The Difference Between Mechanical and Quartz Clocks

Trying to decide between a Chelsea Clock mechanical clock and a quartz clock? The differences between the two mechanisms are vast, and offer distinctly different experiences, depending on your preferences. Yet no matter which mechanism you choose, you can be sure you’re bringing home an exceptional timepiece that will stand, well. . .the test of time.

To help you decide, here’s a quick overview of the Chelsea Clock Ship’s Bell Mechanical Clock and our famous Shipstrike Quartz Clock. While both are hand assembled right here in the original factory in Chelsea, Massachusetts, by our master clockmakers, there are subtle – and not-so-subtle – differences that make each of these timepieces truly unique.

On the outside, both the Chelsea Clock Ship’s Bell and Shipstrike clocks share many of the same qualities that have made the Chelsea name synonymous with exceptional beauty and quality. Both cases are made from heavy, solid forged brass (not cast or stamped from sheet brass), hand finished and lacquered to last a lifetime. And both are available mounted on one of our solid American hardwood bases, hand rubbed to a lustrous rich mahogany or cherry finish. And, of course, both strike the traditional Chelsea Clock Ship’s Bell chimes: eight bells at 4, 8, and 12 o’clock to mark the end of a mariner’s watch, with one bell for the first half hour after, plus one additional bell with each subsequent half hour.

But the main difference between these two timepieces is the internal mechanism, which is most clearly reflected in the price of each piece. The Chelsea Ship’s Bell Clock features a key-wound 8-day movement, while the Shipstrike Clock is powered by a battery-operated quartz movement. The Ship’s Bell Clock features our patented, hand-assembled mechanism, comprised of some 364 precision brass parts – many plated with gold to resist corrosion – as well as an 11-jewel escapement. There is no sound quite like a Chelsea Clock Ship’s Bell chime; the solid forged brass case resonates a rich, mellow tone when the clock’s leather-covered hammer strikes our patented Chelsea bell.

On the other hand, the Chelsea Clock Shipstrike Quartz Clock features a battery-operated precision German quartz movement, offering owners the convenience of an automatic, non-winding timepiece. While Shipstrike Quartz version also strikes the famous Ship’s Bell chimes, the striking mechanism is powered by an electronic current rather than by a mechanical escapement and mainspring.

Another difference between these two Chelsea clocks is in their dials: the Ship’s Bell Clock boasts a solid brass plate, hand silvered with acid-etched, enameled numerals, while the Shipstrike Quartz Clock features a machined dial with imprinted numerals. And finally, the Ship’s Bell Clock comes with a Chelsea Clock five-year warranty, while the Shipstrike Quartz Clock carries a two-year warranty.

But whether you choose a Chelsea Ship’s Bell or Shipstrike Quartz clock, there’s absolutely no difference between these two pieces when it comes to your satisfaction. You’ll be acquiring a quality timepiece made by one of America’s most renowned clockmakers, guaranteed to bring you many years of enjoyment!