the Seiko 5 was actually quite surprising as it’s able to keep up with the Sumo even though it’s 4 to 5 times cheaper. So yeah, Seiko automatic watches really were built to last!

And if you think they can only make tough watches, then you’re wrong. The Seiko SARB033 that I have showed me just how great their design language is. It’s very simplistic, unassuming, and yet looks really beautiful on wrist. The deep black dial works really well with the polished stainless steel case, for a very handsome watch.

And if you think the SARB033 is too bland and not for you, then check out the Cocktail Time. I’ve recently reviewed the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time and its totally opposite of the SARB033 with gorgeous eye-catching sunburst dial. If you want a watch that grabs attention, then you will really like this Cocktail Time (read here for my full review of the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time).

Seiko Watches Are Great Value For Money? Definitely!

Seiko SARB033 Automatic Wrist Watch Review
Seiko SARB033

Without a doubt, I definitely agree that Seiko automatic watches are great value for money. Consider this, when all the other Swiss/West brands (the likes of Tissot, Hamilton, Certina, etc.) priced their automatic watches over $500, Seiko manage to sell a lot of automatic watches below that price.

Based on direct comparison of watch to watch, a Seiko watch will cost $100 to $200 less than a comparable Swiss/West automatic watch.

This is mostly due to they are manufacturing in the East with lower labor and material costs. But in the end, it is the customer’s win and I certainly don’t mind where my watches are made lol!

But I also need to highlight that the Swiss watches typically have better material. For instance, a sapphire crystal is a default on most Tissots/Hamiltons that I’ve seen. This is not the case with Seiko as most of their low to low-mid range of automatic watches uses their own Hardlex crystal (an improved mineral crystal) that is not as scratch resistant as sapphire.

But in recent times, I’ve seen that the prices of Seiko watches seems to creep up, presumably as they have known about how popular their watches are among watch fans. I’m all for a higher priced watch if they can justify such price increase but if they only want to profit more, then it’s definitely not something that I will tolerate. Only time will tell on what Seiko will do in future.

Related Questions

What is considered good accuracy for automatic watches? An automatic watch can be said to have good accuracy if it is around +/- 10 seconds per day (read more about automatic watch accuracy in my previous post for more info).

Do automatic watches keep good time? Automatic watch will keep good time if it’s being kept in good condition and its time adjusted for accuracy. But if its being used too hard, then there is a high chance that its accuracy will suffer in the long run.

I hope this article about Seiko automatic watch accuracy is useful to you. If you have any questions or simply want to share your thoughts and experience with your own watches, you’re most welcomed to comment below.

Till next time. Cheers!

8 Types of Watch Movements That All Watch Fans Should Know

8 types of watch movement

Starting as a jewelry for the wealthy, watches have grown over the years into an important timekeeping device for everyone. With hundreds of years of history, there are many types of watch movements invented along the way.

So how many types of watch movements are there? There are 8 types of watch movements currently:

  1. Automatic: It’s mechanical in nature (which means not using electric battery) and well regarded as the preferred watch type in some most expensive watches thanks to the unique characteristics found in it.
  2. Mechanical: Basically same as automatic but without the self-winding function.
  3. Quartz: The most common watch movement that you can see everywhere. Quartz watch uses an Integrated Chip (IC) & quartz crystal as its timekeeping and uses electricity from battery cells as its power source, making it a very cheap, affordable and accurate watch.
  4. Solar: It uses quartz watch’s timekeeping but instead of a battery cell, it has solar panel on it to harness the power of sunlight to automatically recharge it and don’t require frequent battery change.
  5. Automatic Quartz: A type of watch that marries the high accuracy of quartz movement with the self-charging capability a-la automatic watch to recharge its battery.
  6. Spring Drive: Invented by the Japanese watch company Seiko, spring drive is a hybrid type of watch movement that uses mechanical mainspring energy storage and an innovative quartz timekeeping which is regulated by electromagnetic with quartz vibration feedback. It’s famous for being revolutionary with high technical level (or should I say a very cool watch!) as well as having a true sweeping seconds hand.
  7. Electric: Electric watch is the first type of electrically powered watches which invented – which was then superseded by the more accurate and cheaper quartz watch. It uses electromagnetically charged device for its timekeeping mechanism.
  8. Smartwatch: This is the latest and hottest watch currently. It packed a lot of functions (from normal timekeeping to chronographs to phone notification) packed into a small watch-size device thanks to advancement in smartphone technology.

In this article, I’ll be going in detail through each one of these watch movement types as well as what you should expect from each of them. In addition, I’ll give a run through on who are best to get these movements.

1. Automatic Movement

Automatic watch is a type of watch that uses mechanical mechanism for timekeeping and rely on the natural wrist motion (or self-winding) of its wearer to keep recharging its power reserve. The timekeeping uses a balance wheel that will spin fast at a designated frequency to keep the period of 1 second.

The balance wheel will then move the seconds hand needle through a set of gears. These gears will also keep the time of minutes and hour hands (as well as day & date indicators, if any).

The whole movement was kept moving by a mainspring that stores potential energy. As the mainspring tends to unwind, it will move the gears attached to it, which will set the whole motion of the watch. This mainspring is keep winded by using self-winding mechanism through a weighted rotor (that you can see at the back of the watch) which will spins freely following the wrist’s motions.

Yes, there’s a lot of things going on inside it. This makes automatic watch a highly technical and complicated device. Due to this, it is currently the de-facto movement in most of luxury watches. So if you see a Rolex, Omega, Patek, etc on a magazine or billboard, chances are you’re looking at an automatic watch.

It’s actually the younger sibling of the mechanical watch (which will be discussed next) but with the main difference of having the self-winding mechanism. The addition of this mechanism makes automatic watch an easy-to-use watch compared to the mechanical watch that needs continuous manual winding.

I, for one, am a fan of automatic watch due to its unique characteristics. It’s one of the devices that we have around us that does not rely on electric/electronic to do something very useful and hard to do, which is timekeeping.

I love the feel of a moving mechanical part on my hand which is very different from the typical smartphones or laptops that I use every day. It’s a cool little device that has a lot of things going on in it.

In addition, most automatic watches are made with great craftsmanship, more so than normal quartz watches. This makes automatic watches more special to own.

So if you want something out-of-ordinary, cool and looks great, automatic watch is the one for you.

(If you want to learn more, read about from my previous articles on what is automatic watch and how does it work)

2. Mechanical Movement

Mechanical watch is a watch that uses mechanical mechanism to keep time with its power supplied by a mainspring that must be wound periodically. It’s the same as the automatic watch but without the self-winding mechanism. For a mechanical watch, the winding must be done manually by rotating the crown.

Although mechanical watch looks to be losing in terms of usefulness to the automatic, it actually also have its own benefits.

For example, the lack of self-winding mechanism makes the mechanical watch a simpler watch with lesser material count, making it lighter and has slimmer profile. It’s also less complicated and will cost less to service.

(Yes, all mechanical watches (automatic included) need to be serviced. Read my previous article on how often should you service yours)

In addition, mechanical watches are also cheaper than its automatic counterparts. While these advantages looks great, do bear in mind that you will have to manual wind the watch once every 1 – 3 days depending on the power reserve, which makes it not a good choice for a watch that you will wear daily.

For beginners with watches, I’d recommend not to get this as there’s a lot of work involves in winding it. An automatic watch is better in terms of usefulness especially if you will be wearing the watch frequently.

But once you already have some experiences with automatics, then you can get a mechanical watch just to try it out and expand your watch collection.

3. Quartz Movement

types of watch movementThe next type of watch movement is quartz watch which I’m pretty sure you’ve heard or read about it in the clocks around you. Quartz watch is a type of watch that uses integrated circuit regulated by quartz crystal’s vibration to keep time.

The integrated circuit keeps time using the feedback from the quartz crystal’s vibration (quartz is a piezoelectric material and will vibrate at a consistent frequency when being supplied electricity). The IC then moves an electric motor to move the watch hands and keep time (this part is typical for almost all watches with analog display).

It’s currently the most common watch all over the world. In fact, I’m pretty sure your first watch might even be a quartz watch!

The reason for its ubiquity is due to its affordability and accuracy. As we all know, the price of an IC and plastics have really gone down in the past decades. This makes quartz watches price (which uses both) to really drop down so much so it’s very affordable. In addition, the fact that it can be mass-produced makes it much cheaper to produce.

Another great advantage of quartz watches is its accuracy. Who could have imagined a humble quartz crystal can be the heart of a very accurate watch.

In addition to these, quartz watch is also robust and lightweight as it does not have many moving parts inside it. The only disadvantage is the need to replace its battery cell once every few years, which actually don’t really cost much and can be done very fast.

Due to these traits, quartz watch is the best for the first watch of your young children. It’s cheap, lightweight and robust form make it a good watch for those beginning to learn how to wear a watch. It’s also is the best watch for those that values accuracy and ease of use.

(To learn more about quartz watch and how it works, read my previous article here).

4. Solar Movement

Solar watchCitizen Crystron solar watch is basically a quartz watch with the function of recharging its battery by solar power. It was invented to solve the only disadvantage of quartz watch – the need to change its battery every 1-2 years.

On a solar watch’s dial, there is a solar photovoltaic panel that changes light into electric, provided that the light source is bright enough. The electricity will then be stored in either a battery cell or a capacitor. Some of the most popular solar watch brands are Citizen’s Eco Drive, Seiko Solar and Casio’s G-Shock lines.

As our daily lives are always full of light, we can easily charge the watch by simply wearing it through the day or putting it by a light source (sunlight, lamp, etc.).

This makes solar watch a very easy to use watch that you can just buy and use it until it breaks down on its own (which can be many years after) without needing to change its battery.

In addition, I find that solar watch works well to be coupled with chronographs or other functions that uses a lot of electricity. As the watch can easily recharge itself, these functions won’t be a big problem for the watch. On a normal battery-powered watch, you need to be aware that using these functions will cut down the battery life sooner.

5. Automatic Quartz Movement

Automatic quartz watch is a hybrid of quartz and automatic watches whereby the watch uses self-winding mechanism (taken from automatic watch), store it in a battery cell or capacitor and then uses quartz watch’s timekeeping device.

The self-winding mechanism is similar to automatic watch but it has a faster and less resistance spin. This is needed so that the rotor can spin a mini-dynamo inside the watch to generate electricity as your wrist moves with the watch.

The electricity is then stored inside the battery or capacitor to be used for running the watch’s quartz movement. Currently, only the Seiko’s Kinetic brand is the most popular automatic quartz watch out there.

Automatic quartz one of the innovation that seeks to improve upon the quartz need for battery change (apart from solar watch above) as the self-winding mechanism will ensure the watch to run for up to 10 years before it will need any battery change.

One disadvantage with automatic quartz is its bigger and heavier than a normal quartz watch due to the self-winding rotor and mechanism. It’s also quite hard to charge it to full since you will need to wear it for some time. This is one of the reason why I personally prefer the solar watch over it.

With solar watch, the watch is much smaller, lighter and can be easily charged by just letting it sit under a light source (sunlight, fluorescence light, etc.) as long as it’s bright enough. This is much easier to do than having to wear the automatic quartz watch to charge it (which can be a challenge if you have many watches in your collection).

With that being said, automatic quartz watch is still a good option if you want a maintenance-free quartz watch with some mechanical moving parts inside it.

6. Spring Drive Movement

8 types of watch movement

The next watch movement type is Spring drive which is a movement exclusive to Seiko that uses tri-synchro regulator controls inside it for timekeeping with the usual self-winding mechanism in an automatic watch.

It was invented it in 2005 and is famous for being revolutionary as it marries automatic movement and taking some elements of quartz watch to make it more accurate.

Due to its high complexity, spring drive movement is expensive and typically reserved for higher end Seiko watches such as Grand Seiko and Credor models.

The spring drive has a self-winding and mainspring to store its power reserve, just like how automatic watches have. What sets it apart is the timekeeping mechanism.

If the typical automatic/mechanical watch has wheel balance assembly, spring drive uses it tri-synchro device that is revolutionary in watchmaking. It has a glide wheel that continuously spinning connected to the time display gears (and seconds hand).

How it keeps time is by using an electromagnet that slows down this glide wheel. The electromagnet takes the input from an integrated circuit that has the vibration feedback from a quartz crystal (much like how quartz watch operates).

In short, there’s a whole lot of things going on inside a spring drive movement. It has various types of energy inside it (potential, mechanical, electrical, electromagnetic), more than what a typical automatic or quartz watch have.

(If you want to learn more about how spring drive watch works, you can read my previous article here)

Although one can argue that a high-accuracy quartz watch can be more accurate than spring drive, the charm of it is in its various parts of mechanism that for once is truly a hybrid of the elements from automatic and quartz movements.

In addition, spring drive also has the glide motion that is a true sweeping seconds hand on the dial, unlike the seconds hand on an automatic watch which is actually the hand jumping 6/8 times in a second. This glide motion is made possible thanks to the tri-synchro movement.

If you’re in for a luxury watch with unique movement, then the spring drive watch from Seiko is a great option.

7. Electric Movement

Electric movement is usually referring to the initial types of watches that was powered by electric from battery cells. It was not produced nowadays as it was superseded by the more accurate and reliable quartz watch.

The timekeeping element in an electric watch can either be a traditional balance wheel (as in an automatic/mechanical watch) or a tuning fork. In both designs, there will always be an electromagnet that help to keep the time. The first electric watch that was available to masses was the Hamilton 500 in 1957.

Although you might run into one of these once in a while on eBay, do note that it can be very difficult to find parts to repair the watch. This means that you should only buy these electric watches if you’re a collector and likes these devices. Otherwise, it will take some expertise and money to maintain which can be out of the capability of an average watch user.

8. Smartwatch

Last but not least is smartwatch. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard, seen or even have one of these watches. It’s actually a big collective term for a watch that can do a lot more than a normal quartz watch.

Although smartwatch is currently popular thanks to the likes of Apple Watch and Samsung Gear, it was already around decades ago.

The first digital watch was invented by Pulsar in 1972. It was then one of the hottest gadget as for once, watches have a digital display instead of the usual analog display (though I can say that the trend have somewhat reversed nowadays as most people prefer analog display).

From then on, watch technology continued to advance. Who can forget those mini-calculator watches that can also store some memory from the likes of Seiko and Casio? There was also a watch that can display TV programs and play games.

Currently, there are a lot of smartwatches in the market with much better hardware and software. From being an extension of smartphones, current trend seems to combine smartwatches with fitness related functions (fitness tracking, heart-beat sensor, sleep tracking, GPS, etc.).

With such advancements, smartwatches have been making watches more useful than it ever was. If you’re looking for a device that can do a lot of things in a small footprint, smartwatches is your best option.

Which Type Of Watch Movement Is The Best?

The choice of which watch movement type is the best will depend on various factors such as what you want to do with your watch, what is your budget and what is your preference will be.

Currently, smartwatch is the hottest gadgets right now due to its huge cool factor as well as being able to do a lot of things such as sync to your phone for notifications/calls etc., track fitness/steps, GPS and so on. If you’re inclined to follow the latest tech, then smartwatch might be your preferred watch type.

But if you don’t prefer these types of wearable tech and prefers old-fashion watches, then there are a plethora of watch movements that you can choose.

From here, the selection will depend on what is your highest priority in a watch. If you want a dead accurate watch, then quartz based watch movements will do the trick. Personally, I’d say the solar watch is a good option for quartz watch as it’s automatically recharged as you use it throughout the day. It’s definitely is a service-free type of watch that you can just wear and forget about maintaining it.

But if you don’t really care about accuracy, then the automatic and mechanical movements can be good options. Although most people say that these watches are expensive, there are more affordable options out there which is even cheaper than an Apple Watch (check out my selection of the most affordable automatic watches).

These watches will need some time adjustment every 1-2 weeks or so as it has some daily deviations. Although that is the case, nothing can beat automatic/mechanical watch in terms of uniqueness as it’s run entirely based on mechanical energy.

Related Questions

What is watch movement? Watch movement is the mechanism that runs the watch which can also be known as caliber.

I hope this article about types of watch movement will be useful to you. Do let me know if you have further questions by commenting below.

Cheers!

Automatic Watch Service Interval – What You Need To Know

how often to service automatic watch

Automatic watch is one of the unique watches available currently thanks to its mechanical timekeeping mechanism. But like all mechanical devices, automatic watch also needs to be serviced.

But how often do we need to service automatic watches? In general, automatic watch needs to be serviced once every 3 to 5 years, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

While this is a standard guideline, there are some factors which will affect the service interval. In addition, there are also signs that the watch might need servicing even before the interval period. Lastly, we’ll take a look at how much a service will cost and how long a service will take.

Automatic Watch Service Interval

The 3 to 5 years service interval for automatic watches is one of the most recommended guideline out there. Indeed, this falls within most of the watchmakers own guideline of service interval.

Some watchmakers might even have a longer service interval. Most famous is Rolex when it announced that new watches will only need to be serviced once every 10 years! Now that’s definitely a sweet deal as the cost of servicing a Rolex can be quite huge compared to cheaper watches.

Either way, it’s highly recommended for you to check the manual or the retailer on what’s the typical service interval for that specific watch movement or brand. Certainly, you don’t want to be too conservative or too optimistic either.

One of the important thing to remember about service intervals is that it will ensure the watch is running in prime condition. In addition, you also want to avoid the worst case of the watch suddenly broke down which might mean a costlier repair bill in the future.

So what does it mean to service a watch? Servicing a watch means opening up the watch, taking out the movement, cleaning the parts, re-oiling it and then closing the watch. If there’s any broken parts, then the parts will need to be changed.

The service might also include demagnetization of the watch – which is quite important as there are many electronic items around us nowadays. In addition, you can also do adjustment to the movement to improve its accuracy which is something that I’d always recommend.

Other than that, you might also want to polish the watch case and bracelet to pristine condition. It’s very common for a heavily used watch to be damaged here and there so having these polished again is definitely worthwhile.

Factors Affecting Service Interval

There are a few factors affecting service interval with one of them, movement & recommendation by the watch manufacturer, has been stated above.

Without a doubt, sticking to the service interval recommended by the watch manufacturer is the safest bet that you can take in order to protect and keep your watch running perfectly for years.

Not to mention you can avoid costly movement repairs down the road (though this is more applicable to luxury watches and not so much on cheap low-end watches as for the latter, it can be cheaper to just buy a replacement watch rather than repairing it. More about this in the later section).

Another factor that affects service interval is frequency of use, or in other words how frequent you use the watch. If you’re using your automatic watch daily, then chances are by the third year, there is significant wear and tear on the movement’s parts after continuously running for 3 years.

At this point of time, the 3-year recommendation seems valid and a service is perfectly justifiable to keep the watch running in tip-top condition for many more years.

But if you’re someone that have a few watches in his/her collection and cycles through each of them once every few days, then chances are your watches will only be running for a few months in a year.

In this case, by the third year, the wear and tear of your watches is significantly lesser than the watch in the first scenario, and the recommended 3-year service interval is not something that you have to follow. In this case, you can push the service for another year or two.

I’d have to state that this is my opinion and what I’ve been practicing so far. If you look on the internet, there are many peoples with different opinion on when to service their watches. Some say that the oils in the watches will gunk up in 3-5 years irregardless of how frequent you use it.

But for me, I’d definitely try to be on the logical side of things – more so because I don’t want to spend huge amount of money to service all my watches every 3-5 years. I’d prefer to spend money on acquiring new & exotic watches instead (comment below if you agree with me lol!).

Another important factor for service interval is how heavy you use your watches for. For example, it is a good idea to be more conservative and stick to the recommended service interval for the watches that you use for diving, swimming, or any other outdoor activities.

Such activities place huge stress on the watch components so much so there is a high likelihood for some damage to be done on it. Thus, sticking to the 3-5 years service interval might be a good idea for these watches.

In addition, you’re better off with changing the o-rings and gaskets on your dive watches every 2-3 years as these rubber components are easily damaged and deteriorated over time. As these are very important for the water resistance rating of the watch, then keeping it fresh and usable is very important before you use the watch near water.

Signs That Your Automatic Watch Needs Servicing

While the 3-5 years is recommended for service interval, I’d suggest to always be attentive to the performance of your automatic watch.

Part of the charm of automatic watch is it’s very much mechanical in nature, and any change in the components might affect the overall watch behavior, which you can notice just from using the watch day-in and day-out.

Just like a car, you need to be attentive to these things so that you can intervene before its too late.

One such common issue is lack of accuracy. If you suddenly notice that you watch run too fast/slow than it is usually, then it might be a sign to bring it to a watchmaker.

Do keep in mind that a few seconds fast/slow is not a cause for concern, especially if you don’t wear the watch daily. For me, I’d look at lack of accuracy of outside the specifications listed for the movement before coming into the conclusion that a visit to a watchmaker is required (read my previous article here on the accuracy specification on some of the most popular movements currently).

Another sign that your watch needs service is if there’s moisture inside it. In this case, it’s recommended that you run as fast as possible to a watchmaker. Moisture inside a watch is very dangerous as it can wreak havoc and rusting on the mostly steel components.

The watchmaker will need to open up the watch and have it cleaned. Do have him fit new gaskets when closing the watch to keep the moisture from coming back into the watch.

You should also pay attention to your watch’s power reserve. If you notice that the power reserve is very low compared to what it has previously, then that’s definitely a cause for concern – though in this case you’re likely need to replace the mainspring with a new one.

Last but not least, any physical damage to the watch. It’s quite difficult to prevent any scratches on a watch, unless you’ve been keeping it secured in a watch box from day one for investment purposes.

But if you using your watch normally (like me and other people), then scratches on the watch’s case, bracelet & crystal (except for sapphire crystal which is very durable and scratch-resistant) will be unavoidable.

You can bring the watch to a watchmaker and have it polished again to keep it looks new though I personally never do this as my watches are still acceptable aesthetically, bar a few scratches here and there.

How Much Does It Cost To Service An Automatic Watch?

Servicing an automatic watch is not cheap and prices start from $50 to thousands of bucks depending on many factors.

First of all, who is doing the service? A third-party or your independent watchmaker is almost always going to be cheaper than send the watch to the brand. With your local watchmaker, you are only dealing directly with him/her and there’s no shipping cost involved. Sending it to the brand will involve a lot of people along the way and it will usually take longer.

Now, independent watchmakers works well if your watch uses common ETA or Japanese movements. But if you have a higher end or more expensive watches with obscure movement, its advisable to send the watch to the brand.

Not only will you be getting the best expertise in the movement, you will also have access to its official parts as well as official warranty after service.

You can easily get a quote on the brand’s service fee by calling them or dropping an email. Some brands also post their service fee online for ease of reference.

Another big difference between sending the watch to an independent watchmaker or the brand’s service center is in the scope of service. For a brand, most often there is a list of items to be done and their watchmaker will execute it without fail – even though your watch might not even need it.

This is different compared to an independent watchmaker that will only do what is necessary or as required by the watch’s owner. This is another reason why the brand’s service is always more expensive than an independent one (do expect upwards of $100 for brands).

The second factor affecting service cost is the watch movement type. It’s quite logical that a simple 3-hands watch will be easier to be serviced compared to a chronograph with much more components inside it. In this case, the chronograph will have a higher service fee compared to the typical watch.

Another thing to note is the water resistance of your watch. Having water resistance is a great insurance to ensure your watches are always protected from moisture ingress but it will also mean an increase of service costs.

How Long Does It Take To Service A Watch?

Servicing an automatic watch will take a few weeks to months, depending on who is servicing it. Your local independent watchmakers can usually do this in one to few weeks or so, depending on how much workload he has.

As these watchmakers are self-employed, it’s in their best interest to quickly get a service done, hand it over to the owner and collect payment so that they can start working on the next watch.

Although this would mean a faster service, there’s also a likelihood that the service might be rushed and low quality (which is honestly one of the downside for using local watchmakers to service your watch).

For the brand’s service center, the service time might take a few months per service, depending on the brand’s presence nearby you. If you live in a big city with a service center, then you can shave off a few weeks for shipping. But if you’re in a country without a service center, then you will have to wait for the shipping to the regional service center (or even Switzerland!) and that’s going to take a while.

Even so, the service center will usually need a few weeks to do the actual servicing as there are lots of watches being queued for service before yours can be worked on.

Should You Service Your Automatic Watch?

Servicing your automatic watch is not cheap and the decision to do it will depend on what type of watch you have, the price you paid for it and what you intend to do with it in the future.

For example, I don’t think I’m going to service my Seiko 5 watch that I bought for $50 a few years ago because it will cost roughly that much to service it. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly love my Seiko 5 to bits but paying $50 to service it when I can just buy another one just don’t make any sense.

Besides, Seiko’s low-end watches are respectable for being robust and don’t usually need servicing for years.

But if I have a more expensive watches with unique movements (for instance, one of the holy trinity of watch brands), then I will always try to keep with the recommended service interval.

Part of this is because I’m surely going to be keeping the watch either as part of heirloom or as investment in case something goes wrong. Either way, I need to keep the watch in pristine condition so that it will always work perfectly all the time.

Another reason to service is to ensure parts replacements are done as soon as possible before the parts become too hard to find. Sometimes, watchmakers will stop producing parts to their older movements and if you have a watch using it, then you’re in luck trying to find an affordable part.

Thus, keeping to the service interval makes a lot of sense in keeping the parts always maintained and replaced.

Related Questions

How often does a quartz watch need to be serviced? Quartz watch also needs a service but it’s interval is much longer at every 10-years or so. It will also need regular battery change every 1-2 years depending on the battery used. (You can read further about this in my previous article here).

I hope this article about how often to service automatic watch is useful to you. Do let me know if there’re any comments or questions about the article.

Cheers!

Quartz Watches And Jewels – 3 Things That You Need To Know

Do quartz watches have jewels?

Quartz watch is one of the best innovation in the watch industry and is currently the norm in watches. I’ve recently read about how quartz watch seems to also have jewels in it, even though jewels are normally associated with automatic watches.

So do quartz watches have jewels? Some quartz watches do have jewels in its movement to reduce friction. These watches are generally of a higher quality than watches without jewels and are designed to last longer which subsequently making it costing more money.

The use of jewels in a quartz watch has its merits and advantages. But should you fork out more money for such watches remains to be seen and is based on what you expect from the watch. In addition, the number of jewels inside a watch is not an indicator of quality.

Why Are There Jewels In Quartz Watches?

So why are there jewels in quartz watches? Some quartz watches use jewels to reduce the friction in its movement and subsequently giving it a greater longevity.

Before that, we need to know how jewels came about and what are its uses in a watch.

Jewels are historically used in automatic watches as bearings to reduce the wear and tear in the many moving parts – there are typically 15 to 30 jewels inside an automatic watches (depending on the movement maker and complications).

Automatic watch parts are continuously moving at a high speed. Just imagine, a typical Seiko 4R36 movement is beating at 6 beats per second which can be seen from the sweeping seconds hand (it actually moves 6 times to make 1 second).

That means the whole gears and components that is attached to the second hand from the wheel balance are moving very as fast as the seconds hand. Without jewel as bearings, the steel to steel contact between the components and the casing will create a lot of friction, so much so the parts will be thinned from the friction. Such a watch will not even last for a month!

Thus jewel bearings came about. The jewels are used at places with high friction because its low and predictable friction coefficient improves watch accuracy and longevity. And that’s how automatic watches can last for decades.

And if you’re thinking that the jewels are precious gemstones, then you’re wrong. While it was gemstones years ago, all modern watches currently uses synthetic jewels as it’s much cheaper to produce as well as having more predictable material properties.

But quartz watches are different. It does not have much moving parts because the timekeeping is done by the IC and quartz crystal. The time is shown by using a motor that steps out every 1 second to move the seconds hand.

True enough, there’s much lesser moving parts in a quartz watch so much so most of the watchmakers only rely on plastic or steel as the bearing material and it has been working perfectly for years.

But there’s also a higher grade of quartz watches which uses jewels inside it. There’s still a few gears that transmit the movement to the hands and the use of jewels on these parts will increase the watch longevity. In short, a watch that uses jewels will last longer than a watch without jewels.

Should You Spend Extra To Buy A Jeweled Quartz Watch?

We already know that a quartz watch with jewels in it has greater longevity than a watch without jewels. But does that means we should be buying a jeweled watch? If that is so, then why is the industry’s norm is a non-jeweled watch?

So should you buy a quartz watch with jewels? Quartz watch with jewels cost more and worthwhile to be bought if the watch is an expensive watch from a high-end manufacturer.

The reasoning for this is because if you buy a high-end and expensive watch, you are most likely wanting for the watch to last longer so much so it can be part of your heirloom. The watch might also be adorned with diamonds or precious stones which means it can also be an investment vehicle.

With such watches, having jewels in it will be more beneficial and logical as the jewels will ensure the watch can be used for a long time. You certainly don’t want a beautiful and expensive watch to be given to your child but the movement cannot be used anymore right?

With quartz watch, we only need battery change for it to work flawlessly and a jeweled watch will ensure this is the case even after decades of use.

But if you’re thinking of buying a normal quartz watch for everyday use and at the lower end of the price range, then getting a jeweled watch is not recommended.

A jeweled watch will cost more and if you’re only treating it as a typical watch (which is disposable and can be change once its broken), then there’s no reason to have the extra longevity from the jewels.

Number of Jewels Is Not An Indicator Of Watch Quality

So are more jewels in a watch means it’s a better watch? A watch with a high number of jewels does not mean it’s higher quality than a watch with lower jewels. Typically, a jeweled quartz watch has 5 to 10 jewels in it, depending on the maker and complications (chronographs will of course have more jewels).

But it’s not necessarily the case for a watch with a higher jewel count to be of a high quality. Sometimes, some watchmakers could be putting a lot of jewels inside their movement even though it will not have any real impact on the watch performance or longevity.

After all, there’s only limited place of high friction that a jewel should be placed at. Anything more than that is just cosmetic and serves as cheap stunt for publicity purposes.

In any watch (automatic or quartz), the numbers of jewels is not that important. What’s more important in a watch is the movement design, material quality and craftsmanship on how the parts were assembled together.

Related Questions

What are watch jewels made of? The watch jewel material is made of synthetic sapphire/ruby or called crystalline aluminum oxide (corundum), invented by Auguste Verneuil in 1902.

How accurate are quartz watches? Quartz watch is very accurate with maximum deviation of +-10 seconds. This high accuracy is due to the use of electronic oscillator regulated by the high frequency vibrating quartz crystal. You can read more about why quartz watches are accurate in my previous post here.

I hope this article about jewels used in quartz watches is beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers!

What Happens If You Don’t Wear Your Automatic Watch?

what happens if you don't wear an automatic watch

While wearing an automatic watch is enjoyable, things are a bit different when you have more than one watch as you can’t wear all of them simultaneously. This is a little problem that I had and this is my realization about this issue.

What happens if you don’t wear your automatic watch? If you don’t wear your automatic watch, the watch will stop running after its power reserve is depleted. Automatic watch depend on either self-winding or manual winding to recharge its power reserve, and without it, it will unwind and stop.

The perception that you have to wear your automatic watch daily is not correct in this time and age as nothing bad will happen to the watch even if you let it stop. You still have to ensure that you store the watch in a proper manner to keep it from any damage. In addition, not wearing the watch often might even prolong the service interval which will help you save some money, if you have a large collection of watches.

Nothing Bad Will Happen If You Let Your Automatic Watch Stop

First of all, I would like to state that nothing bad will happen even if you let your automatic watch stop completely.

The understanding that not wearing your automatic watch will cause it to be damaged is baseless, and a misunderstanding based on the automatic watch of yesteryear.

Back then, automatic watch used animal based oils for its lubricants, just like lubricants in motor engines. The watch parts and gears are moving continuously and the lubricants will help to keep its friction low, increases its longevity and its accuracy.

The problem with animal based oil is it will coagulate if the watch is not running for some time. This posed a problem as the coagulation will cause the watch to be inaccurate, and can even cause the watch to be damaged and requires a complete overhaul of its movement.

In short, coagulating oils are very bad for the watch and this is the origin of the caution to not let your automatic watch stopped for a long time.

But modern automatic watch use synthetic based oils which are more durable and don’t coagulate. Due to this, there is no issue whatsoever in not keeping the watch continuously ticking.

Consider this, watches on the stores are often kept stopped because it will take much effort to always manual wind them daily to keep it running (which can even cause damage on the sensitive winding mechanism). And the watch will sit there for sometime before it’s bought – and guess what, it will run perfectly after it’s owner buy it.

But Some Special Automatic Watches Need To Always Run To Function Properly

But then again, there are some automatic watches with special complications that need to always run or you will pay a price, not in terms of movement damage but in terms of difficulty to set it back.

Moon phase watch and perpetual calendar watch are some of these special watches that require the day of the watch to correspond exactly to the current day for it to function properly.

For moon phase, the phase of the moon varies from day to day and normally, the setting need to be done by setting the watch to the previous full moon date, and then the day & moon phase will be advanced to the current day.

The same setting procedure goes with perpetual calendar watch. This type of watch has complex mechanism that makes the date not have to be changed as it takes care of the leap years.

As you can expect, setting these 2 watches are quite cumbersome to do and these are the types of watches that you don’t want for it to drop dead and stop because then you’ll have to set it all again every time you want to wear it (which will take a few minutes and some referencing with documents to do!)

For these watches, I’d recommend investing in a good watch winder as it will make your life much easier.

How Long Will The Power Reserve Last When You Don’t Wear Automatic Watch?

The power reserve of automatic watches is generally 38 hours to 50 hours of power reserve after fully charged. This will depend on the movement of the watch. Some guidelines on power reserve for the common movements nowadays:

  1. ETA 2824-2 & Sellita SW-200 (common for low-mid range Swiss automatic watches): 38-41 hours.
  2. Seiko 4R36 (found in low end Seiko watches): 41 hours
  3. Seiko 7S26 (found in older Seiko watches e.g SKX, etc.): 41 hours
  4. Seiko 6R15 (found in low-mid range Seiko watches): 50 hours
  5. ETA Powermatic 80 (in some Swatch Group’s brands, denoted by Powermatic 80 in its model name): 80 hours

As you can see from the list above, typically low to mid range of automatic watches have quite low power reserve. I mean, 50 hours is not even enough to lay down my watch on Friday afternoon, and pick it up again on the next Monday morning (spanned about 60 hours).

But the Powermatic 80 movement from ETA is another story. With its huge 80 hours of power reserve, you will be rest assured the convenience of being able to lay down your watch for up to 3 full days and then picking it up with it’s still ticking!

So if you’re one that don’t like to have to set the time of your watch frequently, do be mindful of the power reserve restriction of your watch and plan accordingly =)

How To Store Automatic Watches When You Don’t Use It?

In my opinion, the best way to store an automatic watch is by keeping it in a good storage box or watch box, with the watch strapped on the small watch cushion (just like how you got it from the store).

Laying it down on the desk or drawer is one of the worst ways you can store your watch. It’s fine for a few days but I definitely won’t do that if I don’t intend to wear that watch again for sometime.

Automatic watches are delicate, and keeping it properly will ensure the longevity of this timepiece. In addition, it’s more expensive than normal quartz watches and you really should exercise some caution as it’s a favorite thing for thieves.

By the way, do make sure that the watch is also away from moisture (you can put silica gel inside the box to suck all moisture), sunlight and electronic items which could magnetize the watch.

(I’ve written an entire article about how best to store your watch depending on your needs. You can read it further here)

How Often Should You Wear Your Automatic Watch?

How often should you wear your automatic watch? Personally, I try to wear each one of my watches once in two or three weeks. The longest that I’ve went without wearing one of them is about 1 month.

The reason is that I personally love my watches and want to enjoy them as much as I could (or else I could have just sold them and buy new ones lol!).

Another reason is that I want to get the movement ticking and running. Even though it’s perfectly okay to let the watch stop, I still want to keep it running for few days once in a while just to ensure nothing is wrong with it.

Automatic watches are like cars and you just can’t be too sure about it. At least, if I noticed something wrong with it, I can bring it for repair sooner before the problem or damage become worse.

It surely takes some discipline to do this because undoubtedly, you will have your favorite watch that you always wear either due to style, convenience or just how it feels on your wrist.

What I certainly won’t do is to continuously changing my watches every day. I’ve been guilty of it in the past, thinking that I should wear all of them once every 1-2 weeks.

While it’s cool to wear different watches every day. the extra effort needed to set the watch’s time, day and date every day took a toll on me. Honestly, it’s time-consuming and something that I will never recommend to anyone.

(Read this article that I’ve written on some of the best & useful tips on how to use automatic watch)

Not Wearing It Often Might Even Prolong Your Service Interval

A great reason why you should not wear your watches often or daily is it can prolong your service interval.

Automatic watches usually needed to be serviced every 3-5 years, depending on the movement and brand. While this service is not compulsory, it’s useful in keeping the watch running in pristine condition, as well as checking on any damage on the watch. This way, you will be sure to have an automatic watch that can be passed to your grandson.

But servicing the watch comes at a cost, which will go higher depending on the price of your watch. In addition, you might even need to pay more for the shipping costs to ship your watch to the manufacturer’s watchmaker site.

And if that’s the case, you will not be able to wear that watch for weeks at a time. By the way, this cost will be multiplied by the amount of watches you have in your collection!

One thing that I’ve learned is that the recommendation of 3-5 years is usually based on the scenario when you used your watch daily.

So if you’re not wearing it often, the service interval can be prolonged. This is because when you don’t wear it daily, the watch will not run every day. There will be less cumulative stress on the movement over time so much so servicing the watch at 3-5 years might be too conservative and overkill.

And the final effect? You can save some money by increasing your service interval on your watches =)

Related Questions

What Is Watch Winder? Watch winder is a device that self-winds automatic watches by mimicking wrist movement through rotating it. It’s a simple motor connected to a watch holder, and is usually made to be a glamorous watch box. A good watch winder need to be able to set the direction of winding, the speed of winding and has shield to not magnetize the watch when in used.

Should you wind an automatic watch? You should wind automatic watch once in a while to wind the mainspring to full capacity. Most often that not, normal self-winding mechanism by wrist movement is not enough to wind the mainspring to full. This has the effect of reducing the watch’s accuracy as automatic watch is most accurate when it’s power reserve is full.

I hope this article on what happens if you don’t wear your automatic watch is beneficial to you. Do let me know what you think about it or any questions on it by commenting below.

Cheers!

What Is Considered Good Accuracy For Automatic Watch?

What Is Considered Good Accuracy For Automatic Watch?

One of the most common questions regarding automatic watches is the accuracy. It’s a question that I also have for some time and here I’d like to share what I’ve found out about it.

So what is considered a good accuracy for an automatic watch? A commonly acceptable good accuracy for an automatic watch is around +/- 10 seconds per day, although this will vary depending on few factors.

As you will see later on, each watch manufacturers have their own published specification for accuracy depending on the movement which is the range of accuracy that you should expect to get. In addition, there are some usage patterns that can affect the accuracy of our watches.

Automatic Watch Should Be Accurate To The Manufacturers Specification

I’ve arrived at the “good accuracy” value of +/- 10 seconds per day rate based on my own personal experience as well as many other automatic watch users.

(It should be noted that accuracy rate is usually calculated as the average rate of accuracy over few days)

In my opinion, the +/-10 seconds per day accuracy limit is a good benchmark for real life use. To put this in perspective, the +/-10 seconds per day corresponds to 0.011% inaccuracy over the span of a day – which is still quite good in my opinion.

This will correspond to about maximum +/-70 seconds per week, which means you will need to adjust your watch every 1 or 2 weeks, depending on how accurate you want it to be to the real time.

Without a doubt, you don’t want to have to set your time again more than once per week – that’s just too cumbersome even though I love to interact with my watches.

While this is just a good guideline, the actual accuracy range depends on the movement itself. Some movement can have small tolerance while others (the Japanese usually) can have a bit of large accuracy tolerance.

Below are the published maximum accuracy of some of the most popular automatic movements out there:

  1. Seiko 7S26 (inside the SKX ranges of watches): +49/-20 seconds per day
  2. Seiko 4R36 (inside latest Seiko low-mid range of watches): +45/-35 seconds per day
  3. Seiko 6R15 (inside Seiko mid-range of watches): +25/-15 seconds per day
  4. Orient F6922 (inside latest Orient watches e.g Mako/Ray II): +25/-15 seconds per day
  5. ETA 2824-2 (most commonly used movement in Swiss low-mid range of watches): +/-12 seconds per day
  6. Sellita SW-200 (ETA 2824-2 doppelganger and used in Swiss low-mid range): +/-12 seconds per day

As you can see from above, the published accuracy range for most movements non-chronometer is usually very large. This is because most of these movements are mass market movements and the manufacturers would like to play it safe with their published accuracy.

But real life accuracy shows that most of these modern movements can perform way better. In my own watches, the out of box accuracy is lesser than +/- 10 seconds per day.

(You can read my previous posts about my Seiko SARB033, Sumo and SKX013 for some of the accuracy tests that I’ve done on the watches)

Why Are There Accuracy Differences Between Movements?

From the above list, we can see there is a huge difference between Japanese-made and Swiss-made movements.

The Japanese (Seiko and Orient) typically have upwards of 20 seconds per day accuracy limit while the Swiss (ETA and Sellita) is much lower at just +/- 12 seconds per day.

One of the biggest reasons for this is in the beat rate of the watch movements.

The Japanese movements have a low beat rate of 6 beats per second (21,600 vibrations per hour) while the Swiss movements (ETA 2824 and SW-200) have a higher beat rate at 8 beats per second (28,800 vibrations per hour).

With a higher beat rate, the movement will have a higher accuracy tolerance as the high beat rate will be able to iron out any discrepancies in the timekeeping from the balance wheel better.

Another example is in the Seiko 9S85 hi-beat movement with 10 beats per second. This upper range of movement has a great accuracy of just +5/-3 seconds per day, a great testament to how beat rate affects accuracy.

In the past, watchmakers were in the race to produce the highest beat rate movements in order to improve accuracy (some even up to 16 beats per second). But such high beat rate will take a huge amount of power reserve because of the increases times the parts are moving, so much so it’s only reserved for some of the more expensive watches.

Material quality and movement design also play a huge part in terms of accuracy.

For example, a typical Swiss ETA 2824-2 comes in 4 variations (standard, elabore/special, top/premium & chronometer – in order of higher accuracy and price). The higher end variations comes with better balance wheel material to give a higher accuracy.

In addition to this, some watches also are adjusted in the factory before being shipped. This is usually applicable to the COSC chronometer watches which need to be tested by the COSC institute with a limit of average rate of -4/+6 seconds per day.

As such, the chronometer watches will be adjusted by their watchmakers before being sent to be tested. Once it passed, a certificate will be issued with the watch to its prospective owner. As far as accuracy in automatic watches goes, these chronometers sits at the top of the pyramid.

Adjustment or lack of adjustment is also one of the reasons why most Japanese movements have such huge range of published accuracy. Adjusting each watches prior to shipment takes a lot of time and effort, and is not feasible for Seiko and Orient to do as they placed affordability as their key value proposition.

Why Does My Automatic Watch Run Fast/Slow? Here Are Some Usage Patterns That Affect Accuracy

Do you have a problem with automatic watch run fast or slow? Automatic watch run fast or slow can be attributed to many factors such as temperature, magnetism, lack of service or even damage to the movement.

Automatic watch is made of more than a hundred of small minute parts which are moving concurrently to tell time. With such a complicated and delicate device, any factor that can affect its smooth operation will be affecting its accuracy.

For example, as the watch parts are made of metal, temperature swings will play a huge role in its operation. Metal will expand at high temperature (anything above 40 degrees Celsius, such as in Sahara desert) and will contract at low temperatures.

It’s quite typical for an automatic watch to lose time at high temperatures and gain time at low temperatures due to its metallurgical properties.

Magnetism will also cause inaccuracies. This is why you should not place your automatic watch near to a strong magnet or any electronic objects (beware of your computer and smartphone). The strong magnets can affect the metal parts and magnetize it, causing disruption in accuracy.

Lack of service is also another culprit. For Swiss watches, consider sending it to be serviced every 3-5 years to keep it running optimally. While Japanese movements are generally more robust and require longer service time, it will also be subjected to reduced accuracy if not being serviced for a long period of time.

One of the things that you can do to get a better accuracy is to keep track of the position of your watch. Automatic watch is greatly affected by gravity and the placement of it (either dial up, down, worn in right or left hand) will have effect on its accuracy.

What you can do is to see how the accuracy changes depending on position of your watch at rest (do you put the dial up or down?). Then try to change it and see how it goes. As the accuracy of the watch is an average for the whole day, you can rest your watch so that it will cancel out the loss/gain time when you wear it.

Last but not least, any damage to the movement due to sports or sudden impact can impact its accuracy.

What Should You Do If Your Watch Accuracy Is Faster/Slower Than The Acceptable Limit?

One of the first things that you can do to rectify your watch’s accuracy is to manual wind it. It’s important to know that the accuracy of the watch is the best when it has high energy supply from its mainspring. From my own experience, manual winding my watches will give an immediate improvement in accuracy which is why I’m recommending this first.

With a high power reserve, the mainspring is tight and this will translate to a high driving force along the gears and movement. And one of the best ways to top up your power reserve to full is by manually winding it.

But if you don’t notice any improvement, then you can bring it to a watchmaker to have a look. If the watch is still not due for service and there is no sign of damage whatsoever, then you can ask to have your watch adjusted to your desired accuracy.

One thing that you should mention to your watchmaker is how you usually wear your watch and store it e.g on right hand, dial up on the desk at night, for how many days you usually wear the watch. This will enable the watchmaker to adjust the watch specifically for your needs which will give a much higher accuracy over time.

Related Questions

Do all automatic watches lose or gain time? All automatic watches gain or lose time over their entire life due to the inaccuracies in-built within the mechanical movement.

How to check watch accuracy? Watch accuracy can be checked either by manually comparing the watch time with atomic time, using an app or using a timegrapher. I’ve also written an entire article regarding this topic if you want to know more about it.

I hope this article about what is considered a good accuracy for an automatic watch will be beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have any other questions regarding this topic.

Cheers!

4 Best Ways To Keep Your Automatic Watch When You Don’t Wear It

how-to-keep-automatic-watch-when-not-wearing

I can still remember how happy I was when I first got my automatic watch. But then as my collection grows, the question of how to store the watches not being worn came up. I did some research on this and here are the answers that I got.

How to keep automatic watches that’s not being worn? Automatic watches that are not being worn is best stored in a dedicated watch box or storage space. A watch winder can also be used to store the watch if you have the need to keep it running.

In this article, I’m going to go through these 2 options and why my first recommendation is to store it in a box. In addition, there are some best practices that you can do to ensure your watch collection is safe from damage and prying hands.

The Best Way To Store An Automatic Watch Is In A Box

In my opinion, the best way to store an unused automatic watch is in a box. Sure enough, you might be tempted to buy a fancy watch winder, but it’s frankly not the best option, at least for most people (I’ll get into why some people might need it in the next section).

You can either store the watch in its original box or get a dedicated watch box – which is my favorite option.

A watch or storage box is the best way to store your watches because you don’t want them to be leaving out in the open.

Prying hands, pets, kids and visitors are some of the “hazards” that your watch will get into. And putting it on the desk without any protection is akin to just telling these guys to mess around with your watch!

Having a dedicated watch box will let you store it safely and bring some peace of mind to you. It will also keep the watch from being in direct sunlight that can mess up with your watch’s dial or leather strap.

In addition, the box can also act as protection against electronic items lying around in your house. Electronic items are notorious for being able to magnetize automatic watches – one of the common problems that make the watch lose its accuracy.

how to keep automatic watch when not wearing

You should also put a silica gel into the watch as means to keep the moisture out from the box. This will ensure the watch is not being exposed to moisture ingress in the long run.

Choosing a good quality watch box is also important as this is the box that you will open almost every day.

Getting a good quality one will ensure it’s durable and can last as long as your watches.

I did the mistake of buying a cheap China-made watch box before. It looked great at first with some soft-touch plastics covered around it. But somehow, the latch on it tear apart after just using it for 6 months.

While you might be tempted to get a cheap watch box from Amazon/EBay, do remember that quality comes at a price.

I’d recommend going with the brands that have been in the business for a long time and has great long-term reviews on their products.

Watch Winder Can Be Used If You Intend To Keep It Running All The Time

Does An Automatic Watch Need A Winder

Not every one needs a watch winder, as I’ve detailed out in my previous article here. For most of you guys, a watch winder is not a good way to store your watches.

You will only be putting more stress on the gears by keeping it running and it’s best to just let it wind down and store it in a watch box.

Not to mention that watch winders are more expensive and require either electrical supply or a battery to run.

Watch winder does have its uses though. It comes in handy when you have a watch with special complications such as moon phase and perpetual calendar.

These watches are some of the coolest automatic watch outs there thanks to its very complicated movement technology.

But with the cool features, there’s also some downside to it. For instance, both moon phase and perpetual calendar automatic watches are very hard to be reset.

And this is understandable as the function of the watch is to track something that is not uniform (i.e moon phase & leap years) and if you let the watch stop for weeks, resetting it can be a hassle.

This is why watch winder is the best way to keep these watches when not in used. It will keep the watches from stopped by continuously rotating it and letting the self-winding mechanism do its job.

Having An Expensive Watch? A Safe Is The Best Option

For those of you that have an expensive watch, then you might want to consider a safe. It’s a good option to store not just your watches, but also your jewelry and excess cash, just in case your watch is broken in.

Imagine the horror of having your lifetime watch collection being taken away from those robbers that broke into your watch. It’s definitely a horrible thing that can happen to any watch lovers.

And that’s one of the reason why I kept my watch box inside my desk compartment instead of just putting it on the table. I’d prefer it to be at least not directly accessible to those that might have ulterior motives.

While I don’t personally has a safe box, you should definitely consider one if your watch collection is very costly and you want extra protection against theft.

Just keep in mind to store your watch inside a box before putting it into the safe as most of them are made of metal. You really don’t want to let your precious automatic watch have direct contact with any metal right?

For A Very Expensive Watch, You Can Use The Bank Deposit Box

Lastly, you can also store your in a bank deposit box. This is the best way to keep your watch safe, especially for a very expensive, limited edition watches from the holy trinity watchmakers.

You can store it temporarily when going for a long vacation or even permanently, especially if you intend to keep the watch as an investment.

True enough, you won’t get the luxury to look at your watches every day but at least you can have a piece of mind that your expensive watch is tucked away safely.

Should You Pull Out The Crown When Storing The Automatic Watch?

For all of these storing options, I don’t recommend to pull out the crown. Some people (even watch stores did this) keep their watches by pulling out the crown to stop the movement.

This will enable the watch to run immediately after pushing in the crown as there’s still some power reserve in it.

I think this practice is dangerous as the crown is the weakest link in terms of moisture ingress protection of the watch. Pulling out the crown for long period of time just increases the chances that there will be moisture seeping into the watch – which is definitely not a good thing!

What I do is I just let the watch rest in the box as it is and let it wind down on its own. And when I want to wear it, I’ll just pick it up, give it a few turns of manual wind and wear it.

(if you want to know more about how I used my automatic watches, read my guide here)

Related Questions

Do you have to wear an automatic watch every day? Automatic watch does not need to be worn every day because it has a power reserve that can keep it running even without being worn.

How long can an automatic watch run without being worn? Automatic watch will run until its power reserve is fully depleted, which depends on the movement (typically is 38 to 50 hours for a fully charged watch).

Is it bad to let your automatic watch stopped? There is no bad effect in letting automatic watch stop when being stored. In fact, letting it stop is one a good way to reduce wear and tear of the movement.

I hope this article on how to keep automatic watch when you don’t wear it is beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have any comments or questions regarding this.

Cheers!

All You Need To Know About Servicing A Quartz Watch

does-a-quartz-watch-need-servicing

Quartz watch is the de facto of watches nowadays. When I first got my quartz watch, I wondered if it needs to be serviced, just like its older brother (the automatic watch). I did some research to find out.

So does a quartz watch need servicing? Quartz watch does needs a service but it’s interval is long at 10-years or so. It also needs regular battery change around 1-2 years depending on the make. As it has much lesser moving parts, quartz watch does not require more frequent servicing like the automatic watch.

However, you might want to do some general service on it once in a while to make sure it’s running in an optimal condition (especially if the watch is very expensive and you want to keep it as a heirloom). In addition, some issues on the watch might require you to have to bring it to a watchmaker for a service or repair. Lastly, where should you send in your watch? Will you have to send in to the brand back (more expensive) or a third-party watchmaker (cheaper) will suffice?

Quartz Watch Is Generally Service-Free

In general, a quartz watch is service-free, as is they will need less frequent servicing than an ordinary automatic watch.

For an automatic watch, a 3 to 5 years service interval is generally recommended, though this will largely depend on the brand (for example, Rolex has a great 10-year service interval).

For a quartz watch, a 10-year service interval is generally acceptable (though you will need to check with the brand).

The reason for this is there’s much lesser moving components inside a quartz watch thanks to its electric driven timekeeping and motor.

A good quartz watch will be very robust and can run forever – as long as you’re not pushing it beyond its use limit (such as outdoor activities, sports, etc.)

There’s a lot of stories about how an old quartz watch still run perfectly with only some battery change. This demonstrates the robustness of these watches.

Typical Services Needed For Quartz Watchdoes a quartz watch need servicing

While it’s generally service-free, you should also expect some service to be done on your watch. Just like all moving items around us (car, motorcycle, etc.), a service is needed to keep the quartz watch running perfectly, especially if you intend to keep your watch for a long period of time.

Some of the things that you will need to do involves taking the watch apart, re-oiling it and cleaning it when necessary. You should also ensure your watchmaker will thoroughly check the movement for any sign of damages and replace the parts as required.

This will prevent the damage from spreading to other components which might cause the movement to be spoiled and require a total replacement later.

Once you’ve changed the battery, do conduct electrical tests on it to ensure it’s within specification.

Although the movement is usually the main concern during a service, you should also keep in mind about the exterior of the watch i.e case, bracelet, crystal, crown & bezel. Consider spending some bucks to re-polish these to keep it shining like new (very important if you want to sell the watch later on).

In some instances, you might need to replace it if it’s damaged such as crystal, bezel and bracelet/straps.

One last thing that I want to highlight is the importance of prompt battery change. If you found your watch dead due to its battery, always bring it to a watchmaker to swap the battery as soon as possible.

There’s no room for procrastination of the battery change because a dead battery will LEAK and cause all the gooey stuffs to go to your watch’s movement. At this point, a major service is required because you will need to take it all apart and clean it.

Repair For Any Damages Is Still Needed

Although you don’t need to service quartz watch for years, always remember that you still need to repair any damages on it.

For instance, if you notice anything amiss on the watch such as:

  1. Suddenly stopping even though you know there should be a lot of charge in the battery.
  2. Being very inaccurate e.g losing/gaining a lot of time. Quartz watch should be very accurate.
  3. Some functions don’t work e.g chronograph, calendar, second time zone, backlight
  4. Physical damages on the watch e.g hands falling apart, moisture ingress etc.

Any of these issues is a cause for concern and you will need to bring it to a watchmaker for repair. And yes, these issues will cause a lot more to rectify than just a normal service.

In addition, do be very particular about the moisture damage. If you notice some water vapor inside your watch, bring it to the watchmaker as soon as possible to have it cleaned and serviced.

Although watches are usually made of stainless steel, exposure to moisture all the time can still cause it to corrode. Cleaning and servicing it promptly will ensure this corrosion does not happen and prevent from costly repairs down the road.

As there’s usually a gasket issue with moisture ingress, you need to tell your watchmaker to change the gaskets and close the watch properly to avoid this from recurring in the future.

Should You Send Your Watch To The Brand Or A Third-Party Watchmaker?

does a quartz watch need servicingAnother question that is usually asked is should you bring your watch to the brand’s authorized watchmaker or a third-party watchmaker will do.

In my opinion, there’s a lot of things to consider in this matter, rather than just cost (third-party is much cheaper and take less time than authorized brand’s watchmaker). Do note that this also applies to routine battery swap.

If your watch is a normal quartz watch and not expensive, a third-party service will do. For battery change, you can even do it yourselves or have it done at the mall. It’s much cheaper and faster this way.

But if your watch is an expensive watch, with special movements (such as limited edition high-accuracy quartz movement), then it’s recommended to bring it to your brand’s watchmaker.

There’s a lot more at stake here and you don’t want to risk your watch with a guy that you are not sure what’s his capability is.

In addition, third-party watchmakers might not have the right tools to do the job, and in the process could cause physical damages to your watch.

Not to mention they don’t normally have the access to original parts like a brand has. This is very important if your watch needs some parts replacement.

Even for a battery change, I will still bring it to the brand because some high accuracy quartz watch needs special battery cells that you can’t find outside.

These watches usually uses high-vibration quartz crystal that uses a lot more electricity than normal and hence needs special battery cells or you will need to change it every so often.

Extra Precaution Is Needed For Dive Watches

Do note for a diving quartz watch, some extra precautions are needed. Dive watch typically have extra and special seals & gaskets to keep water from coming into the watch during diving. These seals and gaskets need to be able to hold water out even in high water pressure, some even up to hundreds of meters of water depth.

This means that even a normal battery change is a cause for concern and I recommend you to bring it to a watchmaker for it.

Don’t try to change the battery yourselves or have those guys at the mall as there’s a high possibility that you will not close the watch properly and disrupt its water pressure.

Once you’ve opened the watch (for battery change or service or repair), you will need to change the gaskets as needed and also do water resistance pressure test after you’ve closed it back.

These are the things that you will need a good watchmaker (either the brand’s or a third-party) to do for yourselves.

Related Questions

How long do quartz watches last : Quartz watch can last for a very long time (more than 10-20 years is usually normal). It has fewer moving parts which means that it needs minimal service and is more durable than an automatic/mechanical watch.

Do quartz watches need to be wound? : Quartz watch does not need to be wound because its run by electricity supplied by the battery cell inside it.

I hope this article already helped you to understand whether does a quartz watch need servicing or not. Do let me know if there’s any questions by commenting below.

Cheers!

Does An Automatic Watch Need A Winder? Here Is What You Need To Know

does an automatic watch need a winder

When I got my first automatic watch, I was influenced by other watch fans that I need to buy a watch winder to accompany it. I was quite skeptical as I don’t think it’s really needed and I decided to do some research to find out.

So does an automatic watch need a winder? Automatic watch doesn’t need a watch winder to keep it running as there is no risk of the movement’s lubricant to coagulate in modern automatic watch. Furthermore, the power reserve, your wrist movement and manual winding is usually sufficient to keep it continuously running overnight till the next day.

In this article, I’m going to share why having watch winders is not compulsory based on current automatic watch technology. In addition, I’ll let you know that having a winder can be an expensive item that you should be wary about as it can damage your watch. Lastly, there are also some special situations where watch winder might be needed.

You Don’t Need A Winder For Your Automatic Watch

Does An Automatic Watch Need A Winder

One of the things that I heard about automatic watch is you can’t let it sit dead for days as the lubricant oil inside it will coagulate over time. This will then cause the watch cannot run properly and need to be serviced ahead of its original schedule.

While this might sound convincing, but this is only for animal based oil that was used in previous generations of automatic watches. Modern automatic watches now use synthetic oil for its lubricants that won’t coagulate as easily.

Just like in our cars, the oil don’t necessarily goes bad if the car was left for some time right?

Another example is the watches at the shops. Most of the non-boutique shops tend to keep their automatic watches not running because it’s just a hassle to have to wind it all every day. And some watches can sit on the shelf for months before it was bought.

If the shop owners know that letting the watches sit idle will damage it, they would have surely keep it running to avoid being left with damaged watches right?

The perception that we need a watch winder to maintain our automatic watch is not correct anymore and I just can’t stress it further.

Apart from that, some people also have the concern that without a winder, their watches will be dead before they get to wear it again at the start of next week after the weekend.

Their concern is the dead watch will be a nuisance as they will need to reset the time before use.

While this is somewhat true, I believe this issue can be easily solved by using other ways apart from putting your watch in the winder.

For instance, there’s a lot of watches nowadays that have higher power reserve more than the standard 38 hours (or less than 2 days) of the ETA 2824.

Movements such as ETA Powermatic 80 (80 hours) make it possible for the automatic watch to still be ticking after being laid down unused over the weekends.

And if your watch has low power reserve, you can just give it a few rounds of manual wind to top up its power reserve easily. A good rule of thumb is to manual wind a few hours after you last used it but at least 10-15 hours before the power reserve will deplete completely (take a bit of guesswork here).

And yes, if you have a watch with power reserve indicator, things will be much simpler as you can easily top up the power reserve without needing to do guesswork. Power reserve indicator is one of my favorite functions in an automatic watch as it’s very helpful.

Do Watch Winders Damage Watches?

Can a winder damage your automatic watch? Winder don’t cause any damage to automatic watch because its usually rotating at a slow speed, which will not cause any bad effect on your watch. In fact, wearing the watch will exert more force on it as our hand swings when walking can be much faster.

But then, there are some ways a watch winder will negatively effect your automatic watch.

One thing is on the wear and tear of the moving parts of the movement. By putting your watch on the winder, it’s constantly moving and then keeping your watch ticking all year long. This means the watch is continuously working all year, even on the days that you don’t use it.

Now compare this with another scenario when you don’t put your watch in a winder and let it stop. This means that even after a year, the actual time the watch is ticking is less than that.

What this means is the wear and tear of this watch is lesser than the watch put on a winder. The result? You might be able to lengthen the interval of your watch services because the lower actual running time lowers the wear and tear of the watch.

Another way that a winder can damage your watch is by magnetizing it. Some badly designed winders can do this as it does not take into account the close proximity of the watch with the motor. And magnetization of your automatic watch is definitely not a good thing to have as it can cause lower accuracy.

Situations When Watch Winder Is Needed

moon phase breguet

But this does not mean that watch winder is not needed. There are some situations where I think a watch winder have a place in your home.

So who really need a watch winder? Watch winder is needed if your automatic watch have special complications such as moon phase and perpetual calendar.

These 2 complications are some of the best and coolest features that automatic watches have – imagine having a mechanical driven watch to be able to track moon phase change and have a calendar that follow the actual calendar with all the leap years and such.

These features are easy for a quartz watch with its microchip inside, but very hard to achieve in an automatic watch. Without a doubt, these are one of the best achievements by the automatic watch industry.

But then, these watches are not as simple as other automatic watches in which you cannot just let it stop at any time. This is because the complications need to be running all the time otherwise resetting the watch to get to the correct moon phase/calendar will be a nightmare.

(You can read my previous post on moon phase watch to see how cumbersome it is to reset it)

In these instances, watch winder makes a lot of sense – or even compulsory to be used – as it will ensure your watch is continuously ticking even if you’re away for an extended time.

Just remember to select the correct watch winder or you could ruin your watch!

Not All Watch Winders Are The Same

Does An Automatic Watch Need A Winder

If you still want to get a watch winder or you need it for your moon phase/perpetual calendar watch, then my advice is to invest a bit more money and get a better winder instead of choosing it based on the lowest price.

A quick search on Amazon/Ebay will show that there are many watch winders for sale out there from as low as $50 to thousands of dollars.

The main issue that I want to highlight is in its motor, specifically on durability and magnetization. With a cheap winder, we can only expect that the manufacturer used the lowest cost material as possible to make it.

What happens then is the motor is also one part of the winder that is cheap. And having a constantly rotating motor to be low quality can only means the motor will not last long. For most of the cheap winders, you will be lucky if your winder can last for a year!

Another main problem with cheap winders is magnetization concern on your watches. Automatic watch is made of mostly steel and keeping it close to a rotating motor that has magnets in it will only mean that there’s a possibility that the watch will be magnetized.

Magnetization is one of the common problems with automatic watches as it can greatly affect its accuracy and longevity.

(You can also read about other common problems with automatic watches in my previous post)

A more expensive winder from an established manufacturer will be able to design their winder to shield the watches from being magnetized.

Lastly, another thing that you need to be wary about is in material and build quality. Without a doubt, the cheaper ones will be made from mostly plastic and don’t feel as lavish as the expensive ones. You wouldn’t want to store your expensive automatic watch in a cheap plastic winder or box right?

Related Questions

Do you have to wear an automatic watch everyday? You don’t need to wear automatic watch every day as most watches nowadays have big enough power reserve so that we don’t have to wear it every day. For example, one of the lowest power reserve right now is 38 hours (ETA 2824 and its variants) and you can easily skip one full day without wearing it.

Do automatic watches need to be wound? Automatic watch don’t need to be wound because it has self-winding mechanism that will wind its mainspring using the wearer’s natural wrist motion.

How to keep automatic watch when not being worn? Automatic watch is generally best kept in a box when not being worn. This will help to keep it from being exposed to moisture and such. Not to mention you would want to keep your precious automatic watch safe from prying hands right?

I hope this article about does an automatic watch need a winder will be beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers!