A quick overview on the differences between an automatic movement and a quartz.
What is a watch movement?All watches are powered by a movement which keeps the time and drives the hands, or display of a watch. Basically it is the engine of the watch.
Quartz movements explained (second hand ticks)
97% of the watches out there use a quartz movement. They are powered by a battery, low cost to produce, and very accurate timekeepers.
A battery runs an electrical current through a piece of quartz crystal causing it to vibrate at constant frequency. This consistent rate of vibration allows the watch to keep very precise time.
The second hand tick on an analog watch is a clear indicator of a watch with a quartz movement.
Automatic movements explained (second hand sweeps)
An automatic watch has a self-winding movement that is powered by the motions of the wearer during use.
An automatic movement is powered by a mainspring, that slowly releases energy which powers the watch as it unwinds. The mainspring is wound up by a specially created set of wheels and a rotor. The movements of your arm cause the weighted rotor to rotate and transfer energy to the power reserve.
No batteries are required while wearing and automatic watch,. If you wear the watch continuously (or even take it off for a day or so, depending on the power reserve), it will continue to run just from the power it stores up while you wear it.
The meticulous craftsmanship and visual of the sweeping hand of an automatic watch are major draws buyers. Most mid to high end watch brands use and automatic movement.