Quarts vs. Automatic Movement ~ Which is Right for You?

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Luxury timepieces remain a time honored tradition.  They provide you with the opportunity to give a generational, classic gift during a special occasion.  In order to ensure you find the perfect luxury timepiece for yourself or a loved one, it is important to learn about luxury timepieces before purchasing one.

There are three primary types of watch movements that are found in luxury timepieces today.  Each type of movement adds certain benefits to the timepiece, and each one makes it different from watches that have the other two types of movements.

Automatic Movement

An automatic timepiece is also known as a self-winding watch.  These watches are wound by the natural movement of the wearer’s wrist.  As the person’s wrist moves, it will spin a rotor within the timepiece to keep it going.

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Often, these watches build up momentum to keep them going when a person is still or if the watch is not worn for a brief period.

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These are an exceptional choice for those that plan to wear their new timepiece daily, and that do not want to wind their watch daily.  Note that automatic watches may need adjusted if they are not worn for an extended period.  This remains the primary drawback of an automatic timepiece.  Most people do enjoy not having to replace a battery.

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Manual Movement

Manual watches require a hand wound movement to keep them running.

Often, a manual timepiece that is wound properly will function for approximately 24-30 hours.  This ensures that they only need to be wound once daily, but individuals that forget to wind their watch are often annoyed that it is dead when they do remember to wind it.  Most customers that enjoy the traditional appeal of a manual timepiece wind it at the same time every day to prevent this.  Manual timepieces do have specific features that ensure that they will not be damaged from over winding.

Quartz Movement

Automatic timepieces that require batteries do not depend on whether they are worn. Instead, the small batteries inside the watch ensure that it keeps working.  It is important to replace the batteries in a timely manner to ensure that the watch continues to function correctly.  These are popular among those that prefer a timepiece to be as low maintenance as possible.

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This type of timepiece is often referred to as a timepiece with quartz movement.  The battery sends a tiny electric current through a small piece of quartz, hence where the name comes from.  Timepieces with a quartz movement are typical in lower priced watches but have quickly begun to make their way into more luxurious timepieces.

The primary drawback of quartz movement is knowing when to replace the battery.  Most batteries in brand new timepieces will last approximately three years and replacement batteries can be known for lasting shorter lengths of time.  These might only last for one year.  Multi-functional watches, such as those that feature a calendar with the date on it, will not last as long as watches that do not have additional features draining the battery.  To avoid waking up to discover that a watch is dead, most owners develop a maintenance schedule and replace the battery at the same time every year.

Which one is Best?

No one movement type is better per-se than any other.  Lifestyle of the wearer decides what is best.  By considering the lifestyle of the person who will be wearing the timepiece you are sure to choose the correct movement.

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~c2020 The Uptown Timepiece. No information may be reproduced without written permission from The Uptown Timepiece, its Editor in Chief or its Managing Director.


  1. Well, it depends on what you’re looking for in a watch. Yes, Quartz watches will always be more accurate because of the crystal oscillator within. Mechanical watches lose more time due to many things, including friction of all things. During the course of the day, it could lose many seconds off of its accuracy.

    However, mechanical movements are sought out for their craftsmanship. It often takes an expert artisan to make some of the world’s great mechanical movements. They aren’t cheap, but people pay for the quality. Quartz movements are not hard to make and takes relatively short amounts of time to make.

    Casio will be more accurate over the course of time than most mechanical powered timepieces. However, nothing beats a mechanical movement.

    1. Hello Leon.  We agree with you; it depends on what you are looking for in a watch.  You sound fluid in your horology.  Thank you for visiting us and for your insightful comments.

  2. Be it the Quartz or the automatic movement. I am one who only wears a watch when the work I am doing requires one. I never really take notice of the fancy quality, I had not worn a watch since the day I stepped out of employment.

     I buy a watch for my friends when I think it is necessary. However, the Name: Quartz attracts my attention. I will always buy my friend’s Quartz watch.


    1. Good afternoon DorcasW. Thank you for your great comment!  Kindly accept our sincerest apologies for taking so long to get back to you. Due to Covid-19, we had to close but we are back!  We find quartz attracts our attention also.  There are many useful and attractive quartz watches for both you and for your friends. Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. A quartz movement is essentially another way of saying a timepiece is battery powered. Quartz movement are far more accurate than mechanical movements. Another benefit is convenience, aside from a battery change every couple of years, a quartz watch will continue to run without the need to wear it or wind it. Trying to decide between a watch with quartz movement vs automatic, you may have heard the term quartz watch and automatic watch. A quick guide to explain the term and helps you decide what is best for you. I am very interesting to know what is the difference between quartz and automatic movement in watches and is auto quartz movement. thanks 

    1. Good afternoon Slinggy and thank you for your great comment.  Please accept our apologies for taking such a long time to get back to you. Due to Covid-19, we had to close shop but now we are back!  We are delighted you found the article informative and helpful to decide what is best for you. We look forward to sharing more of this type of  information with you.

  4. Thank you for sharing this article. I have always been a digital watch wearer and have never understood the value of timepieces. Although my bosses are definitely crazy keen on watches – as they told me these are luxury items and they carry high re-sale value. Tell me, do the different types of movements you shared on this article reflect the “luxuriousness” of it? I was told by someone that automatic and quartz watches somehow have less luxury level than manual ones. Keen to know if this is true. 

    1. Hello Steve W.  Thank you for stopping by and for your comment and question.  Please accept our humble apology for taking such a long time to reply to you.  Covid-19 caused us to close up shop for a period of time.  We are like your bosses when it comes to watches and we adore the phrase ‘crazy keen’!  We find the term ‘luxury’ can be subjective to the wearer.  There are luxurious watches of both types.  It can be a bit of personal preference. That said, I do have a soft spot for winding a watch myself. Cheers!

  5. For someone like me who hates to have to correct my time on regular basis no doubt the quartz is the best option but curiosity does kill the cat. I’ve never had an automated self winding watch and just the thought of a watch that gains momentum from natural movement of my wrist really makes me feel I should get one for myself but I’m pretty sure they don’t cost as little as quartz watches I’m used to. Thanks for this real interesting and eye opening article.

    1. Hello Donny and thank you for commenting today.  It sounds like this article has inspired you to look further into a watch with automatic movement.  That is wonderful!  We believe, without a doubt, you will find one in a comfortable price point.  Stay tuned for upcoming buy-it-now buttons, from The Uptown Timepiece, to help you on your journey!  See you again soon!

  6. Hello there, thank you for sharing this post on quarts vs automatic movement so we can know which is right for us. I never had an idea of these different types. From what I have read so far on this page, my favourite is quartz movement. I don’t want to go through the stress at all and even get annoyed by wrong timing.

    Peace out!

    1. Hello Mr Biizy.  If we sounded your name out correctly, it sounds like you are a very busy man!  Understandably, correct timing can be critical.  Quartz movement sounds like an excellent choice for you.  We are glad we could help you make an accurate (type of movement) decision for your purchase.  Thank you for your comments.

  7. Hallo there, 

    Thanks for the explanation of the movement of watches.

    I have to say this is the best explanation of watch movement I have had thus far.

    I found out about the various types of watches and their different movements when I was buying a gift for my friend and I didn’t quite get what that all about so I decided I should learn more about them.

    To be honest I have been thinking that the Quartz watch was just a brand name. I never thought there was actual quartz that helped with the functionality.

    Thanks heaps for that.

    1. Hello Dave.  You are most welcome for the explanation of watch movement.  We are sure your friend loved their gift.  We believe timepieces are the best gift!  We can definitely see how one could think ‘Quartz’ to be a brand name, due to the words high visibility on many quartz timepieces. Thank you for sharing and commenting.

  8. I love the personality of your website. By following a clear vision you make it become alive. As with most of the things in life, it would be a personal selection. I’ve never held more than 3 wrist clocks in my closet for any given time. So the Automatic Movement one would be the right type for me. 

    If you ask someone holding 20 to 30 at any given time then the story should change for the obvious reason that not wearing them for a long period of time would make them lose precision. The manual ones will definitely be for the romantic ones.  

    Thanks for sharing part of the soul of your site with us!

    1. Thank you Juan.  We love the personality of our readers!  Automatic movement sounds great for you and we adore your reference to manual timepieces and romance.  Stay tuned for an upcoming article on automatic watch winders. They are perfect for that person with 20 to 30 watches; keeping watches properly wound and ready at a moments notice.  Thank you for appreciating part of our soul and we will see you again soon.

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