While this is not the first question that comes to mind when thinking of automatic watches, it is important to understand how to treat the watch. The automatic watches are more known for their luxury appeal. Since many automatic watches have transparent backplates, the average automatic watch owner figures their watch isn’t durable at all.
Automatic watches are durable for most daily activities. Modern automatic watches use shock protection to deal with everyday beating watches get. Automatic watches are also easy to fix if they break. Quality automatic watches are also secured against magnetic interference and temperature changes.
Many cheap but high-quality automatic watches are more durable than expensive high-quality quartz. Many factors come to play when looking at the durability of a watch.
Are Automatic Watches Durable?
Automatic watches are built to last. No matter the age of the watch, it was built to last a lifetime. You will find a big community in vintage and antique watches. These watches will 90 percent of the time, be mechanical or automatic.
Automatic watches have survived many wars before the quartz where invented. Even to this day, some solders wear automatic watches that return with them home.
Automatic watches are some very durable watches. One of the most well-known diving watch Seiko SKX007 is famous for its durability. Many automatic watch owners have been diving, chopping wood, hunting, playing with the kids, etc. and encountered zero problems.
This is a watch which is known to be a “beater” watch. In daily terms, that just means people do whatever they usually do without thinking of the watch. Hence it gets beaten.
Another killer durability feature of automatics is that even if they should get damaged, they can get repaired. Durability can be more than just how hard you can throw it on the ground.
When you take a quartz watch from the ’70s, which has failed, you will rarely find any spare parts, simply because quartz is meant to be disposable. Therefore, to repair the watch, you must find another movement to place the damaged movement. That is not very durable to me.
Automatic watches are generally sold at a premium because the objective isn’t to tell time, but rather to appreciate the craftsmanship of the watch. And in that premium price, there is sapphire crystals.
Even modern quartz is made with acrylic or mineral glass, most automatic watches are fitted with sapphire crystals. Sapphire crystals is not prone to scratches or shattering. They are a lot stronger and will outlive any acrylic or mineral glass.
Are Automatic Watches Good?
Whether you are are a full-blown enthusiast or just looking to get your first watch, automatic watches are excellent. Whether it is due to the history from the first wristwatch invention in 1812 by Breguet or the appreciation for the craftsmanship, automatic watches are stunning.
While automatic watches are not the most accurate at keeping time, they are involved with high levels of craftsmanship, which has been engineered through history and still is. Automatic timepieces the evolvent of time.
The main reason for getting into automatic watches is a growing passion. Naysayers will claim that automatic watches are pricy, unreliable, inaccurate, and cost a paycheck to maintain. While they might suffer from inaccuracy and being costly both to purchase and maintain, they are still used on a global scale.
So why are automatics worth the cost and inaccuracy?
- Automatic watches are not mass-produced like quartz watches.
- The manufacturing of the components that go into quality automatic watches are so precise and engineered for precision.
- The finishing and care on automatic watches are much more elegant than mass-produced watches.
- The first mechanical watch was invented back in 1275. Since then, the heritage has continued, and watchmakers have engineered these incredible watches to be appreciated by generations.
- Automatic watches with transparent backplates allows for a look into the movement.
How Long Do Automatic Watches Last?
Automatic watches are built to last. The watchmakers have engineered these elegant timepieces to be resistant to most daily activities, which could involve magnetism, big temperature shifts, lubrication, and shocks. So while they get a poor reputation for being inaccurate, pricy to acquire, and pricy to maintain, people all over agree that they are worth the money because they last a lifetime and they were meant to.
Automatic watches can easily last a lifetime. Only by using common sense and maintaining the watch, it could become an heirloom for generations to come.
An automatic watch consists of more than 100 different small components that are grinding against each other all day. This will eventually wear some parts out, hence servicing will be required for the watch to last a lifetime.
Watches with water resistance is recommended to go for a check every year to ensure the water-resistance of the watch. The water resistance is very important if the watch is used near water daily.
While water doesn’t destroy the movement of the watch, it can ruin the dial, and it is very costly to do a full overhaul. You can expect somewhere between $600-$1,200 for the mid-range watches like Omega.
It is recommended that your automatic watch is serviced every 3-5 years. A watchmaker will lubricate the movement, replace any worn-out components, and replace the gaskets to keep the water-resistance.
I made a full post on how long an automatic watch lasts with some excellent tips on how to increase its longevity.
Are Automatic Watches Better Than Quartz?
Automatic watches are better than quartz for a few reasons. The biggest reason might be that most quartz movements are identical on the inside. To put things in contrast, the mass-produced automatic “ETA” movement is estimated to be manufactured in rates of 5 million per year.
The quartz movement producer Miyota has produced more than 3.6 billion movements over 19 years. That equates to a yearly production of 189 million. Said in other terms, the mass-produced quartz movement has zero uniqueness.
To make matters worse, most watchmakers modify the ETA movements to fit their specific watch. Whereas the quartz movement is just a driver for a dial with a brand name.
However, there is a shortlist that makes automatic watches more unique than automatics:
- Requires no battery: Automatic watches don’t require any batteries. To “charge” an automatic watch, you just wear it on your wrist. The rotor which is attached to the mainspring will rotate and build tension to the mainspring.
- Environmental friendly: While the machining of the components isn’t the most environmentally friendly equipment that could be used, only the manufacturing of the parts and transportation impacts the environment noteworthy. Whereas quartz watches require lithium (for the batteries), they are mass-produced in third-world countries, involves a lot of plastic, etc.
Automatic watches are assemblies by hand by skilled watchmakers, which will become long-lasting timepieces.
- Longevity: The longevity of automatic watches is one of its strongest drivers. Going on secondary markets like Chrono24.com, you will have problems finding quartz watches older than 50 years. However, mechanical and automatic watches of that age is not uncommon.
This is simply because quartz is cheap and is made to be disposable. This, of course, has its place in the market. However, it adds zero uniqueness. What is also unique is that many mechanical and automatic watches are made timeless. Such timepieces are perfect to be heirlooms, whether worn on a wrist or as a memory for a dear one.
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