Why You Should Buy a Mechanical Watch (According to AI)

Often described as the next big thing on the Internet, ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), an incredibly sophisticated chatbot launched by OpenAI in November 2022, has been making headlines around the world. To some experts, a platform like ChatGPT not only represents one of the biggest threats to journalism, it might even have the potential to change society as a whole, thanks to its ability to instantly generate human-like text. I thought I’d ask the chatbot about “why someone should by buy a mechanical wristwatch?” Here are a few reasons ChatGPT came up with (in seconds):

  • Aesthetics: Mechanical watches are often prized for their beauty and craftsmanship. The movement of the watch, which is visible through the case back, can be a work of art in and of itself.
  • Precision: Mechanical watches are generally more accurate than their quartz counterparts, especially over long periods of time. This is because they use a balance wheel and hairspring to regulate the movement of the watch, which is more precise than the quartz crystal oscillator used in quartz watches.
  • Tradition: Mechanical watches have a long and rich history, and for some people, the tradition and nostalgia associated with these timepieces is a big part of their appeal.
  • Collectability: Mechanical watches can be collectors’ items, and some people enjoy building a collection of different models and brands.

There you have it. According to ChatGPT, mechanical watches are “more accurate than their quartz counterparts.” Maybe that is why ChatGPT also felt it was important to add a paragraph about the benefits of quartz watches: “Of course, mechanical watches are not for everyone, and there are also many good reasons to consider a quartz watch as well. Ultimately, the decision of whether to buy a mechanical or quartz watch (or any other type of timepiece) will depend on your personal preferences and needs.” While I completely agree with the last sentence, it appears that the watch journalists are, at least for the time being, not in immediate danger to be replaced by AI… :-)

I also asked ChatGPT to explain how a mechanical movement works. Here’s the answer:

“A mechanical watch movement is a mechanism that powers a watch, using a spring-driven gear train to measure the passage of time. It consists of a mainspring, gears, and a balance wheel. The mainspring is a coiled spring that stores energy. When the watch is wound, the mainspring is tightened, creating tension. As the spring slowly unwinds, it releases this stored energy, turning the gears of the watch. The gears in a mechanical watch movement are responsible for transmitting the power from the mainspring to the watch’s hands, which display the time. The balance wheel is a small, weighted wheel that oscillates back and forth at a consistent rate. It helps regulate the release of energy from the mainspring, ensuring that the watch runs accurately.”

Or in other words:

“Overall, a mechanical watch movement is a complex and intricate system that relies on the interplay of many small parts working together in harmony to keep time.”


If you, too, want to have a chat with ChatGPT, follow this link. Or, if you prefer a human interaction instead, and/or know of a better reason to buy a mechanical watch before Cyberdyne Systems Laboratory takes over the world, you can always leave a comment here. :-)

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  1. Gerry Dimatos

    Also it is quartz watches that are more durable because they have less parts and do not require regulation.
    The AI got it wrong again…

  2. Gerry Dimatos

    Chatbox garbage: “A mechanical watch is more precise than a quartz watch especially over long periods of time..
    Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer at 28,800 vph (4Hz) is accurate to +/- 2s per day whilst a Grand Seiko Quartz at 32,000 Hz approx is accurate to 5 s PER YEAR…
    End of story…
    If you want accuracy buy the Grand Seiko Quartz…

  3. Niels Schaumann

    I just learned that it depends on the query (typical machine). If you ask what the advantages of mechanical watches are, it tells you that they are more accurate than quartz watches. If you ask it to compare quartz and mechanical watches, it tells you that quartz is usually more accurate. However, it also says that “Mechanical watches are generally more durable than quartz watches because they have fewer moving parts and do not rely on a battery.” Interesting, and partially correct. If you were wondering whether the machine can think like a human, the answer is pretty clear.

  4. Niels Schaumann

    Since the article was written, ChatGPT has learned a little. It now acknowledges that quartz watches are generally more accurate and less expensive than mechanical watches.

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