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How accurate can I expect a mechanical wristwatch to be? How long will my mechanical wristwatch last? In general, why buy a mechanical wristwatch over a quartz wristwatch?

November 12 2017

Unfortunately no mechanical wristwatch in existence is perfectly accurate every day. In fact, most inexpensive quartz/battery-powered movements are generally several times more accurate than the most accurate mechanical wristwatches. Even though mechanical watches are in general far less accurate, they are typically reliable enough for the average person, and their charm and desirability lies in the appreciation of tradition and the high level of craftsmanship required the make them. Mostly however, there is the intangible and hard to explain feeling mechanical watch owners get from their timepieces — that their intricate mechanisms make them almost alive, as though they had a soul. The vast majority of vintage watches are accurate to within +/- 30 seconds per day, which was the accuracy specification of most of these watches when they were new.

Most of the watches we sell have outlived their original owners. With proper care and maintenance, there is no reason they will not outlive us as well. A mechanical wristwatch can always be repaired, and within reason, be recalibrated to relatively accurate timekeeping. It is important to service a watch every three to five years in order to re-lubricate it and keep it free from dirt, dust, and moisture. Not all services were created equal, so to speak, so make sure to bring it somewhere that will correctly service your watch and maintain its originality, using only genuine and authentic parts.

One of the issues with collecting quartz wristwatches is that eventually, the circuitry in them will die, and be beyond repair. In this event, typically the entire movement will need to be replaced. Replacing the movement of a watch destroys its originality, and therefore tends to hurt its collectibility, so in general, quartz wristwatches are far less collectible. That said, there are certainly exceptions to this rule (and hence why we do carry some quartz wristwatch models).