Through the generations watch technology has continued to advance and modern watches use a variety of movements including  mechanical, automatic, quartz, solar and manual. Quartz technology has been used for many years and is employed by both the low end Chines watches through to high end models costing $50,000.

The estimated lifespan of a quartz watch depends largely on the quality of the watch and manner in which it is maintained. Most people agree that a high end quartz watch which does not have an extensive range of functionality, and which is well maintained, will last more than twenty years.

Quartz watches are generally very reliable, and some models will only lose twelve seconds every year. This compares to high end mechanical watches which lose that amount every month!

Quartz Watches Last Approximately Twenty Years

Depending on the material used in the watches case, this the case may last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the swiss quartz movement. Quartz mechanisms are generally inexpensive to make but virtually impossible to repair but easy to replace.

If parts are obtainable, it is possible to repair the quartz movement  mechanism however the  electronics are almost impossible to repair and can be replaced at low cost.

Even of replacement movements are not available, a skilled watchmaker will be able to fit several different quartz movements into an existing case, making the watch to work and appear in its original form.

While specialists and collectors will immediately reject a watch which has been modified in this way a competent watch maker / restorer can replace the movement so well that even specialist collectors will not be able to discern the difference.

In the modern, production line driven world were damaged goods are discarded and replaced there are a still a few skilled craftsmen who can perform the work.

What Factors Affect A Quartz Watch’s Reliability?

With quartz watches you get what you pay for.

In the same way as mechanical movements are, quartz watches can be purchased for an extremely low price through to high end models which are more expensive.

While the accuracy will generally be standard across the price range, the reliability and longevity of the watch certainly does.

Whether the unit is a light driven model or kinetic, a well-made quartz watch quartz watch, is generally reliable and very accurate for most of the time.

Some of the more advanced basic quartz watches have a low drain movements that results in the battery lasting ten or more years.

A high end quartz watch with a perpetual calendar, auto time shift for DST, Eco light drive, radio or GPS correction will not need to be serviced  more than once or twice in twenty years.

The Quality Of The Quartz Watch Build Impacts The Longevity

There is a commonly held misconception that only cheap mass produced watches have a quartz action.

It is true that the following lower cost manufactures produce watches with a quartz movement?

  1. Citizen’s Miyota watch division
  2. Seiko’s lower end watches
  3. Casio
  4. Several Chinese conglomerates.

It is also true that several premium watch manufacturers produce watches with quartz movement?

  1. Ronda (Swiss)
  2. ETA (Swiss)
  3. Omega  (Calibre 5666, Seamaster Aqua Terra Quartz)
  4. Breitling (Exospace B55)
  5. Seiko (Grand Seiko)
  6. Tag Heuer Aquaracer WAB
  7. Patek Philippe
  8. Audemars Pigue
  9. Sinn
  10. Cartier
  11. Texas Instruments
  12. Fairchild produced very good watches with a quartz movement.

As long as the battery in the quartz watch does not leak, they usually keep on ticking for a very long time.

The major difference between a low end $50 watch and a high end $50,000 quartz watch is the materials and level of workmanship which is applied to the watch case and the quartz movement.

Some movements are made more precisely and with better materials than others.

It would be unfeasible to expect a $2.50 Chinese watch to last for decades.

There is a move by some companies to make part or all of the movement of plastic, which is concerning and means the wear rates will be higher.

All of the high end watches listed above use metal in the movements and therefore it is reasonable to expect these will last for a longer time then the low cost plastic movements.

how long do quartz watches last? automatic watches quartz watch movements

Which Is The Best Price Range Quartz Watch To Purchase?

If you need a hard-wearing watch that is damaged often, a low-cost quartz that is easily and affordably replaced is the best option.

The low cost makes this level of watch uneconomic to repair.

A medium-priced, good-quality quartz watch that is installed within a decent stainless case has three benefits.

  1. It looks just as good as high-end, more expensive models.
  2. This level of quartz watch will be reliable and will have a superior build.
  3. The purchase price, and ongoing value make it worthwhile repairing.

Carefully looked after, a watch in this category could last a lifetime and it purchase price makes it worthwhile to service and repair over time.

The additional functionality which is often included in high end quartz watches , such as stop-watches, elapsed timers and alarms are rarely good value and just add additional failure points to the mechanism and therefore increases the cost of ownership.

As a rule, purchasing more simple watches with fewer features makes them more reliable and cheaper to service as well, and a bonus is that there is less power draw and so the batteries last longer.

Factors Which Affect How Long Do Quartz Watches Last

In addition to the quality of the watch build, there are several factors which affect its longevity.

Maintain A Quartz Watch To Keep It Running For A Long Time

To ensure a quartz watches longevity it is important that a few simple maintenance rules are adhered to.

  1. Only use the correct type of battery.
  2. Don’t allow the batteries to fully discharge, instead change the batteries as soon as they run out.
  3. To ensure that the quartz watch remains properly watertight as it gets older, take care, and re-lubricate any gaskets the back of the watch case and crown stem.

Parts Availability (Obsolescence)

The Primary risk with an older watch is in terms of parts availability.

The older the watch is, the more chance that obsolescence has crept into the picture and replacement parts become harder to source.

At this time if the owner wants to keep the watch working, the best course of action is for a skilled watch maker to replace the whole movement. While this action destroys the watches collector value, it keeps it functional and therefore of worth to the owner.


How long do watches last? Well made best quartz watches which use high quality materials can be expected to last more than twenty years. Low end, cheap, mass produced watches will only last a year or two.


Similar Posts