Watch movements are the heart of a watch, responsible for keeping accurate time and powering its functions. There are three main types of watch movements: quartz, mechanical, and automatic. In this article, we will explore the differences between these types of watch movements and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Closeup of a retro style yellow colored wristwatch with worn leather straps on black background.

Quartz Movements

Quartz movements are powered by a battery and regulated by a quartz crystal. They are accurate, reliable, and require little maintenance. Quartz watches are often the most affordable option and are widely available. They are also very precise, losing only a few seconds per month.

However, quartz movements lack the traditional craftsmanship and artistry of mechanical movements. They also require battery replacement every few years and do not have the same level of prestige as mechanical or automatic watches.

Mechanical Movements

Mechanical movements are powered by a spring that is wound by hand or automatically through the movement of the wearer’s wrist. They are known for their craftsmanship, intricate design, and the traditional ticking sound that they make. Mechanical movements are often seen as a sign of luxury and status, and many collectors prefer them to quartz or automatic movements.

However, mechanical movements require regular maintenance, such as oiling and cleaning, to keep them functioning properly. They are also less accurate than quartz or automatic movements, losing several seconds per day. Mechanical movements are also more expensive and may not be as widely available as quartz watches.

Automatic Movements

Automatic movements, also known as self-winding movements, are similar to mechanical movements but with the added convenience of being powered by the wearer’s movements. They use a rotor that rotates with the movement of the wrist, winding the spring and keeping the watch running. Automatic movements are highly regarded for their craftsmanship and artistry, and many luxury watches feature automatic movements.

However, automatic movements are more expensive than quartz movements and require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. They are also less accurate than quartz movements, losing several seconds per day, and may require occasional manual winding if they are not worn regularly.


Choosing the right watch movement depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and budget. Quartz movements are affordable and low-maintenance, while mechanical and automatic movements are luxurious and require more maintenance. Understanding the differences between these types of watch movements can help you make an informed decision when choosing your next timepiece.

By imedia

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