The world of premium watches is full of technical terms and buzzwords, from movements and complications to mainsprings and escapements. But even some of the most everyday terms in the watchmaking industry require a little bit of explanation — which is why we decided to take a look at the differences between the two types of movements we use in our watches: quartz and automatic.
The key difference lies in the way each type of watch is powered. Quartz watches are electronic and rely on a battery to keep running. Automatic watches, on the other hand, are driven by a unique power source: you! The result of centuries of development in the watchmaking industry, automatic movements employ a finely-crafted mechanism that harnesses the everyday movements of your body and uses the related energy to power the watch.
Both movements have their raving fans, and as you’ll see, what’s best for you will depend largely on your lifestyle and the way you wear your watch.
Quartz movements have been around since the 1960s, and today account for around 90% of all the world’s watches. They work by making use of a very special property of quartz, a naturally-occurring mineral.
In 1927, researchers at Bell Telephone Laboratories discovered that when they applied an electric current to a piece of quartz, the crystal pulsed at a regular frequency — 32,768 times a second, to be precise. Because the frequency of this pulse was so exact, scientists found it possible to create highly accurate timepieces by using electronics to “count” the pulses.
The first quartz clock was the size of a large wardrobe. It took more than forty years for the technology from this clock to become small enough to fit into a wristwatch. The world’s first quartz wristwatch, the Seiko Astron 35SQ, was unveiled on Christmas Day, 1969, at the Basel World Fair. It cost USD $1,200 — roughly the same price as a family car at the time.
Today’s quartz watches may be more affordable — and movements have certainly become slimmer — but the fundamental technology remains the same. The electronic movement converts quartz pulses into electrical impulses that power a tiny motor that moves the watch hands.
The Japanese Miyota quartz movements used in Filippo Loreti watches are renowned throughout the watch industry for their reliability and accuracy. The Caliber 6P00 movement used in our new Venice Moonphase series, for instance, is accurate to within 20 seconds in an entire month.
If you’re looking for a fuss-free watch that requires little attention, a quartz movement could be the right choice for you. Quartz watches require no winding and keep working when not being worn, so they make great dress watches for special occasions and keep running if you plan to collect watches to match different outfits and occasions.
Filippo Loreti’s Rome quartz series provides a modern twist with clean, minimalist lines that come in a host of colour combinations. If you’re after something a little more traditional but with the convenience of quartz, check out our newly-upgraded Venice Moonphase range, which comes with a classic moonphase indicator on its dial.
With a battery life of around two years, Filippo Loreti quartz watches offer the ultimate in fuss-free maintenance. If you notice your watch eventually starting to lose a little time, simply send it in for a battery replacement and off you go!
If you’re looking for a watch that captures the essence of traditional watchmaking craft, take a look at our automatic range.
Unlike quartz watches, automatic watches use an entirely mechanical mechanism to keep time. They take their name from the fact that the watch movement is wound automatically by the everyday movements of the wearer. Automatic watches have been around since 1923 when English watchmaker John Harwood registered a patent for the world’s first self-winding wristwatch.
Inside each automatic watch is a weighted pivot or “rotor.” Each time your wrist moves as you walk, run or move about, the rotor operates a tiny ratcheted mechanism that winds the watch’s “mainspring.” As the name suggests, this is a tiny spring that stores energy when wound by the rotor. As this spring unwinds, energy is released in a carefully-regulated way. Using a complex mechanism known as an “escapement”, the slow unwinding of the mainspring is turned into a precise and constant ticking movement, known in the trade as the “impulse action.”
Because it’s driven by movement, your automatic watch will maintain its power from a regular and active lifestyle — just like you! For this reason, it’s better to wear your automatic watch every day as you go about your daily routines.
Of course, your automatic watch continues to run while you’re asleep. So once in a while, it needs a little bit of help to top up its power reserve. If you wear your watch every day, one wind of around twenty turns or so every couple of weeks should be enough to keep it powered up. Our Venice Automatic Series provides a power meter on the watch dial to give you an instant visual reminder when your watch needs a little power boost.
Filippo Loreti automatic watches, with their characteristic sweeping second hand, are a classic style statement. When you choose the elegant Venice Automatic, inspired by the architecture of the city’s renowned Basilica di San Marco, you’re investing in a centuries-old watchmaking tradition.
Your watch, your style
Whether you prefer quartz or automatic, you’ll find a Filippo Loreti watch that’s right for you. Each series comes in a range of color combinations and finishes to suit your style and taste. But in addition to making a style statement, your watch is also a precision timekeeping tool, so your choice should consider your lifestyle and how you use your timepiece. Will it be your main or only watch? Or is it one of several you’ll wear for different occasions.
Every one of our timepieces is carefully crafted to ensure years of faithful service. So whichever movement type you opt for — a fuss-free quartz or the traditional elegance of an automatic — you’ll be making a smart investment you’ll enjoy for many years to come.