Pros and Cons of Automatic and Battery Operated Watches

22 May 2015

Before buying a new watch, it is best to know the difference between a battery operated and an automatic. Granting, everyone has different needs and features they look for in a watch. However, there are basic important functions like keeping the correct time and quality.
Likewise, ever since automatic and battery powered watches were invented, it has been an ongoing debate on which one is better. Although each type is popular, they both have their pros and cons.


A self-winding or automatic watch is a mechanical watch that that has a hairspring (or mainspring) that is wound automatically by the wearer’s motion. The motion is what powers the watch, eliminating the need for manual winding. On the other hand, the watch needs to be worn daily otherwise the power reserve is gone within 36-72 hours.

Battery operated watches work in correlation with a quartz crystal called quartz movement. The battery emits an electrical current through the crystal so that it oscillates about 32,000 vibrations per second. It is the vibrating crystal that powers the motor and moves the gears and watch hands.

An interesting fact: The second hand of an automatic watch moves effortlessly as it glides around the dial. A battery or quartz watch makes a tick, tick movement as it hits the seconds.


Compared to battery operated watches, an automatic is easier to maintain. It requires no winding or special care if it is worn every day. However, an automatic watch will need to be wound if it has not been worn within the last 36-72 hours. The watch can be wound manually or with an automatic winder machine.

Automatics are oftentimes preferred because they require more craftsmanship by an artisan than a quartz watch. The workmanship involved in making an automatic watch entails extreme precision and extensive knowledge. Moreover, even vintage wind-up watches are quite appealing to many collectors.

When it comes to time keeping, automatics are quite accurate. Nevertheless, they can lose up to eight seconds per day. But the time loss will vary depending on the age and the quality of the watch. As far as maintenance, self-winding watches need oiled and serviced about every five years. And compared to the quartz watch, there is never a battery that needs replaced.

However, you really do not need to wear your automatic watch every day to keep it activated. As long as it stays in motion then there is no need to hand-wind it after 36 to 72 hours. An automatic winder machine is the ideal solution to ensure that your watch stays powered.

Automatic watches are classically the preferred watch because they hold traditional aesthetics, offer convenience, are exceedingly durable, are low maintenance and have detailed construction.


Compared to automatics, battery operated watches are generally more cost effective and efficient timekeepers. On the whole, a battery operated watch loses just a few seconds a month or around one minute per year. However, depending on the quality of the watch, it can gain or lose 5 seconds per year.

Conversely, the battery needs replaced about every three to five years. As well, leaking batteries can damage your watch, sometimes permanently. Therefore, it is imperative that you use high quality batteries. Also, it is best to change the battery before it expires to prevent leakage. In addition, batteries usually need to be recharged about every 18 months. But then again, some quartz watches are solar powered and have rechargeable batteries.

Battery operated watches are normally preferred watches because of their low cost, no need for winding and are very accurate timekeepers.

Call Ken Ross or stop in today to see the amazing selection of fine watches.

Ken Ross Jewellers

Established in 1954, Ken Ross Jewellers is renowned for producing and maintaining fine jewelry and watches. And over the decades, many awards have been won. Ken Ross Jewellers specializes in supplying fine jewelry like diamonds and semi-precious stones, plus repairs for rings, wedding bands and watches. For a valuation of a diamond you have, repairs on a wedding ring or new precious diamond jewelry, contact:

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