13 Tips On How To Take Care An Automatic Watch So That It Can Last Long

how to take care of automatic watch

Like any devices, automatic watch also needs to be taken care and maintained to ensure it’s running perfectly without any issue.

So how to take care of an automatic watch? Below are the 13 tips on how you should take care of your automatic watch:

  1. Take a good care of it from being dropped or taking any external shock
  2. Keep the watch away from moisture
  3. Don’t place it near electronics or strong magnets
  4. Do remember to service the watch
  5. Don’t leave the watch unused for a long time
  6. Keep it clean
  7. Be careful when changing the strap
  8. Avoid using the watch in extreme temperatures
  9. Don’t wind the watch when wearing it on wrist
  10. Change the gaskets and seals when servicing
  11. Don’t use the crown or pushers while in water
  12. Keep unused watch in a proper box
  13. Be minimal with the manual winding

These are the best practices that I’ve personally used to maintain my own watches. With these tips, I’ve been able to avoid any costly repairs and issues with my watches and I really hope that this information will help you to avoid that too.

1. Take A Good Care Of It From Being Dropped Or Taking Any External Shock

The very first and most important thing that you have to do to take care of your watch is to be very careful not to drop or subject it to any external shock.

Dropping the automatic watch on the floor, bumping it onto the wall, or dropping hard objects on the watch are some of the accidents that can easily happen when you’re not aware and being careful with your watch.

The impact from these accidents can range from nothing to really major, especially regarding the delicate internal workings of the watch. As the automatic movement is made up of more than one hundred parts, any big shock can cause damage on the assembly or even damaging the parts itself. The effect of this is a damaged movement that can be costly to repair or change out totally.

In addition to this, there could be damage on the exterior of the watch. Unless you drop the watch from a very high place or subjected to high impact forces, the damage could be in the form of scratches on the case and crystal as the watch is actually quite sturdy.

It might seem small, but trust me, a scratched case/crystal will be devastating to the aesthetic of the watch. You certainly don’t want to have a highly polished watch that have some deep grooved scratch on its side which is very unsightly!

2. Keep The Watch Away From Moisture

The next tips in maintaining your automatic watch is to keep it away from moisture as water is a great enemy for mechanical devices.

One thing I want to highlight is this does not mean the watch cannot be in contact with water. Most of the watches in the market right now has some water resistance rating that enables it to even be submerged inside water for a specified depth. There are also dive watches with screw down crowns that is much more robust against water.

The main issue is with constant exposure to water, especially on where you’re storing the watch when not in used. As the watch is usually made out of steel, constant exposure to water can make rusting happen even for stainless steel. It’s recommended to wipe the watch and store it in a dry place after it came into contact with water.

In particular is the steel bracelet of the watch that has many small spaces and crevices that can be places where water might accumulate. You need to ensure these places are always dry to prevent from any rusting.

With leather or cloth based straps, moisture is a great concern as it can significantly reduce the strength of the material and cause it to be susceptible to tear. I’d be very particular about this and will try to dry out the straps as soon as possible before storing it.

Thus, keeping these straps dry from being near to wet areas is definitely a good idea. You certainly don’t want to wear a damp strap on your wrist right?

3. Don’t Place It Near Electronics Or Strong Magnets

The next tip to take care of automatic watch is not place it near electronics or strong magnets. This is a very important thing to remember as automatic watch will be severely disrupted if its magnetized, all because it’s run entirely by moving metal parts.

The various moving parts will be disrupted from magnetization and this will cause the watch to lose accuracy.

While this is not really a concern before, it has become a big issue as electronics are everywhere nowadays. Electronics can be the cause of magnetization if you place the watch near to it. Hence, it’s important to know where you’re storing the watch so that it’s not near to any electronics.

4. Do Remember To Service The Watch

Next tip is about servicing the watch. Just like other mechanical items (car engine, etc.), automatic watch also needs to be serviced to clean and re-oil the various parts. Typically, an automatic watch will need to be serviced every 3 to 5 years, though this will ultimately depend on the manufacturer’s recommendation (one good example is Rolex where it has a new 10-year service recommendation which is very good in my opinion) and whether you believe something is wrong with your watch.

I do believe that this is the tip that most people are not wary about when they buy an automatic watch. Although automatic watch is a great watch with many benefits, its mechanical nature with many moving parts means that servicing it is inevitable to keep it running without any issue in the long run.

Not servicing the watch can cause a lot of other issues with the movement so much so you might be having a trouble with it later on. I do note that some Seiko dive watches have been running fine even without any service but I can bet those watches have horrendous accuracy, more than 10++ seconds deviation per day.

Coming to accuracy, that’s also another benefit of sending the watch to service as you can ask the watchmaker to adjust the watch to your use pattern with higher accuracy. In short, servicing an automatic watch will ensure that your expensive automatic watch will be well protected and can be used for years to come. In addition, the better accuracy will help you make the most of your automatic watch as well.

(read my previous post to know more details about servicing automatic watch)

5. Don’t Leave The Watch Unused For A Long Time

Having many watches is fun as you can have a nice collection with myriad of watches. But then a big problem will crop up – you suddenly realized that you only can wear one watch at a time so much so only few watches will be worn frequently.

The thing is you will never be able to give ALL your watches the same wrist time. I noticed that once my collection grew, there are some watches that I like or prefer over some other watches. This can be due to many factors i.e look, weight, how it wears, etc. which are not something that you can know before you buy the watch.

Due to this reason, there are only 2 or 3 watches that I’ve worn regularly and there are other watches that don’t see any wrist time for weeks which is not ideal for an automatic watches. The main issue with this is the watch’s lubricants will be left idle for long time and might be coagulating when the watch is not in use. This will reduce its accuracy or might even cause the watch to not work properly.

Thus, it’s important to ensure your watch is ticking once in a while although you might not have enough time to wear them. Simply wind it manually or give it a good shake to jump start it and have it running.

6. Keep It Clean

The next tip on how to take care of your automatic watch is to keep it clean. Often times, the watch might get dirty from normal use (sweat is one of the biggest contributor to this) and it’s important to keep it clean so that it will be able to be kept for a long time.

Luckily, most automatic watches are made of stainless steel so cleaning them is a breeze. A piece of cloth or tissue will do to wipe out any dirt or sweat in contact with the watch. Depending on the dirt, you might have to use some water to assist with the cleaning. Unless absolutely necessary, the use of soap is not needed most of the times.

Now, while the main watch case is quite easy to clean, the strap or bracelet is a different issue. There are 4 main strap material types for automatic watch (metal bracelet, leather strap, cloth strap, rubber strap) and caring for them requires different method.

I personally love metal bracelets because it’s very easy to wear without the hassle of unbuckling it like other straps. But the way the bracelet is constructed using many small links resulted in many small openings and crevices which can be the location where dirt might accumulate. And since these openings are very small, cleaning these dirt and gunks can be quite a challenge.

You can use toothbrush to get to the hard to reach crevices but it might be too hard to do. One good way is to use ultrasonic cleaning whereby the bracelet can be dipped into a water bath with lots of water bubbles that can help to clean out the gunk.

For the other types of straps, a wet tissue or towel will do to clean it as there is no small openings or crevices with it. But do be careful with leather and cloth straps as getting it too wet will reduce its strength and you might cause some damage on it. You should also quickly dry these straps after cleaning it. For rubber strap, it’s one of the more durable straps and can be easily cleaned.

7. Be Careful When Changing The Strap

Another tips about straps is to be extra careful when changing them. I love to buy new straps and put it on my watches. It will immediately change the look and feel of the watch instantaneously. It’s like getting a different watch by only paying a fraction of its cost.

But do be very careful when changing the straps yourselves (also applies if you get the store to change it) as you can easily get some scratches on the watch.

Changing the straps involve getting out the spring bar from the lugs and you should do this very carefully or else you can end up with deep scratches on the lugs (this is me speaking from experience LOL!). Do get the correct tools to change the straps as it will make your life much easier. This also applies to adjusting bracelets.

Trying to cheap out and use the tools that you have lying around your house such as screwdrivers, needle etc. is a recipe for disaster. Watch strap removal and bracelet adjustment tools are available online for less than $10 bucks a piece and there is no reason why you should not get one!

(if you want to learn how I adjust my bracelet, read my previous post here)

8. Avoid Using The Watch In Extreme Temperatures

Steel is susceptible to temperature change (contract with cold, expand with heat) and automatic watch uses a lot of steel for its movement. Due to this, any extreme temperature will cause issue with the movement.

There are many issues related to temperature. One, the accuracy will suffer as the steel parts are expanding/contracting which is not the same as it was designed for. Then, the oil could have some changes in its properties with the temperature (gunk at cold, thinning at hot). There could also be an issue with condensation around inside the watch due to temperature difference.

As such, I’d recommend to not use automatic watch when going into extreme temperature environments such as a jacuzzi, sauna, or winter area. There are sports watches that have been designed for these extreme temperatures (mostly quartz based) that you can use instead.

9. Don’t Wind The Watch When Wearing It On Wrist

One of the mistakes that I used to make is winding my watch when I’m wearing it on my wrist. This is definitely not a good practice as you can break the crown stem from doing this.

The crown is typically connected to the winding mechanism through a small stem that can be broken easily. Hence, winding it while wearing it will apply a tangential force on the stem, thus making it much more likely to accidentally break the stem.

Due to this, I strongly advise that you only wind the watch by properly holding it on your hands and applying direct force when rotating the crown.

10. Change The Gaskets And Seals When Servicing

Water resistance is a very important feature in any watch as you just don’t know what could happen. Even for dress watches, I’d prefer to have some water resistance rating on it (a minimum of 30-50 m rating) since that will ensure the watch can handle some accidental splashes of water without breaking a sweat.

Grand Seiko Diver Watch

This is particularly helpful as you just don’t know what could happen. Also, this feature makes it easier as you don’t have to take off your watch whenever you want to wash your hands or doing the dishes – activities that can splash some water on your watch.

Dive watches, on the other hand, have higher water resistance rating (from 100 to 300 m) as it will need to resist the water from going inside the watch whenever its owner is diving.

One thing that most people don’t know is the water resistance rating depend on the condition of the seals and gasket of the watch. These seals are located at all possible water ingress points (crown, back plate, crystal, etc.) and is the one holding out the water from going into the watch.

As it’s made of rubber, the seals will degrade naturally and you should always have it changed periodically to keep the watch’s water resistance. Some people recommend for it to be changed every 2 to 3 years but I found this to be only valid for divers. For most of us that don’t really use our automatic watches for diving, this recommendation will be overkill.

Because of this, my personal practice is to change the seals and gaskets every time I service the watch, which is 3-5 years. This will save some money and time as you don’t need to bring the watch for service more frequently.

11. Don’t Use The Crown Or Pushers While In Water

This next tip also involves with water: don’t ever use the crown or pushers while in water. That is unless you want water to get inside the watch, wreaking havoc with the movement!

Water resistance works by keeping a tight vacuum-like seal over the entire watch and anything that protrudes out from the movement for the watch to function (such as crown and pushers for chronograph) is a possible water ingress point. The workaround with this is by using seals and gaskets to keep the small openings filled up so that water can’t pass through.

But using the crown (for manual winding or setting time/date) and pushers (for chronograph or other functions) inside water will open up the openings so much so water will easily pass through inside the watch.

12. Keep Unused Watch In A Proper Box

how to take care of automatic watchThe next tip is to keep your watch collection inside a proper watch box. It’s only logical that we should store our expensive automatic watches inside a proper box to keep it away from dust and any damage that could happen to it.

For instance, keeping the watch inside a drawer which you also used to keep your keys and other items is not recommended as these items can scratch the watch. Keeping it inside a box will also prevent from accidental magnetization of the watch from being in close proximity to electronic items.

In addition, you will be able to organize your watches and retrieve it easier rather than having to search all over the place for a watch that you want to wear.

(if you want to know more about how best to store your automatic watches, you can read my previous post here)

13. Be Minimal With The Manual Winding

Although manual winding is a good way to easily fill up the power reserve of your watch, it’s not recommended doing it frequently. The fact is, automatic watches are designed with self-winding capability and it’s not meant to be manual wind often (unlike mechanical watch).

Because of this, most brands will usually design a less robust manual winding mechanism on an automatic watch, so much so it can be broken if it’s winded often. As such, do be very careful when manual winding the watch and be minimal with it.

Personally, I only manual wind my watch for 5 to 10 revolutions, just to give the watch some extra juice when I first pick it up from the box. Then, I would rely on the self-winding mechanism from my wrist motion to increase it’s power reserve for the next days.

Related Questions

Do you have to wear your automatic watch every day? No, you don’t need to wear your automatic watch every day. Automatic watch that is not being worn will stop by itself when its power reserve runs out. You can then pick up the watch and use it normally after that.

How long will an automatic watch last? Automatic watch can last for a very long time, provided it’s being maintained well by periodically servicing it and keeping it clean.

How to keep automatic watch when not wearing? The best way to keep automatic watches that are not being worn is by storing it inside a dedicated watch box. You can also read my previous post to know the other options of storing the watch.

How to wind an automatic watch? To wind an automatic watch, simply rotate the crown upwards. You should be able to hear a faint gear-like grinding noise when doing so. Some watches also have screw-down crowns so you will need to unscrew the crown first before you can wind it.

I hope these 13 tips on how to take care of an automatic watch will be beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have any questions or if you have any other tips that you’ve been using yourselves.

Till next time then. Cheers!

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 craftsmanship
  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!

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!

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!

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!

Quartz Watch – The Very Accurate And Cheap Type Of Watch

why is quartz watch accurate

Quartz watch is the most widely used watch type on the planet. It’s also very accurate and very rarely, its time needs to be reset.

Why is quartz watch so accurate? Quartz watch is very accurate because it uses electronic oscillator regulated by a quartz crystal to keep its time. The use of this quartz crystal made it possible for the watch to be very accurate, as compared to other types of watches such as automatic/mechanical or electric watch.

The quartz crystal plays a huge role in the accuracy of the watch. In addition, quartz watch also comes in different quality with the highest (and most expensive) quartz watch is much more accurate than the typical quartz watch that you can buy off the street. Lastly, you will see why quartz watch is the most common watch all over the world currently.

Quartz Crystal – The Reason Why Quartz Watch Is Very Accurate

The reason why quartz watch is so accurate lies in the quartz crystal itself. Quartz is a mineral with the formula of SiO2 and is very abundant around us (such as in sands, rocks, etc.). The quartz used in a watch is very tiny, at about 4 mm long in the shape of a two-prong fork.

So what does this quartz crystal do? How does quartz watch work?

In general, a watch has 3 main elements: power supply, timekeeping and moving gears. Inside a quartz watch, the power is supplied by a battery cell in the form of electricity.

This electricity is then channeled to the quartz crystal (or called oscillator) via a microchip, which forms the timekeeping mechanism. As the electric hits the quartz crystal, the crystal will then vibrate profusely, at about 32,768 Hz (or 32,768 times per second).

The microchip counts this vibration and uses it to determine one second simply by dividing the number of vibrations by 2 for 15 times (because 2 to the power of 15 is 32,768).

From then, the microchip can transmit one signal per second to an electric motor to move the watch’s moving train (gears) and then display the time.

(If you’re interested, you can read my previous post on how quartz watch works to understand it better)

This mechanism is the basis of all modern watches (either solar, kinetic, or even smartwatches) found today. It differs greatly than the movement mechanism that is found in an automatic watch.

How Accurate Is Quartz Watch?

So how accurate is a quartz watch? Quartz watch generally have an accuracy of around +- 10 seconds per MONTH. Even the most accurate automatic watch with COSC certification pales in comparison as it will have a much worse accuracy at +-6 seconds per DAY.

Now that means quartz watch is about 18 times more accurate that an automatic watch!

The reason why it has such high accuracy compared to automatic watch is due to the high frequency of vibration of the quartz crystal oscillator. As mentioned above, the quartz crystal oscillates at 32,768 Hz, which is much much higher than the 6 Hz or 8 Hz typically found in an automatic watch using balance wheel as timekeeping mechanism.

At that high frequency, any discrepancy and slight blimp in the signal will only constitutes a marginal fraction of the whole vibration. In other words, even if the vibration is off by a 10 times in a second, that means it have a deviation of about (10)/32768 or 0.03% per second. This helps to minimize its deviation and increases its accuracy.

With an automatic watch, even a slight off in the vibration will cause a higher percentage difference. Scientists have used the same concept to produce a much higher accuracy in a watch by increasing the frequency of the timekeeping oscillator.

With such a high accuracy found in the quartz watch, that’s the reason why we never seem to have to set our quartz watches even if we’ve worn it for many months. In a particular year, a quartz watch might have a maximum of only 2 minutes of deviation!

Although this is already remarkable, watchmakers never stop trying to innovate and produce a higher level of quartz watch with higher accuracy.

For instance, Bulova produced their Precisionist movement that has an accuracy of +-10 seconds per YEAR. Yes, you read that right – only 10 seconds per year. They managed to achieve this by using a revolutionary three-prong quartz crystal shape, further increasing the oscillation o 262 kHz. (You can read my review of the Bulova Precisionist here for more information).

Why Is Quartz Used In Watches?

Why is quartz used in watches? The reason why quartz is used widely in watches lies with its piezoelectric properties.

Piezoelectric means that a quartz material can will vibrate when supplied with electricity, and vice versa. This makes it possible to use quartz as an oscillator for timekeeping purposes.

Not only that, quartz crystal also have a remarkable property with this vibration is being very precise and constant between various quartz samples. This makes it very easy to reproduce the same watch using quartz crystals as its basis.

Another reason why quartz is used in watch is due to its abundance and affordability. Quartz is basically everywhere around us (it’s in the sand, rocks, soil, etc.) which means that it’s very cheap to procure. Not only that, you will only need a very small size of quartz crystal in a watch (about 4 mm in length) so there’s really no issue with cost for quartz.

In comparison, an automatic watch will need many steel materials for it to be made. Some higher end watchmakers even go as far as creating their own alloys to further their watch’s accuracy and durability.

These unique properties and its affordability are the reasons why quartz mineral is the best mineral for watches.

For Accuracy And Affordability, Quartz Watch Is Simply The Best Choice

If you ask me which is better between automatic and quartz watches, I would say that quartz watch is simply the better watch technical wise and affordability wise.

It has very high accuracy (even for the basic average quartz movement) which really is leaps and bounds above the accuracy found in even the most accurate automatic watch.

Quartz watch is also more affordable than an automatic watch.

I mean, you can even get one from amazon or alibaba for just 10 bucks! With an automatic watch, you’re looking at above than at least $100 – and that will only get you a low-quality automatic watch.

If you look at any kids wearing a watch, I can bet that they are wearing a quartz watch. This is unthinkable just half a century back as the only watch available back then was automatic watch and only the most well-to-do people can afford it.

Truthfully, quartz watch has made watches affordable and accessible to every one.

But if you’re asking me which one is my personal preference, I’d choose automatic watch for its unique characteristics – I’ve written an entire post on the differences between automatic and quartz watch. Read the article if you want to know more about both watches pros and cons.

Related Questions

Do quartz watches need batteries? Quartz watch needs battery to supply electricity for it to work. The electricity will be used to power the microchip, quartz crystal oscillator and the electric motor inside the watch.

What’s the most accurate watch? The most accurate watch in existence is the atomic watch. It uses atomic theory to determine timekeeping way more precise (around 1 second deviation per 300 years!) than what a wrist watch is able to give. There exist a type of watch that can automatically sync with the known atomic clock every night, thus making it as accurate as an atomic clock.

What’s the most accurate quartz watch? The title of the most accurate wrist watch currently goes to the Citizen Caliber 0100 with an accuracy of +-1 second per YEAR. It have a special quartz watch oscillator that is cut in AT cut shape (flat shape) that vibrates at a much higher 8 MHz as compared to the typical 32 kHz vibration in normal quartz watch. Check out this video to understand how Citizen managed to achieve this amazing feat.

How Can Automatic Watch Work Without Battery?

does an automatic watch have a battery

It’s been a few years since I first bought my automatic watch. Initially, I was intrigued by this type of watch that is interesting and not like other watches – especially about how it can work without needing a battery.

Does an automatic watch has a battery? Automatic watch does not require a battery because it’s powered by natural wrist motions of the wearer through the potential energy stored inside it’s mainspring.

Knowing the characteristics of the watch is very important when you’re choosing a new watch to buy. While automatic watch does not require a battery, its power reserve is also quite limited. In addition, there’s also the issue of choosing between automatic and mechanical watch movement which will depend on your preference and use pattern.

How Automatic Watch Works Without Battery?

Instead of battery, automatic watch is run by the natural wrist motions when it is being worn, which will supply energy to the mainspring. It is this mainspring that will eventually run the whole watch movement.

How does the mainspring run the watch?

The mainspring will then try to release itself (think of this as a spring that wants to extend after you’ve compressed it). In doing so, the mainspring will cause the gears in the watch to move i.e transfer of the potential energy inside the mainspring to movement of the watch components (kinetic energy).

This kinetic energy will then be transferred throughout the whole watch movement, from the gears to the balance wheel and lastly to the time display.

But how does the mainspring is tightened?

In all automatic watch, there’s a weighted rotor in semi-circular shape (which you can see from the any watch with glass transparent case back) that will rotate whenever you’re wearing or shaking the watch.

This rotor is connected to the mainspring so much so whenever the rotor rotates, the mainspring will be tightened. This capability to wind (or tightened the mainspring) via the rotor is called self-winding.

(if you’re interested to know more about how automatic watch works, read my previous in-depth article about this topic here)

The amount of potential energy that the mainspring can store is limited and this will determine how long the watch can stay ticking before it needs to be wind (or so called the watch’s power reserve).

How Long Can An Automatic Watch Power Reserve Lasts?

The amount of potential energy that the mainspring can hold (or the power reserve) varies depending on the watch movement design and the material used for the mainspring.

In general, most automatic watch have power reserve between 38 hours to 50 hours. There’s also some special watches that has a huge 7 days of power reserve!

Below is the list of power reserve for some of the more popular automatic watch movements.

  • ETA 2824-2 and its variants (basic movement found in most low-medium priced of Swiss automatic watches): 38 hours
  • Sellita SW-200 and its variants (basic movement found in most low-medium priced of non-Swatch groups automatic watches): 38 hours
  • Seiko 4R15 and its variants (current basic movement found in most low priced of Seiko automatic watches): 41 hours
  • Seiko 6R15 and its variants (found in low-medium priced of Seiko automatic watches): 50 hours
  • ETA/Powermatic 80 and its variants (found in some low-medium priced of Swatch group brands automatic watches): 80 hours

How To Keep The Power Reserve Full? Do I Need To Always Wear My Automatic Watch?

There are a few ways to keep the power reserve always full. Wearing the watch every day is the first way that comes to mind. By wearing your automatic watch, you will be able to keep its power reserve continuously added, provided that your wrist movement is adequate.

But in general, wearing your watch 8-9 hours every day will do the trick and prevent from your watch stopping due to depleted power reserve.

Another way that you can keep your power reserve full is by manual winding the watch. Simply take the crown and rotate it. You must be able to hear a faint grinding gear sound – that means the manual winding is in progress and you’re directly tightening the mainspring.

This method is far more efficient that relying on the weighted rotor as 40-50 rotations of the crown is enough to fully tightened the mainspring. With the automatic self-winding, you will need about 700-800 rotations.

But do be careful on manual winding as doing it too much can be detrimental to the health of the automatic movement.

On thing to keep in mind is that manual winding capability might not be available on some automatic watches. For example, the ever popular Seiko SKX007 dive watch uses the 7S26 automatic movement that cannot be manual wound.

Granted, that movement is an old and legacy movement (newer Seiko movements all can be manual wound) but you should always check if the watch that you want have this feature or not prior to buying it.

The last way to keep your automatic watch power reserve full is by using a watch winder.

Watch winder is a simple device that seeks to mimic our wrist movement. By putting the watch in the winder, the winder will then rotates the watch so that the weighted rotor inside it will move and thus topping up the power reserve.

It’s an easy way to wind your watch without having to manually wind the crown.

I recommend to not skimp on this watch winder as a cheaper one will use a cheap motor that can go bad in just a few months. Not to mention cheaper winders might not be properly designed and can magnetize your watch (which is a common issue affecting automatic watch. Read my article here to know more about problems with automatic watch).

 

Automatic vs Mechanical Movement – Difference That You Should Know

Sometimes used interchangeably, automatic and mechanical movements actually have a lot of differences. I seriously think that knowing these differences are very important that you should know prior if you’re thinking of buying one of these watches.

The first thing to know is mechanical movement does not have self-winding capabilities; which means it does not have the weighted rotor that can wind the watch simply by wearing it.

Instead, mechanical movement rely on manual winding; that is you will need to rotate the crown (or the knob usually at the right side of the watch case) to tightened the mainspring – just like playing a simple toy that you need to turn the spring to play.

Although mechanical movement is not as easy to use as the automatic movement (you will need to wind your mechanical watch everyday prior to use), it does have its own advantages.

For a start, mechanical movement is cheaper as it’s easier to be built. In addition to that, the watch is lighter and have a slimmer profile because it does not have to house the weighted rotor mechanism. Not only that, mechanical watch typically is cheaper to be serviced because of its simpler movement architecture.

Generally, I would recommend the automatic movement because its fairly easy to use, especially to those new to these watches.

But if you want a more traditional experience of hand/manual winding your watch (plus getting a cheaper, slimmer & lighter watch), then you can go for the mechanical movement.

Related Questions

Do quartz watch need batteries? Quartz watch need battery to run. Quartz watch uses the quartz crystal and electronic chip to keep track of time, which in turn need electricity. You can read more about how quartz watch works from my previous article here.

Are there any watches that don’t need batteries or winding? There are 3 types of watches that don’t need batteries or winding: solar watch, kinetic watch and smartwatch. In actuality, all of these 3 watches have their own batteries inside that store electricity but they don’t require periodic battery replacement like typical watch.

Solar watch can recharge its battery by being exposed to light while for kinetic watch, you can charge it by wearing and using it. Smartwatch works just like a phone whereby you can only charge it by connecting a power supply.