The 3 Types Of Watch Movements

A watch is so much more than just a fashion accessory: it’s a delicate masterpiece that allows us to see the time through movements within a complex internal mechanism. Interestingly, that internal mechanism doesn’t always work the same way in every watch.

The watch movement, also known as ‘caliber’, is the internal movement that allows the watch to function properly. There are 3 different types of watch movements, each with their own strengths, so when buying a watch, you need to have this in mind.

Mechanical movement

This type of movement is the oldest and the most preferred by classical and luxury watch collectors. This is because the internal mechanism of a watch with a mechanical movement is extremely complex and a true horology masterpiece.

An internal spring works to measure the time each second, and it provides vibration and movements that will move other springs and gears within the watch’s mechanisms. The mainspring needs to be wound manually, and this will provide the energy necessary to keep the gears functioning. This complexity is delightful, and building these types of watches is considered a very delicate and rare form of art.

Therefore, these are considered more collectible timepieces than watches to be worn on a daily basis, especially because the main internal spring needs to be periodically and manually wound. Moreover, they require maintenance and care to keep the performance optimal, but if well-built, will last a lifetime.

Pros of a watch with mechanical movement

  • Superior quality and durability
  • Manual rewinding can be a delightful ritual
  • No batteries needed.

Automatic movement

In this type of movement, the watch’s internal mechanism collects and stores energy from the wearer’s wrist movement to function. In other words, these types of watches don’t require batteries or manual winding to keep functioning, but you need to wear them to power the mechanism.

An internal rotor continually harvests the movement’s energy and rotates, wounding the main internal spring automatically with each movement. The spring will then move the internal gears, allowing for accurate hand movement.

Pros of a watch with automatic movement

  • No batteries needed
  • No manual rewinding needed
  • Very reliable if worn regularly.

Quartz movement

This type of movement was first introduced in the market by the Japanese watchmaker company Seiko. It marked the beginning of an era where the watches no longer rely on mechanical power to function but use batteries instead.

The quartz movement is the most common type of movement among designer watches, such as Daniel Wellington, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Diesel, and Skagen.

In this type of movement, the battery sends an electrical signal to a piece of quartz, which is a type of crystal. The quartz crystal will vibrate with a precise frequency, and these vibrations are converted into pulses in each second, thus moving the watch hands.

Pros of a watch with quartz movement

  • The time is extremely accurate
  • Does not require much maintenance
  • It’s usually cheaper than mechanical and automatic watches
  • It’s durable and reliable

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