10 Most Common Materials Used To Make A 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!

Top 20 Features And Benefits Of Smartwatch in 2019


Smartwatch has been gaining popularity within these past few years. With surging sales and all, more and more people are getting one and using it daily even though they already have a smartphone.

But then, what are the benefits of using a smartwatch? These are the 20 best features and benefits of a smartwatch:

  1. Show time
  2. Notifications for messages and emails
  3. Picking up calls using the watch
  4. Control music playback on phone
  5. Has water resistance rating
  6. As a fitness tracker
  7. Health monitoring
  8. Sleep tracking
  9. Always connected to your virtual assistant
  10. Check your daily calendar and appointments
  11. Payment via NFC
  12. Voice dictation to send messages
  13. Can be used as a torchlight
  14. Remote shutter for your phone’s camera
  15. Control your smart home devices
  16. Handy to find your misplaced phone
  17. Alarm clock
  18. Can be used for navigation
  19. Can customize dial or skins
  20. A very cool high-tech device

1. Show Time

The first and foremost feature is of course, to tell time – in a very cool way. As smartwatch is basically a small smartphone, there are tons of customization that you can do (more on that later) which makes the smartwatch a very different device than any other types of normal watches out there.

It’s basically a digital watch but the use of LED panels make the watch pop up and looks great with various colors and icons (no boring 7-segment number blocks here!). And yes, it can do all the things that normal watches can, plus lots more features thanks to the advance processor and connectivity to our phones.

2. Notifications for messages and emails

The major selling point for smartwatches is its connectivity to smartphones, and by extension, its ability to be notified of all incoming messages, emails and even social media notifications. This feature has made smartwatches a very useful tool especially for those busy individuals.

With this, you will be able to get connected even if your phone is not on your hands (or you just don’t want to take it out from your pocket). No more missing out on those important emails and messages as everything is delivered right to your wrist.

3. Picking Up Calls Using The Watch

And yes, since smartwatches are connected to our phone, it’s natural for it to be able to pick up calls right? This is the next benefit of smartwatches as you can easily pick up calls without the need to fumble around and get your phone out.

In my opinion, this feature is most beneficial when you’re doing something dirty or some activities in which you can’t immediately reach out and take your phone as your hand is occupied or dirty. Or another scenario is when you’re doing some home chores and your phone is in the other room.

With the smartwatch, you won’t miss any calls anymore as the calls will be notified to your watch and you can pick it up using it. Some smartwatches also have LTE connectivity so that it can be its own standalone phone (though there is a concern on battery life with this feature).

4. Control Music Playback On Phone

Controlling music playback on the phone becomes easier with the smartwatch. Although our phones are quite easy to control music to begin with, there are instances when you can’t really use your phone or its inconvenient to do so such as during workouts, in a crowded subway train etc.

In these instances, using your watch is much easier as you don’t need to take out a bulky smartphone out just to change the music or the volume.

5. Has Water Resistance Rating

Smartwatches have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. It has even gotten water resistance rating, with most of the watches having 5 ATM or 50 m rating. There’s always a risk that water will get into a watch that can be very detrimental even for normal watches so it’s very good that current smartwatches have this feature.

I mean, if a normal watch can get fogged up (a sign of moisture ingress), I honestly would be very scared that water will get into my expensive smartwatch which will make more damage on the internal electronics.

With the water resistance, the risk of water ingress into the watch is reduced and you can even use it underwater. This makes the watch a true all-in-one device that you can wear and use for all purposes. In addition, the water resistance enables the fitness tracker feature on the watch usable even for swimming activity.

Although swimming is OK, I’d be wary to bring the smartwatch for diving, even if it has a 50 m water resistance rating. Diving is different than swimming as it has more hydro static force imposed on the watch depending on the dive depth. I’d recommend leaving your smartwatch and use a dedicated dive watch instead for any diving activities.

6. As A Fitness Tracker

With the rising obesity problem, step count is one way to measure how active you are for the purpose of being healthy and fitness tracker can achieve that. With the current shift in fitness tracking device, currently, almost all smartwatches has a form of fitness tracking.

A basic fitness tracker can only measure steps – which our smartphones can do too. But smartwatches can go a step further by offering tracking for other activities too such as jogging, swimming and cycling. This data is useful for the next feature that smartwatch offers: health monitoring.

7. Health Monitoring

The next good benefit of smartwatch is health monitoring. The watch uses the activity data from its fitness tracker and calculates nifty information about your personal health such as calories burn and others.

In addition, it can also track heart rate and correlates that with your activity level to pinpoint any underlying issue with your health. A cool feature is the ability to alert you if your heart rate is too fast or too low so that you can take corrective actions immediately.

8. Sleep Tracking

Another great feature of smartwatch is sleep tracking. Via its actigrapher or acclerometer, a smartwatch can detect the body’s movement to know if you’re asleep or awake. And with its heart rate sensor, it will be able to tell how is your sleep, either restful or restless. This data can be shown by a graph showing how long you’ve slept and the length of the 4 sleep stages that you were in.

But that’s not all. Through dedicated sleep tracking apps, you can use this data to get a wholesome outlook of your daily lives such as how do you sleep when you did a strenuous activity in the evening? Does it give you the best sleep or not? This analysis of your life and sleep pattern is very powerful to get the best activity that you should do in order to maximize the efficiency of your sleep time.

Although it looks great on paper, there’s always the concern of wearing the watch during our sleep. Some people are okay with this while some are not – personally, I’m not comfortable wearing a watch to sleep. Some people might also prefer to take off the watch to charge it overnight. So although sleep tracking is a great feature, its actual uses will depend on the individual’s preference.

9. Always Connected To Your Virtual Assistant

Love using Google Assistant, Siri or (gasp!) Bixby? Then you can still use them even though your phone is not with you via your smartwatch. As it’s connected to your phone, your virtual assistant is always connected and you can use them anywhere.

10. Check Your Daily Calendar And Appointments

This next feature is a great one especially for those with busy schedule. The ability to sync your calendar and appointments make smartwatches a very convenient and powerful tool. As smartphones have been increasing in size and weight over this past years (even IPhone are becoming bigger!), it becomes unwieldy and not easy to be used anymore.

Here comes the smartwatch. If you’re having a very busy day, the watch will be able to notify you with all of your appointments. And since it’s always on your wrist, you won’t miss any appointment notifications at all.

11. Payment via NFC

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that is used in contactless payment and have been around sometime in many smartphones. Now, the same technology was implemented in smartwatches so that you can easily pay for stuffs without the need to bring out your credit card. It’s it convenient?

12. Voice Dictation To Send Messages

The next cool feature with smartwatches is the ability to dictate and send messages. Dictation has been around with smartphones and having this feature on smartwatches is great as it makes the watch more usable. Although you can still send messages with the watch, the small screen real estate makes typing on it not a feasible option.

Then enter dictation. With this, you can just say the words to the watch and it will dictate it into a message. This is especially powerful if you’re in a situation where you can’t stop and pick up a phone to reply, such as driving.

13. Can Be Used As A Torchlight

Another handy feature with smartwatch is the ability to use it as a torchlight. Now, not all smartwatches have a dedicated torchlight function but some (such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch) can light up its screen to the max and use it as a sort of torchlight. Yes, it’s not a real torchlight and it has serious range limit but when you’re in a pinch, this feature is something that you’d wish you’d have.

14. Remote Shutter For Your Phone’s Camera

The next feature is my personal favorite: making your smartwatch a remote shutter for your phone’s camera WITH the ability to show what’s it’s taking. Without a doubt, this is a great feature that can easily justify the purchase of smartwatch, if you’re taking lots of pictures of course.

Taking pictures for groups and wanting to be part of it is an age-old problem. You can ask a passer-by to take your picture for you but what if there is no one else besides you and the gang? You can use a timer for it but then you’ll have to run to your position once you’ve pressed the shutter – can you still give a great pose then?

You can also get a Bluetooth shutter for this (the Samsung Note 9 last year introduced its Bluetooth-enabled stylus that has this purpose) but you can’t see how your picture looks like.

Now enter your smartwatch. With it, you can sync your phone’s camera to see in real-time what your camera will capture. You can then use it as a remote shutter and even change some of your camera’s settings. Now that’s one real convenient feature for a classic problem =)

15. Control Your Smart Home Devices

Controlling your smart home devices is also possible with the smartwatch. Since it’s connected to your phone, you can get the same control over your IoT devices just from the wrist of your hand. From there, controlling your lighting fixtures, TV, robot vacuum cleaner, air conditioner and other devices are easy.

16. Handy To Find Your Misplaced Phone

The next benefit of having a smartwatch is the function to trigger where your misplaced phone is at. As both devices are connected, you can trigger your phone to give an alarm sound even though it’s on silent mode. No misplaced phone anymore!

17. Alarm Clock

And yes, you can use your smartwatch for alarm clock too. In fact, I’d think using the watch as alarm will work even better as you can strap it on your wrist and when the alarm goes off, the vibration from the watch with the noise it makes will wake you up more effectively.

18. Can Be Used For Navigation

The next feature that a smartwatch has is the ability to be used for navigation. As most smartwatches have an in-built GPS (Global Positioning System), the watch can be used as a handheld navigation device simply by loading up the apps on it.

Although I don’t think this is useful for those driving since we can easily arrange our phones in front of us while driving which is easier to look at, I can see that this feature will often be used by tourists or those walking and using public transport.

As these people need to be wary of their surrounding, it’s better for them to be using their smartwatch as a navigation device instead of taking out their bulky smartphone. Smartwatch is always strapped to our wrist and simply flicking it will be enough to let us see the navigation commands. In comparison, smartphones is heavy and there is a risk that it could be dropped on the floor while you’re busy trying to find your way around foreign place.

19. Can Customize Dial Or Skins

One of the most fun features in a smartwatch is the ability to customize its dial using skins. Just like a wallpaper on your computer or phone, smartwatch also has its own wallpaper that can be changed on the fly. If you’re bored with the stock dial out of box, just change it with some other dial. In fact, you can also download other dials and use it as you wish.

With a smartwatch, you’re essentially getting hundreds of dials for the price of one!

20. A Very Cool High-Tech Device!

Last but not least, a smartwatch is a very cool high-tech device. With all the features above, we can say that smartwatch nowadays are just a bit below smartphones in terms of raw capability. Of course, it’s lack of screen real estate is a big disadvantage but when you look at what it can do, you just can’t stop being in awe with it.

Having one of the latest smartwatches will definitely increase your status among your colleagues or friends as someone that knows the direction of technology nowadays.

I would have to highlight that not all the smartwatches in the market right now supports these features. So you should always double check the product specification of the watch you’re interested in first before purchasing it.

The Future Of Smartwatches

features benefits of smartwatchI definitely am in awe with what smartwatches can do currently. In fact, the industry is continuously innovating it so much so there’s so much innovation now compared to the past few years. True enough, until a way to make the screen bigger than it is now, smartwatch’s adoption will still be limited as not many people will find it really useful, as most already have a smartphone at their disposal.

Another factor that could reduce acceptance to smartwatches is battery life. As of now, the maximum battery life is around 10 days, though it can be increased if you opt to only use the watch as a watch without the various apps and connectivity (which is quite illogical to be honest as there’s no point to buy it then). But most smartwatches on the market have an average battery life of around 3-4 days which is still okay but not great.

There’s also the concern that the connectivity to LTE or smartphone on a device that’s located next to our body can bring some form of harm to us, considering it’s continuously strapped on our wrist. Whether this claim is unfounded or not remains to be seen as no definitive research was published on this matter to my knowledge (if you guys have any info about this, do let me know in the comments below).

I hope this article about the benefits of smartwatches is useful to you. Do let me know if there’s anymore that I missed, by commenting below.


How Do Digital Watches Work? The Complete Guide To Digital Watches

how do digital watches work

Digital watch is a type of watch with digital display and is popular due to its convenience and accurate way to tell time. But how does it actually works?

So how do digital watches work? Digital watches work similar to quartz watches using electronic-quartz oscillation timekeeping with digital displays to show the time.

The inner workings of a digital watch can be broken down into these 3 main components:

  1. Source of power
  2. Timekeeping mechanism
  3. Digital time display

1. Source of Power

The source of power for a digital watch is electric and can either be from a battery cell or an AC power. This depend on the watch itself and each have its own advantages and disadvantages.

For an AC powered digital watch, it’s mainly used for wall or permanent clocks which is not designed to be moved around.

This type of watch has the advantage of not having to change out its battery periodically as the power is directly supplied from the home’s power supply. It’s also usually used for bigger sized watch/clocks that will need a lot of electricity to run (more than what a normal battery cell can give).

In comparison, the battery powered watch will need periodic battery cell replacement. Due to its limited electric charge, it’s also limited to only smaller sized watches and not for big giant clocks. It’s best advantage is the ability to be mobile (which is the case with digital wristwatches and small alarm clocks). Since the power supply is also independent, any power outage to your home will not affect the watch.

The choice of battery or AC power operated watch will depend on what you want the watch to have. For example, if it’s a simple wristwatch or wall clock, then a battery powered one is sufficient to power the watch. But if the watch you need has more functions such as an integrated radio for instance, then an AC power will be more suitable in this case.

2. Timekeeping Mechanism

All digital watches uses an electronic timekeeping mechanism by utilizing an integrated circuit/microchip inside it. But there are 2 different oscillators that digital watches usually use: a quartz crystal oscillator or using the AC power frequency.

The oscillators are the heart of any watch because it’s the timekeeping mechanism that will tell the watch what is the definition of “1 second”. From there, the watch can do its job by stepping up its counter to count minutes, hours, days etc. In short, the oscillators is the one thing that keeps time in a watch.

The first type is using the AC power own frequency which is 50 or 60 Hz. The watch (usually one that requires a plugged in power) will then use this signal and divides it a few times until it has 1 signal per second (or 1 Hz). From then on, the watch can use this signal for its timekeeping.

The second type is using quartz crystal oscillator, much like how a quartz watch works. Inside the watch is a very small quartz crystal (or just a grain of sand/silica) that is shaped into a tuning fork. Now, quartz is a piezoelectric material in which it will vibrate when electricity passes through it (and vice versa).

The watch will pass electricity to the quartz and it will vibrate, to the tune of 32,768 Hz. This vibration will be detected as a signal and it will be divided until it equals 1 signal per second. The final signal from the timekeeping mechanism will be transferred to the time display.

3. Digital Time Display

how do digital watches workThere are 3 main types of digital display: mechanical-digital display, 7-segment digital display and modern digital display. Let’s look at each of them.

The first type of digital watch is the mechanical-digital display. It’s a display with numbers but the numbers are changing mechanically (kinda like how the date changes in a normal watch). It’s one of the first types of digital watches produced and is quite rare today because the other 2 types of displays are more efficient and cheaper to produce.

The second type is the 7-segment digital display. I’m sure you will recognize the older type of digital displays with a fixed black bars. This can change depending on the numbers to be displayed simply by blackening out the bars as needed. It’s one of the most widely used digital display for watches nowadays.

The last type is the modern digital displays using LCD (liquid crystal display) or LED (light-emitting diodes). This display can be seen on many smartwatches where the watch uses a more advanced and nicer looking display. The numbers on this type of display is also easier to be understood as it’s not as “blocky” as the 7-segment digital display. In addition, these displays typically has colors which make it more attractive to look at.

The main advantage of digital display on watches is how easy it is to tell time. Our brain can register time faster by looking at numbers (on a digital display) compared to the classic analog 3-hands watch. This one advantage is a great one especially for those that needs to be able to tell time as fast as they can.

What Is Digital Watch Made Of?

Most of the digital watches nowadays uses plastic as its main components, especially for the outer case. Plastic is a great material as it’s cheap and can be formed into various shapes. It’s also sturdy and is very light. There are also more expensive digital watches that use stainless steel or aluminum as its case material (case in point, the Apple watches).

The internal components of the watch is the typical electronic stuffs: microchips, battery, wires and so on. The microchip is usually made of silicon while the LED display can be made of gallium phosphide or other materials.

The material for the strap is more conventional with the use of rubber, steel or leather bands (all the kind of stuffs already available on most watches).

Related Questions

How do you program a digital watch? Programming a digital watch can be done by going to the time setting mode and change its time. As this will largely depend on the type of watch used and settings available, it’s recommended to read the user manual or watch a YouTube video on how to set the time for your specific digital watch.

What was the first digital watch with LED display? The Pulsar was the first digital wristwatch with LED display and was introduced in 1970. It’s one of the watches from Hamilton and was also featured in Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I hope this article about how digital watches work is beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have questions or comments on it by commenting below.


13 Reasons Why You Should Wear A Wristwatch


Wristwatch is becoming an important item for most people nowadays. If you look on the street, you’ll see a lot of people wearing a wristwatch despite the prominent use of smartphones.

So why should anyone wear a wristwatch? These are the 13 reasons why everyone should wear a wristwatch:

  1. Convenient to tell time
  2. A great fashion accessory
  3. Helps to be punctual and aware of time
  4. Give credibility and professionalism
  5. Stops from being too dependent on smartphone
  6. A functional tool
  7. To appreciate the craftsmanship on a watch
  8. Can be a conversation starter with fellow watch fans
  9. To casually show wealth
  10. Can be a handy personal compass
  11. Collecting wristwatch is a fun hobby
  12. A good investment
  13. Sign that you’ve reached adulthood

1. Convenient To Tell Time

The first and foremost reason why anyone should wear a wristwatch (at least according to me) is to tell time conveniently. True enough, smartphones are more useful than a watch because it has various other uses such as a communication device, connected to internet, apps, taking pictures and can also show us time.

So with all of these functions, why should anyone with smartphone wear a wristwatch?

The reason is that it’s much more convenient to tell time with a wristwatch compared to a smartphone. With a wristwatch worn on your wrist, you only need a simple flick to peek at the watch to tell time. This is a much easier compared to a smartphone, where you will need to unlock it first to see the watch.

And since smartphones are not always with us (usually on the desk or inside our pocket), the act of reaching out to it is another additional step. In terms of efficiency and convenience, a wristwatch is definitely a better choice to tell time.

Another thing that I want to highlight is that you can wear your wristwatch everywhere even to outdoor or water activities – with the right watch of course. Some watches are designed for outdoor activities with water resistance rating which means you can wear it and able to tell time even in the outdoors, which is quite impossible for a smartphone.

2. A Great Fashion Accessory

If you’ve seen a captivating poster ad about a watch featuring handsome/beautiful models, you’ll surely understand how stylish a watch can be. And this is definitely true because a wristwatch is a great fashion accessory that can easily elevate your style.

This is especially true for guys that don’t have much accessory choices in the first place. While there are many accessories that they can use (rings, ear rings, bracelet, etc.), an average guy might not have the inclination to wear it which is why a wristwatch is the perfect accessory for them.

With that being said, I must highlight that you still need to choose the correct wristwatch depending on the occasion or else you will be seen out of place. For instance, a dress watch (such as the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time) is perfect for occasions such as a wedding where you will want to dress up with your most good-looking watch. In comparison, simple yet stylish Seiko SARB033 can be the best companion for a corporate event where you will want to look dapper without attracting much attention to your wrist.

And personally, even though G-Shocks is a great value for money watch, I don’t think it’s a good wristwatch to be worn to an office work (though many people might disagree with me lol! Comment below if you think this is not true).

3. Helps To Be Punctual And Aware Of Time

I’ve started wearing a watch a few years after I’ve had a steady job and I can definitely say that it had helped me to become punctual and always aware of time (and apparently some study have shown that this is indeed the case with other people). Before I started wearing a watch, I mainly used my phone or wall clocks or my laptop to know what time it is. While this method is OK, I still found myself to be tardy for some of my meetings.

When I started wearing a watch, I realized that I’ve become more punctual and my tardiness reduced significantly. I’d say the reason for this is that wearing a wristwatch is a way more convenient method of telling time. It had helped me to always be wary about time and as a result, become more punctual in my daily lives.

4. Give Credibility And Professionalism

“Never trust a man who doesn’t wear a watch”

I’m sure you must have heard this saying before. While I don’t exactly agree with it (as people that don’t wear a watch can also be trustworthy, and there are many fraud cases involving people wearing watches), it is without a doubt a fact that wearing a wristwatch will help to give a sense of professionalism and credibility to you.

I’d like to believe that this is that that most of the professionals and high ranking people (either in private or public entities) all wears a watch and not wearing one will show that you’re not one of them and don’t have the necessary skills that they need. After all, birds of a feather flock together and wearing a watch will definitely help you in getting that prized promotion.

In addition, a work suit without a wristwatch on either hands is sorely lacking and seems incomplete. So guys, if you want to look more professional, consider getting a wristwatch. And no, you don’t need to buy an expensive Omega or Rolex. Just get one that is good enough to be used while still looks stylish and dapper (check out my list of the best affordable automatic watches for some inspiration).

5. Stops From Being Too Dependent On Smartphone

The next reason why you should get a wristwatch is to reduce dependency on smartphones. Phone addiction is a real thing and is negatively affecting the lives of millions of people in the world. This addiction stems from the prolonged usage of smartphones for whatever reason (social media, games, browsing internet, watching videos etc.) and is one of the things that I’m actively trying to avoid.

And here is where a wristwatch can help with phone addiction. When you wear a watch, you will have one less reason to look at your phone as you can easily tell time by looking at your wristwatch. If not, you will be looking at your phone all day long.

For me, I personally love the fact that I don’t have to check out my phone to tell time when doing work. Prior to wearing a watch, I used my phone as a watch and when I unlock it to see what time it is, I will be looking at all the notifications from various apps on my phone. This reduced my productivity as I found myself checking my phone all day long.

By the way, wearing a wristwatch also have the added advantage that you’re not at the mercy of your phone, specifically your phone’s battery. Most phones don’t have a good battery and if it turns off at the end of the day, there goes your watch with it. Thus, wearing a wristwatch will ensure that you can still tell what time it is even when your phone is not working.

6. A Functional Tool

Besides being a timekeeping tool, there are other types of watches that can do more than that. For instance, the dive watch is a classic watch that has water resistance and built more robust than normal watches to withstand forces impacted on it. These makes dive watches a good candidate if you want to wear your watch for diving or outdoor activities.

There’s also the chronograph which is a stopwatch. It’s a very useful watch whereby you can keep track of anything that you want to such as the time for a F1 sports car to finish a lap, how many minutes have elapsed since you started baking and others. The modern wristwatch with quartz based movement is more functional in which it has sophisticated functions such as alarm clock, timer, back light, time zones and others.

While most of the watches in the market only tells time, there are other watches out there with a wealth of functions that will make your life easier.

7. To Appreciate The Craftsmanship On A Watch

Although you can’t really appreciate anything from a cheap China-made watch, more expensive watches with stainless steel casing is usually a sight to behold, and to wear. A good watch is like a jewelry, in which it’s exquisitely built and looks majestic on your hand.

But in my opinion, nothing can beat automatic watch in terms of craftsmanship and this is the reason why I’m so hooked on it. As a watch that don’t have a battery but run entirely by using mechanical parts, automatic watch is most often that not always being accompanied with higher level of craftsmanship.

From the automatic movement, to the dial, to the metal casing and lastly the bracelet or strap, an automatic watch is the watch that you should get if you want the finer things in watches. And if you notice, most of the expensive watch brands usually have a large section of its models with automatic watches.

I’ve yet to own a higher end watch from the likes of Rolex etc., but as far as I can say, even the low to middle range of watches from the brands such as Seiko & Tissot is enough to have great craftsmanship on it and I thoroughly recommend these for those wanting to get into the world of watches.

8. Can Be A Conversation Starter With Fellow Watch Fans

why wear a wristwatchAnother reason to wear a wristwatch is it can be a conversation starter with fellow watch fans. I’ve started conversation with strangers over their watches and others have called up to me due to my watches- which is kinda like how guys complimenting their cars or bikes.

The advantage of this is you will be able to fit in into a new place faster than if you don’t have any similarity with them. People will usually spend some time to look at various watches before buying them which means they will be somewhat knowledgeable about watches. Wearing a watch yourself will open up this opportunity to connect with them and can lead to a greater social circle.

Besides, it’s definitely much better than just talking about the weather right?

Another advantage is you will be able to build some networking with high ranking people in your organization. Chances are, these high ranking officers will be wearing an expensive watch (most likely automatic) and by wearing one yourself (again, not necessarily the same expensive watch. There are good affordable automatic watch below $500 out there) you will be able to connect with them and built your own social network.

9. To Casually Show Wealth

The next reason is one of the reasons why many rich people wear wristwatches – that is to casually show their wealth. Although most watches are affordable, there are very expensive watches out there with eye-watering price tags of more than $100,000 each!

These watches are often times exclusive and small in number with gorgeous designs using precious metals on it. Rich people can wear these watches as a mean to show their watch without flaunting it openly. It’s a discreet way to show their wealth that only the equally rich or knowledgeable might be able to spot it.

10. Can Be A Handy Personal Compass

Wristwatch can also be used as a personal compass by using the hour and minutes hands. These makes it a good alternative when you don’t have an actual compass with you and desperately need to figure out the surrounding directions.

How you do it is by pointing the hour hand to the sun (yes, this method will only work during daytime). Then, draw an imaginary line that divides the angle between the hour hand and 12 o’clock marker equally. This line is the North-South line that you can use for your navigation.

There are a few things that you need to be aware of with this method such as your location (northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere) and time of the day (morning or afternoon) for it to work correctly. Check out this useful wikihow page to learn more about it.

11. Collecting Wristwatch Is A Fun Hobby

If you ask me a few years ago if I would like collect wristwatches, I’d say you’re crazy. But now, I’d say that collecting wristwatches is a fun hobby that I’ve enjoyed tremendously.

I thought that one wristwatch is all that I’ll need but boy, how wrong can I be! From my experience, there is never a one watch that can fit all. True enough, a silver stainless steel dive watch (such as the Rolex Submariner and other watches like it) is the closest to the one watch for every occasion but I beg to disagree. Dive watches are typically big and bulky, hence is not really a good option for an everyday watch for work.

From this, watch collection grew from my insistence of having different types of watches for specific purposes – dressy, work, swimming, etc – so that I’ll be able to wear the correct watch for the correct occasion. Bear in mind that I don’t buy all of my watches at the same time but I timed my purchases depending on the needs, availability and any discounts over the years. Sometimes it will take a few months before I purchase a watch just because I want to research everything about it.

While I admit that this is quite an expensive hobby, but if you’re a watch fan then this can be an entertaining and fun hobby. The effort put into researching a particular timepiece and checking it out physically at the boutique is enjoyable and helped to release stresses from work. And of course, the feeling of buying & wearing your well-researched watch is one of the best moments in this hobby =)

12. A Good Investment

Do you know that a wristwatch can be a good investment? If you look on eBay, there are many watches out there for sale that is being sold more than what it used to worth. In short, you can buy a wristwatch and not have it to lose value over the years!

But there are many caveats to this. For instance, buying a watch as investment will only work if you’re ensuring the watches will be been taken care of. Just like house, a bad watch will be valued far less than a watch in a good condition – even though both are from the same brand, same model and same year of production.

In this regard, watches made out of metal is a good choice as it’s durable. Plastic made watches are not as durable and won’t last as long as their metallic counterpart. Stainless steel watch is the best because it can be stored for years without any rust forming on it. Not to mention its ability to be re-polished in future which will increases its value.

13. Sign That You’ve Reached Adulthood

The last reason to wear a wristwatch is to signal that you’ve reached adulthood. Kids don’t wear a watch, only adults do that. Wearing a wristwatch will signify that you’re an adult and matured enough now. It will tell that you value your time and others time.

Are Watches Obsolete?

No, watches are not obsolete even in this world of smartphones. Although smartphone is a great invention that I personally love, wristwatch is undeniably have a part to play in our lives. The fact that there is a new type of watches called smartwatches lends credence to this – people really love having a watch strapped on their wrist because it’s convenient to be used. With this reason, I don’t see wristwatches going anywhere.

Related Questions

What wrist do you wear a watch on? Most people will wear watches on their non-dominant hand e.g if I’m right handed, I will wear my wristwatch on my left wrist. The reason for this is to ensure the wristwatch won’t restrict the movement of the dominant hand. In addition, you have the ability to reset the time of the watch by using your dominant hand.

I hope this article will be beneficial in telling you why you should wear a wristwatch. Do let me know if you have any comments or questions about this article by commenting below.


10 Reasons Why You Should 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.


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

how to take care of automatic watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Keep The Watch Away From Moisture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Do Remember To Service The Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Keep It Clean

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Be Careful When Changing The Strap

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

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

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

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

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

8. Avoid Using The Watch In Extreme Temperatures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Change The Gaskets And Seals When Servicing

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

Grand Seiko Diver Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Keep Unused Watch In A Proper Box

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

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

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

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

13. Be Minimal With The Manual Winding

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

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

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

Related Questions

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time then. Cheers!

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy An Automatic Watch


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

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

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

1. It is Unique And Has Character

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

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

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

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

2. Does Not Require A Battery

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

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

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

3. Has Sweeping Seconds Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. To Appreciate The Great Effort And Engineering Behind It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. As An Investment Vehicle (Some Watches Only)

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Statement Of Your Exquisite Taste

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

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

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

10. A Good Conversation Starter With Fellow Watch Fans

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

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

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

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

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

Are Automatic Watches Worth It?

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

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

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

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

Related Questions

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Seiko Automatic Watches Have Great Accuracy

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

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

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

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

Seiko SARB033 worn hand
My Seiko SARB033

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

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

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

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

How About Its Accuracy After A Few Years?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo Dial
My Seiko Sumo SBDC003 after 4 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Seiko Automatic Watches Have Good Quality?

Seiko SKX013 worn on hand
My Seiko SKX013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seiko Watches Are Great Value For Money? Definitely!

Seiko SARB033 Automatic Wrist Watch Review
Seiko SARB033

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

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

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

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

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

Related Questions

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

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

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

Till next time. Cheers!

8 Types of Watch Movements That All Watch Fans Should Know

8 types of watch movement

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

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

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

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

1. Automatic Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Mechanical Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Quartz Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Solar Movement

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

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

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

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

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

5. Automatic Quartz Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Spring Drive Movement

8 types of watch movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Electric Movement

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

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

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

8. Smartwatch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which Type Of Watch Movement Is The Best?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Questions

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

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


Automatic Watch Service Interval – What You Need To Know

how often to service automatic watch

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

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

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

Automatic Watch Service Interval

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Factors Affecting Service Interval

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signs That Your Automatic Watch Needs Servicing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Much Does It Cost To Service An Automatic Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Long Does It Take To Service A Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Service Your Automatic Watch?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Questions

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

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