When it comes to watches people are often distracted by the aesthetics of the watch, rather than what actually makes it tick, so to speak. While it is important that your watch is a reflection of your own personal style and has all the features that you’ve come to be used to whether that is a date indicator, chronograph dials or a digital watch with a heart rate monitor – you have to take the time to get to know the parts inside your watch.
After all, wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly how the whole thing works? Sure it has a battery but believe it or not it’s not the battery that has the hands on that analog watch moving – it’s an entirely separate piece of the watch! There is a lot to learn when you’re new to the world of watches – terminology for parts of the watch, for example, are extremely important to know.
See you have the band or bracelet (depending on the material it is made out of), the case and the bezel, the window covering, the dial and of course, the all-important movement.
What exactly is a movement?
The movement is a piece inside the watch that quite literally makes your watch tick. There are two different types of movement – quartz movement and mechanical movement. Without a movement your watch would quite literally never move – the analog arms would never move a fraction and your watch would be a nice looking and useless accessory without it!
Quartz V.S. Mechanical Movement
The two types of movement are easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. Quartz movement is a slow “tick” as the second hand moves one space at a time around the dial. Mechanical movement is a steady “stream” of movement as the second hand swirls around the clock at just the right speed. The movement of the second hands, whether run by quartz or mechanically is what keeps the minute and hour hands running.
There are many different types of quartz movement – though the two most commonly used are either Swiss quartz or Japanese quartz. These movements are often found in higher priced watches that are looking for a traditional or classic feel, whereas mechanical movements are found in many hand-made or custom-made watches as it is a task that requires a lot of skill.
Different Types of Mechanical Movement
There are two distinct ways that mechanical movement can work – either automatic or manual. The difference between the two is as simple as it sounds – one runs automatically and one needs to be wound up on a regular basis to keep it going.
Manual movement works usually by turning the crown (the button on the side of the watch that is used to adjust the time) in order to wind it up. (Think of it like a wind-up hot wheels car!) This may need to be done once every 24 hours or once a week – it all depends on the watch you have – there should be instructions on how to set your watch as well as whether or not it needs wound when you purchase it.
Automatic movement is similar in the fact that it is still mechanical – but you do not have to wind this movement which makes it a much more convenient option for many people. Automatic movement works to wind itself as the watch moves on your wrist. So as you wear it, it is constantly being wound up and prepared to keep running.
How Quartz Movement Works
Quartz is a little bit different – it does require a battery for quartz movement to work. The battery provides electricity to the quartz which in turn sends electrical pulses to the rest of the mechanics, therefore powering the entire watch. When you opt for a quartz movement in a watch you should always consider the possibility of a solar powered battery in order to keep your watch running for a long time to come!
How Do I know What Type of Movement My Watch Has?
Determining whether or not your watch has a mechanical movement or quartz movement should be relatively simple. Here are a few things to look out for:
1. Does your watch have a battery?
2. Does your watch require winding?
3. Does your watch “tick” from one second to the next or run smooth around the dial?
If your watch runs on a battery, it is pretty much guaranteed that your watch has a quartz movement. Again, always consider the potential of a solar battery that can be recharged as it could greatly extend the life of your quartz movement watch.
If your watch requires winding of any kind to keep it going, then you most definitely have a mechanical, manual watch. If your watch has no battery, but does not require winding, then chances are you have an automatic mechanical watch.
If your watch “ticks” from one second to the next then that is a good sign you have a quartz movement in your watch. A mechanical movement is smoother and makes a “seamless” circle around the dial as it moves.
Which Movement is better?
There really is no right or wrong answer to this question – it all comes down to what suits your style the most. Does the traditional feel of a quartz movement and the ticking sound seem comforting to you? If so, then quartz is the way to go. Do you admire great craftsmen ship with a finely set automatic mechanical movement? Then there’s your answer.
Choosing one or the other truly is just your preference (and budget) when compared to someone else’s. Always choose your watches carefully and check to make sure that companies are using high quality materials when manufacturing the watch and you shouldn’t have any problems.