Quartz Watch VS Mechanical Watch: Comparison and Purchase Guide

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When starting your own watch brand or customizing a logo watch, one of the first decisions you need to make is: quartz or mechanical movement? Understanding the key differences between them is essential for making the best choice aligned with your brand positioning and target consumers.

As a leading Chinese watch manufacturer and OEM/ODM partner Romlicen, we work with many startups and brands designing high-quality custom watches. Through our experience, we want to outline everything you need to know when deciding between quartz and mechanical for your new timepieces.

In this blog article, we dive deep into all the differences between quartz and mechanical watches – from accuracy, internal mechanisms, pricing, lifetime, maintenance needs and more. You’ll get insights into the unique advantages and disadvantages of each movement type. Most importantly, we provide recommendations on factors to consider when selecting quartz or mechanical for your custom branded watches or logo watches.

Whether you’re leaning toward affordability and reliability with quartz or appreciate the craftsmanship of mechanical watches, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore the quarz versus mechanical decision in-depth so you can determine the best fit for your brand vision and target consumer preferences!

What is a Quartz Watch

A quartz watch, powered by a battery, utilizes an electronic oscillator regulated by a quartz crystal to keep precise time. This battery-powered system contrasts with mechanical watches which operate through an intricate system of gears, springs and balances.

As we covered extensively in our previous blog “What is a Quartz Watch”, quartz timepieces deliver unmatched accuracy and reliability in affordable packages. They outperform their mechanical counterparts in terms of precision, only losing around 1-2 seconds per month. This is due to the high-frequency stability of vibrating quartz crystals under electric current as the timekeeping element. With no need for winding, the low-maintenance quartz-powered systems also facilitate more complications like date windows, chronographs, and moon phase indicators.

Inside a quartz watch, a battery sends electrical signals through the quartz crystal, causing predictable and steady vibrations at 32,768Hz. These vibrations are accompanied by electrical discharges, counted by the circuit to accurately keep time. The circuit then transfers timekeeping data electronically to the motor to move the hands consistently across the watch dial.

Comprised of around 50-60 parts and about 500-600 manufacturing steps, quartz movements are simpler systems than mechanical movements. This makes them more cost-effective as it requires less rigorous craftsmanship during assembly. As a leading Chinese watch manufacturer, Romlicen creates high-quality quartz timepieces packed with smart features. We also offer quartz watch customization for startups and brands seeking accurate and affordable watch movements.

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How Does a Quartz Watch Work

Understanding the mechanisms powering a quartz watch provides deeper insight into why they are some of the most precise timekeepers. As covered in our previously published blog “How Does a Quartz Watch Work”, the battery, quartz crystal, integrated circuit and motor are the key components enabling accuracy through electrical pulses.

Power starts with the battery, providing electrical currents to the quartz crystal. The crystal then rapidly vibrates at frequencies of 32,768 Hz released as electrical signals. The consistent nature of these electrical discharges makes quartz the ideal regulator for timekeeping.

The integrated circuit is equipped to count the 32,768 Hz vibrations from the crystal and convert this data into one second increments. The counted timekeeping information enables the circuit to communicate instructions about clock positions to the motor. Finally, the motor rotates the mechanical gears and hands on the watch face to display the time.

During this automated process of crystal vibrating, circuit counting and motor moving, a quartz watch requires no winding, lever-pulling or manual intervention beyond occasional battery replacement. From digitally-regulated electrical tasks, quartz watches easily achieve precision of +/- 10 seconds per year. This is why most affordable watches choose quartz movement, including many top brands offering custom watch manufacturing services like us here at Romlicen. We expertly install high-quality quartz movements for unrivaled accuracy.

Quartz Watch Movement

What is a Mechanical Watch

A mechanical watch operates through intricate mechanisms rather than batteries and circuits. As explained in our blog “What is a Mechanical Watch”, mechanical watches utilize the automated power of a wound mainspring to turn gears and wheels that track the passage of time via oscillations of a balance wheel. This brilliant gear-work allows precision timetelling without reliance on electronics.

At the heart of all mechanical watches are the mainspring, hairspring and balance wheel working seamlessly together through the gear train. Manual-wind mechanical watches require periodic winding of the mainspring to tighten it and provide kinetic energy. Self-winding mechanical watches are wound automatically through the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. Transferred into stored energy within the mainspring, this kineticism circulates to indicate the time.

With over 100 parts and 1300 manufacturing steps, the movements of mechanical watches are far more intricate than quartz movements. The assembly requires tremendous skill and scrutiny to ensure all components mesh with microscopic perfection. While lacking pinpoint precision, mechanical watches showcase historic horology enriched by artistic touches and decorative embellishments. This makes them highly desirable for watch aficionados.

As a leading Chinese watch manufacturer, Romlicen provides custom mechanical watch manufacturing starting at just 100 pieces per order. Despite the increase in cost and decrease in accuracy compared to quartz, mechanical watches deliver soul, heritage and craftsmanship to discerning consumers. Their mechanical hearts will keep ticking for generations when properly maintained.

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How Do Mechanical Watches Work

To truly appreciate mechanical watches, it’s essential to understand the watchmaking craft powering these wearable wonders. Instead of electrical energy, precise machining and meticulous assembly set the timing. It starts with the mainspring.

The tightly wound mainspring holds potential power that unwinds slowly as its core loosens. Connected to the gear train, this unwinding drives the system. A series of interlocking gears called the wheel train transmit the mainspring’s energy in measured steps towards timekeeping regulation. Spinning on rubies to reduce friction, the gears culminate at the escapement.

This vital component, the escapement, governs the fixed release of energy necessary to advance the watch hands at a constant rate. It alternates connecting and disconnecting the gear train from the balance wheel using the pallet fork lever. Each timed connection produces the “ticking” sound of mechanical watches. The speed of this audible beat-rate determines timing accuracy.

The oscillations of the freely spinning balance wheel keep the movement of energy from the mainspring regular thanks to its hairspring regulator. any deviations are immediately corrected to ensure chronometric integrity. From the power source to the regulator, mechanical movements mark passages of time with hundreds of moving parts in harmonious concert.

It’s astonishing that without any electronics, a precisely machined mainspring, escapement and balance wheel can track minutes and hours so reliably. This maintains the enduring allure of mechanical watches. As a manufacturer offering custom watch assembly, Romlicen provides top-quality mechanical movements designed for generational longevity when cared for properly.

If you want to learn more details about how mechanical watches work, please check out our other blog article specially explaining the intricate mechanisms powering mechanical timepieces.

Gears mechanical of the mechanical wrist watch

How to Tell a Quartz Watch Apart From a Mechanical Watch

For untrained eyes, a quartz watch may be indistinguishable from a mechanical watch. Yet several visible hallmarks can confirm which type of movement lies underneath the dial if the markings don’t clarify it outright.

Firstly, observe the watch hands, specifically the sweep of the second hand. A quartz watch moves the second hand in one-second intervals for a perfectly smooth sweep. Mechanical seconds’ hands tick across the dial in fractioned steps dictated by the beat rate since gears control the movement rather than circuits.

Additionally, the text on dials and casebacks reveals key information. “Quartz” confirms the battery-powered movement whereas “Automatic” or “Self-Winding” indicates a mechanical watch system. If through-the-caseback transparency shows intricate machinery in motion, a mechanical heart beats inside as well.

Weight often indicates the difference too. Comparable sized cases feel substantially heavier and thicker if housing a mechanical calibre compared to a slender quartz model. Shake tests can also expose the type with quartz producing a light rattle and machine noises emanating from mechanicals.

Of course, opening the case to view the inner workings definitively settles the quartz vs mechanical decision. But armed with these handy tips, you can accurately spot the type of watch movement simply from close, external observation. For professional assistance inspecting watch identity, the expert team at Romlicen provides authoritative movement appraisal and verification.

Quartz VS Mechanical Watches

While quartz battery-powered functionality differs enormously from the mechanical craft, both driving systems have advantageous attributes depending on individual preferences and priorities. By comparing critical categories regarding utility, appreciation and ownership, the contrasts clarify to guide preferences.


In the crucial battle for precision supremacy, quartz easily bests its mechanical adversary. Built upon electronic timekeeping with digital calibration through oscillating crystals, quartz deviation ranges between +/- 10–15 seconds annually. Mechanicals rely on delicately balanced rotations that remain impressively reliable but tend to drift over time by 4–6 seconds daily due to friction and gravitational influences.

Movement Construction

Quartz movements contain around 50 miniature parts mostly made of plastic and copper wire. The simplicity of integrated circuits, batteries and stepping motors creates reliable functionality but lacks awe-inspiring appeal. Boasting over 100 expertly engineered miniscule components of gears, jewels, screws and springs, mechanical movements represent horological art earning high value.


With easier production quartz models utilize inexpensive components for very affordable price tags, especially on lower end pieces. The expertise and labor required for mechanicals increases costs. Luxury automatic watches often demand thousands. But at the highest echelons, ultra complex quartz watches like Breitling B55 Connecteds with aviation functionality compete at top tier pricing too.

Battery Requirements

Quartz watches rely on batteries to generate the electrical currents that power the crystal oscillator and integrated circuit. Replacement every 2-3 years is necessary with lithium cells lasting up to 5 years. Some kinetic quartz models utilize arm movement to partially generate electricity minimizing changes. Mechanical mainsprings dispense power mechanically negating battery needs completely in manual wind and automatic models.


With a 30 year functional lifespan, quartz watches grant extensive use before declining circuit efficiency reduces accuracy. Properly maintained mechanical watches effectively last forever due to continual replacement of parts over generations. Cases and dials weather but hearts get transferred providing essentially unlimited utility supported by skillful upkeep over decades.

Maintenance Needs

Beyond infrequent battery swaps, quartz watches require practically zero maintenance even after years on the wrist. However, mechanical movements need professional servicing every 3-5 years to retain timekeeping performance and water resistance while clearing out grime and worn gears. This costs upwards of several hundred depending on complication levels.

Weight Differences

Due to lightweight batteries and circuitboards, quartz watches tend to be thinner and significantly less hefty than equivalently sized mechanicals. Greater mass comes from the metals and layers of components that make up intricate mechanical actions. Automatics also feature rotors to wind generating added density. With similar proportions, quartz watches hug wrists more comfortably longterm.

Based on personal preferences towards craftsmanship, value and practicality – the quartz vs mechanical decision comes with numerous trade-offs. As a custom watch manufacturer capable of expertly installing both movement types affordably, the team at Romlicen helps guide your selection process. Reach out for professional consultations.

Quartz VS Mechanical: Purchase Considerations

When deciding between quartz and mechanical watches either for personal wearing or custom manufacturing, key factors stand out as deciding criteria guiding preferences. By considering crucial decisions around pricing, accuracy, complexity, maintenance, legacy and resale value, the ideal movement type emerges.

As an established watchmaker creating everything from affordable to luxury timepieces equipped with quartz or mechanical motors, Romlicen provides the following expert recommendations when selecting between electronic and mechanical movements:

If pinpoint precision timekeeping tops priorities for functionality, quartz offers unbeatable consistency and accuracy even in lower budget options.

For small production runs or customizable logo watch orders, quartz allows lower order quantities and more accessible pricing.

Measuring legacy value and potential heirloom status, mechanical watches promise generations of enjoyment making higher initial outlay worth the investment.

For design aficionados and watch movement connoisseurs who appreciate old-world intricate craftsmanship, mechanical provides aperture into history.

Seeking a lifetime timepiece instead of disposable accessory? Proper mechanical maintenance ensures functional eternity.

Whether quartz or mechanical speaks to personal preferences and budget limitations, understanding these key contrasts now enables better selection. Reach out to the seasoned watch specialists at Romlicen for personalized purchasing assistance.

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When it comes to quartz versus mechanical movements, both technologies shine in specific capabilities. Quartz offers unmatched accuracy and convenience. Mechanical demonstrates incredible craftsmanship with appreciation over generations.

For affordable necessity, quartz wins every time. As basic daily workhorse wristwatches, their low cost and no-fuss reliability can’t be beat. Yet ticking away as mini machines, mechanical watches reveal stunning feats of micro-engineering and the romance of old-world watchmaking. This elevates them as coveted luxury items and family heirlooms.

Understanding these differences now clarifies preferences guiding your next watch purchase or custom manufacturing decision. Whether aiming for precise quartz functionality or sculpted mechanical artistry, leading Chinese watch producer Romlicen creates quality timepieces equipped with either movement. The company also consults on all specifications for personalized direction tailored to your watch brand vision, target consumers and budget.

Revel in quartz consistency or mechanical allure. Both technologies hold firm positions in the watch world. Now armed with clarity between their contrasts, the ideal type for your wrist or display case smiles back as the seconds tick onwards. Contact Romlicen today to get perfectly timed guidance selecting your watch movement match.

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