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Speaking only for myself, my interest in mechanical watches grew from the frustration of having to change batteries in a quartz watch every couple years. Even for solar-powered or kinetic quartz movements, my understanding is that there are components, such as capacitors, which will need to be replaced every decade or so.

But with mechanical movements, particularly the Japanese mechanical movements, they're effectively maintenance-free for decades.

I'm not an engineer. Far from it. I'm not remotely mechanically inclined. When my watchmaker starts trying to explain how the mechanical movements work, my eyes glaze over.

What I am is a pragmatist (an almost militant one, at that). What few things I buy, I try to make last as long as I can. I'll drive a car until it's not worth what it will cost to keep it road-worthy.

I appreciate the "buy one and you're done" nature of any product, but mechanical watches in particular, in an age when so much of what we buy is designed to be disposable, or otherwise intended to be made obsolete by future iterations of the same product.

I respect other enthusiasts preference for quartz, if that's what they like. But no quartz for me, thanks.
Great point Doc. I do agree with the longevity and am old enough to disdain a throw away society as well. Interesting topic if you drill into it at multiple levels.
 

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Great, now this thread has me searching for GP with that surprisingly nice looking displayed quartz movement
 

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Speaking only for myself, my interest in mechanical watches grew from the frustration of having to change batteries in a quartz watch every couple years. Even for solar-powered or kinetic quartz movements, my understanding is that there are components, such as capacitors, which will need to be replaced every decade or so.

But with mechanical movements, particularly the Japanese mechanical movements, they're effectively maintenance-free for decades.
Well, technically in the lifespan of a battery, you should have your mechanical watch serviced for a couple hundred dollars. Not that most people bother doing that. Shoot, for some Seiko's, its cheaper to just plop in a new movement rather than get it serviced.

I keep a couple of quartz watches running so I can set my mechanical watches to them when their power runs down. Rather why I don't want to be bothered with a date on a mechanical watch. I can set the time, but the date is too big a PIA. With a quartz - at least I have a reasonable hope of keeping the date up to date!
 

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Speaking only for myself, my interest in mechanical watches grew from the frustration of having to change batteries in a quartz watch every couple years. Even for solar-powered or kinetic quartz movements, my understanding is that there are components, such as capacitors, which will need to be replaced every decade or so.

But with mechanical movements, particularly the Japanese mechanical movements, they're effectively maintenance-free for decades.

I'm not an engineer. Far from it. I'm not remotely mechanically inclined. When my watchmaker starts trying to explain how the mechanical movements work, my eyes glaze over.

What I am is a pragmatist (an almost militant one, at that). What few things I buy, I try to make last as long as I can. I'll drive a car until it's not worth what it will cost to keep it road-worthy.

I appreciate the "buy one and you're done" nature of any product, but mechanical watches in particular, in an age when so much of what we buy is designed to be disposable, or otherwise intended to be made obsolete by future iterations of the same product.

I respect other enthusiasts' preference for quartz, if that's what they like. But no quartz for me, thanks.
I find it super interesting that I am in a similar boat but in reverse. I got mechanical watches first because everyone was recommending them to me when I was looking for a watch. Exact time precision wasn't super important to me so I tried out a bunch of mechanical watches but ultimately switched almost entirely to quartz.

I got tired of setting the time and the date on them, tired of worrying whether it was going to be damaged from shock (I live a rather active life style), and servicing a mechanical movement was a terrible experience (no watch for months and the costs were enough to buy a new watch). When my quartz battery dies, it takes me just a few minutes to change it out for the price of a battery. I set the time on it like once a year and, so far, I haven't managed to kill a quartz movement from everyday use. If you don't service mechanical movement, they frequently start having lots of problem in a decade or so. If you really hate changing batteries every 5 or so years, you can always spring for solar but I've never had the need.

I am not arguing that one is better than the other. Just very interesting to me that we come from similar points of view but arrived on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I think that it's a testament to there not being an objectively superior product between the two.
 

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Well, technically in the lifespan of a battery, you should have your mechanical watch serviced for a couple hundred dollars.
I hate to get pedantic (he said, right before he got pedantic), but...no.

A typical quartz battery lasts how long? 2-3 years? No one is getting their mechanical movements serviced within that time frame, not even Swiss movements. Most peeps will wait as long as possible to get their Swiss mechanical watches serviced, 5-7 years, typically, before they realize the movement needs it.

No one in their right mind would have one of the more common Japanese movements serviced within that time, or really ever, because you can just replace the movement for less. And why would you do that if the movement still runs and keeps good time?

You wouldn't. No one does. We let them run until they die. It might be 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. I had a birth year (1971) Seiko Pogue. Got it about 6 years ago. It was never serviced. Gave it to a friend a couple years later. It still runs and keeps time fairly well.

I respect the opinion that quartz watches are "less fussy" than mechanicals, as far as it goes, but it only goes so far. It doesn't go far enough to remove the fact that most batteries will still need to be changed much more frequently than most Japanese mechanical movements will require a replacement.
 

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But with mechanical movements, particularly the Japanese mechanical movements, they're effectively maintenance-free for decades.
This is simply not true. If this is your experience with mechanicals, that's awesome, but most mechanical movements have a service interval below 5 years and servicing a mechanical movement is much more expensive than a battery change. See this article on Seiko's mechanical service intervals and official service costs: Seiko Watch Service Intervals and Prices Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
The only exceptions to that service interval that I have heard of are Vostok and Rolex, with advertised 10-year service intervals. But they will absolutely not guarantee proper function after "decades" without service as you claim.

I have heard many more stories about people using their Seiko solars and especially their Citizen Eco-Drive watches without maintenance for a decade or more. Yes, technically you should get a capacitor replaced by then, but those are very easy to find and still cheap and easy to replace vs. servicing a mechanical.
 

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I find it super interesting that I am in a similar boat but in reverse. I got mechanical watches first because everyone was recommending them to me when I was looking for a watch. Exact time precision wasn't super important to me so I tried out a bunch of mechanical watches but ultimately switched almost entirely to quartz.

I got tired of setting the time and the date on them, tired of worrying whether it was going to be damaged from shock (I live a rather active life style), and servicing a mechanical movement was a terrible experience (no watch for months and the costs were enough to buy a new watch). When my quartz battery dies, it takes me just a few minutes to change it out for the price of a battery. I set the time on it like once a year and, so far, I haven't managed to kill a quartz movement from everyday use. If you don't service mechanical movement, they frequently start having lots of problem in a decade or so. If you really hate changing batteries every 5 or so years, you can always spring for solar but I've never had the need.

I am not arguing that one is better than the other. Just very interesting to me that we come from similar points of view but arrived on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I think that it's a testament to there not being an objectively superior product between the two.
The risk of shock is overblown. I was just on vacation, and wore the same watch when we went ATV riding, and cliff-diving, mostly as an experiment to see if there would be any effect. The vibration while riding ATV's was constant. The cliff diving was a free-fall from a height of 30 feet, high enough that it hurt my feet when I hit the water. My watch was running +2 s/d at the end of it.

Servicing mechanicals sucks. No doubt. That's why all but one of my watches has a Japanese movement, one I can replace for less than it would cost to service a Swiss movement. My oldest one is from 2014, and it still runs well. I expect them all to be maintenance free for decades.

I had a solar watch. I appreciate the longer maintenance interval, but still, I've read the capacitors start to go in about ten years. Maybe it's more. Whatever it is, I wouldn't expect one to last as long as I expect my mechanicals to last before they up and die, or just start under-performing.

But, I agree that there isn't an objectively superior solution here. If the highest possible accuracy is your thing, and you don't mind changing out batteries as often as they need it, go with quartz. If you're like me, and just don't want to bother, with either battery changes, or periodic maintenance on a mechanical, then go Japanese.

Different horses for different courses.
 

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This is simply not true. If this is your experience with mechanicals, that's awesome, but most mechanical movements have a service interval below 5 years and servicing a mechanical movement is much more expensive than a battery change. See this article on Seiko's mechanical service intervals and official service costs: Seiko Watch Service Intervals and Prices Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
The only exceptions to that service interval that I have heard of are Vostok and Rolex, with advertised 10-year service intervals. But they will absolutely not guarantee proper function after "decades" without service as you claim.

I have heard many more stories about people using their Seiko solars and especially their Citizen Eco-Drive watches without maintenance for a decade or more. Yes, technically you should get a capacitor replaced by then, but those are very easy to find and still cheap and easy to replace vs. servicing a mechanical.
Sorry, but it simply IS true.

Full disclosure, I own a company that makes watches. We've used thousands of Japanese movements, from Seiko and Miyota. I haven't heard of anyone having any of them (from my brand, or any other) serviced, at all. It just doesn't make sense to do so. I don't care what the "recommended" interval is.

We actually guarantee the movements for 6 years, we're that confident in their longevity.

Seiko's blowing smoke. The service center is akin to the service department at a car dealership. It's a revenue center for them.

Why would you pay $118 plus shipping to send your watch to Seiko for servicing a 7S movement, when you can buy a new one on eBay for $30-$40? A watchmaker MIGHT charge you $50 to drop it in and regulate it for you, if you didn't know how to do it yourself.

And why would you bother, if it's still running well?
 

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This is simply not true. If this is your experience with mechanicals, that's awesome, but most mechanical movements have a service interval below 5 years and servicing a mechanical movement is much more expensive than a battery change. See this article on Seiko's mechanical service intervals and official service costs: Seiko Watch Service Intervals and Prices Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
The only exceptions to that service interval that I have heard of are Vostok and Rolex, with advertised 10-year service intervals. But they will absolutely not guarantee proper function after "decades" without service as you claim.

I have heard many more stories about people using their Seiko solars and especially their Citizen Eco-Drive watches without maintenance for a decade or more. Yes, technically you should get a capacitor replaced by then, but those are very easy to find and still cheap and easy to replace vs. servicing a mechanical.
Gotta disagree. I have several Hamilton's from the 60's and earlier that didn't have any service marks inside the case or back. Were they serviced? Probably not. If you want to dig deeper the Seiko 5's with the 7S26 series have gone 25+ years with no service. Is it ideal? Of course not, but it's possible. No quartz battery lasts that long. The capacitor in a kinetic? Nope, maybe 10 average. Eco drive is closest. Mechanical will always last longer hence my comment to repair and continue to enjoy these vintage mechanical or buy a new one to keep and pass down but still definitely enjoy modern quartz for the ease of use and convenience. But no question of which is more durable and long lasting and easily serviced and repaired.
 

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A parts supplier we use has new Seiko NH3x's for $40. They're $37 on eBay.

Why service one? Let it run until it dies, or just isn't keeping time, then drop a new movement in.

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Sorry for the similar response, seems Doc and I were on the same thought train.... Even though I do embrace some quartz :);)
 

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I haven't heard of anyone having any of them (from my brand, or any other) serviced, at all. It just doesn't make sense to do so.
Just because you haven't heard of anyone doing it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I have certainly heard of them getting serviced. And of course, I'd wager it is typical for people to take their NH3x or Miyota 8k watches to be serviced or entirely replaced by local watchmakers at a much lower rate than Seiko charges. But service or buying a new movement after 10 years is still more expensive and labor intensive than battery changes over a similar period.

I would not be surprised if some mechanicals last for a very long time (10+ years) without service, but there are many cases where they don't. When I pay a good chunk of change for a watch, I'll put aside some money to keep running well. But that's just me.
 

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I personally enjoy my quartz watches just as much as my mechanicals. They both have strengths and weaknesses.

This Certina is probably my favorite quartz in my collection. The thermocompensated movement is awesome - no need for a time signal from the internet, no need for me to check my phone or computer to keep the time accurate. It just stands alone. Something about that really appeals to me. Mine has been accurate to about +1-2 sec when I change the hour for DST. That's +1-2 for about 6 months, so about + 0.01 sec deviation per day.
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Just because you haven't heard of anyone doing it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I have certainly heard of them getting serviced. And of course, I'd wager it is typical for people to take their NH3x or Miyota 8k watches to be serviced or entirely replaced by local watchmakers at a much lower rate than Seiko charges. But service or buying a new movement after 10 years is still more expensive and labor intensive than battery changes over a similar period.

I would not be surprised if some mechanicals last for a very long time (10+ years) without service, but there are many cases where they don't. When I pay a good chunk of change for a watch, I'll put aside some money to keep running well. But that's just me.
Okay. The sheer volume of people saying they're servicing their Seikos every 2-3 years is enough to persuade me you're entirely correct.

Congrats. You won the argument.

This message isn't angry, that's just my thumbs typing furiously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Good write up, though I am so petty that small typos in articles pester me.

I was already familiar with the basic concepts of a quartz movement, but I was not aware of the method used to compensate for temperature on HAQ. Thank you

Something I find humorous is that purists often seem to despise quartz vs. mechanical, but it is acceptable when silicon is increasingly used in mechanical watches lol
@Mediocre can you have a quick glance and see if it reads better now? I hope so. Thank you for keeping me on my toes.
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Speaking only for myself, my interest in mechanical watches grew from the frustration of having to change batteries in a quartz watch every couple years. Even for solar-powered or kinetic quartz movements, my understanding is that there are components, such as capacitors, which will need to be replaced every decade or so.

But with mechanical movements, particularly the Japanese mechanical movements, they're effectively maintenance-free for decades.

I'm not an engineer. Far from it. I'm not remotely mechanically inclined. When my watchmaker starts trying to explain how the mechanical movements work, my eyes glaze over.

What I am is a pragmatist (an almost militant one, at that). What few things I buy, I try to make last as long as I can. I'll drive a car until it's not worth what it will cost to keep it road-worthy.

I appreciate the "buy one and you're done" nature of any product, but mechanical watches in particular, in an age when so much of what we buy is designed to be disposable, or otherwise intended to be made obsolete by future iterations of the same product.

I respect other enthusiasts' preference for quartz, if that's what they like. But no quartz for me, thanks.
Thank you. You make great points. I love to geek out about technology. When it comes to wearing a watch, I only wear an automatic watch. I am not sure what that says about me, you decide!:D
Steve
 

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@Mediocre can you have a quick glance and see if it reads better now? I hope so. Thank you for keeping me on my toes.
Steve
Lol, thanks. I re-read it. It reads well, but it was already better written than most watch blogs I have seen.

Thank you. You make great points. I love to geek out about technology. When it comes to wearing a watch, I only wear an automatic watch. I am not sure what that says about me, you decide!:D
Steve
It may say that you are part of a company that currently only offers automatics ;)

I proudly wear automatic, manual, solar, traditional quartz, and HAQ. This is part of the reason I appreciate your blog post. Informative and respectful of the often debased quartz movement!
 
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