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A Beginners Guide: Watch Movements Explained

While many people purchase a wristwatch solely based on its aesthetics, the true connoisseur always gives equal attention to its movement. Also commonly referred to as the caliber, the movement of the watch is what makes it tick. It is the internal mechanism that drives the hands on the dial, and powers other features it may have. There are three different types of watch movements, each with its own pros and cons. They are the Automatic, Mechanical and Quartz movement.

Automatic watches transfers kinetic energy from the wearer’s wrist to the mechanism. The mainspring automatically winds from the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist by a metal weight called a rotor. With regular usage, an Automatic watch will continue to function indefinitely. However, the case of an automatic watch is usually thicker due to the additional rotors.

Penerai Automatic MovementPanerai Automatic Movement (Self Winding)

Unlike Automatic watches, Mechanical movements require manual winding to operate. The intricate mechanism found in Mechanical watches are often described as a form of art because of its complexity. With spiraling springs and moving gears fueling the hands towards precise accuracy, time reading becomes an afterthought. It is interesting to note that many watch enthusiast consider the act of manual winding a desirable ritual.

Panerai Mechanical MovementPanerai Mechanical Movement (Manual Winding)

Lastly, we have the Quartz movement. Introduced by Seiko in the late 1960s, the Japanese launched the first Quartz movement which forever changed the watch industry and challenged decades of Swiss craftsmanship. Basically, a Quartz watch is a battery powered watch. It is superior in its accuracy and is far less expensive than others.

Miyota Quartz MovementMiyota Quartz Movement (Battery Powered)