What Is Better: Quartz or Automatic Watches?

Watches are not just about timekeeping, they’re an essential accessory that complements one’s style and personality. Two of the most common types, quartz and automatic watches, have their unique features and functionalities. This article will dive deep into understanding these types of watches, their pros and cons, and factors that can influence your decision when choosing between the two.

Quartz and automatic watches have different mechanisms that drive their operation. Quartz watches operate on batteries and are known for their precision, while automatic watches, also known as self-winding watches, harness the energy from the wearer’s movement. They both come in a variety of designs and price ranges, offering ample choices to suit different preferences and budgets.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide a clear perspective on quartz and automatic watches. It delves into their workings, the difference between them, and their respective pros and cons. Whether you’re a timepiece enthusiast or someone looking to make an informed purchase, this article will provide valuable insights to aid your decision-making process.

What are Quartz Watches?

Quartz watches, introduced in the 1960s, have a battery-powered mechanism. They utilize the constant vibrations of a tiny quartz crystal, powered by a battery, to keep time. This electronic oscillator is connected to a quartz crystal, causing it to resonate at a highly stable frequency.

Key Features of Quartz Watches

  • Accuracy: Quartz watches are known for their superior accuracy and lose only a few seconds per month.
  • Maintenance: They require minimal maintenance—only a battery change every few years.
  • Affordability: Quartz watches generally have a lower price point, making them accessible to a wide range of consumers.

What are Automatic Watches?

Automatic watches, or self-winding watches, have been around since the early 20th century. They harness energy through the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. This movement winds the mainspring, which releases energy to power the watch.

Key Features of Automatic Watches

  • No Battery Required: Automatic watches can function indefinitely without a battery.
  • Craftsmanship: These watches are often appreciated for their intricate mechanical workings visible through a transparent case back.
  • Higher Price Point: The complex craftsmanship often results in a higher price point.

Quartz vs Automatic Watches: A Comparison

Accuracy of Timekeeping

Quartz watches are generally more accurate in timekeeping compared to automatic watches. While quartz watches may lose only a few seconds per month, automatic watches can gain or lose a few minutes.

Maintenance and Durability

Quartz watches require less maintenance, primarily periodic battery replacements. However, automatic watches, if taken care of, can last for generations, making them a potential heirloom piece.

Price Points

Quartz watches are typically more affordable than automatic watches due to their simpler construction. However, high-end luxury quartz watches can exceed the price of some automatic watches.

Style and Aesthetics

Automatic watches often exude a sense of luxury and craftsmanship. Many watch enthusiasts appreciate the intricate mechanical workings of an automatic watch. On the other hand, quartz watches offer a wide variety of styles and designs due to their simpler mechanism.

Why Might You Choose a Quartz Watch? (Pros and Cons)

Quartz watches are typically more accurate, affordable, and require less maintenance. However, they lack the mechanical charm and longevity of automatic watches.

Why Might You Choose an Automatic Watch? (Pros and Cons)

Automatic watches are appreciated for their craftsmanship, longevity, and the convenience of not requiring a battery. However, they are generally more expensive, require regular winding (unless worn daily), and are less accurate than quartz watches.

How to Choose Between a Quartz and an Automatic Watch?

Choosing between a quartz and an automatic watch depends on several factors. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Lifestyle: Consider your lifestyle and daily activities. If you lead an active lifestyle and need a watch that can withstand rough conditions, a quartz watch might be more suitable due to its durability and resilience. On the other hand, if you appreciate the craftsmanship and mechanical complexity of an automatic watch and don’t mind the occasional winding, it can be a perfect choice for special occasions or more formal settings.
  2. Budget: Determine your budget range. Quartz watches generally offer a more affordable entry point, making them accessible to a broader audience. Automatic watches, especially those from renowned brands or with intricate complications, can be more expensive due to their craftsmanship and exclusivity.
  3. Personal Style: Consider your personal style and the aesthetics you prefer. Quartz watches come in a wide range of designs, materials, and colors, catering to various fashion tastes. On the other hand, automatic watches often exhibit a classic, timeless appeal with their intricate dials and visible mechanical movements.
  4. Longevity: If you value longevity and the potential to pass down a watch through generations, automatic watches are a compelling choice. With proper care and periodic servicing, they can become cherished heirlooms. Quartz watches, while durable, might not hold the same sentimental value or last as long.
  5. Accuracy: If precise timekeeping is of utmost importance to you, quartz watches offer superior accuracy. However, keep in mind that modern automatic watches have improved significantly in accuracy compared to their predecessors, and any minor discrepancies can be easily corrected.
  6. Emotional Connection: Consider the emotional connection you have with watches. Some individuals are captivated by the meticulous craftsmanship and the history associated with automatic watches. Others may prefer the convenience and reliability of quartz watches. Ultimately, choose a watch that resonates with you and evokes a sense of connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are automatic watches more prestigious than quartz?

Automatic watches are often associated with prestige due to their mechanical complexity and craftsmanship. However, the prestige of a watch is subjective and can vary depending on the brand, design, and materials used.

Can quartz watches last a lifetime?

Quartz watches can last for many years with proper care and periodic battery replacements. However, they may not hold the same longevity as well-maintained automatic watches.

Do automatic watches need to be worn every day?

Automatic watches have a power reserve that allows them to run for a certain period without being worn. If an automatic watch is not worn daily, it may require periodic winding or the use of a watch winder to keep it running accurately.

Which type of watch is more environmentally friendly?

From an environmental perspective, quartz watches are considered more eco-friendly since they require fewer resources and energy to produce and operate compared to automatic watches.


In conclusion, the choice between quartz and automatic watches depends on your individual preferences, lifestyle, and budget. Quartz watches offer accuracy, affordability, and low maintenance, making them ideal for those seeking a reliable everyday timepiece. On the other hand, automatic watches showcase craftsmanship, longevity, and an emotional connection to the art of watchmaking.

Remember to consider factors such as accuracy, maintenance requirements, style, and personal preferences when making your decision. Ultimately, the perfect watch for you is the one that reflects your unique style, meets your functional needs, and brings you joy every time you wear it.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x