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You're putting words in my mouth. Additionally, you're adding your own value judgments and bias to the comparison.

The ETA has a long track record of being reliable - WHEN IT'S SERVICED ROUTINELY. By comparison, the Miyota 9's are a dozen years old, and no one is having them serviced, because it doesn't make sense to service one when it's cheaper to just replace the movement, and no one would do that if it's still running well.

I'm just looking at these things logically, using the facts I have available to me. I'm sure you've seen me explain the logic already, but I'll explain it again.

I've spoken to at least a dozen watchmakers about this. I ask them all the same questions about Swiss mechanical movements. Among those questions, I ask them how long the service interval really should be, because I've seen that debated endlessly online.

Their consensus is that you can stretch that interval out a bit if you're not wearing the watch every day, but even if that's the case, it really ought to be serviced by the 7 year mark, because the lubricants dry out, and there are likely to be parts in need of replacement. Delaying beyond that point is likely to do more damage to the movement, increasing the inevitable costs when the watch is eventually serviced.

To be fair, service costs vary, it seems, with location. I've seen people say they can get a movement serviced for $200 or less, but I've never had a watchmaker quote me a price that low. The lowest was never less than $300, not including the cost of any parts which need to be replaced. That also doesn't include any shipping cost, if there isn't a watchmaker within a reasonable driving distance.

You can buy a standard grade ETA 2824-2 from a supplier for about $200, including shipping. If you know how to regulate and do movement swaps, then you could just replace the movement yourself, for less than the cost of servicing one. Even if you don't know how to do it, a watchmaker might agree to swap a new movement in for an old one, but I'd bet your total cost would work out to be about the same - around $300, for the cost of the movement, and the watchmaker's time.

So, you're looking at ~$300, maybe more, whether you service or replace one of those movements. If you want to wait until the movement dies before you do that, okay, then wait. But while you're waiting, you're likely going to see a drop off in performance - decreased accuracy, and maybe decreased PR.

How does that compare to Japanese movements like the Seiko NH3x's or Miyota 9's? We say just let them run until they die.

Replacement cost? $40 for the Seiko NH3x. $100-$120 for the Miyota 9's. Swap the movement out yourself, or pay a watchmaker to do it. Even paying a watchmaker, the service is the same, so the lower movement cost means it'll be less than what you'd pay to replace a Swiss movement.

What happens while you're running them until they die? Maybe you're seeing decreased performance. But when does that start, and how severe is the drop-off?

The Seiko NH3's (7S35) is a successor to the NH25 (7S25), introduced in 2004. There are tons of 7S25's and older Seiko calibres out there, still running well without ever being serviced, some for decades, like my old Seiko Pogue (now 50 years old, and still running well). The Miyota 9 series was introduced in 2009, more than a decade ago, and we haven't heard of massive failures in the meantime.

Can we say for sure what will happen with the NH35 or Miyota 9 series in the future? No, but when we look at the longevity of other Miyota movements, like the 8215 (introduced in 1977), and all the vintage Seiko and Citizens running well without being serviced for decades, and we look at how robust and reliable the newer calibres are, I think it's reasonable to expect these newer calibres to also be maintenance free for decades.

I don't think any reasonable person would truly assume this, but if we want to be absurd, we can worry that the Japanese movements will need to be serviced or replaced just as often as a Swiss movement should be serviced or replaced - no less frequently than every 7 years. Okay, assuming the worst, the cost to replace one of the Japanese movements is still going to be less than the cost of servicing or replacing a Swiss movement.

So, in that way, I think it's fair to say the Japanese movements ARE superior, at least in terms of long-term ownership costs.
Ah ok, so you don't think they'll last longer if you leave both ETA and Miyota unserviced, just that it's superior in terms of cost saving. I agree, swapping out affordable reliable movements does make a lot of economical sense. It's why I love NH35 in anything <$500.

Loads of Swiss movements left unserviced for decades that still tick along (I know loads of people buying Swiss watches don't even know the concept of servicing). I think people expect this when paying for Swiss, but you hear more about Japanese lasting long because they are much cheaper and perhaps surprise people. I don't think one is significantly better than the other when it comes to unserviced longevity.

The cheapest you've seen for a service is $300? My only Swiss mechanical movement is in a Stowa (2824Top), and they charge €190 ($230) for a full service inc replacing parts. I don't wear it as a daily so might service it every 10 years or so...~€20 a year, really nothing to panic about.

If I did have something worth, say, $700 with an SW200 inside it, I would probably treat it like a Miyota and run it to the ground and then perhaps even replace it with a PT5000 (or whatever solid ETA2824 clone is on the market at that time).
 

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To me, the beauty of quartz is in the timekeeping, form factor and expression of technology.

While I generally roll my eyes at the notion of mechanical watches having "soul" I also get where the argument comes from. Like Doc, I enjoy the interaction of setting a dead mechanical and bringing it back to power (life). It's not uncommon for me to wear an auto watch later into the evening than normal just to keep the power reserve up. I imagine it's how some folks felt about their Tamagotchi.

Quartz offers better packaging allowing thinner watches, on average, than auto movements.

My first "nice" watch was an ESQ (division of Movado) with an ETA quartz that has an End Of Life indicator which takes the worry out of finding a dead watch. Love that feature, it's pretty common on nicer quartz watches.

While I used to change my own batteries, with age the charm of DIY has worn thin and now happy to outsource the chore. Have found a local jewelry shop/AD that does a battery swap very reasonably priced and I know it won't get mangled like at a mall kiosk. Gives me a great reason to check out the current Seiko, Hamilton and Oris lines too.

Have sent several watches back to Shinola for service and think it's a fair deal at $25. They check the seals, replacing if necessary and WR test them keeping the warranty against water intrusion in place after service.

Love the grab and go utility of my quartz watches in a bigger collection.
 

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Ah ok, so you don't think they'll last longer if you leave both ETA and Miyota unserviced, just that it's superior in terms of cost saving.
No, I actually do think they'll last longer, based on all my observations of all the available facts. I just can't prove it, because not enough time has passed.

I agree, swapping out affordable reliable movements does make a lot of economical sense. It's why I love NH35 in anything <$500.

Loads of Swiss movements left unserviced for decades that still tick along (I know loads of people buying Swiss watches don't even know the concept of servicing). I think people expect this when paying for Swiss, but you hear more about Japanese lasting long because they are much cheaper and perhaps surprise people. I don't think one is significantly better than the other when it comes to unserviced longevity.
This is where we disagree. We're both dealing with anecdotal evidence. But I think the preponderance of evidence skews in favor of the Japanese movements.

Consider that most vintage Swiss mechanical watches you'd find on eBay or elsewhere will include some mention of a recent service in the listing. If it didn't, a smart buyer would ask about it, and factor it into their offer.

You don't see that nearly as much, if at all, with vintage Japanese mechanical watches.

The cheapest you've seen for a service is $300? My only Swiss mechanical movement is in a Stowa (2824Top), and they charge €190 ($230) for a full service inc replacing parts. I don't wear it as a daily so might service it every 10 years or so...~€20 a year, really nothing to panic about.
$230 is a bargain, compared to what every watchmaker I've asked has quoted me - around $300, if not more, depending on what's needed. Does that $230 include the ~20% VAT, and shipping the watch back and forth?

Do you know if they're servicing the movement themselves, in house, or farming that work out to anyone else? If they farm it out, to whom are they sending your watch? Do you know?

Have you had any watches serviced after a 10 year interval? Was the cost really that low?

I find it implausible that $230 would include ANY and ALL parts which need to be replaced, but I'll take you at your word, since I couldn't find that info when I looked at the Stowa website just now.

I did find that they recommend servicing the movements every 4-5 years, though, so I think it's more fair to say you should expect to pay at least ~€40 per year, not ~€20. Whether or not to panic about it is up to you.

I plan to let all my watches run until they die, before I even think about what to do at that point, and what it might cost, so my level of panic is nil.
 
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No, I actually do think they'll last longer, based on all my observations of all the available facts. I just can't prove it, because not enough time has passed.

This is where we disagree. We're both dealing with anecdotal evidence. But I think the preponderance of evidence skews in favor of the Japanese movements.

Consider that most vintage Swiss mechanical watches you'd find on eBay or elsewhere will include some mention of a recent service in the listing. If it didn't, a smart buyer would ask about it, and factor it into their offer.

You don't see that nearly as much, if at all, with vintage Japanese mechanical watches.
oh, so what words did I put in your mouth were incorrect then?

As you say there's no real evidence, it's mostly anecdotal. I doubt vintage Japanese really has a significantly better track-record for unserviced longevity than vintage Swiss. Perhaps a vintage expert would know better.
With 9015 vs 2824, they are quite similar. I think it's silly to suggest the Miyota is superior for longevity, especially since it's much newer.


$230 is a bargain, compared to what every watchmaker I've asked has quoted me - around $300, if not more, depending on what's needed. Does that $230 include the ~20% VAT, and shipping the watch back and forth?

Do you know if they're servicing the movement themselves, in house, or farming that work out to anyone else? If they farm it out, to whom are they sending your watch? Do you know?

Have you had any watches serviced after a 10 year interval? Was the cost really that low?

I find it implausible that $230 would include ANY and ALL parts which need to be replaced, but I'll take you at your word, since I couldn't find that info when I looked at the Stowa website just now.

I did find that they recommend servicing the movements every 4-5 years, though, so I think it's more fair to say you should expect to pay at least ~€40 per year, not ~€20. Whether or not to panic about it is up to you.

I plan to let all my watches run until they die, before I even think about what to do at that point, and what it might cost, so my level of panic is nil.
it's inc VAT, ex shipping. I don't have a good watchmaker near me so shipping is basically a given.

In German it said €190 but the English pdf quotes €175 ($213): (edit: the English one is an older pdf, it's now €190)
It says it includes replacing parts.

I know Nomos charges $280 for a full service of their basic movement, and about parts mention:
"It’s helpful to know that parts replaced because of normal wear and tear are included in the cost of a complete service. But if the watch is no longer ticking because of external damage, we may have to replace additional parts. We will charge extra for these—but, of course, will notify you about it beforehand."
I'm guessing something similar is the case with Stowa. Parts included doesn't mean I expect I can drop off a dead/near-dead movement and expect no extra charge. I haven't done this btw.

From Stowa's website under Repair & Watch Services:
''Right on receipt of your watch, we inform you about the arrival and our in-house watch makers will check your watch for any flaws.''
they also have pictures of some of the servicing tools, so I'm guessing they do it in-house.


I think I read someone getting their Steinhart serviced with Steinhart for even less. I'm guessing if you only service your own watches, you can keep costs lower. Until you go higher-end Swiss and you hear service horror-stories 😂 😅
 

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oh, so what words did I put in your mouth were incorrect then?

As you say there's no real evidence, it's mostly anecdotal. I doubt vintage Japanese really has a significantly better track-record for unserviced longevity than vintage Swiss. Perhaps a vintage expert would know better.
With 9015 vs 2824, they are quite similar. I think it's silly to suggest the Miyota is superior for longevity, especially since it's much newer.
For the record, anecdotal evidence is real evidence, albeit, not generally considered as reliable as evidence derived from large data sets. But, we're allowed to disagree about what conclusions we draw from that anecdotal evidence, and even from the large data sets, if we have them. And it appears we do (disagree).

The 9015 isn't really at all similar to the 2824-2, in any way. They're radically different designs, separated by 40 years of innovation, and come from vastly different cultures / mindsets. Which you choose to put your faith in is up to you.

I'll put my faith in the newer calibre from Japan. Time will tell which one of us backed the right horse.

it's inc VAT, ex shipping. I don't have a good watchmaker near me so shipping is basically a given.

In German it said €190 but the English pdf quotes €175 ($213): (edit: the English one is an older pdf, it's now €190)
It says it includes replacing parts.

I know Nomos charges $280 for a full service of their basic movement, and about parts mention:
"It’s helpful to know that parts replaced because of normal wear and tear are included in the cost of a complete service. But if the watch is no longer ticking because of external damage, we may have to replace additional parts. We will charge extra for these—but, of course, will notify you about it beforehand."
I'm guessing something similar is the case with Stowa. Parts included doesn't mean I expect I can drop off a dead/near-dead movement and expect no extra charge. I haven't done this btw.

From Stowa's website under Repair & Watch Services:
''Right on receipt of your watch, we inform you about the arrival and our in-house watch makers will check your watch for any flaws.''
they also have pictures of some of the servicing tools, so I'm guessing they do it in-house.


I think I read someone getting their Steinhart serviced with Steinhart for even less. I'm guessing if you only service your own watches, you can keep costs lower. Until you go higher-end Swiss and you hear service horror-stories 😂 😅
Fair enough mate. 190 Euro is roughly $230, not including shipping costs.

But even if the shipping costs $70 round trip (it would likely cost a bit more, for someone here in the US, where the going rate for a basic service appears to be $300), and that brought the total to $300, that seems like a very fair bargain Stowa is striking with its customers, so kudos to them.

I wonder if they've factored that apparent subsidy they're providing to customers on that future service cost into the price of their watches. That's what any smart business would do.

It appears the cheapest watch they make, a marine watch with a basic/standard 2824-2, is $750, not including the VAT. That's not exactly "cheap" for what it is (a basic three-hander with 5ATM WR).

Since you mentioned Steinhart - I wasn't able to find anything on their site about maintenance services, but I did notice they sell a 3-hand pilot, with the same WR as the Stowa marine watch, and an elabore grade SW200 for about $520, excluding the VAT, or, almost exactly $230 less than Stowa charges for a watch with virtually identical specs and components.

What a coincidence.

Perhaps Stowa has factored that future service liability into their watch prices. I would, if I were them, so it certainly seems reasonable to me if they did.
 
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Silly me, I thought this thread was to celebrate the beauty of quartz movements, at least for those who DO appreciate them.
Yep. I'd wanted to bugger off after my first post, but the debates seem unavoidable.

Anyhoo, I'll bugger off now, and leave you all to it.

Cheers!
 

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For the record, anecdotal evidence is real evidence, albeit, not generally considered as reliable as evidence derived from large data sets. But, we're allowed to disagree about what conclusions we draw from that anecdotal evidence, and even from the large data sets, if we have them. And it appears we do (disagree).

The 9015 isn't really at all similar to the 2824-2, in any way. They're radically different designs, separated by 40 years of innovation, and come from vastly different cultures / mindsets. Which you choose to put your faith in is up to you.

I'll put my faith in the newer calibre from Japan. Time will tell which one of us backed the right horse.



Fair enough mate. 190 Euro is roughly $230, not including shipping costs.

But even if the shipping costs $70 round trip (it would likely cost a bit more, for someone here in the US, where the going rate for a basic service appears to be $300), and that brought the total to $300, that seems like a very fair bargain Stowa is striking with its customers, so kudos to them.

I wonder if they've factored that apparent subsidy they're providing to customers on that future service cost into the price of their watches. That's what any smart business would do.

It appears the cheapest watch they make, a marine watch with a basic/standard 2824-2, is $750, not including the VAT. That's not exactly "cheap" for what it is (a basic three-hander with 5ATM WR).

Since you mentioned Steinhart - I wasn't able to find anything on their site about maintenance services, but I did notice they sell a 3-hand pilot, with the same WR as the Stowa marine watch, and an elabore grade SW200 for about $520, excluding the VAT, or, almost exactly $230 less than Stowa charges for a watch with virtually identical specs and components.

What a coincidence.

Perhaps Stowa has factored that future service liability into their watch prices. I would, if I were them, so it certainly seems reasonable to me if they did.
As I said I think Steinhart servicing is similarly cheap. So the $230 difference is maybe in part due to service and heritage etc, but I think it's well known Steinhart offer such insane value using economies of scale and cutting costs on labour and components (using China). I mean, who isn't more expensive than Steinhart for similar specs? Stowa uses Asian components too of course, but I'm confident if you put the Steinhart flieger next to a Stowa marine you can notice some of that price difference. I know Stowa has German blued hands and they do case finishing in-house, among other things. afaik Steinhart orders from China.

Anyway, I'm surprised you of all people are doing this specs and components comparison with Steinhart. Is it just service that makes an NTH sub more expensive than a Steinhart sub with similar specs (although Steinhart movements are more expensive)? Of course not.


P.S. quartz movements are cool. More VH31 sweeping quartz movements please
 

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Adding to original discussion apart from whole technology, thing with quartz, and fit and finish of higher end movements. There is a organic feel with multi motor ones like you will find in one below:
15871474

Does not look like it but watch is more alive than anything else. It consumes light, reacts to it by going to sleep or waking up, listening to radio waves and when you change modes hands move in very organized and purposeful way. It gives truly unique sense to owning one it' like some smart pet. This one has least amount of fit and finish yet i really like it.
 

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Yep. I'd wanted to bugger off after my first post, but the debates seem unavoidable.

Anyhoo, I'll bugger off now, and leave you all to it.

Cheers!
Well, you certainly weren't the only one who wanted you to bugger off. And I'm not sure your first post was necessary, or appropriate to the thread either.

I would think the owner of a watch company would be interested to hear and explore what it is about better-grade quartz movements that appeals to a certain segment of watch enthusiasts in order to better understand the potential market.

Instead you chose to rather loudly defend your personal bias with narrow-minded hyperbole, and do so by negatively disrupting what should have been a very positive thread on the merits of quartz movements. I realize you weren't the only one piling on. But this thread was not the right place for such a debate. 20 demerits!
 

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Apart from the convenience of quartz I appreciate the thinness that sometimes flows through to the watch’s form factor.
I had a Citizen and a Seiko (replaced the Citizen) that were nice tasteful rectangular very thin watches.
At least one of them was a 2 hander, I’m not sure if the lack of the seconds hand contributed to the thinness.
 

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Apart from the convenience of quartz I appreciate the thinness that sometimes flows through to the watch’s form factor.
I had a Citizen and a Seiko (replaced the Citizen) that were nice tasteful rectangular very thin watches.
At least one of them was a 2 hander, I’m not sure if the lack of the seconds hand contributed to the thinness.
Ultra thin quartz 2-hander? Reminds me of an Omega that a colleague of mine used to wear.

15871967


So thin it has to be set with a pusher, rather than a crown.

15871968


There's an example of quartz technology contributing directly to the beauty of a watch.
 

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What is this "mechanical watch" thing I keep hearing about? Is it steam powered? Coal boiler and all? :oops:

I get pissed if my watch can't stay within a few minutes a year.....so I don't think my watches will ever be steam powered.
 

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Thanks for the detailed response. Do you think that doing a lot of vibration prone sports while wearing the watch would cause the watch to do a poorer job winding itself? Most of my ETA movements are fine, but this one movement, on a watch that I've worn for all kinds of sports, just doesn't seem to self wind very well any more. It may make it 4 hours after take it off before it runs out of power, which just seems odd to me for a watch with a 40 hour power reserve. I basically have to wind it (10-20 turns) every night if I expect it to be telling time in the morning. It tells time fine, just doesn't seem to build up much of a reserve.

I may be misunderstanding you, or vice-versa. Either way, I'll try to help, and also try to be clear.

First, I'm not sure what you mean by "like yours". We've never made a bronze watch, nor used any ETA movements. We have used the STP1-11 though, which is somewhat of an ETA clone.

What we found is that despite popular opinion on the internet, the bi-directional winding did not make them more efficient auto-winders. There were a number of customers who thought they were moving around enough to fully wind the watches by the time they took them off, but apparently they weren't, because we couldn't find anything wrong with the auto-winding when we tested them.

That said, even though we've found the uni-directionally winding Miyotas to be very efficient (and more efficient than the bi-directional winders), we have still had some folks who just weren't moving around enough. In either case, yeah, you need to hand-wind the watch to supplement the auto-winding.

There's no reason why they would know this, unless they went looking for the info, but I'm guessing most watch geeks don't realize the difference in efficiency between hand-winding and auto-winding. The movement might only need 25-40 full turns of the crown to be fully wound, but 1000-1200 full rotations of the rotor. Think about that, and do the math.

If a unidirectional rotor gets 1/3 of a turn for each complete back-and-forth swing of your arm, you'd need to take 3,000 steps before it's fully wound.

With the bi-directionals, it's no better. They have a "dead-spot" whenever the rotor changes direction. There's about 20-30 degrees of rotation that adds nothing to the power reserve, whenever the rotor changes direction.

With the Swiss movements, sometimes the winding mechanism isn't adequately lubricated (I think specifically, in the reverser wheels), which I think can lead to less efficient auto-winding. If your rotor spins when you hand-wind with the crown, that's a dead giveaway.

With the Miyotas, as counter-intuitive as this seems, less lubrication actually makes the rotor spin MORE, so it winds even faster, albeit, at the cost of more wear-and-tear on the mechanism, and a louder rotor. More lubrication is the only thing that will make it quieter, but at the expense of becoming less efficient at auto-winding.

Since you quoted my response to someone else, about the maintenance intervals - I went out of my way to be very specific with my earlier comments. I do NOT expect a Swiss movement to run well, for decades, without service.

Having asked at least half a dozen watchmakers about it, the consensus was that at the longest, you shouldn't go more than 7 years before having a Swiss mechanical serviced. The lubricants dry out, and you're grinding gears at that point.

But with the entry-level, workhorse movements from Japan, it just doesn't make economic sense to service them, ever, because it's cheaper to just replace them. Since that's true, then their maintenance interval is the same as their service life. That isn't 2-3 years, or 5-7 years. It's however long it takes until the movement needs to be replaced. If the movement is still running and keeping time, why would you replace it?

No one in their right mind would pay more to service one, or even bother to replace one, while it's still running well and keeping time.

If the movement dies, and it's still under warranty, send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement (that's what we do). If it's not under warranty, then just drop a new unit into the case. Otherwise, let it run until it won't run no more.

We've had to replace maybe 1 unit for every 1000 we've shipped. It's ridiculous how well they run. And it's not up to me to prove that people AREN'T servicing them (since it's impossible to prove the negative). It's up to someone else to prove that people ARE servicing them, and in large enough numbers to negate my basic point - these Japanese movements are effectively maintenance-free.

I guarantee that can't be disproven, since we know their short-term failure rate is insanely low.
 

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Thanks for the detailed response. Do you think that doing a lot of vibration prone sports while wearing the watch would cause the watch to do a poorer job winding itself? Most of my ETA movements are fine, but this one movement, on a watch that I've worn for all kinds of sports, just doesn't seem to self wind very well any more. It may make it 4 hours after take it off before it runs out of power, which just seems odd to me for a watch with a 40 hour power reserve. I basically have to wind it (10-20 turns) every night if I expect it to be telling time in the morning. It tells time fine, just doesn't seem to build up much of a reserve.
The question is outside the limits of my knowledge of the subject. Sorry, mate.
 
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Regarding the conversation around service cost, one of the benefits of living in an affordable market. My local AWCI registered and seasoned watchmaker will do a basic service (plus parts cost if necessary) for $150. It really helps me justify purchases in that $500-$1k range
 
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