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A Comprehensive Guide About Watch Movement (Types&Difference)

The movement is an important part of a watch. It's comparable to people's hearts. Without the movement, the watch cannot function normally. There are many different types of movements, and those who are unfamiliar with watches may find it difficult to distinguish between them. In this article, we'll look at the common automatic mechanical movement watches, manual mechanical movement watches, quartz movement watches, and electronic movement watches to see what their advantages and disadvantages are.

What is an automatic mechanical watch?

As early as the 1770s, the Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Perrelet invented the automatic mechanical watch for use in pocket watches, and the design was later improved by Breguet. As the name suggests, an automatic mechanical watch does not need a battery as a power source to keep the watch running. The automatic mechanical watch is an improvement over the manual mechanical watch. A oscillating weight is added to the watch. When we wear it daily, the oscillating weight inside the watch can rotate due to the movement of the wrist, so as to wind. Most of the mechanical watches with the word "Automatic" on the dial are automatic mechanical watches, which is also one of the ways to quickly identify automatic mechanical watches when selecting a watch.



The charm of automatic mechanical watches lies in their complexity, which can reflect a sense of power. People who prefer automatic mechanical watches do so regardless of gender. A well-made mechanical watch can be aesthetically pleasing, enhancing the owner's taste and bringing aristocratic temperament. The convenience of an automatic mechanical watch is that it does not require changing the battery or winding. The texture is more pronounced than in the quartz movement (depending on the brand). Some brands are also very thin, but the majority of them are hand wound. The movement can be performed for an extended period of time. There is also the option to wind the watch manually.


However, its disadvantages are obvious. There are errors in travel time, and even large errors. It can range from a few seconds to a few minutes per day. Because making the mechanical watch travel time accurate is a high-tech job, every time the watch travel time is improved, the costs spent by the watchmaking industry increase exponentially, and so does the price. The observatory for the same brand is several times that of ordinary ones, and the tourbillon can reach tens or even dozens of times. And the precise progress of travel time may only be a ten-second to one-second difference.

What is a manual mechanical watch?

Manual mechanical watches, as opposed to automatic mechanical watches, must be wound up by rotating the crown after wearing, and the clockwork system releases kinetic energy to drive the timing function of the watch. Mechanical principles and structures complete all of these processes. It was the mainstream in modern times, and it is still manufactured, though not as many as automatics.


In general, when a manual mechanical watch is first wound and fully wound every morning, all of the watch's indicators are at their best, and the time is also accurate. However, once the string is loosened at night, the power struggles to keep the watch running with high accuracy. The exquisite polishing of the movement can be better displayed without the cover of the automatic rotor, and the watch can be made lighter and thinner. This type of watch is also appropriate for people who get little exercise. Of course, this is due to the low winding efficiency of many watches. Please keep the habit of winding the mainspring by hand on time every day for mechanical watches with manual winding, so that the elasticity of the mainspring is even and the maximum power is maintained.


In terms of movement structure, manual-winding mechanical watches are similar to automatic mechanical watches. But unlike automatic mechanical watches, they must be wound up every day. There will be a clicking sound during the winding process, which is more interesting.


Manual mechanical watches must be wound within a specific time frame, which is slightly less convenient.

What is a quartz watch?

Quartz watches first appeared in the 1980s and are one of the wrist watch type. Its main distinguishing feature is the use of high-frequency quartz oscillators, and its accuracy is far superior to that of electronic watches. The error of a relatively high-precision quartz watch is within ±1.5s per day, or 45s per month, according to relevant data, and the error of a high-quality quartz watch is within ±0.5s per day. At the same time, the quartz watch indicates the time using an advanced motor mechanical manufacturing method. Although the processing method is not as simple as that of an electronic watch, it can produce a precise time with a simple cover. The device as a whole is quite different from a mechanical watch. A similar degree, but the quartz watch's function is also slightly less.



When you choose a quartz watch, you get high accuracy (almost 100 times greater than mechanical watches), monthly error of -30s to +30s, ease of use, and you don't have to take too much care of it, and it's especially suitable for women, middle-aged people, and the elderly to wear. It is a common problem that mechanical automatic watches frequently fail due to insufficient exercise while wearing them. In terms of price, it is about 20% to 30% cheaper than mechanical watches.


A quartz watch's battery life is typically one or two years, and it must be replaced on a regular basis. Furthermore, after five to eight years of use, the quartz oscillation and natural accuracy of watches that use quartz oscillation will decrease. It must be replaced at this time. However, due to the advancement of modern industry and the high cost of labor, replacing many small parts manually is no longer cost-effective. As a result, if a quartz watch suffers a major failure, the original factory will almost always require a new movement.

What is an electronic movement watch?

The electronic watch first appeared in the mid-1970s, with a small-area integrated circuit as the main structure and a liquid crystal display to display the time, and the majority of the representations are digital. In fact, the "quartz crystal oscillator" is used as the reference frequency in electronic watches, but its accuracy is not as good as that of the later evolved quartz watch. An electronic watch is a watch made of an electronic timing chip that displays the time with 7-segment liquid crystal numbers. More features. To provide energy, a button battery is used.



It is simple to repair, the movement is not easily damaged, and the display time accuracy is relatively high. The price is relatively low.


Can not be used in water. (except waterproof electronic watch)

Note: Quartz watches can be regarded as a category of electronic watches. It means that the driving part of the watch uses a crystal oscillator to drive the mechanical gears. It does not need to be wound, just add a battery. The electronic watch is displayed by liquid crystal, and there is no mechanical part inside, it is purely electronic. The difference between the two can be seen as a semi-mechanical device and an electronic device.


The four types of movements listed above are all common, and each has its own distinct charm. You should make your decision based on your own requirements. When choosing a movement, many people will buy it for the most "practical" reason. "When buying a watch, of course you must buy a mechanical watch because it retains its value," for example, or "Quartz watches are worthless; why buy it?" In fact, there is no good or bad choice of movement type, only different personal needs.


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