watch movementWithout movement you are standing still. In fact, without movement everything is standing still.  The same goes for watch movement. This is what makes the watch go.  All the parts that are inside the watch case work together in unison to make the hands of the watch turn around so you can tell what time the time is, which also turns the day and date function over and also keeps all the other watch complications working correctly.

Although there can be many parts to the watch movement and many different types of movements, I am going to just focus on the basic types and parts that as a collector you will run into the most often, and I am only going to go into detail about the different types of watch movements that as a watch buyer I will be dealing with most!

Types of Watch Movements

  1. Quartz uses a battery to power the functions of the watch. This makes a quartz movement the cheapest and most reliable movement on the market.
  2. Mechanical is powered by manually winding the crown to charge a main spring inside the watch.
  3. Automatic is powered in the same way as a mechanical watch, but instead of winding it every day, it is wound by the movement of your wrist. This means wearing your watch literally powers the movement.
  4. Kinetic movement is a blend of automatic and quartz movements but there is less moving parts than in an automatic watch so it needs less regular servicing and it is as accurate as a quartz movement and has no need for battery changes. (mostly Seiko)
  5. Eco-Drive works in the same way as a quartz watch, but instead of drawing current from a battery, power is charged by a light source. (Only Citizen)

Parts of the Quartz Watch Movement

  • Battery: Power source of the watch, which should last between twelve and twenty four months before needing to be replaced.
  • Integrated Circuit: Sends the signals between various parts of the quartz movement.
  • Quartz Crystal: The heart of the movement that vibrates at a constant rate that is sent to the stepping motor.
  • Stepping Motor: Transforms the vibrations from the quartz crystal into mechanical power.
  • Dial Train: Transmits energy from the quartz crystal and the stepping motor to the hands of the watch to make them move.

How a Quartz Movement Works

  • Electricity is carried from the Battery to the Quartz Crystal via the Integrated Circuit.
  • The electricity makes the Quartz Crystal vibrate.
  • These pulses are sent via the Integrated Circuit to the Stepping Motor.
  • The Stepping Motor sends every 32,768th electrical pulse to the Dial Train.
  • The Dial Train advances the hands on the watch.

Parts of a Manual Watch Movement

  • Crown is the wheel on the side of the watch used to set the time. The Crown is usually turned to wind the watch.
  • Mainspring is the power source of the movement.
  • Gear Train transmits the stored energy from the Mainspring to the Escapement through a series of minute gears.
  • Escapement acts as a break. It takes the energy transmitted from the Mainspring through the Gear Train and meters the energy into equal, regular parts.
  • Balance Wheel is the heart of the movement. It receives the energy to run from the Escapement.
  • Dial Train is a series of gears transmitting regulated, equally metered energy from the Balance Wheel to the hands of the watch, making them move.
  • Jewels are synthetic rubies set at points of high friction, similar to the center of a gear that is constantly in motion. The Jewels are used as bearings in the watch to reduce metal-to-metal friction and wear. Rubies are used because they absorb heat well and are extremely hard.

How Manual Movement Works

  • Turning the Crown winds the Mainspring.
  • The Gear Train transfers the energy to the Escapement.
  • The Escapement meters out the energy into regulated parts.
  • The Balance Wheel uses this regulated energy to beat back and forth at a constant rate.
  • Every certain number of beats, the Dial Train transfers the energy to the hands of the watch.
  • The hands advance.

Parts of an Automatic Watch Movement

  • Crown is the wheel on the side of the watch used to set the time. The Crown is usually turned to wind the watch.
  • Mainspring is the power source of the movement.
  • Gear Train transmits the stored energy from the Mainspring to the Escapement through a series of minute gears.
  • Escapement acts as a break. It takes the energy transmitted from the Mainspring through the Gear Train and meters the energy into equal, regular parts.
  • Balance Wheel is the heart of the movement. It receives the energy to run from the Escapement.
  • Dial Train is a series of gears transmitting regulated, equally metered energy from the Balance Wheel to the hands of the watch, making them move.
  • Jewels are synthetic rubies set at points of high friction, similar to the center of a gear that is constantly in motion. The Jewels are used as bearings in the watch to reduce metal-to-metal friction and wear. Rubies are used because they absorb heat well and are extremely hard.
  • Rotor is a rotating metal weight attached to the movement; allowed to swing freely in 360 degrees as the wrist moves.

How Automatic Movement Works

  • Movement of the wrist turns the Rotor that winds the Mainspring, or you can turn the Crown.
  • The Gear Train transfers the energy to the Escapement.
  • The Escapement meters out the energy into regulated parts.
  • The Balance Wheel uses this regulated energy to beat back and forth at a constant rate.
  • Every certain number of beats, the Dial Train transfers the energy to the hands of the watch.
  • The hands advance.

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