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New to the watch world and this question has been nagging at me after looking watch after watch. Is an automatic watch really that much better than a quartz if it is a midrange watch? (under a grand) I see nice looking quartz watches and at least one reviewer of the watch is begging for an automatic version of it.

I thought quartz were more accurate but I assume if you go up to the high end watches, automatic watches are nearly as accurate as quartz. But are they really worth buying at the low to mid price range?
 

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I thought quartz were more accurate but I assume if you go up to the high end watches, automatic watches are nearly as accurate as quartz. But are they really worth buying at the low to mid price range?
Quartz will always beat a mechanical watch on accuracy. A $5 quartz is generally more accurate then a $500 mech. This is due to the fact that quartz is more consistent in providing the timing signal then any mechanical source that's being moved around (ie on your wrist or on your pocket)

When I would pay this amount of cash for a watch I would want something special and I don't think quartz is special enough for me. (even when I could wear it, which I unfortunately can't any more with 9 quartz watches in the collection...)
 
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Depends why you're buying the watch. I've got a few low end mechanicals and I have them more as a collection piece for occasional wear rather than daily wear.
If you actually want to wear your watch on a daily basis or do anything outdoorsy with them, then a quartz might be a good choice. I love my mechanicals, but it's definitely a beater quartz watch if I go out hiking or something.
 

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I wouldn't even consider an automatic (unless COSC) for accuracy. While my v7750 chrono's run pretty accurate and within specs, my daily quartz beaters (especially my Atomic GShocks) totally kill my autos in terms of accuracy over long term. Not to mention the quartz watches are generally more robust for everyday use VS autos (more moving parts inside). I've had issues with the V7750 movement on 2 different watches (one time, 5 golf swings were enough to loosen some screws inside on my Hamilton chrono). I've had to spend $300 recently on servicing my Hamilton auto chrono within 2 years while my 6 yr old Citizen Eco Drive watch has performed flawlessly without a SINGLE maintenance performed to this day.

I love my autos but if I were to keep one watch and abuse it daily, I'd definitely consider a Atomic solar powered quartz watch (more along the lines of a sapphire Citizen Skyhawk, higher end Casio Edifice, etc). Kinda ironic when Tag makes a $XXXXX watch that can measure 1/1000 sec while a $300 Citizen will do the same function with better accuracy, yet is never heard of ;-).

Marketing is a beautiful thing.

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Indeed, just to echo what others have said: My $39 Casio solar atomic is always within 1 second of Fort Collins' atomic clock. My expensive in-house Nomos automatic gains about 10 seconds a day. The beauty and attraction of mechanical movements comes from the connection with history and old-world skill, and the visual beauty - not in pure accuracy. I have a good friend and fellow WIS watch addict who strongly prefers quartz movements for their accuracy and reliability (He has some exquisite $800 quartz watches); yet for me the lure lies in the pulsing miniature machine that gives a sense of poetic beauty to the thing on my wrist. It's a personal preference... and I wear and respect my quartz watches along with my mechanicals, and I love their low maintenance and reliability. Non-discriminating watch addict? Yes, guilty as charged.
 

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One advantage of automatics is that they never need a battery replacement,another is their smoother seconds hand.Disadvantages are they break somewhat easily and need to be serviced every 5 or so years(although I never have).Best go kinetic if you want something that 'charges on your wrist',although Eco drives work just as well.(I dont see why this wasn't mentioned before)
 

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I own two few Seiko 5's, which are affordable automatic watches, and one of them, a Seiko 5 Sports, has been on canoe or hiking trips. It's much less accurate than any of my quartz watches, about 7 seconds slow each day. But, that means that after 10 days it's only just a little more than one minute slow and my hiking or canoeing trips rarely are much longer than 10 days. I don't really care about that one minute or two minutes. Although it feels solid, it definitely isn't as tough as a quartz watch.


Is it worth buying such an affordable automatic watch like a Seiko 5 or a similar watch from an other quality brand? In my opinion: yes. They are not bad watches, just different.
 

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i think the answer has nothing to do with accuracy. it has to do with what peaks your interest... meaning if you buy a mechanical is because of your curiosity of how it works, how it was made and all the little details, the machining, the oils, the materials... if you want accuracy and overall sturdiness you get a digital watch (regardless of price). it's the same as people that are interested in how an engine works but could care less about how an ipod works and vice-versa.

New to the watch world and this question has been nagging at me after looking watch after watch. Is an automatic watch really that much better than a quartz if it is a midrange watch? (under a grand) I see nice looking quartz watches and at least one reviewer of the watch is begging for an automatic version of it.

I thought quartz were more accurate but I assume if you go up to the high end watches, automatic watches are nearly as accurate as quartz. But are they really worth buying at the low to mid price range?
 
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Here's an approach:

Do you fiddle with your watch or do you want to set it twice a year when we go on and off DST? Some people prefer accuracy to what some might call 'soul', although I'm not sure that's all fair.

While there are some super accurate mechanical watches, as a general rule, they require regular correction if you are fussy about being spot on time.

I don't think one can generalize all that much about who owns what kind of watch, esp. since many of the WIS types own both kinds.

I just like the idea of a mechanical movement and I am willing to accept the fact that I'm not running on "Atomic Time", but I'm retired so it does not matter what sort of schedule I need to meet, a minute either way is sufficient.

With respect to service, my quartz Breitling costs about $70 every three years for a factory authorized service battery change and takes a couple days. My Colt Automatic cost me $300 and it's taking eight weeks so far.

It's more about liking what you buy rather than anyone else liking what you wear.
 

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With respect to service, my quartz Breitling costs about $70 every three years for a factory authorized service battery change and takes a couple days. My Colt Automatic cost me $300 and it's taking eight weeks so far.
I too have a quartz Breitling and let my local watchmaker replace the battery when needed. He charges $5. I respectfully suggest that $70 is an exorbitant fee for five minutes work.
 

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As I've posted elsewhere, I only buy a mechanical watch when I lust for the design and can't find the equivalent in quartz.

In my opinion, quartz is superior in every objective measure of a watch.

Some denigrate their need for batteries. But if that's of concern there are many excellent solar and kinetic quartz watches available.
 

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Buying an automatic isn't for accuracy, even very high end automatic watches won't be as accurate as a good $300 quartz watch.

The purchase of an automatic is more having to do with admiring the craftsmanship, and tradition of watchmaking.
Tradition I'll grant you but most affordable (less than $1,000) mechanical movements have little to do with craftsmanship. L:ike quartz movements, the lower end mechanicals are made in an assembly line and often by robotic process. That's how the manufacturer keeps the cost of the lower end mechanical movements affordable. I have wanted a mechanical movement since I purchase my latest quartz watch (that's all I currently own - a Timex Ironman, a Seiko diver and a TAG Heuer Aquaracer). I would like to own a watch with a Valjoux 7750 movement and I plan on owning one in the very near future but even that movement, as storied as it is, is made in an assembly line. In the end, not much different than a quartz movement.

The beauty of the mechanical movement, in my opinion is that it uses the movement of the wearer to keep it going. That is a pretty cool thing and what makes a mechanical movement attractive to me.
 

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To me, quartz and mechanical are two totally different animals. Yes, they are both watches, they both perform the same function but they are very different. I might like the difference between cats and dogs. They are both house pets, yet they have very different personalities.

If you think about watches only in terms of functionality, then a quartz is no different than a mechanical, (except perhaps in positive ways- it is more reasonably price, lighter, much more accurate). If you want basically just something that looks nice and tells time, a quartz might be fine for you.

However, in my mind, I would not consider owning a quartz watch owning a watch. This is not because it is not a watch because obviously it is, and not that quartz watches are worse in some objective way (because they aren't) but because the experience I have in owning mechanical watches is so different from quartz I would not consider them the same thing at all.

If you have ever owned a mechanical watch you appreciate the 'soul' it brings to the experience of owning it. The sound of the rotor, the sweep of the second hand, the ticking sound it makes, the interaction of winding and setting a watch (perhaps using a winder), the weight of the watch, learning about the movement, understanding what goes into accuracy, servicing the watch (and perhaps doing some work yourself if you become knowledgeable enough and are so inclined), the satisfaction of investing real hard earned $ in your watch, and of course planning your next grail purchase. This is an experience that cannot be quantified by 'better' or 'worse', it is just an entirely different experience that to many watch owners is an entirely different concept than quartz.

Personally, I could not wear a quartz again on any regular basis, except maybe to paint a house, pound nails, or swim in a murky lake (and even then a low end Seiko diver could be abused for this purpose). I would clearly rather wear a $150 Seagull or Seiko than a $1500 Breitling or Tag quartz.

But, that is my experience. I suggest you decide for yourself what is for you. Consider picking up a Seagull, Seiko, or Orient and seeing how you feel about it. You can always flip these for a minimal loss if you decide it's not for you. However, if you never try a mechanical you will never know what you might be missing.
 

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If you think of a watch as a tool, a quartz watch is the better tool. It's accurate, resistant to shock, small magnetic fields are unlikely to speed it up, and in the case of watches with battery EOL indicators, reliable.

If you think of a watch as jewelry, a mechanical watch wins. What nice jewelry runs off of a battery? I also just happen to like smoother second hands.

There's a place for both.
 
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