Watch Movements 101: A Brief Guide

When it comes to choosing a watch, it is important to consider the different watch movements types.

There are three main types of watch movement’s quartz, manual, and automatic. While manual falls under the electrical category, quartz and automatic come under mechanical movement.

Watch movement is one of the factors that affect the cost of a timepiece. For example, electrical watches are less expensive than mechanical watches. The price difference is the result of the manufacturing process.

Before you check out watch movements for sale, let’s walk you through the details of different watch movements.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Automatic Watch Movements

The automatic watch movement was introduced by Abraham-Louis Perrelet in 1776. However, it wasn’t an instant hit, mainly because people found it too costly. Fast forward to 1924, John Hardwood, an Englishman, made the first wristwatch with automatic movement.

The rotor is the key in automatic watches. As you wear an automatic watch, the natural motion of your wrist activates the rotor, which in turn winds the mainspring and barrel.

However, if you neglect to wear your automatic watch regularly, the rotor won’t get the chance to do its job. In such cases, your watch will need manual winding.

  • Manual Watch Movements

The history of manual watch movements dates back to the 16th century when German clockmaker Peter Henlein introduced the first mechanical watch. Over the centuries, manual watches underwent various changes, resulting in wrist watches that you see today.

It wasn’t until 1676 that Daniel Quare introduced the minute hand, enhancing the accuracy of manual watches.

Manual watches require regular winding by the wearer. When you wind a manual watch, you are powering its mainspring by turning the crown and stem. However, it’s important to note that manual watches have a shorter power reserve compared to automatic ones. Also, because of their limited power reserve, manual watches can stop unexpectedly if not wound regularly.

  • Quartz Watch Movements

Quartz watches movements have gained immense popularity for their affordability, precision, and low-maintenance characteristics. It was first introduced in 1969, the year that marked the beginning of the quartz movement era.

Quartz movements are the simplest among the three main types. They rely on a battery to power the quartz crystal and an engine to regulate the movement of the hands. The battery generates an electric signal that passes through the quartz crystal, causing it to vibrate at a specific rate, ensuring accurate timekeeping.

Unlike automatic and manual movements, quartz watches do not depend on the wearer to wind the mechanism. Wearers can trust that a quartz movement watch will show them the right time with utmost accuracy.

Each watch movement is unique and has its characteristics. The final choice between these watch movements depends on personal preferences. You should choose the movement that resonates with your style, and needs.

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