Different Watch Mechanisms

Different Watch Mechanisms

Watch movements are the inner workings of a watch that gives it power. The three main types of watch movements that is used in the watchmaking industry are manual, automatic & quartz watch movements.


Mechanical/Manual Watch Movement:

  • These movements have been used to power timepieces as far back as 16th century Italy. This mechanism must be wound on a daily basis & was first used inside pocket watches. When wound, the mainspring inside the timepiece will gradually unwind to provide the energy needed for powering the rest of the watch movement. If you enjoy having daily interactions with your timepiece, the mechanical watch mechanism is the best choice.


Automatic Watch Movements:

  • These movements helped evolve the watchmaking industry by the 17th century, making timepieces more low-maintenance. This movement is also referred to as ‘self-winding’, due to their ability to use the kinetic energy of the wearer’s arm to harness the energy needed to power the movement, instead of manually winding it up. Automatic watch movements contain weighted rotors that drive the self-winding mechanism inside the movement, above the mainspring. The weighted motor inside the movement adds weight to the watch itself, giving a sense of quality to the timepiece. While automatic watch movements are a great improvement from manual watch movements, they need to be worn every day to avoid losing accuracy, as it is the wearer’s movement that provides the power that keeps the watch ticking.


Quartz Watch Movements:

  • The most reliable mechanism is the quartz movement which, unlike both mechanical & automatic watch movements, relies on the electric current generated from a battery, instead of manually winding it up or having to wear your timepiece every day. Watch batteries create vibrations through an electric current to accurately keep time. These watch movements do not have many moving parts & are therefore more durable, as they do not require regular maintenance such as oiling movements every few months.
  • Overall, quartz movement watches are the most cost-efficient. Not only are they cheaper due to the low-intensity manufacturing process, but they are also more durable.