Editorial credit: Stock Republique / Shutterstock.com

In recent years many watch collectors or enthusiasts have shunned and shown a dislike for quartz watches compared to mechanical watches. However, the technology used in quartz watches is still excellent at keeping time and also requires much less maintenance than mechanical watches. With this in mind, why are quartz watches so cheap compared to mechanical watches?

Quartz watches use technology that allows watch manufacturers to spend less time making watches, which allows them to mass produce and sell these watches for cheaper. Some brands make expensive quartz watches, but these are still likely cheaper than the same model with a mechanical movement.

Though the fact that quartz watches can be mass-produced is one of the reasons why quartz watches can be so much cheaper than mechanical watches, it is not the only reason. Just because a company can make something fast does not inherently mean that it will be cheap since companies still have to ensure the product works properly. Luckily, there are some simple ways to explain the price difference.

Why Are Quartz Watches So Much Cheaper Than Mechanical Watches?

As briefly explained above, there is more than one reason why quartz watches are so much cheaper than their mechanical counterparts. However, the biggest and most logical reason for the drastic price difference is how the watches get manufactured.

Mechanical watches are used as a status symbol, while you will likely not get a second glance if you try to explain why your quartz watch, of the same brand and model, is as good or better than its mechanical counterpart. Mechanical watches are a status symbol often because of the beauty found inside the shell, which many believe gives the watch “life.”

More often than not, mechanical watches are hand-made due to the intricacy of the mechanisms that allow the watch to function as intended. However, quartz watches do not have all these tiny pieces that must get assembled by hand, which is why production lines can make many more quartz watches than mechanical watches, even if the model and brand are the same.

The fact that the production of quartz watches takes less time allows companies to make more watches, which lowers the value of these watches since this watch effectively floods the market. However, the mass production of these watches also lowers the price because manufacturers do not need as many highly skilled workers to help assemble the watches, which allows them to lower the watch price.

What Other Aspects Make A Quartz Watch Cheap?

Though the manufacturing speed of quartz watches allows them to get sold for much less than mechanical watches, there are still other aspects you should know about when you want to buy a quartz watch. Some aspects are common knowledge, but others may make you think more carefully about the watch you want to use.

  • The Manufacturing Materials – One of the ways manufacturers can charge so little money for their quartz watches is because the materials they use in the mass-produced quartz watches are much cheaper than the materials used in their mechanical watches.

    Though higher quality materials make sense in a watch that may need much more maintenance than a quartz watch, sometimes companies use materials that are so cheap they become less durable. Before you buy a quartz watch, it is best to research the materials the manufacturer uses in the watch to make sure cheaper doesn’t mean less reliable.

  • The Maintenance – Another aspect that makes quartz watches much more affordable, especially over the long term, is that it has much less need for maintenance. Mechanical watches need a lot of maintenance to keep their functions and moments in good working order, while quartz watches are much more likely only to need a new battery.

    This low need for maintenance means you can save a lot of money over the long term since your quartz watch is less likely to need to be repaired by whichever company manufactures it.

  • The Components – Since the introduction of quartz watches to the population, a lot of work has gone into perfecting the quartz watch and making it a reliable timepiece. This effort towards perfection rewards the manufacturers by making these watches faster and cheaper. It also allows them to spend less on the components needed for the manufacturing process.

  • The Brand – Naturally, as with all other things in this world, the brand that creates or sells a product can often add or subtract much more to a specific item than any part of the product itself. Considering this fact, it makes sense that some watches are cheaper while others are much more expensive.

    However, it is also imperative to realize that the brand does not necessarily add to how well a watch will work or its functional capabilities. Many big brand watch companies manufacture and sell both quartz and mechanical watches, and though they charge more than other companies may for both versions, that doesn’t mean it is any better than another brand.

  • Consumer Worth – More often than not, the price of a watch will depend on the consumer and what the consumer is willing to pay for a specific timepiece. For example, the same company can make various watches, some of which will be “collectable” items and others you may never want to own.

    One of the reasons quartz watches are so much cheaper than mechanical watches is that quartz watches aren’t usually seen as watch collectors’ items, though many of them should be.

If A Quartz Watch Is Cheap, Does That Mean It’s Bad?

There is a misconception that quartz watches are bad watches simply because they are quartz watches; however, this declaration could not be further from the truth. Many brilliantly designed and vastly superior quartz watches out there would blow away any mechanical watch when they get measured against each other.

However, the watch’s value depends on what you regard as “adding value” to the watch. One example of this, and the biggest reason people dislike quartz watches, is how the watch works. Mechanical watches take a lot more time and effort to assemble since they rely on many moving parts to ensure the watch works as it should, which many people feel gives the watch “life.”

On the other hand, if you open a quartz watch and look at its inner workings, there is little to see, and you will likely be surprised by just how “underwhelming” the mechanism seems to be. However, what a quartz watch lacks in moving mechanical parts, it makes up for in functionality, accuracy, and the fact that it can function in much less space.

If you place the value of your watch on the functions a watch can provide you, a quartz watch is likely to blow any mechanical watch out of the water. The same can also go for a well-made quartz watch’s compactness, accuracy, and reliability.

Even cheaper quartz watches will often surpass mechanical watches that can cost you more than ten times the price you paid for the quartz watch. However, if you want a quartz watch, especially a cheaper one, it is essential to investigate before making your purchase.


Many factors weigh the price you will pay for a watch you want to buy, and the manufacturing time, cost, and materials are some of the most likely reasons for a cost difference. However, just because a quartz watch is more affordable than a mechanical watch does not mean that the watch is any worse or will not be reliable. There is a big difference between affordability and being “cheap.”


Similar Posts