Quartz watches are known for their incredible accuracy at reasonable prices.
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However, there are circumstances where a quartz watch will run slow, even when a mechanical watch may not.
Exposure to Strong Magnetic Force
The watch will run slower when near a strong magnetic field.
Good examples include being near powerful speakers, laptops, tablets, phones, body scanners, and handbags or purses containing phones or other electronics.
This is because quartz watches feature a motor/ coil that uses the power of magnetism.
The good news, however, is that this situation is temporary as the watch will operate normally when away from the outside magnetic forces.
In fact, the Quartz movement performs much better than automatic and mechanical types in regards to resistance to magnetism.
Aging and/or Faulty Battery
Quartz watches will start running slow when the battery loses charge or develops a fault.
The battery delivers power to the coil or stepper motor. Batteries will lose charge over time or due to corrosion or degradation.
A good way to know if it’s the battery and not something else is by holding it vertically.
If the chromo or second-hand struggle moving from the 6 to 12 o’clock position while they are okay from the 12 to 6 o’clock position, then it’s most likely the battery.
The general recommendation is to install high-quality batteries and also replace them after 2 years (or the time interval recommended by the watch manufacturer) regardless of whether the battery is still functioning.
Replacing batteries before they fail will greatly reduce the chance that you will ever experience a battery leak in your watch.
Moisture, Dirt, or Dust in the Internal Mechanisms
Moisture, water, dirt, dust and other debris inside the mechanism will interfere with movement.
Corrosion, dust particles, and stickiness will cause more friction and this will slow down movement.
Also, it may interfere with the internal magnetic force due to blockage or increased resistance.
To avoid this, you shouldn’t expose the watch to a very dusty or wet environment.
It’s also important to prevent mishandling (excessive abrasion, banging, knocking, falls….) or exceeding the recommended depth in case of waterproof / water resistant pieces.
Quartz movement features very delicate parts and mechanisms.
And while the top manufacturers try their best to provide good protection, poor handling may still damage the quartz movement in your watch.
The hands will move slower if they are out of alignment, the contacts are broken, loose or rusty, or the magnetism is weak.
Quartz Movement Video
Check out how delicate a quartz movement actually is:
A quartz timepiece will last for a long time if handled properly.
This entails regular cleaning, minimizing exposure to dirt, water, oils, grease, excessive vibrations, and dust. High quality batteries, and a good schedule of batter replacement, will also keep your watch like new for years.
In case of damage, always return the watch to the factory repairs, or take it to a skilled watchmaker.
However, can a quartz watch run slow? Absolutely.