A watch movement is the working mechanism inside a watch case that makes a timepiece tick. There are 3 general types of watch movements. In this guide we will help you understand automatic, mechanical, and quartz movements so that you can decide which one is right for you.
What to Consider:
Watch movements have varying levels of maintenance depending on the movement and materials used. You should take this into consideration when selecting your new watch.
A mechanical movement is a movement that uses a mechanism to measure the passage of time. Mechanical movements are driven by a mainspring which must be wound periodically. The force of the mainspring is transmitted through a series of gears which power a balance wheel. Mechanical watch movements can be quite fragile, you should always be careful not to wind your watch too tight or you risk damaging the movement. Mechanical movements require periodic cleaning by a skilled watch maker in order to keep accurate time.
Automatic movements are similar to mechanical movements in the sense that they use a mechanism driven by a mainspring. Automatic movements are self winding movements, that use a weight that pivots around the movement to recharge the mainspring. As with mechanical watches automatic watches require periodic cleaning.
Quartz movements are battery operated movements that use an electronic oscillator that is regulated by a quartz crystal to keep time. Quartz watches usually use small 1.5v batteries which need to be replaced every few years. Most manufacturers use quartz movements in their watches as they tend to be more accurate then mechanical and automatic movements, as well as cost effective.