Decoding Watch Movements: A Beginner’s Guide

Decoding Watch Movements: A Beginner’s Guide 1

It’s true that watches have become more of a fashion accessory than a necessity but their functionality is still the primary reason people buy them. Understanding watch movements is one of the basic skills to appreciate their purpose. In this article, we will discuss the three primary types of watch movements along with the pros and cons of each.

Quartz Movements

Quartz movements are the most commonly used type of watch movement today. It is powered by a battery and regulated by a quartz crystal. The battery sends an electric charge to the quartz crystal which creates high-frequency vibrations in the timekeeping circuit. It’s a low-maintenance movement and is accurate to within seconds per month. Quartz movements are also quite durable as they have fewer moving parts than other types of movements, making them perfect for everyday wear. They are also relatively inexpensive, with prices starting from $20. However, some watch enthusiasts prefer automatic or manual movements as they appreciate their history and mechanics.

Automatic Movements

Automatic movements are often referred to as self-winding movements. This type of movement is powered by the energy created by the movements of the wearer’s wrist, meaning they don’t require a battery. As the wearer moves, a rotor inside the watch spins, creating energy that is stored in a mainspring. This stored energy is then used to power the watch. Automatic movements are popular among watch enthusiasts because they appreciate the history and craftsmanship involved in creating these movements. They are often more expensive than quartz movements with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Manual Movements

Manual movements also known as hand-wound movements have been around for more than 500 years. They are powered by manually winding the watch. As you manually wind the watch, this winds the mainspring inside that then powers the watch. Manual movements are also popular among watch enthusiasts who appreciate the history and craftsmanship of these movements. Compared to quartz and automatic movements, manual movements are less accurate, and require more regular maintenance. Despite this, they are still a preferred option for many watch collectors, who appreciate their history and intricate designs. If you wish to learn more about the topic, Discover more, to enhance your study. Find valuable information and new viewpoints!

Decoding Watch Movements: A Beginner’s Guide 2


Choosing the right watch movement depends on your preference, budget, and intended use of the watch. Quartz movements are perfect for everyday use and relatively inexpensive. Automatic movements are popular among enthusiasts and collectors who appreciate the history and craftsmanship involved in creating them. Manual movements are a rarer option but still attractive to those who are interested in their intricate designs, history, and craftsmanship. Whatever movement you choose, understanding watch movements is one step to appreciate the true essence of your watch.

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