Simplified Guide to All Watch Movement Types: know the tick that ticks for you.

Guide to watch movements

'Tick tick says the clock' or in this case 'says the watch, what you have to do, do it. How nostalgic me remembering my primary school days.

The art of watchmaking and timetelling using watches have really come a long way. From the big, heavy and boxy pocket watches of the time past that employed mechanical mechanisms:that have a cult like following and collectors appeal to quartz watches and modern mechanical pieces that are lite, sensual, essential and captivating designs of modern times.

Watch making began in the 16th century Europe as an innovation from portable spring-driven clocks. They were powered by winding a mainstring which turn gears and told time by rotating balance wheel. Back then accuracy was not the priority but novelty and intriguing mechanism were.

Back then, watches were boxy and archaic capable of performing basic functions that are like child's play nowadays. Watches of current times are all leagues above their ancient counterparts based on their user-friendly designs, functionalities, accuracy and complications.

The art of making and designing is not for everyone. If you have had the opportunity of diassembling a spoilt watch am sure you will be amazed by the level of details that goes in the workings of various watches. Each part of a watch are carefully crafted so as the whole can function effectively and efficiently as planned.

But before we go on, I want to state that watch movements should not be confused for the types of watch designs. When we talk of types of watches, that will mean the basic bodily design and functions of watches as they belong to a category. Examples of types of watches are pocket watches, dress watches, field watches and sports watches to name a few.

When we talk about types of watch movement designs, it represents that little piece of engineering mastery set at the back of your watch that drives the time telling mechanisms so we can be able to schedule our day correctly. Movements can be entirely mechanical or entirely electronic or as a combination of both.

Currently, due to innovations and increase in technology, there have been increase in what we know as electronic or smart watches but those are just electronics. Though accurate and good they are not the topic of discussion today, because I will be addressing what is known as mechanical movements and quartz movements( the two major categories).

Mechanical watch designs where the first of all movement systems to be invented. Later quartz watches came along and of recent, we have other innovative watch movements and also the smart watches that possess a wide variety of functions.

Mechanical Watch Movement.

A mechanical movement uses an escapement mechanism to control and limit the unwinding and winding parts of a spring, converting what would otherwise be a simple unwinding into a controlled and periodic energy release. A mechanical movement also uses a balance wheel together with the balance spring (also known as a hairspring) to control the motion of the gear system of the watch in a manner analogous to the pendulum of a pendulum clock.


Guide to mechanical watch movements

Being the very first movement type in watch making, you can expect good quality mechanical watches to cost you a good sum of money. As mechanical watches are in a league of their own they are works of art for collectors which is proven by their cult like following and pricing.

Under this movement we have two types. There is the manual movement and the automatic movement.

The difference between a manual movement and an automatic movement is this. For manual watches the spring has to be wound by hand periodically by the wearer. The wounding stores energy in the watch's spring which can be used up within 10 to 30 days, as the storage capacity of a manual mechanical watch is decided by the value of that watch.

While that of automatic watches also known as self-winding watch, a self-winding or automatic watch is one that rewinds the mainspring of a mechanical movement by the natural motions of the wearer's body. 

The first self-winding mechanism was invented for pocket watches in 1770 by Abraham-Louis Perrelet, but the first "self-winding," or "automatic," wristwatch was the invention of a British watch repairer named John Harwood in 1923. 

This type of watch winds itself without requiring any special action by the wearer. It uses an eccentric weight, called a winding rotor, which rotates with the movement of the wearer's wrist. The back-and-forth motion of the winding rotor couples to a ratchet to wind the mainspring automatically. 

Self-winding watches usually can also be wound manually to keep them running when not worn or if the wearer's wrist motions are inadequate to keep the watch wound.

-- Wikipedia.

Guide to automatic mechanical watch movement

With the advent of automatic movement watches majority of watch users had to move from the manual kind due to the numerous advantages of automatic watches. 

For starters its easy to use, has better accuracy and its user friendly not minding the increase in weight due to the oscillating/winding rotor that provided energy to the watch from your hand movements. To be frank how many of you can actually keep rewinding a watch at set intervals. And it also possesses similar mechanisms and appeal that made people of means fall in love with mechanical watches in the first place.

However mechanical watches have their not so good qualities as they come with quite a bag of maintenance and use guidelines.

Maintaining a Mechanical Movement Watch.

Mechanical watch movement maintenance

Mechanical watches can be influence by magnetic fields. They need to be lubricated due to moving parts and require a host of other use guidelines. As a general rule make sure you wipe the watch regularly with a soft clothes to take off dust.

For maintainance there should be a regular service time every 4-10 years depending on brand and model. These maintenance sessions will require experts who will completely open up the watch and carry out thorough cleaning and complete overhaul of all the moving parts. Then the parts will be lubricated before they are reassembled. Although, it may be expensive, it is necessary.

Quartz Watch Movement.

Electronic movements, also known as quartz movements, have few or no moving parts, except a quartz crystal which is made to vibrate by the piezoelectric effect. 

A varying electric voltage is applied to the crystal, which responds by changing its shape so, in combination with some electronic components, it functions as an oscillator. It resonates at a specific highly stable frequency, which is used to accurately pace a timekeeping mechanism. 

Most quartz movements are primarily electronic but are geared to drive mechanical hands on the face of the watch to provide a traditional analog display of the time, a feature most consumers still prefer.


Quartz watch movement

This watch type makes use of battery that are to be replaced at regular intervals. The offer better accuracy than mechanical watches as their batteries last for a very long time. Quartz watches had dominated the watch making industry as soon as they were innovated. Though they lack the brilliance and marvel some see on a mechanical watch, they no doubt offer better time telling abilities, have very unique designs and low price compared to mechanical movement watches.

Being more lightweight and easier to maintain, they have become a goto for most people who don't actually care to look at the working of a watch as the back will be actually covered unless they are skeleton watches and who don't want to take on the type of responsibility and commitment that comes with mechanical watches.

Maintaining a Quartz Movement Watch.

For all quartz movement, all you need to do is simply to change your battery when battery is dead. You should replace the dead battery as soon as possible so that the spoilt battery won't damage the interior workings of your timepiece. 

Also, for special design with special qualities like water resistance and others you want to be sure that these watches are serviced by an expert who can make sure all parts are properly fixed and functional before use. 

Other Watch Movements

Seiko Spring Drive

Seilo spring drive

Seiko's efforts to combine the quartz and mechanical movements bore fruit after 20 years of research, leading to the introduction of the Seiko Spring Drive, first in a limited domestic market production in 1999 and to the world in September 2005. 

The Spring Drive keeps time within quartz standards without the use of a battery, using a traditional mechanical gear train powered by a spring, without the need for a balance wheel either.

Citizen 3-prong Quartz Movement.

Citizen 3prong movement

In 2010, Miyota (Citizen Watch) of Japan introduced a newly developed movement that uses a 3-pronged quartz crystal that was exclusively produced for Bulova to be used in the Precisionist or Accutron II line, a new type of quartz watch with ultra-high frequency (262.144 kHz) which is claimed to be accurate to +/− 10 seconds a year and has a smooth sweeping second hand rather than one that jumps each second.

Radio Time Signal watches


Radio signal watches

Radio time signal watches are a type of electronic quartz watch that synchronizes (time transfers) its time with an external time source such as in atomic clocks, time signals from GPS navigation satellites, the German DCF77 signal in Europe, WWVB in the US, and others. Movements of this type may - among others - synchronize the time of day and the date, the leap-year status and the state of daylight saving time (on or off). However, other than the radio receiver, these watches are normal quartz watches in all other aspects.

Solar Powered Watches.

Solar powered watches

Solar powered watches are powered by light. A photovoltaic cell on the face (dial) of the watch converts light to electricity, which is used to charge a rechargeable battery or capacitor. The movement of the watch draws its power from the rechargeable battery or capacitor. As long as the watch is regularly exposed to fairly strong light (such as sunlight), it never needs a battery replacement. 

Some models need only a few minutes of sunlight to provide weeks of energy (as in the Citizen Eco-Drive). Some of the early solar watches of the 1970s had innovative and unique designs to accommodate the array of solar cells needed to power them (Synchronar, Nepro, Sicura, and some models by Cristalonic, Alba, Seiko, and Citizen). 

As the decades progressed and the efficiency of the solar cells increased while the power requirements of the movement and display decreased, solar watches began to be designed to look like other conventional watches.

Seiko Kinetic-powered Watches.

Seiko kinetic powered watch

Some electronic watches are powered by the movement of the wearer. For instance, Seiko's kinetic-powered quartz watches use the motion of the wearer's arm: turning a rotating weight which causes a tiny generator to supply power to charge a rechargeable battery that runs the watch. 

The concept is similar to that of self-winding spring movements, except that electrical power is generated instead of mechanical spring tension.

-- Wikipedia.

Which Watch Movement is Best for You.

This question requires an answer based on personal preference. If you have made a bad purchase before you know it not a good experience. That is why it is good we make informed decisions. So below are some of the important questions you want to ask before you buy

Can you shoulder the cost of purchasing and maintaining a mechanical watch or do you make do with a simple but stylish quartz watch?

Are you a fan and lover of mechanical watches and you don't want to hear or consider anything about quartz watches, you don't care about them and they don't appeal to you?

What's the occasion for buying a watch and what benefit do you want from it. Are you buying simply so you can tell time or you are making the purchase as a gift to yourself or someone and you want it to be unique and unforgettable?

Are you buying an investment piece that can become a family heirloom or you want to get it just for other not-so-equivalent purpose?

These are some of the questions you are to answer as you consider buying a watch. And lastly, you should know that the luxuries, beauties and pleasure around are all for us to enjoy, so be sure to obtain that unique piece that speaks to your heart.



Victor Love

Hi, I am Victor Love. I am a Blogger, Student and a ready to learn Entrepreneur with an abundance of Ideas. As a lover of the good things of life, I only have a single goal here, and that is making sure you are inspired to lead a UNIQUE and WONDERFUL life. Thanks for visiting my site and HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY. instagram whatsapp

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