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we all know someone with an automatic watch they have owned for 50 years and it still works.

Im wondering:

  1. is there a limit on the quality of an automatic watch that will last? eg does it have to be an omega/rolex quality, or will a good, affordable seiko diver with an automatic movement ( such as monster) be ticking in 50 years given decent care, and the odd seiko service?
  2. What is the longevity of quartz watches? If the battery is changed regularly will they last 20+ years?
 

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As long as the movement is fully Jewelled ( 17J ) it should last for many, many decades. Not sure what a seiko service is?
Eventually something will break, but if spare parts are available, that can be replaced.
The top manufacturers will be able to source the parts, or if out of stock, remanufacture one with relative ease.
This can also be done by a skilled watchmaker, to a certain extent. But then it is not original, imo.

Quartz? 20-25 years for the better ones, I have heard.
The cheap non jewelled ones should last a shorter time.
The expensive and high quality Quartz movments ( Rolex, Patek Phillipe, Jaeger leCoultre, Omega etc) should be fairly easy to have parts replaced on, the chepo stuff you just replace the whole movement.Or even better just chuck the whole watch.
 

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I tend to think that its cheaper to run the watch till it stops working and swapping out the whole movement for a new one as opposed to servicing it when it comes to movements such as 7s26.

I have several of these 7s26's and I've given this some thought and research.

The movement costs about 65$. or cheaper if you source a cheap dress watch on ebay with the same movement.

Servicing it once every 5 or 7 years(recommended) will probably cost more than this, some feel the movement could run for 20 years or more.
 

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An automatic should last a very long time as long as you service it every 5-10 years to prevent problems and take care of it.

Quartz, well I really don't know. I have a 1980 Bulova Quartz and a 1987 Seiko Quartz that are both still going strong. No problems whatsoever.
 

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I tend to think that its cheaper to run the watch till it stops working and swapping out the whole movement for a new one as opposed to servicing it when it comes to movements such as 7s26.

I have several of these 7s26's and I've given this some thought and research.

The movement costs about 65$. or cheaper if you source a cheap dress watch on ebay with the same movement.

Servicing it once every 5 or 7 years(recommended) will probably cost more than this, some feel the movement could run for 20 years or more.
That assumes that replacement movements will be available in the future. There are hundreds if not thousands of Seiko 6139 and 6138s that are junk now because they were not serviced and now parts and movements are scarce....

The 7S series may not be so bad in this regard as there are so may more of them, but then who knows what the future holds.
 

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I have a 1981 Omega quartz that still works fine. Automatics or windups that work for 50 years have received good service along the way.
 

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Ok here goes 1980's Seamaster

(no problems ever with this one and its quartz)

1940's Vintage Handwinding Chronograph

(still good time and yet no problems)

So if its quartz vs automatic on this occasion Auto is winning by a mile LOL
 

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I have a Tudor Monarch that is 20 years old this year (purchased in 1991) & still running great.

My oldest quartz watch is 28 years old and still going strong. Likewise my quartz clock which is a similar age.

:-!
 

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[*]What is the longevity of quartz watches? If the battery is changed regularly will they last 20+ years?
My quartz chronograph will be 15 yo soon and it still running strong without any service, so I don't see why they (quartz watches) couldn't last for 20+ years.

But the problem is that most of quartz movements are unserviceable (maybe except high-end watches wth jewelled quartz movements), if they die for any reason (electronic components failed, magnetized, short-circuited, broken gears...) the hope of having them repaired is very thin because the repair cost may be equal or very close to a new quartz watch.
 

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My oldest watch is from 1874 and runs beautifully. My oldest quartz is from the early 1980s and seems to be doing fine, although time keeping isn't as good as a good modern quartz. The quartz, a Citizen Crystron, has a 7 jewel movement and I believe it is serviceable to some extent.

I have read that Grand Seiko specify the first service for their quartz movements at 50 years. But not every quartz is a Grand Seiko ;-)
 

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That assumes that replacement movements will be available in the future. There are hundreds if not thousands of Seiko 6139 and 6138s that are junk now because they were not serviced and now parts and movements are scarce....

The 7S series may not be so bad in this regard as there are so may more of them, but then who knows what the future holds.
Wouldn't the 7SXX be considerably less complicated and possibly , inherently more reliable than the 6138 and 6139?
 

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Wouldn't the 7SXX be considerably less complicated and possibly , inherently more reliable than the 6138 and 6139?
The problem mentioned was a lack of spare parts. Something WILL fail eventually and need to be replaced, maybe 20 years from now, maybe 200 years from now, but some part of the movement WILL fail, that's an inevitability. The availability of spare parts determines the useful lifespan of a movement.

Lesson: If you really love your watch, buy a couple of extras and keep them for spare parts down the road. Your great, great, great, great grandchildren will appreciate your foresight when they get your vintage watch repaired on Mars.
 

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As long as the movement is fully Jewelled ( 17J ) it should last for many, many decades.
A fully jeweled movement is nice but not a pre-requisite. There are many, many 7-15 jewel pocket watches that are over 100 years old and are running fine. Mine is 111 years old and running at +20 seconds per day. 7 jewel movement.
DSC_0121.jpg

DSC_0119.jpg

Of course, this is a manual wind watch. An automatic winding mechanism can go well before the escapement and balance though.

On the quartz side, this one has 7 jewels and has been running since 1991 (20 years).

DSC_0067.jpg

This auto (with 31 jewels) has been running for 22 years and is currently +3 seconds per day.

r08.jpg
 

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Nice examples!
Your 7J PW was made 111 years ago. But it has not been running for that time.
 

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we all know someone with an automatic watch they have owned for 50 years and it still works.

Im wondering:

  1. is there a limit on the quality of an automatic watch that will last? eg does it have to be an omega/rolex quality, or will a good, affordable seiko diver with an automatic movement ( such as monster) be ticking in 50 years given decent care, and the odd seiko service?
Uuuuhhh...what exactly is an odd Seiko service and how does it differ from the presumably non-odd Omega service? :-s

Any well built mechanical (handwind or auto wind) movement has the potential to outlive it's owner if it is serviced. You can spend $10,000 on a big name or $200.0o on a Seiko and the outcome will be the same if you are willing to spend the same on service. More expensive watches may seem to have longer lives but that is because the owner has just tied up a significant amount of cash in a watch and the owner feels an obligation to maintain that purchase. The owner of a Seiko may choose to forgo service and put that money in a nice new watch while the owner of a JLC will likely keep paying out in service.

Parts availability can be a real problem 40 years hence. Watches made in small runs that use hybrid movements will be much more expensive to service than watches for which there are donor movements. If the manufacturer chooses to use plastic components then those may at some time break and that will cause some watches to be left unrepaired.



What is the longevity of quartz watches? If the battery is changed regularly will they last 20+ years?
Sure, there are many many watches from the 1970's that are still running. I've got a Seiko King Quartz from 1979 that still ticks along quite acurately. The single biggest risk to quartz watches is the owner not replacing seals regularly. Moisture will kill an Omega quartz as fast as it will kill a Seiko Spring Drive quartz. If battery technology changes and a certain type falls out of favor like mercury cells did then you may have difficulty finding a power source.

Probably the greatest threat to either a a mechanical or quartz powered watch is that the styling will become outdated, the case will get worn or the owner will simply tire of the look. Just buy the watch you are interested in and enjoy it.
 

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The problem mentioned was a lack of spare parts. Something WILL fail eventually and need to be replaced, maybe 20 years from now, maybe 200 years from now, but some part of the movement WILL fail, that's an inevitability. The availability of spare parts determines the useful lifespan of a movement.

Lesson: If you really love your watch, buy a couple of extras and keep them for spare parts down the road. Your great, great, great, great grandchildren will appreciate your foresight when they get your vintage watch repaired on Mars.
That's a little difficult to do if one loves all their watches of a substantially large collection, or a small collection of expensive watches.
 

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Nice examples!
Your 7J PW was made 111 years ago. But it has not been running for that time.
True, it hasn't run continuously for 111 years (although that would be cool!), but many of these were "daily wearers" and were expected to last 10-20 years before they were replaced. I am sure that it has seen more than 20 years of run time in its life although probably the last few decades were (sadly) spent in a drawer. These pocket watches are so gorgeous and classy and can be had for such low prices! The quartz watch I posted did run continually for 18 years (barring the few days of battery replacement). I only recently retired it to "the drawer." The Rollie has been running continuously for 22 years and I still wear it at least once a week.

I forgot to mention that the Rolex has a 31 jewel movement (3135). I will try to write that in. I absolutely LOVE this movement. Silent and smooth. One of the best things (or worst... depending on your view) about it is that the rotor is on a jeweled axle. It is therefore almost silent and undetectable. However, some people argue that ball bearings in the rotor would give greater reliability to the watch.
 
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