The Complete Guide About Chronograph Watch

what-is-chronograph-watch

One of the things that often confuse me in the past is chronograph watch. It has a cool utilitarian look but what exactly does it do? I’ve decided to find out about more about chronograph watch and here is what I found.

So what is a chronograph watch? Chronograph watch is a watch with stopwatch functionality (able to track/record time) added to it. So in essence, a chronograph is a two-in-one device whereby you’re getting a normal watch AND a stopwatch in a single device.

In this article, I’m going to share with you all I know about chronograph watch: how to read it, how do you use it, its history, the different types of chronograph watches, and lastly, how to choose a suitable chronograph watch for you. So if you’re interested, keep on reading!

Table of Content:

  1. How Do You Read Chronograph Watch?
  2. How To Use Chronograph Watch?
  3. What Are The Uses Or Functions Of Chronograph Watch?
  4. Bezel Scales Used On Chronographs
  5. History Of Chronograph Watch. Who Invented It First?
  6. The Different Types Of Chronograph Watch
  7. How Does A Chronograph Work? The Different Movements Used In The Chronograph
  8. What Is The Difference Between Chronograph And Chronometer?
  9. How To Choose The Suitable Chronograph Watch For You

How Do You Read Chronograph Watch?

how to read chronograph watch
An analog chronograph

Chronograph watch can be quite confusing (especially the analog type), but trust me, once you’ve got the hang of it, it will be easy to read. Let’s get into the analog type first as it’s the harder one to read.

First of all, there are many subdials (or the small circles on the dial) that will be used to tell time. I’m sure you’re well aware about the normal 3-hands analog watch (1 hand or needle each to show the hour, minute and second). The subdials are placed on the dial to show/record the time for the chronograph.

There will be a dedicated subdial to show the seconds (placed at the below part of the watch pictured here), a subdial for minutes (left side) and a subdial for hours (right side). If you look closely, you will notice that the seconds and minutes subdials have 60 parts while the hour subdial only has 24 parts (denoted by its markers).

This shows that this particular chronograph can only track time up to 24 hours since that’s the maximum hours that it can display on its chronograph subdial. This is important to know about because some chronographs can only show lower amount of hours while others can go on for longer.

This brings me to another point: there are many chronograph designs out there. For example, the subdials can be positioned elsewhere, there might not be a seconds subdial and instead it will use the main seconds hand for chronograph, there might not even be a subdial for hours, etc.

It’s good to know that many chronograph design exist and you just have to figure it out by yourselves by remembering the basic anatomy of it.

For a digital chronograph, things are much simpler as the tracked time is displayed right there on the screen. There’s not much guess work needed here.

how to read chronograph
A digital chronograph

How To Use Chronograph Watch?

Using a chronograph watch is easy and is similar whether you’re using an analog or digital types. There are 2 different buttons (or pushers, as it’s called in horology) that are normally positioned on the right side of the watch, at 2 and 4 o’clock positions.

Normally, the top pusher is used to control the chronograph. A single push will start the chronograph and you can see the seconds hand starting to move to record time. Pushing this pusher again will pause it, and you can resume the time by pushing it again.

The bottom pusher is used to reset the chronograph. So say you’ve started the time and pause it, you can reset it all back to zero by pushing the bottom pusher.

Now, this is the basic and most common way on how to use a chronograph watch. Certain higher end chronographs will have more functions (more on that later on), and hence it will be more complicated to use it. If in doubt, I highly recommend reading the user manual for your particular chronograph watch so that you will fully understand how to operate it and get the best out of it.

What Are The Uses Or Functions Of Chronograph Watch?

Basically, you can use a chronograph watch as a timer to record the time of anything, such as a racing event, examination time, for cooking (the time for something to finished cooking based on the recipe), swimming – basically anything that requires some timing can be done using a chronograph.

Without a doubt, you can always do these timing mentally by using a normal watch (subtracting the current time with the time you started the activity/event). But of course, it’s not an easy task, especially as you’ve grown older. In addition, some events can last only few seconds making it harder to track using normal watch.

That’s where a chronograph comes in. As a stopwatch, it’s really easy to use and will make tracking the duration of any event much easier, not to mention more accurate. In fact, one of its first wide use is to help officials time horse racing events.

Bezel Scales Used On Chronographs

how to use chronograph

Chronographs have been widely popular among flight pilots due to its ability to help in speeding up calculations for speed and precise timing, and this is thanks to the bezel scales.

In addition to being able to track time, chronographs were also equipped with bezel scales that can be used to help aviators or anyone easily.

So what are the bezel scales used on chronographs? There are about 4 different types of bezel scales mainly used in chronographs nowadays: tachymeter, telemeter, pulsometer and slide bezel rule.

The first is tachymeter, the more popular of the bezel scales (I’m pretty sure you can spot this word on the bezel of many chronographs). Tachymeter scale is used with the stopwatch to do rapid calculations on the speed of an object, provided the event lasts more than 7.2 seconds.

To use the tachymeter, you will need to know the distance of what the object will travel. Start the chronograph once it’s at the starting point and stop it after 1 mile or 1 km (the scale is unit less). The seconds hand will show the elapsed time the object traveled/flew in the 1 mile or km, as well as pointing to a number on the tachymeter scale. This number is the speed of the object in miles per hour or km per hour (depending on the length chosen to do the measurement).

Although tachymeter bezel scale is not really that easy to use (you still need a rough estimate of the travel length of the object), it’s a great little device that can be used easily with ample training. It’s also a real fun device to be used when visiting the race track as you can easily use it to know how fast your favorite racer is going.

The second bezel scale is telemeter and is the less frequently used scale of the two. If the tachymeter helps to find speed, the telemeter helps to find distance between the position of the person holding the watch and somewhere the event takes place.

The scale uses the concept of the speed of sound, whereby you start the chronograph when an event started (artillery fire, lightning bolt, explosion etc.) and stop it once you’ve heard it. The chronograph seconds hand will show the elapsed time and also the duration on the telemeter scale (either in km or mile).

Although its a great scale, it’s use is not fairly useful for most of us. I’d say only those working with artillery and the likes (e.g military men) will find it useful.

The next scale is pulsometer, that can be used to check the number of pulses per minute and is very useful for doctors. So instead of having to do their own calculations mentally on how many pulses/heart beats per minute, the pulsometer scale helps them to do it easily.

The doctor will need to start the chronograph and count the number of pulses to 15 or 30 (depending on the scale) and stop it once the count is done. The number shown on the pulsometer is the pulses per minute.

There’s also another type of bezel scale called the slide bezel rule that is very nifty in making fast calculations. Although you don’t need a chronograph to be able to use the slide rule bezel, it’s usually placed on top of a chronograph alongside the tachymeter scale. (If you want to know more about the slide rule bezel, read my previous post about it).

Another advantage of having these scales on the chronograph is the extra coolness radiating from the very busy dial. Without a doubt, that’s one of the major attraction of the chronograph – it just looks so cool. Yes, it’s very nifty to have around but I bet most of us that like it were attracted due to the very cool, stylish and busy dial in the first place LOL!

History Of Chronograph Watch. Who Invented It First?

It’s hard to talk about chronograph without looking into its history. One cool fact is the term “chronograph” is a combination of the Greek words “chronos” meaning time and “graph” meaning writing. So chronograph literally means writing time in English.

Chronograph Louis Moinet 1816 Compteur de Tierces
Louis Moinet Chronograph “Compteur de Tierces”

The chronograph or stopwatch with the form as we know it now was first invented by the French horologist, Louis Moinet in 1816. Louis Moinet was a genius in watchmaking and he created the chronograph (named as “Compteur de Tierces”) to assist with astronomical equipment.

The first marketable chronograph was invented by Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec in 1821. Nicolas was the Watchmaker to the King of French and invented his chronograph so that the King can timed his horse racing. He was also a businessman and saw the opportunity to market his device to the racing community, and thus spread the use of chronographs.

Chronograph Nicolas Rieussec 1821
Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph

An interesting story is Nicolas’ chronograph was hailed as the first chronograph invented for decades until Louis Moinet’s chronograph was discovered in 2013!

What’s exciting is how Louis’ creation was so ahead of time. First of all, it looks much more like a modern stopwatch (you can just compare the two pictures and tell me which one looks like a stopwatch). It is able to measure up to 60th of a second, thanks to its technologically impressive 216,000 vibrations per hour. This was a big deal as the usual vibrations per hour is around 28,800 times, even to this day!

Louis also incorporated a start, stop and reset function – something that the horology industry only invented in the 1930s. Truthfully, the Compteur de Tierces was groundbreaking and had it been discovered earlier (or had Louis applied for a patent on this), the watchmaking industry will be moving at a greater pace than what it was.

An automatic chronograph (self-winding instead of manual winding) was only conceived in the 1969 by 3 parties: a Heuer-Breitling-Buren/Hamilton partnership with their Chronomatic movement, Zenith with their El Primero and Seiko with Ref. 6139.

The Different Types Of Chronograph Watch

What are the different types of chronograph? There are about 5 types of chronograph currently most known, which are normal chronograph, flyback, rattrapante/split-second, foudroyante and regatta. Each of these have their own functionalities and advantages which I’ll explain below.

1) Normal chronograph:

The normal chronograph is the typical stopwatch with normal functionality. It has the most basic functions which are start, stop and reset functions.

2) Flyback chronograph:

Flyback chronograph (also known as retour-en-vol in french) saves time to restart a timing just by pushing the reset button. So instead of having to push 3 times/buttons to stop, reset and start the timing, a flyback chronograph can simplify these actions into one push of a button to reset the time to zero and immediately start the timing.

This functionality is very useful for those that need quick successions of timing with just a single push of a button.

3) Split second chronograph:

A split-second chronograph (also called as rattrapante in french) has 2 seconds hand/needle that can be used to easily track the time of racing laps. The chronograph will start as usual but as you finished a lap, you can push a dedicated split-second pusher to stop one seconds hand whilst the other hand will continue the timing. You can then use this opportunity to record the time on paper. Once done, pushing the same pusher will bring the stopped hand to align with the continuous hand.

4) Foudroyante chronograph:

Foudroyante chronograph is basically a chronograph with the ability to show time measurements up to fraction of a second. There is usually a dedicated subdial for this, with the markings in various fractions of seconds (6, 8 or 10). While this is very easy to do with a quartz-based chronograph to show the 1/10 second fractions, it can be hard to achieve in automatic movement chronograph as the balance wheel usually only has 6 or 8 beats per second, and hence the 6/8 fractions display.

5) Regatta chronograph:

The last, and arguably the rarest and most complex chronograph is the regatta chronograph, which is invented specifically for yachting race events. In the simplest term, regatta chronograph is basically a timer, in which you can input the specified time and then upon activating it, the watch will count down to zero. This is very important for yachting as the signal to start is usually in the successions of 10/5/1 minutes. Hence, a timer is necessary so that all competitors can prepare for the start.

How Does A Chronograph Work? The Different Movements Used In The Chronograph

There are 2 main movements used for chronographs: automatic and quartz based movements. As you might have known, the quartz based movement is also electronically based, hence there is no real technical challenges in making a chronograph as it can be programmed into it. There will be additional motors and bigger battery required for it to work, but these are not really difficult (I mean if mankind can create a watch to take phone calls, its not a big problem to create a watch that can be a stopwatch right?)

what is chronograph watch

The real technical challenge is in automatic or mechanical movement chronographs. As the movement is mechanical based without any electric/electronic parts, the timekeeping mechanism for a chronograph is much more complex than a normal automatic watch (hence why chronograph is also one of the “complications” in horology).

There are 2 separate systems with an automatic chronograph: the main timekeeping system and the chronograph system. The main timekeeping system will run all the time while the chronograph is only engaged when it’s needed.

To enable the chronograph to start, the connection between the two system/gear trains needed to be done via a coupling. Like any motorized vehicle, this coupling is achieved by a clutch and there are 2 main clutch systems used nowadays which are the horizontal clutch and vertical clutch. Pressing the start button will engage the clutch, couples the chronograph gears to the main gears and starts the stopwatch.

In terms of construction, chronograph movements can be divided into 2 main groups: integrated and modular. The difference between the 2 is the basic design. The integrated design is the best in terms of footprint and volume as the whole watch movement (main timekeeping and chronograph) are designed as one unit.

The other modular design, in comparison, is like Lego in which the chronograph module is added on top of the base timekeeping module. Although it’s not as efficient as the integrated design, modular designs has the ability to make the watchmaking less expensive as different modules or complications can be created and used in conjunction with the base module (which can also be used as a normal vanilla automatic watch in itself!).

What Is The Difference Between Chronograph And Chronometer?

rolex chronometerVery often, people would confuse between chronograph and chronometer – I know about this all too well because I was also one of them.

So what is the difference between chronograph and chronometer? Basically, a chronograph is a function (watch with stopwatch) and a chronometer is refers to a watch that is very accurate and precise.

And yes, a watch can also be a chronograph AND a chronometer.

Confused? Let me explain.

A chronograph is a watch that has a stopwatch function, just like what was explained in the early part of this article. The easiest way to spot a chronograph is by looking at the watch: if it has additional subdials showing second, minutes and hours, it’s most likely a chronograph. In addition, having additional pushers/buttons at the side of the watch is a tell-tale sign of a chronograph watch.

A chronometer, however, is a term affixed to a watch that has outstanding accuracy and precision. A watch can only be called a chronometer once it has been tested by the COSC institute and clears all the requirement for a very accurate watch (you can read about this requirement in my previous post here).

A watch can be a chronograph AND a chronometer if it has the stopwatch function and also has outstanding accuracy, cleared by the COSC institute. I’d have to say this is as good as a chronograph can be with the precision of a chronometer.

How To Choose The Suitable Chronograph Watch For You

Choosing a suitable chronograph can be quite challenging, notwithstanding the many choices around us nowadays. For me, I recommend these 4 criteria (price, movement type, maintenance and style) that you need to assess for yourselves to choose the best chronograph your you.

1) Price

The first factor is price, which is also the main factor whenever you’re choosing a watch. The price of chronographs can vary greatly depending on its movement (automatic is much more expensive than quartz), and material and finishing of the watch (a rose gold chronograph is without a doubt more expensive than a stainless steel one).

But, the biggest factor in watch pricing is the brand. For example, a chronograph from Swiss top brands e.g Patek Philippe is more expensive than normal brands e.g Tissot, Seiko. The reason is simple: a top Swiss brand will utilize the best movement, material, finishing as well as being exclusive – hence the reason why it’s price can shoot up to the roof.

In comparison, normal brands uses cheaper materials and movement, as well as being mass-produced so that their products is more affordable to the normal people.

To this, I’d suggest getting a rough estimate on what is your budget will be for your chronograph. With this budget, you can then focus on certain brands that has watches inside your budget range, thus making it easier for you to make a decision. I’d also want to highlight that you should also have a budget on the maintenance needed to keep your watch in good condition (more on that later).

2) Movement Type

You can choose between automatic or quartz chronographs. Although automatic chronograph is a great device with the highest form of watchmaking, it’s also much more expensive and will be bulky. Not to mention its maintenance will cost a bomb due to the many parts inside it.

In comparison, a quartz chronograph can be very slim thanks to the use of electronics and motors inside it. It’s also much more accurate than an automatic chronograph, at a much lower price point. For an average person, I’d have to say a quartz chronograph is your best bet, because of its technical advantage and the high price tag of what the same automatic chronograph can be.

True enough, you can get a vintage automatic chronograph for an affordable price but how long can you keep maintaining it (which will also cost more money down the road).

Another reason why I prefer quartz chronograph is because you can get a solar powered version, and hence make your life more convenient with the solar recharging feature. With it, you can use your chronographs all day long without having to worry about the battery depleting sooner – a solar chronograph is basically the best watch combo there is!

You should also think of any extra functionality that you would require such as flyback, split-second, foudroyante or regatta. If you’re into motor racing, then the flyback or split-second would be a good choice to accompany you to the track. The regatta is also useful not only to those into yachting but also because of its timer function.

Again, these functions will be very expensive with an automatic chronograph but will only cost a fraction on a quartz chronograph.

3) Maintenance

Maintenance is also another factor that you need to consider when buying a chronograph. Bear in mind that a chronograph is more complicated than a normal watch and there is a higher probability that something will go wrong with a chronograph than a normal watch. In addition, the chronograph will also need to be periodically maintained or serviced later on (more applicable to analog chronographs).

While we cannot control whether a watch will develop some issues down the road, the only thing that we can do is to assess how much it will cost and the efforts associated to maintain or repair the watch. To this, the automatic chronograph will cost much more to service as it has more components inside it. Not to mention you might need to send the watch to a regional service center, or worse, to its headquarters if your watch is exclusive.

Quartz chronographs also need to be maintained but this usually only involves the periodic battery change. Something could also go wrong with a quartz chronograph but the cost of repair is usually not that significant and it might even cheaper to just buy a new one rather than getting it repaired.

4) Style

The last factor in deciding the chronograph for you is the style. There are various styles that you can choose for your chronograph ranging from dressy, sporty, dive and casual. For me, I’d prefer a more sporty chronographs because you can then wear it to outdoor or racing events. Dressy watches looks great and all, but it’s usage is limited and will look out-of-place if used for outdoor activities.

I hope this article about chronographs is beneficial to you. If you have any questions or anything to add, do let me know by commenting below.

Till next time then. Cheers!

Which Wrist Should You Wear Your Watch On?

what-wrist-do-you-wear-watch

I still remember when I got my watch as a kid, I’m not entirely sure how to wear it. I know how to strap it on my wrist but then which wrist should I wear it on? It was only after few years (and some more watches) that I can say how best to wear a watch is.

So what wrist should you wear a watch on? Generally, most people will wear their watch on the left wrist because that’s their non-dominant hand (i.e most people are right-handed). If you’re left-handed, then you can wear your watch on your right hand (your non-dominant hand).

There are a lot of benefits in wearing your watch on your non-dominant hand as it’s basically the best way to achieve greater comfort-ability and operability in your daily lives. The watch industry knows this and this is the reason why watches are traditionally designed to be worn on the left. Of course, there’s nothing wrong if anyone wants to wear their watches on the right.

4 Benefits Of Wearing A Watch On Left (or Non-Dominant) Hand

The reason why most watches are worn on the left hand is because mankind’s most common dominant hand is right hand, so the watch is traditionally worn on the non-dominant hand (i.e left wrist).

But what are the benefits of wearing a watch on your left hand? There are 4 major benefits to wear a watch on your left wrist or non-dominant hand:

1) Easy to tell time without disrupting work.

It’s a fact that we will use our dominant hand the most for complex and stuffs that require precision such as writing, painting, woodwork etc. Our dominant hand is the one that we have most control about and is usually the one we used the most.

Because of this, wearing watch on the non-dominant hand is most beneficial as you can easily tell time without stopping what you’re doing with your right/dominant hand. But if you wear your watch on your dominant hand, you will need to stop whatever you’re doing just to tell time – which is not really effective.

Thus, wearing your watch on your non-dominant hand is the best for those wanting efficiency in their lives. All that’s needed then is a flick on your left wrist and you can still tell time without stopping your work

2) Less weight on dominant hand

Wearing a watch will put on some weight on our hand and this is one of the reason why most people chose to wear it on their non-dominant hand. Your right hand is already occupied with tons of things to do and the last thing that you want is another few hundred grams of weight on it. Although a watch does not weight much but it will definitely affect your wrist movement.

One thing that I wants to highlight is the weight of a watch heavily dependent on what material is used to make it. For example, a watch made from stainless steel can add a substantial weight to your wrist (automatic watches, for instance, is almost always heavier than other types of watches due to this).

This is not the case with plastic based watches (such as most quartz-sports watches, fitness trackers, smartwatches) where it can be very light thanks to lightweight materials used such as plastic, silicon, rubber etc.

3) Easier to do work with dominant hand

For me, I personally feel more liberated if my dominant hand is free of anything i.e watches, bracelet, etc. I’m a right-handed guy and use my right hand by default for almost everything in my life. Because of this, I don’t feel comfortable having anything strapped on my right hand as it will obstruct its movement.

This is particularly the case with doing things such as writing, taking notes, using computer mouse, drawing and other things that require my right hand to be placed near a surface/table. Wearing a watch on my right hand will obstruct its movement so much so my productivity will be reduced. In this case, it’s much better to wear my watch on my left hand instead.

4) Avoid damaging on the watch

what wrist do you wear watchIn addition to the functionality of wearing a watch on the non-dominant hand, this practice can also help to avoid damage on the watch. For example, the dominant hand will usually be used for doing heavy stuffs such as lifting things, chopping wood, repairing machines etc.

Such activities pose more danger of damaging the watch should it is worn on the dominant hand.

Now, I’m not saying that your watch won’t get damaged if you wear it on your non-dominant hand (I’ve personally scratched my watches even though I’m wearing it on my left wrist LOL!) but at least, you will be able to avoid or reduce the risk of it being damaged by doing so.

Another thing to remember is that sometimes a damage to the watch is not just it being crushed to the point it cannot be used. You can always pick up some damages like scratches on the watch surface and crystal mostly from brushing the watch with hard things like steel, concrete or a rock.

While these type of exterior damages are not that severe, it is going to make your watch looks not as beautiful as it originally is, not to mention the heartache associated – for example, I’m always in agony when I look at my $500 Seiko Sumo covered in scratches because I didn’t take good care of it!

Most Watches Are Designed To Be Worn On The Left Wrist

As most people wear their watches on their left hands, this fact was picked up by the watch industry and the design of watches were corresponding to this. For instance, we can find that almost all watches have crowns located on their right side of the watch. Without a doubt, this was designed so that right-handed people (which consists of the majority of people) can operate the crown easily to change its time/day/date.

In addition to this, the pushers are also traditionally put on the right side. As these pushers are used to operate the chronographs or set the watch, it’s important to place it where it will be easily accessible i.e the right side of the watch (at least for most of us right-handed guys!).

We can see even current smartwatch designs seem to follow this concept as most of their interact able physical buttons are on the right side of the watch. Granted, you can use the touchscreen on the smartwatch to operate it but it will not have the same operability as the physical buttons.

While many of these smartwatches use buttons, Apple’s watch use of rotating crown is by far the most right-handed centric as it’s very hard for a left-handed guy to use it. Fortunately, you can set it to be a left-handed device (I just love when they seem to think about everything through). But still, in my opinion, the rotating bezel on the Samsung watch is by far, the easiest way for a left-handed guy to use the watch easily.

Can You Wear Your Watch On The Right Wrist? Definitely!

wear watch on right handSo can you wear your watch on your right wrist? It’s totally okay to wear your watch on your right wrist – it’s your watch after all and you can wear in whatever way you prefer. If the right wrist is better for you, then go on with it.

This is definitely the case with left-handed people as they will not prefer to wear their watches on their dominant hand. In this instance, it’s actually better for them to wear it on their right hand as it will make them easier to do things with their dominant left hands.

But as I’ve mentioned above, most watches are designed to be worn on the left wrist so there’s little choice for those wanting a right-handed watch AND is operatable easily. There are some watch companies that produce left-handed centric watches but it’s too far in between.

If you will only use your watch to tell time and don’t usually need to operate it (i.e a chronograph, etc.), then wearing a typical watch on your right wrist is going to be just fine. But if you wants to use your chronographs often, then it’s better to wear it on your left hand or get a left-handed centric watch should you wants to wear it on your right wrist.

Man vs Woman: Any Difference On Which Hand To Wear The Watch?

While there’s common saying that man and woman should wear their watches on different hands, I don’t find this true. In my observation, I can say that most people (man and woman) wear their watches on their left hands because of the reasons above (non-dominant hand, preference).

There are also some man and woman who wear their watches on their right hand, but these are mostly left-handed people so such a thing is better for them.

But in terms of this gender-specific rule of using a watch, it’s basically a misconception and you should not think too much about it. Just wear the watch on your non-dominant hand and you will be okay (see the 4 benefits of doing so) or you can just follow your preference. Either way, I believe that you should always wear your watch in a way that’s most comfortable and preferable to you.

Hope this article will help you to decide what wrist you should wear your watch on. Although wearing the watch on the non-dominant hand (the left wrist for most of us) is the best, you can always wear it on your dominant hand depending on your preference. After all, you paid for it and you should enjoy your watches as you like it.

Do share your thoughts in this matter by commenting below.

Cheers!

10 Most Common Materials Used To Make A Watch

materials-used-to-make-watch

A watch is a fascinating device that’s have been around for centuries. Throughout this very long time, the materials used to make a watch have changed with the passage of time.

So what are the materials used to make a watch now? There are 10 common materials used in most watches now as listed below:

  1. Plastic
  2. Stainless Steel
  3. Glass
  4. Titanium
  5. Sapphire
  6. Quartz
  7. Gold
  8. Leather
  9. Elastomers
  10. Carbon Fiber

1. Plastic

The first material that is very common in watchmaking is plastic. Well, it’s no surprises there as plastic is one of the most common material for almost everything in our lives spanning almost all industries.

The reason why plastic is ubiquitous is because it’s a synthetic material hence can be produced with at a cheap price. This is advantageous because it will not be wildly affected by the swings in natural resource prices such as wood, steel etc.

In addition, as it’s a man-made material from hydrocarbon, plastic can be formed and configured based on any specific needs simply by adding additives during its manufacturing process. Due to this, the quality of plastics can vary greatly from a weak and flimsy material to a great shock absorbing material.

The use of plastics in watchmaking is vast, though it will depend on the watch category itself. For a cheap low-end watch, plastic is used extensively from its casing, to its movement housing, to its internal components. The advantage of this is the watch will be lightweight and can be made in many colors.

Plastic is also used to make the watch crystal, specifically the acrylic crystal type. The advantage of this type of watch crystal is its lightweight and ability to resist shatter/impact unlike normal glass (mineral crystal).

For more expensive watches, plastic is not used as extensively as it’s usually associated with cheap products. Instead, the material of choice will be a metal with stainless steel the de-facto material, followed by more expensive ones such as titanium and gold (which I’ll touch shortly). This is important because plastic is not a long-lasting material and will lose its luster over the years.

2. Stainless Steel

materials used to make watchThe next material is stainless steel, which I’m pretty sure you must be aware of as it’s one of the popular material around our home. Thanks to its great corrosion resistance, it’s usually used for stuffs that will be normally exposed to water such as cutlery, cooking utensils, knives, door knobs, faucets and others.

For those that don’t know, stainless steel is not a naturally occurring material but is an alloy from combining iron (the element ferum) with carbon, chromium, nickel and other elements.

The result is a strong material but with the added ability to resist corrosion thanks to its chromium content. It’s also known as inox steel, from the French word inoxydable (inoxidizable).

If plastic is mainly used for cheaper watches, stainless steel is the most common material in middle to high range of watches. It’s used for watch case, bracelet, and internal parts in an automatic movement.

As it’s a steel, there is no question about its strength and durability to resist any knocking or impact throughout its lifetime.

Not to mention it will be able to last very long as it will not be corroded, as long as you keep it away from moisture and any acids. This characteristic makes it the best choice for a dive watch as sea water won’t be able to do anything to it.

In addition, its beautiful silver appearance also makes it a popular choice for watch materials to give it a great metallic aesthetic. But be warned, a watch made from steel is going to weigh quite a bit, though some guys do like this extra heft when wearing the watch as they interpret it as a sign of a well-constructed and tough watch (which it is, it’s steel after all!).

My personal advice in selecting a stainless steel watch is to try it out first and see if you’re okay with its weight or not. Its weight will depend on the watch design and dimension (a larger diameter and thicker watch will weigh more) so do try out different watch sizes to find out the best size for you.

3. Glass

Glass is one of the most used material in our daily lives that have been in used for centuries. It was made from melting sand, soda ash and limestone at high temperature, and then forming it into the shape that we intended. As it’s cooled down, the resulting solid becomes glass as we know it.

It’s very popular as household products, even though it’s more fragile and expensive than the synthetic plastic. The reason? It’s not full of chemical and hence, there is lower risk of chemicals seeping through the foods as opposed to plastic. In addition, it looks much better and is the number one choice for high class dining setup.

For watches, glass is mainly used as the watch crystal – or the transparent protective cover on top of the watch. In horology, these types of glasses are called mineral crystal. It’s not an ordinary glass for tableware though as it has been hardened specifically to ensure it can resist any impacts when its being used as a watch.

4. Titanium

The next material used in watchmaking is titanium. It’s one of earth’s metallic elements and is prized due to its high strength to density ratio. Pound per pound, titanium is about 30% stronger than steel. In addition, it also has good corrosion resistant.

Due to this characteristic, titanium is a great material for instances where lightweight is important such as outer space industry and racing cars. In these industries, titanium is preferred over steel as it provided the required strength but with a lighter weight.

Don’t be surprised that titanium is also used for many sporting goods such as rackets, golf clubs, hockey, and bicycle components due to this great characteristics (at a higher price than normal steel parts, of course).

In watchmaking, titanium is mainly used to replace steel to capitalize on its lightweight property. By using titanium, a bulky dive watch will still look great and cool but at a more manageable weight. (such as the case with this Seiko Shogun). But as titanium is more expensive, the watch’s price will also be higher as a result.

Another advantage of titanium is it can be used by those with steel allergies (yes, there are some unfortunate people that have allergies to steel!). With titanium watch, these people will be able to wear a watch like others.

5. Sapphire

Sapphire is something that I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about. It’s one of the gemstones and a rarity, but in watchmaking, sapphire is not exactly what you would think it is.

Sapphire is a hard material, having a score of 9 in mohr hardness scale (with diamond at 10) so it’s very scratch resistance.

Now, although sapphire is a gemstone, mankind have been able to synthesize it, although the process is slow and expensive (but at least we will have an abundant source of the material).

It is these synthetic sapphire that was used in watchmaking. Most of the sapphire is used to make watch crystal to capitalize on its scratch resistance properties. This ensures the watch crystal is scratch free even if it’s been used for years. In comparison, the other watch crystals (glass based mineral crystal and plastic based acrylic crystal) scratches fairly easily even in normal everyday use.

Another advantage of using sapphire for watch crystal is how it’s able to keep its appearance in the long run. It will not fade or become dull over the years, not unlike the other types of watch crystals. Because of this, sapphire is currently the default watch crystal material for Swiss watches, especially the more expensive ones that use automatic movement.

For Japanese watches, sapphire is only used for mid-high range of watches as the cheaper watches usually used the cheaper mineral crystal. In addition to watch crystal, sapphire is also used as jewels in automatic watches.

6. Quartz

The next material used in watches is quartz. Quartz is something that is inscribed on many watches but do you know what it actually is?

Basically, quartz is silicon dioxide and the second most abundant mineral on earth. It’s naturally found among sands and rocks, so much so it’s name was derived from the German word “Quarz”, which means “hard”. Now what does sand have to do with watches?

Quartz, or rather a minuscule grain of it, is used in watches as an oscillator for timekeeping. This is due to its piezoelectric properties – it will vibrate when an electric current pass through it. The vibration from quartz is used to keep time i.e it will be a signal so that the watch will know what is 1 second.

This is the basic premise of the “quartz movement. Right now, most of the watches on the planet uses this type of movement inside it, though only some of them will display the word “Quartz” on it. This is because quartz movement is the cheapest and very accurate type of movement. Generally, if a watch uses a battery, it will be using a quartz movement.

(If you want to know more about how quartz movement works, read my previous post here where I explain in detail about this topic)

7. Gold

Next we have gold, the symbol of riches. Traditionally, gold have been used for expensive watches for centuries – a watch was always a form of jewelry to the upper class back then so its not surprising that gold is used right now in watches.

Gold, or aurum in Latin, is highly prized due to its rarity and shimmer beauty. Its beautiful “golden” shine can captivate people so much so it’s one of the sought after jewelry material.

Scientifically, gold is also special because it can exist in free elemental form as nuggets or grains. It’s also the most nonreactive metal in the world and will remain uncorroded for years.

In addition to being a jewelry item, gold is also used in electronic circuit boards due to its conductivity and high corrosion resistance.

Now, for a watch, gold is often used as the casing, replacing stainless steel. It’s also being used in the internal parts (automatic movement only) whereby a clear case back will be employed so that its golden interior can be seen. Yellow and white gold colors are also often used for watches too (the gold in this case is alloyed with another element such as copper or steel to get the colors).

Without a doubt, a gold watch is one of the pinnacle of exclusivity and sign of richness. For men who don’t really care about jewelry, a gold watch is the best way to display your wealth while loving real stylish at the same time. But one thing to be cautious about is that a gold watch can have a substantial weight as gold has almost double the density of steel. So while it’s really good-looking, its wear ability (at least for long term) might be in question.

8. Leather

The 8th material used for watches is leather, mostly used for the straps. Leather straps are the best type of strap for a watch if you’re looking for a sleek and elegant kind of look. Its very beautiful to look at and greatly complement your tux or jacket. In addition, the comfortable and soft surface of it makes wearing a leather strapped watch a real pleasure.

For those that don’t know, leather is the skin of an animal that was killed mainly for its meat. The skin was then tanned to create the final leather products (clothes, bags, shoes, etc.) as we know it. The practice of using animal skin for leather products was started in the stone ages by our ancestors as it’s one of the easiest ways to get a cloth.

Leather can be divided based on its source, with cow is the main one that you will see on the market. This is not surprising as it’s the cheapest option for a leather/hide. There are other sources such as goat, buffalo, sheep and pig.

There are also the more expensive leathers, so called exotic leathers from snake, alligator and crocodile. These leathers are sought after due to its unique pattern, as compared to the more bland surfaces of cowhide and other cheaper leather sources. Since these exotic leathers are also scarce, its prices are also more expensive.

Although exotic leathers look really great, there is a concern on the ethics of getting one as the snake/alligator/crocodile was killed just to get the leathers. In comparison, the common leather from cow/sheep was from the byproduct of the meat and dairy industry. In other words, getting an exotic leather mean we’re killing the animal just for its skin.

Luckily, there exist a way to get the nice exotic leather pattern on a normal cowhide using a technique called embossing. Embossed cow leather straps are stamped with a pattern almost like exotic leathers for that nice look. It’s a cheaper and not as ethically concerning way to get a great looking leather strap.

Although leather is a good strap material, it’s not a good choice for when you know you will get wet (the moisture will break down the leather faster). Because of this, this next material, elastomers, is a good choice for straps to be used outdoor.

9. Elastomers

Elastomers comprises all kind of polymer with viscous and elastic properties such as rubber, silicon and polyurethane. It’s very popular for sports watch bands and also for casings for watches designed to be used outdoor (think about Casio G-Shocks watches).

It is elastic and will provide great fit and comfortable wear on the wrist, though this will depend on the types of the elastomer used.

For instance, rubber is the most natural form of it and was processed from latex of topical plants such as rubber trees. It’s usually the most expensive and gives the best comfort. Silicone is the cheapest but also less durable. Polyurethane (or PU) is basically a step up from silicone with greater durability.

But although it’s a cheap and comfortable option for a watch strap, elastomers generally don’t last very long and will fail after some time. This is made worse if you’re using your watch for outdoor activities and the strap is exposed to all kind of environment.

Due to this, I will always treat an elastomer band as a consumable and can be replaced if it fails in the future. It’s quite cheap after all and you can even buy these in bulk off online stores too.

10. Carbon Fiber

Last but not least, carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a lightweight man-made material but with a strength greater than steel and even titanium. In fact, pound for pound, it’s about 5 times stronger than steel!. It is made by interweaving minuscule strands of carbon graphite over another, creating a very strong material. You can think of its manufacturing process just like a cloth, but replace the cotton strands with carbon graphite.

Due to its high strength to weight ratio, carbon fiber is widely used wherever there is a need for lightweight, yet strong application. It has been used in industries such as aerospace, motor racing, sports and even musical equipment.

In watchmaking, carbon fiber is generally used for watch casing to replace stainless steel. This causes the watch to be very light and still looks distinct thanks to the carbon fiber pattern on it. The only downside is the hefty price for such a watch….

I hope this article will answer your questions about what materials are used in watches. If you think there are other materials that I’ve missed here, do let me know by commenting below.

Till next time. Cheers!

10 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Quartz Watch

why-buy-a-quartz-watch

Quartz watch is the most common watch type right now in the whole world. If you see someone wearing a watch, there’s a high chance that he/she might be wearing a quartz watch. But then again, should you get one for yourself?

So why should you buy a quartz watch? There are 10 good reasons why you should buy a quartz watch:

  1. It’s very accurate
  2. The most affordable watch type
  3. Easy to use
  4. Low maintenance needs
  5. Lightweight and thin
  6. Can be equipped with various functions
  7. Many movement innovations to choose from
  8. Used inside most fashion watches
  9. Generally more durable than automatic watch
  10. The best grab and go type of watch

1. High Accuracy

One of the main selling points of quartz watch a few decades ago when it was first invented was how accurate it is. Modern quartz watch has an accuracy of +/-10 seconds per month, which is much much more accurate than an automatic watch that can only attain +/-6 seconds per day at most.

The reason for this technical achievement lies with the electronic timekeeping consists of integrated circuit and an oscillating quartz crystal.

These components are not only accurate, but also can be manufactured with a good consistency so that each quartz watch will have almost exact accuracy like the other.

Without a doubt, not everyone do actually need such accuracy. I’ve been using automatic watches and its lower accuracy are not really that big of a deal to me as my watch will only lose or gain a few minutes every 1-2 weeks.

But if you’re someone that needs a perfect timekeeping for your work, then quartz watch is definitely the best option. And if +/-10 seconds per month are not good enough, there are plenty of other quartz watch options such as the Bulova Precisionist that delivers excellent accuracy. There’s also atomic clock synced watch that will reset the time to atomic clock every night – so that you can rest assured your watch is always correct (such as the Citizen Eco-Drive here).

2. Affordability

I don’t think I need to say much about quartz watch’s affordability. Considering as you can get a Timex for $20 off Amazon (some other Chinese brands can be had for even $10), there’s no question about how affordable a quartz watch is.

In comparison, automatic watch usually starts around $100, though you can get one for less than that by sacrificing build quality and material. The affordability of quartz watch is the major factor why many people can wear a watch nowadays. In the past, only the well-to-do can wear a watch (of automatic movement).

So how does quartz watch become so affordable? It’s all thanks to cheap materials and mass production.

If you notice, most of the cheaper watches are all made from plastics, which are very cheap. And this relates back to the use of quartz movement: as it’s a lightweight movement, even plastics can be used as the case for the watch (in comparison an automatic watch needs a steel case to house its heavy movement). The huge amount of plastics used in the watch drives the cost down.

In addition, these watches are often mass-produced using robots with less human intervention. This greatly speed up production and lowers costs. Not to mention they usually produced it in China or some other third-world country where labor cost is much cheaper than in the US.

But of course, you get what you paid for. A $20 Timex would not be something that can last for a lifetime. But it’s definitely a good choice if you’re looking for a cheap, disposable watch that you will change with something else few years later.

3. Easy To Use

Another reason why you should get a quartz watch is how easy it is to use. Quartz watch is basically a very basic watch – just pop in a battery, set the time and you’re good to go.

This makes the watch a much easier one to be use compared to other types of watches that can be quite hard to be used. Automatic watch are not as easy as it involves some knowledge about the watch movement and there are some manual winding and power reserve that need to be considered. But with quartz watch, everything is so simple even kids can use it.

Of course, there are some quartz watches with extra functions that can be quite hard to be used (the G-Shock comes to mind) with its various display indicators, pushers and all.

But in general, the 3-hands analog type of quartz watch is fairly easy to be used and if you’re someone that just wants to know what time it is without all the technicalities, this is the perfect choice for you.

4. Low Maintenance Needs

The next reason why a quartz watch is a good buy is the low maintenance needs. Although some people say that quartz watch don’t need any maintenance, in truth it also needs some maintenance especially if you have a more expensive watch that you want to be able to last your lifetime.

But the service interval of a quartz watch is significantly lesser than an automatic watch. If an automatic watch requires a service every 3 to 5 years (depending on the manufacturer), a quartz watch will need one every 10 years or so.

The reason for this is that there are many moving parts in an automatic watch so much so it will degrade over time through the wear and tear of running the watch.

But for a quartz watch, the number of moving parts is small since it depends on electronic timekeeping and a motor to move the watch. This low number of moving parts also makes the watch easier to be serviced resulting in low service costs.

(read more about servicing a quartz watch in my previous post here)

5. Lightweight And Thin

why buy a quartz watch

Another great characteristics of quartz watch is how lightweight it is. Since the quartz movement only requires minimal parts, it has a much lower weight and thinner profile compared to automatic movement.

What entails is the watch using quartz movement can be made lightweight, especially if the manufacturer opts to use plastics for the case. This causes the watch to be very comfortable to be used and is suitable for all age and gender.

The same cannot be said of automatic watch as it’s usually much heavier and not everyone can wear it. I’m actually bemoaning the trend of bigger sized watches nowadays as it causes automatic watches to be heavier than ever. My Seiko Sumo for instance, has a 44 mm diameter case and a substantial weight. Sure enough, the heft makes wearing it feels real good but I found that it can be fatiguing to be worn for long time.

If you’re in the market for a watch that’s light, comfortable on the wrist and has thin stylish design, your best bet is a quartz watch.

6. Can Be Equipped With Various Functions

Thanks to its electronic circuit, quartz watch is a good choice if you want a watch with more functions in addition to the normal time-keeping.

There’s so many functions that can be added onto a quartz watch such as:

  • Chronograph (or stopwatch)
  • Alarm clock
  • LED back light
  • Timer
  • Other timezones
  • Barometer
  • and many others

Some watch manufacturers even went as far as incorporating calculator, radio, TV even computer into their watches! All of these culminates into the advent of smartwatches that’s popular currently. Frankly, the combination is endless and there’s so many options that you can choose from.

7. Many Movement Innovations To Choose From

One of the great things that quartz watch invention had brought us is the many innovations that stem from it. From it, there are many types of watch movements that was invented by using ideas from quartz watch.

For instance, there are solar and automatic-quartz watches that seek to add a self-generating power unit into the watch, so that the battery don’t need to be changed frequently. With solar watch, there are photo voltaic cells on its dial that will convert light into electricity and stored inside the watch.

With automatic-quartz watch, there is a self-winding rotor mechanism connected to a small dynamo that generates electricity as the watch moves following wrist motions. These are exciting innovations that seeks to improve upon the basic quartz watch.

In addition, there’s also the smartwatch, the very popular type of watch currently thanks to the likes of Apple watch, Samsung Gear and others. Do you know that smartwatch was also born out of the innovations done on quartz watch?

Initially, watchmakers started adding many functions into the watch. These functions are related to time and wrist watch usage such as chronograph, alarm clock, back light, etc.

Thanks to the vast improvement in semi-conductor, there’s more powerful chips being released with the same footprint that was utilized by watchmakers to add more functions into the watch such as calculator, TV and computer.

And with the boom of smartphones, smartwatches (or wearable) were shoved into the spotlight. Although it was initially designed as an extension of smartphones, there are smartwatches that can now be used independently much like a phone. This kind of innovation is only made possible from the invention of quartz watch 50 years ago.

8. Used Inside Most Fashion Watches

Thanks to its affordability and lightweight characteristics, quartz watch is the main type of watch movements to be used by designer houses for their fashion watch line up.

Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss and others are some fashion brands that have ventured into watchmaking. I personally prefer true watchmakers (such as Seiko, Tissot, Hamilton, etc.) as I like to buy into their wealth of histories and quality but these fashion brands do produce some nice designs that looks really good. Well, they are fashion brands after all so no surprises there.

One of the common thing with these fashion watches is it’s most likely using a quartz watch because its cheaper and has small footprint. The fashion watch can then be made into various dimensions based on the designers. With these fashion watches, there’s much more options of quartz watches to choose from in the market.

9. More Durable Than Automatic Watch

The next reason why you should buy a quartz watch is that of its durability. To be precise, I’m talking about the ability of the watch to be used daily and subjected to some impact or shocks due to sports activity for instance.

In a direct comparison, a quartz watch is more durable than automatic watch due to the lower number of parts inside it. Because of this, there’s less chance that something will screw up when the watch is being impacted.

But for an automatic watch, there is a higher probability there will be something wrong with the movement if the impact is high. There’s a lot of small moving parts that’s quite sensitive to sudden shock – so that’s a quartz watch is more suitable for sports.

But one common thing with these 2 watches is the quality of the watch (which also corresponds to its price) will dictate how durable it is. Although a quartz watch is generally durable and robust, don’t expect the same with a cheap $10 watch. The cheap watch will always use lesser quality material and I don’t think it will last as long as a $50 watch.

The same is also true with automatic watch – there are diver watches that can be used to dive up to hundreds of feet below sea level and these are much more durable than a cheap $50 watch. You will get what you paid for.

But for dollar to dollar comparison, there no question that a quartz watch will be able to last longer than the same priced automatic watch. So if durability is at the top of your list, then you should seriously consider quartz watch.

10. The Best Grab And Go Type Of Watch

Although I’m an automatic watch kind of guy, I still feel that no automatic watch can never beat quartz watch in terms of being easy to use – so called the grab and go type of watch.

With my automatics, I always have to check whether it’s moving or not (sign of depleted power reserve) or if the time is correct or not by comparing it with my smartphone. Even though some of my watches have extended power reserve, I still do this just to be sure. This is the habit that I’ve gotten after having my watches die on me only to have me realized it later on.

But with a quartz watch, there’s no need to do such things. As long as the watch is ticking, its time is always as accurate as you’d like it to be (it will only gain or lose 2 minutes every year after all). I can see that if my life is much more hectic than now, I’d wear quartz watches more often instead.

But within the realms of quartz watch, there is also the type of watch that I can say is the best grab & go type of watch and that is the solar watch. As solar watch converts light into electric, it’s basically self-sufficient without the need to change its battery frequently (you only need to change its capacitor every 10-years or so).

Just bask the watch under light and you’re good to go. In fact, modern solar watch can even work with indoor lights as long as it’s bright enough which makes it very easy charge it simply by wearing it and go on doing your normal lives. And since you’re basically recharging it daily, you can use any functions that the watch has (chronograph, back light, etc.) and don’t have to worry about depleting the battery.

With such a great technical and real-life advantages, I’d say that solar quartz watch is the best grab & go type of watch.

Related Questions

Do quartz watches need batteries? Quartz watches need batteries to run; the battery will supply electricity which will be used by the timekeeping mechanism of the watch. (if you want to learn more about how quartz watch works, read my previous post here).

Why are some quartz watches so expensive? Some quartz watches can be expensive due it having better materials used (precious metals such as gold for instance), gems, better craftsmanship and better movement.

Do quartz watches need servicing? Quartz watch also needs servicing to maintain its movement in perfect condition. (read my previous post here about servicing a quartz watch).

Do quartz watches need jewels? In general, quartz watches don’t require jewels as its moving parts is subjected to less stress than an automatic watch. But there are some quartz watches that utilize jewels in its movement and these watches are often of higher quality.

I hope this article about why buy a quartz watch is beneficial to you. Do let me know if there’re any questions or you have anything to add by commenting below.

Cheers!

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!

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.

Playing Golf Wearing An Automatic Watch? Read This On Why You Should NOT Do It

can you play golf wearing automatic watch

If you’re an automatic watch fan, you might have been inclined to wear it anywhere, even to play golf. As someone who owns automatic watches and plays some golf, its something that I’ve done before.

So can you play golf with an automatic watch? You should not wear an automatic watch to play golf because this can cause damage to the automatic movement inside it. In addition to that, wearing a heavy automatic watch is being known to throw off your swing.

In this article, I’m going to share with you what could go wrong with it based on my experiences with my watches. Also, although in general automatic watches are not recommended for sports activities, there are exceptions to this list which you’ll soon find out. Finally, if you really can’t play a game of golf without wearing a watch, I’ve listed some of the best types of watches for golfing that you can wear instead of the typical automatic watches.

Playing Golf (Or Any Other Sports) Could Wreck Havoc On Your Automatic Watch And Its Case

In general, automatic watches are not that robust. It’s made of very delicate mechanical moving parts that can be damaged by sudden and quick movement such as golf swings and other sport.

Most of the components in an automatic watch rotates, which means these components/gears need to be pivoted inside the watch.

Currently, most watchmakers use jewels (originally made out of gemstone but now is usually synthetic minerals) as the pivot as it has very little friction which helps to lengthen the watch’s life and increase accuracy.

So if your automatic watch were to be impacted suddenly, the impact force could cause damage to these jewels as they are the ones that hold the gears in place.

One of the main components that keep time in automatic watch is the balance wheel. This wheel is constantly rotating at a high speed and is the main item that ensures the accuracy of the watch is in check.

Due to this, its jewel is quite big and usually has a shock impact protection mechanism (such as incabloc) to prevent from sudden failure during impact.

Now, there are some watches that were designed with impact resistance in mind. Most diving and sport oriented automatic watches have more robust impact protection design that helps to lessen the damage to a minimum.

This is why I love dive watches – its a bit more expensive but its robust and won’t break just from a few swings of the golf club.

I have a Seiko Sumo & Seiko SKX013 (dive automatic watches) and both have accompanied me to various sport activities such as swimming, jogging, weight training and so on. Heck, even Tiger Woods wear his Rolex Sub to the PGAs.

But I want to highlight that even if these diving watches will be fine for golfing, it does not mean that it will work perfectly afterwards.

In the case of my Seiko Sumo, I found that its accuracy had worsened after using it for 3-4 years of lots of sport activities (read my experience with my Sumo in this article here). So yes, you can wear your diving automatic watches for golf or other sport, but beware that it will have an impact on its accuracy.

Another issue that I want to highlight is the effect to the exterior of the watch. Most automatic watch have beautifully polished stainless steel case & bracelet, and in my experience, this case can be scratched quite easily unless your watch has special coating on it.

You might think that golfing won’t really expose your watch to that danger but when you’re dealing with golf clubs made of steel, how sure can you be that you won’t accidentally scratch your watch? (plus, I’m sure Tiger Woods can easily replaced his Rolexes if its found to be scratched LOL!)

Automatic Watch Is Also Heavy And Can Disrupt Your Golf Swing

If you speak to many amateurs, they will admit that wearing a watch will disrupt your golf swings. The reason for this is because the watch adds some weight which will throw you off your usual swing pattern.

Not to mention that some people wear their watch a bit loose so when they swing, the movement of the watch along their wrist will tend to disrupt their concentration.

That is for a normal watch. An automatic watch is typically heavier than a normal watch due to the many moving mechanical parts inside it which means the effect will be more pronounced.

With that being said, I should also highlight that many pro golfers wear watches while golfing. Now, you might be thinking that if Phil Mickelson wears a watch and plays fantastically, then you should be able to do so right?

The fact is these pro golfers are training every day so much so they have perfected their swing with the weight of the watch strapped on their wrist. They have and will be able to account for the extra weight, and still manage to give a perfect swing.

If you’re just playing for a few hours a week, chances are you won’t be able to replicate the same thing and golfing without wearing your automatic watch will definitely give a more satisfying experience.

What Other Watches Can You Wear To Play Golf?

But if you really need a watch while golfing to keep track of time, then other types of watches can be considered. Below, I’ve listed two of the best types of watches that you can wear to play golf:

1) Diving or Sports Automatic Watch

If you really can’t live without wearing your automatic watch, then I suggest wearing a dive watch for your golf game. Dive watches are made with a higher performance standard than normal automatic watch (such as water resistance, impact resistance, etc.). If its good enough for diving to hundreds of feet below water, then its good enough for a game of golf.

One problem with dive automatic watch is its heavy weight (because its case needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the water pressure) so it will definitely impact your swing. I recommend going for lightweight titanium versions of the watch which is much lighter to be worn.

2) Lightweight Quartz Watch

The other watch that comes to mind is the quartz watch with lightweight case and strap. Quartz watch is different than automatic watch as it uses electronics and quartz crystal to keep time.

As a result, it has way lesser moving parts and is quite robust to sudden movements. In addition, quartz watch is also generally lighter and coupled in a lightweight case made from platic, it can be very light and perfect for golfing.

Another advantage is quartz watch is cheaper than an automatic, so you won’t feel very regretful if you somehow accidentally nicked a bit of the watch!

3) Smartwatch With GPS or Fitness Tracker

The next type of watch is the smartwatch that have become more popular nowadays. Since you’ll be walking a lot, I recommend getting one with fitness tracker or GPS so that you can track the steps or distances that you’ve walked during a game. Some of the more popular ones are Apple watch, Huawei GT watch and Samsung S gear watch.

Smartwatch is actually a great companion for golfing as you can also sync it with your smartphone so that you can be kept updated all the time, even when you don’t have your phone with you.

Just remember to select the sporty variant so that you can get the sport functionality as well as other useful features such as extra battery life and water resistance.

Related Questions

What watch does Phil Mickelson wear? One of the most celebrated golfers of all time, Phil Mickelson is widely known to be Rolex brand ambassador. On the field, he likes to wear Rolex Cellini Danaos, a dress watch.

Supposedly, the lightweight nature of the watch thanks to its manual winding characteristic makes it a comfortable watch for him to be worn while golfing

What watch does Bubba Watson wear? The 40-year old professional golfer is another story altogether. Bubba Watson is known to be a Richard Mille ambassador, and the luxury watch brand even designed a watch specially for him – the RM 38-01 that has manual winding, tourbillon and a g-sensor to detect how heavy his swings are. And just like Phil’s, his watch is a light one as its made of titanium.

So what can you learn from these top golfers? If you want to wear a watch while golfing, make sure it’s not too heavy and comfortable to be used =)

What Is A Moon Phase Watch? Read This Guide Before You Buy It

What Is A Moon Phase Watch

For automatic watch fans, you will surely been exposed to some special watches such as moon phase watch. It looks beautiful but what does it actually do? I tried to find out and here it is.

So what is a moon phase watch? A moon phase watch is a watch that can show the current moon phase at that day (such as the new moon, crescent moon, full moon, etc. More about this later on).

So do you really need a moon phase watch then?

moon phase breguet

For a large majority of people, the answer is no. It’s not a relevant piece of information needed in this current age.

We’ve already moved past the moon/lunar calendar for centuries now, and currently, almost everywhere is using Gregorian Calendar based on earth’s revolution around the sun.

But for watch enthusiast that love everything about watches, a moon phase watch can be a very interesting item.

And don’t get me started on how cool the moon phase watch looks like. Putting it on a dress watch will bring it to another different level of classic style that’s just very attractive (at least to me LOL!).

So if you’re interested in moon phase watch, then this article is for you.

In this article, I’m going to share about what is a moon phase watch, some introduction about moon phase, moon phase watch characteristics, its mechanism, pros and cons and whether you should buy one of these or not.

Let’s start now then shall we!

crescent moon


You can also watch the video above for a summary of this article

 

An Introduction To Different Moon Phases

moon phases gif

Before we go to the watch itself, I think it’s worth it to explain about the different phases of the moon (or more accurately the moon that we see from earth as the moon itself don’t change in shape).

I think everyone knows that the earth moves around the sun while rotating about its own axis. This phenomenon are what causes yearly seasons and day & night respectively.

But do you know that the moon (a celestial object in outer space – or just a rock floating in space) also moves around the earth at the same time?

Since the moon is much smaller than the earth (about 25% smaller in volume and 81 times lighter in mass), it will be attracted to the gravitational pull of the earth and hence, why it moves around it.

The movement of the moon around the earth takes about 29.53 days (earth time days) and is the reason why the moon that we see at night changes in its appearance.

The reason why we see different moon phases is because of its place around the earth. Remember, we can only see the moon if the sun shines on it.

So if the moon is in front of the earth (moon located between earth and sun), we will not be able to see it! This phenomenon is called new moon.

Likewise, if the moon is behind the earth (earth located between moon and sun), we will be able to see the moon since the sun illuminates it completely and this is called the full moon.

Please have a look at the chart below for the various moon phases:

moon phases chart

 

Watch this excellent video to better understand how moon phase happens:

 

Another chart showing the day to day shape of the moon phase:

Moon phases daily

 

Without a doubt, moon phase is a very beautiful phenomenon. And since it can be easily observed, moon phase had been widely used as the basis for calendars in many ancient civilizations and even for religious reasons (Islam, Chinese, Korea, Hindu are some of the religions that use calendar based on moon phase).

 

What Is A Moon Phase Watch?

With that out of the way, let’s get back to the moon phase watch.

So what is a moon phase watch all about? It’s simply is a watch with an added function to show the current moon phase on that day.

Almost all moon phase watches have a dedicated subdial to show the moon phase (except for electronic watches). The moon phase is usually depicted by a yellow/gold circle on this subdial.

There’s also a “bosom” or two semi circular cut out on the dial at the left and right of the subdial. The yellow circle is painted on a black/blue disc and will rotate at a slow speed to reflect the moon phase movement.

Thanks to the “bosom” cut out, the moon phase was shown by hiding some part of the yellow circle depending on its position. At full moon, the yellow circle is located front center and can be seen in its entirety.

Watch this video below to see a simulation of the moon phase watch:

 

How Does Moon Phase Watch Works?

moon phase watch

It largely depends on the mechanism of the watch. If it’s quartz or electronic based, then the internal workings are programmed on the watch and things are much easier (as the lunar calendar can be accurately calculated).

For automatic mechanism, things are a bit messier. The moon phase watch works by a set of gears to slowly shift the moon phase daily.

The challenge is in how to keep it accurate. As mentioned above, a full lunar cycle is about 29.53 days, which is not a round number.

This poses a problem on keeping the moon phase watch accurate as the gears will need to be large enough to iron out the time difference.

A typical 59-tooth gear will be able to keep the moon phase accurate to 2.5 years. Of course, there also exist higher end watches with more accuracy up to decades and even centuries (or even once every 2 million years, as the case with the Lune Exacte.

Although it might not seem like much, but a higher accuracy of moon phase is more attractive as it shows the expertise and engineering feat of the watch maker.

It also has a more practical reason in the form of not requiring to set it, which is a bit more tedious that you’d think.

 

Setting A Moon Phase Watch Is Not As Easy As You’d Think

Again, it largely depends on the mechanism of the watch. For a quartz or electronic watch, setting the moon phase is easy as everything was programmed into the watch from factory.

But for automatic watch, setting a moon phase can range from medium to hard, ranging from watchmaker to watchmaker. A few things to keep in mind if you’re interested in a moon phase watch are:

  1. Some watches have a quick set in the form of pusher to advance the moon phase by one day. But some watches don’t have that so you will have to advance the time to advance the moon phase. Yeah, that’s going to take some time..
  2. You will need to know when is the full moon or new moon dates to be able to set the moon phase.
  3. Most likely than not, the current day when you’re setting the watch might have a non-full moon or non-new moon. With the in-between phases, the moon phase is harder to set because you just don’t know at what stage it is from the indicator.
  4. You will have to set the watch to full moon or new moon phase, and then advance the time and moon phase to the current day.

So yeah, adjusting and setting the moon phase is definitely tricky on an automatic watch. Still think it’s worth it?

 

Should You Get A Moon Phase Watch?

We’re getting to the big question now: should you get a moon phase watch?

It largely depends on you. As I’ve mentioned earlier, moon phase is not a relevant information in the current age, for most people, at least.

I do note that it’s being used for some other religious calendars, and you might want to get the watch for that info.

But still, almost 99% of the people that I’ve met don’t find moon phase to be a very important piece of information to them.

If you’re an automatic watch enthusiast and watch collector, then the moon phase will be of value to you.

It’s different and more sophisticated than a normal automatic watch. Plus, the moon phase indicator & subdial are usually gorgeously done, lending a very classic & stylish look to any dress watch.

I collect watches and enjoy having different watches in my watch box. To me, having a varied watch is one of the goal – I mean why would I want to collect the same dress/dive watches right?

And yet you still need to remember that automatic moon phase watch is a pain in the ass to be set, more so the perpetual calendar types.

So do remember that if you want your moon phase watch to be fully functional all year round, then you either need to wear it every day or put it on a watch winder.

Keeping it constantly moving is important so that it won’t drop dead and you don’t have to fidget around for minutes just to set it.

But if you’re just in it for collection and don’t care about the moon phase, then buying it and keeping it like normal watch is acceptable too.

And as always, a quartz or electronic watch is more suited to such complications. So if you need the moon phase information (for whatever reason), a quartz watch is a good option (another advantage of the quartz watch there).

It’s reliable, accurate and a much cheaper moon phase watch rather than automatic.

Below is the summary on should you buy moon phase watch or not:

  1. Do you need moon phase information? If yes, then it’s for you. Do remember that quartz watch is easier to use and set compared to automatic moon phase watch.
  2. Are you a watch enthusiast and loves collecting different watch including moon phase? If yes, then it’s for you.
  3. For those with automatic moon phase watch: do you need it to keep the correct moon phase all the time? If yes, then you need to wear it every day or put it on a watch winder.

 

Some Moon Phase Watches Out There:

While it was previously exclusive for higher end watchmakers, the moon phase watch is also being produced by lower end brands right now.

This makes it more affordable to own as compared to the thousands of dollars that brands like Patek, Jaeger LeCoultre and A Lange & Sohne will charge for their moon phase watches.

Here, I’d like to introduce to you some of the moon phases watches out there:

1- Casio AQW101-1AV (Quartz/Electronic): A cheap analog + digital watch that has myriad of functions including the moon phase indicator.

It has an utilitarian look and well suited for those that want a tool watch with many functions. Being a quartz and electronic watch also means its one of the cheapest moon phase watch around.

To be honest, it’s not my cup of tea but I feel that I need to put it in this list to let you guys know that moon phase watch don’t need to be expensive. In fact, it can be quite cheap just like this Casio.

 

2. Graf Zeppelin Moon Phase 7036-3 (Quartz): Not a fan of tool watches? Then let’s move on to classic analog watches with traditional moon phase indicator.

Graf Zeppelin is from Germany and their 7036-3 Moon phase watch also comes with dedicated subdials for day and date.

These guys really know how to make a beautiful watch as it looks pleasing even with the busy dial.

 

3. Frederique Constant FC270SW4P6 Moon Phase (Quartz): I always like Frederique Constant for its classic analog watches and this FC270SW4P6 does not disappoint.

It also has dedicated subdials for day & date and comes in white simplistic design.

 

4. Orient Star Open Heart Moon Phase RE-AM0002L (Automatic): Orient Star is the Japanese brand’s upper tier brand with better movement and craftsmanship.

This Moon Phase RE-AM0002L exemplifies that in its automatic moon phase movement (which is, by the way, one of the cheapest automatic moon phase that you can buy) on a cool dark blue dial.

True to Orient, they have equipped a power reserve indicator on this watch too, one of the most important feature on an automatic watch IMHO.

 

5. Raymond Weil 2839-STC-00659 Maestro Moon Phase (Automatic): Next up we have the Maestro Moon Phase watch from Raymond Weil. It’s also an automatic watch with a nice classic design.

Like the Orient Star, this watch also has a date indicator too.

 

6. Longines Master Collection L2.773.4.78.3 Moon Phase Chronograph (Automatic): Stepping up a notch is the Longines Moon Phase Chronograph watch.

Well, making a chronograph is already complicated, now imagine adding a moon phase feature too.

The watch is definitely a piece of art, with the classic styling of the dial with blued hands and big numeral markers reminiscent of a pocket watch.

In addition, there’s a calendar feature showing date, day and month. Now that’s very functional.

 

7. Omega Men’s 3576.50 Speedmaster Moon Phase Chronograph (Automatic): Rounding up this list is Omega’s popular watch, the Speedmaster Chronograph with Moon Phase.

If you love the Speedmaster, then this moon phase version is surely going to be something special.

After all, the Speedmaster was the watch worn by the astronauts that went to the moon a few decades back so to have the moon phase indicator is very appropriate for a watch with a rich history like this.

 

Conclusion

A moon phase watch is definitely not something that everyone needs. The moon phase information is not really needed now and in my opinion, a day and date display is much more useful.

But then, moon phase watch does have interesting characteristic in it. Especially for an automatic moon phase watch, the movement is more complex and thus very appealing to watch enthusiasts.

Not to mention most watchmakers usually make the moon phase indicator with beautiful styling. It’s definitely a step up from normal 3-hands watches.

If you do intend to get one, do remember that handling a moon phase watch is a bit difficult compared to normal watch as the setting can take a while to do.

With all that being said, a moon phase watch is an exquisite invention that is very cool to look at =)

 

I hope this article have explained to you about what is moon phase watch all about. Do let me know if you have any questions or comments.

I’d love to hear from you =)

Cheers!

Automatic Vs Quartz Movement – Which Watch Is The Right One For You?

Automatic Vs Quartz Movement

One of the most asked questions is about watch movements, specifically about automatic vs quartz movement.

Most people new to horology (or things about watches) usually were asking this question as they were selecting their first watch.

While to most people, a watch is just a watch, this is not necessarily true. There’s a lot of going on inside the small timekeeping device that we use and in most cases, a watch is not equal to another watch based on it’s design and function.

In fact, there’s about 20 types of watches out there! But for this article, I’m going to focus solely on the automatic vs quartz movement.

1.wearing watch

 

Which One Is Better? Automatic Or Quartz Movement?

I’d like to steer clear from stating which one is the better watch as I believe this varies from person to person. I’m owning both types of watches and I can say both have its strong and weak points.

While most people know that automatic watch is more expensive (hence can be perceived to be more exclusive) than quartz watches, there’s a lot more going on behind it rather than just the price.

As you’ll soon learn, a more expensive automatic watch is not necessarily the best for everyone as it will depends on your circumstances and intended use of the watch.

For example, if you’re a sporty guy and wears your watch to all of your outdoor activities, I highly recommend one of the sporty quartz watches (e.g Casio G-Shocks, etc) as it’s more durable than an automatic watch.

But if you’re not so active and would like to wear a watch for a formal event, then an automatic watch would serve you well.

Because of this, I’m going to list down the advantages and disadvantages of both automatic and quartz watch movements below so that you’ll have a better understanding and can choose the correct watch for you.

 

Automatic Vs Quartz Movement Comparison At A Glance:

Advantages Of Automatic Watches

 

Disadvantages Of Automatic Watches

 

Advantages Of Quartz Watches

 

Disadvantages Of Quartz Watches

 

Advantages Of Automatic Watches

2.Longines Automatic Watch

1- Unique Characteristics of Automatic Movement

The first thing that most people will realize about automatic watch is how it’s unique and not your normal watch.

Growing up, a clock or watch is something that I’ve usually seen around me. There were many clocks hanged on the wall around my house, and almost every adult near me wear a watch.

All of these clocks and watches have one thing in common: they run using batteries and as I soon learned, there was a quartz mechanism inside them that keep track of time.

I can say that this had shaped my perception of what a watch is – a typical electronic driven apparatus, just like everything around me.

It was not until I’ve grown into an adult that I was exposed to the world of automatic watches.

The more I learned about it, the more I’m fascinated about how tiny mechanical parts can actually move and keep time on its own, all without the need to use batteries.

For someone that was raised in the advent of electronic items, automatic watch is something that I’m very astonished and am very fond of.

I like how it’s different than the other electronic apparatus around us.

Not to mention my passion for anything mechanical does make it look more attractive to me.

For a start, just think about what’s lying in our home or office. Almost all of the useful gadgets that we use utilize some form of electronics such as TV, laptops, phones, cars, etc.

Which is why automatic watch is a very unique item in which it does something useful (tell time) without the need of any electronics inside it.

And such a novel property (it’s strange how times have changed. Prior to the 80s, the quartz watch WAS the novel item) just seem more attractive and pleasing to be used rather than the typical quartz watch nowadays.

2- Does Not Need A Battery To Function

3.manual movement

The next advantage of automatic watch is it does not need a battery to function.

Due to its mechanical nature free from electronics, automatic watch works by utilizing the movement of small parts in it to keep track of time.

And the source of the movement comes from the mainspring inside it.

This mainspring stores potential energy and is gradually releasing it, thus moving the gears it’s connected to get the watch running.

Initially, mechanical watch needs to be manually wound, that is tightening the mainspring need to be done manually (kinda like spring loaded car toys) to keep it tightened and full of potential energy.

Then, the watch evolved by an addition of weighted rotor on its back that will move around whenever the owner’s wrist is moving.

The rotor is connected to the mainspring and any movement of the rotor will tightened the mainspring.

The ability to “automatically” tightened the mainspring is the reason why automatic watch is called “automatic”.

So if you don’t prefer surprises when your watch drop dead suddenly due to dead battery, then the automatic watch can be a good option for you.

3- Sweeping Second Hand


Above video: Comparison of second hands for quartz and automatic watches

Another thing that makes automatic watch unique is its sweeping second hand which is courtesy of its fast-beating mechanical timekeeping mechanism.

Unlike a quartz movement that mostly “tick” at every second, all automatic watch has this fluid and beautiful sweep to its second hand – which is very beautiful to look at.

One thing that I want to note here is that not all automatic watches are the same. Some of the cheapest/entry-level automatic watches only has 6 beats per second movement, which means its second hand actually is moving as fast as 6 times per second and thus creating the sweeping action.

Most Swiss watches, however, has an 8 beats per second movement which while seems faster on figure but it does not have any appreciable aesthetic advantage to a human eye.

But there’s also the hi-beat movements (with 16 beats per second and higher) that gives a very fluid sweeping second hand action but these watches come at much higher prices. True enough, you get what you paid for, especially in the world of watches =)


Above video: A good comparison between watches with different second hand beat rate

Disadvantages Of Automatic Watches

1- More Expensive Than Quartz Watch

I bet you’ve seen this one coming. Automatic watch is notoriously more expensive than quartz watch and this can be attributed to the higher part count in it compared to the relatively easy to construct quartz movement.

Not only that, most automatic watch uses stainless steel for most of the mechanical parts including its casing, though Swatch Sistem51 is one of the major brands that released an automatic in plastic casing.

In comparison, the cheapest quartz watch can be made almost entirely by cheap plastic and mass production, making it inexpensive to make.

But still, there’s a lot of choices for inexpensive automatic watches out there (see my list of the great automatic watches under $200) that you can choose from.

For anyone new to automatic watch, I strongly recommend to test the waters first with these inexpensive automatics before you commit your hard earned money with more expensive ones.

2- Low Power Reserve

While automatic watch doesn’t need battery to function, the power reserve capacity in its mainspring is still limited – 36 hours to 50 hours kind of limited.

And frankly, this is one of the biggest drawbacks with automatic watch that many people are not aware of.

The troublesome is not in the low power reserve itself, it’s actually in the need to reset the time, day and date every time you pick the watch up to be used after it drops dead.

While it’s a very cool item that runs on mechanical parts, the lack of power reserve can make it a bit annoying especially if you’re someone who have many watches and plan to wear a different one every day.

4.Tissot PRC 200 Powermatic 80There do, however, some watchmakers that produced movements that can last longer such as the Powermatic 80 from ETA (such as the Tissot PRC200 here) that can lasts up to 80 hours with full power reserve.

But what if your automatic watch only has the typical 38-50 hours power reserve?

My advice is don’t change your watch every day and instead wears it for a few days before changing to another one.

That way, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time spent on resetting the watch from everyday to once every few days.

Trust me, this is one of my best practices that really changed my life for the better when dealing with many watches =)

3- Much Lower Accuracy

Automatic watch has much lower accuracy compared to quartz watch – there I’ve said it. 10 to 25 seconds gain or loss time per day is the norm for automatic watch. In comparison, quartz watch only gain or lose that much time in a month!

While on paper the difference is very big, there’s NOT much issue in terms of practical day-to-day use.

Speaking from my personal experience, most automatic watches will deviate maximum a few minutes in a week in which you’ll only have to adjust the time on weekly basis – which to me is not that big of a deal.

But if you’re really stricken for accuracy, there’s also the Chronometer, a type of automatic watch that’s designed, tested and certified to only deviate maximum 6 seconds per day.

Considered as the best in terms of accuracy, the Chronometer is usually sold at higher prices compared to normal automatic watches due to the higher quality materials used and the additional cost to get it tested and certified.

4- Typically Bigger and Heavier

5.Tissot Couturier Automatic ChronographWhat do you get when the inside of the watch contains actual metal? A heavy piece of steel. And that’s the case with automatic watch.

Compared to quartz watch, the inside of automatic watch is more complicated and full of mechanical parts which are mostly made of metal.

Not only that, some automatic watches with functions like chronographs (or stop watch) will need to be bigger to fit in all the extra parts in the movement.

For example, a chronograph watch (such as the Victorinox Infantry Vintage ) with ETA Valjoux 7750 movement has a huge 15 mm thickness!

You can surely imagine how big and heavy the watch will be! In comparison, as quartz watch uses electronics, it’s more compact in size resulting in a smaller and lighter watch.

5- Need To Be Serviced Once Every Few Years

6.watch service repair

Another thing that many people don’t really know is that automatic watch needs to be serviced once every few years.

While it does not need a battery, the components and oils inside it still need to be maintained, just like any other mechanical items such as cars.

In terms of the maintenance interval, it really depends on the manufacturer standard and will vary from one brand to the other.

I personally use 5 years interval for my watches as I’m rotating them after a few days. If you’re using the same automatic watch every day, then the wear and tear will be greater and you might want to increase your maintenance interval in this case.

Where to get it serviced? You can either service it at the authorized service center of the brand (costlier and longer time) or get it done at your local watchmaker that you trust (cheaper and faster).

 

Advantages Of Quartz Watches

7.Movado Museum

1- It Just Works!

Coming into quartz watch, the first and finest quality of it is it just works. After more than 40 years in production, quartz watch right now is in a mature stage.

I mean, you could get a very cheap $1 quartz watch from Alibaba or anywhere, popped in a battery and it will just work! (though the durability and longevity of such cheap watch is in question).

With automatic movement, there’s still a chance that something will be a problem – you could accidentally magnetize it, or dropped it too hard until its internal parts are messed up etc.

Not to say that quartz watch doesn’t have such problems but it will take a lot more to mess up a quartz watch compared to an automatic.

2- Much Cheaper To Buy

Another great advantage of quartz watch is it’s very affordable. You can get a very cheap China-Made watch for just a few bucks.

Heck, almost all the watches and clocks that we see around us are quartz-based watches.

While the automatic watch is more labor and parts intensive, quartz watch has been mass produced for years right now.

Parts and labour are very cheap per unit of quartz watch making it very affordable for everyone.

3- Very Accurate

8.How Does Quartz Watch Work diagram
In terms of accuracy, quartz watch tramples over the automatic watch with its highly accurate movement.

Quartz watch will only gain or lose a few seconds in a month – a very respectable figure and much better than automatic movement. With this kind of accuracy, chances are you only need to adjust its time whenever you’re changing the battery.

How can it achieve such feat? Thanks to the quartz mineral that vibrates at 32768 Hz (or 32768 times in a second). An electronic chip inside the watch then uses this vibration signal to determine 1 second.

This is one of the reason why quartz watch is so accurate – that is even if the quartz mineral is off by a few vibrations per second, it’s still not that significant to make the timekeeping inaccurate.

Another factor is the precision in mass manufacturing of the quartz and electronic chips. The advancement in industrial technology make it possible to churn out the exact same quartzs and chips, just like what the watchmaker designed it originally.

The high accuracy of quartz watch is one of the main selling points of quartz watch when it was invented in the 70s that almost swept all automatic watch brands out of business.

In that time, the inaccuracies and vast inconsistency between each automatic watches make syncing time between people hard to be done.

Just imagine how the society back then had to function when almost all of them had watches/clocks that showed different time.

Nowadays it’s expected that everyone complies to any scheduled time – all thanks to the advancement in watches that we’ve had right now.

4- Slim And Light

While automatic watch need to be bulky to house its numerous parts (especially the automatic rotor that take almost a few milimeters, quartz watch can be made in a very thin and small footprint, often found on women’s watch.

I mean, these kind of small watches are impossible to be made with the current automatic watch technology.

While the higher end watches can have somewhat smaller casing, entry-level automatic watches are still quite bulky.

So if you’re after a sleek and thin watch, quartz movement is the one for you.

10.movado ultra thin

5- Can Have Multiple Functions

One of the things that make quartz watch a very good tool to own is it can have multiple functions inside it.

For example, chronographs, second time-zone, GMT, and alarm are the functions that you can get on a still affordable quartz watch.

Thinking to get the same functions on an automatic?

It can be downright impossible as such automatic watch will cost millions to own – and you can’t even use it everyday!

Seriously, this is one of the main reasons why I will never say that any watch (automatic or quartz, or solar etc.) is THE best watch to own.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has different needs based on his/her circumstances and preferences.

So if your work or hobby revolves around having a watch that can do a lot of things (stopwatch, alarm, checking another time-zone, etc.) than just showing time, then a multi-functional quartz watch is the best for you.

But if you don’t really care about these functions (because you already have your mobile phone, for example), then automatic watch might still be a great choice.

In the end, the choice of what watch to use should be based on your needs as well as personal preference.

 

Disadvantages Of Quartz Watches

1- Need Battery To Operate

Ever had your watch died on you because of dead battery? I have. And yes it’s not a really pleasant feeling.

Imagine that you’re very busy to prepare for the day and suddenly you notice that your watch is showing the wrong time.

Upon closer inspection, you found out that it’s not ticking and you’ve suffered another case of dead battery.

While quartz watch is good and all, it’s still an electronic item and runs on electric energy which is supplied by a small battery cell inside it.

While it does not cost too much to change the battery, the trouble of having your quartz watch suddenly die on you is no joke either.

Fortunately, some watches have a built-in function to show low-battery life through a 2-second skipping second hand.

What will happen when the battery is low is the usually 1-second ticking of the hand will be changed to 2-seconds ticking.

This is an indication to its owner that the battery is low and you ought to get it changed as soon as possible.

In addition, most quartz watches with digital display do have battery level indicator which really makes it much easier.

Don’t even want to change your battery? You can also opt for a solar watch (recharged by exposure to light) and kinetic watch (recharged by wrist movement).

Both are some of the advancement in the vanilla quartz watch currently available in the market right now.

2- Generally Considered Less Exclusive And Less Aesthetically Pleasing Than Automatic Watch

From a purely technical point of view, quartz watch triumphs over automatic watch. It’s cheaper, more accurate, lighter and can have multiple functions.

But if we’re looking from an aesthetic lens, things are not really that straight forward, and often, automatic watch is generally considered to be more pleasing than a quartz.

I love checking out watches either in shops or online, and usually the best looking watches will have automatic movement in it.

Quartz watches are more widely used with very small watches and also utility/sporty type of watches which uses its superior compact and multi-functional characteristics.

But when it comes to beautiful dressy watches, most of the watch that I’ve seen (at least for men’s watches) have automatic movement in it.

I can only theorize that since automatic watch was threaten by the rapid rise of quartz watch, automatic watchmakers need to differentiate their product and brought it to a higher-class segment to stay afloat.

The way they did this is by designing their watches to be beautiful timepieces, something that can entice people to pay more and overlook its technical disadvantages.


Watch this video to know the summary of this post 

 

Conclusion: So Which One Should You Pick? Automatic Or Quartz Movement?

I hope this short summary of automatic vs quartz movement will be beneficial and open your eyes on the advantages and disadvantages of both types of movements.

From this, you can make a comparison on what you need and want, rather than just following blindly what other people say or recommend.

One thing to keep in mind is there is no one watch that fits all (though I think a bracelet stainless steel watch is very close to that..).

Which is why it’s generally acceptable to own few watches so that you’ll have the perfect watch for the situation.

And if you’re in a tight spot and can’t decide on which watch to buy, drop me a comment and I’ll help you out =)

Thanks for reading and Cheers!

Isaac.