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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WATCH MOVEMENTS

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WATCH MOVEMENTS

The movement or calibre is what makes a watch tick. From mechanical to automatic, here is everything you need to know about watch movements. Read more.

24 February 2020 H.Samuel - Editor

If you’re buying a watch it will help if you understand watch movements and how your watch will work. The movement or calibre is what makes a watch tick, it is the heart of the watch. The movement refers to the mechanism that drives the hands on a watch face, but how does your watch actually work?

WHAT IS QUARTZ WATCH MOVEMENT?

The quartz watch was first introduced in the 1960s and it has been popular ever since. This kind of watch is powered by a battery that includes a small piece of quartz mineral. The battery sends a tiny electrical current through the quartz, which causes it to vibrate. These vibrations or oscillations make the second hand of a watch move at the ideal rate of once per second, which means it can keep time. Here’s a little trick... if you want to quickly spot a quartz movement, just look at the way the second hand moves. If it jumps every second with a classic 'tick, tick, tick' sound, then it is probably quartz. Batteries tend to last around two to five years in a quartz watch, and they are known for being reliable and low maintenance. Some are so accurate they only 'lose time' by one or two seconds each year.

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WHAT IS MECHANICAL WATCH MOVEMENT?

Mechanical movement uses energy from the wound mainspring to power the watch, rather than a battery. This is required to be wound every few days. Diving underneath the dial of a mechanical watch you will find an intricate series of components that work harmoniously to deliver timekeeping performance.

A coiled mainspring is wound by hand every day to store energy. As it unwinds, a set of gears drive the hands to show the time, oscillating at a constant speed thanks to a balance wheel. The smooth-sweeping second hand, as opposed to the more common ticking motion, give away its mechanical status.

This traditional method of watchmaking has been used by horologists for hundreds of years and was first invented during the 16th century. Since then, it has been tinkered with and developed to keep up with innovative advances.

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WHAT IS ECO-DRIVE WATCH MOVEMENT?

Designed by Citizen in the 1970s, the Eco-Drive watch movement is powered by any type of light, this means that it never needs a battery. The natural and artificial light shines through a translucent dial, onto a solar cell, this then converts light into energy. With solar-powered watches, all the energy collected is then stored in a power cell, which continuously recharges the watch. Following this huge innovative leap, all Citizen watches are now equipped with Eco-Drive technology.

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WHAT IS AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT?

Automatic watch movement is powered by perpetual motion – movement of the wrist turns the rotor which winds the mainspring. An oscillating weight pivots freely around a spindle, and each movement helps to wind the mainspring, charging the power reserve. The regulator of the watch is a balance wheel with a hairspring that vibrates 6 – 8 times a second. Most mechanical watches these days are automatics. “Automatic” is just another term for “self-winding”.

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WHAT IS A SMART ANALOGUE WATCH MOVEMENT?

This watch is a fantastic fusion between the traditional analogue look and smart functionality, this means it can connect to your mobile phone. The watch will be able to track steps, whilst the app within your phone calculates your calories burnt and activity time. These watches will not need charging.

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SOME OTHER MOVEMENTS THAT YOU MAY COME ACROSS WHEN IT COMES TO WATCHES

SOLAR MOVEMENT

  • Has built-in solar cells, typically located above the watch face.
  • The solar cells then convert the solar energy into electricity, which then powers the watch.

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KINETIC MOVEMENT

  • Uses the movement of the wearer's body to create power for the watch.
  • No batteries are needed.
  • The wearer shouldn’t have to wind the watch to keep it going.

There we have it, everything you need to know about watch movements. If you’re looking for more useful information around watches and watch movements then head over and check out our Watch Buying Guide. Ready to make a purchase? Explore the entire watch range online now.

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