Every watch runs on an engine that enables the watch to function properly. This is the most important component of the watch and it is described as the brain of a watch, without it the watch would not function.

This engine is what is known as the ‘WATCHES Movement'(also known as the ‘Caliber'). The watches movement refers to the internal mechanism that drives the hands on the watch face, ensuring accurate timekeeping. It also powers the complications such as the chronograph, calendar or a dual time zone.

There are various types of watches movement available. However, these watches movements can be grouped under two broad categories — Mechanical and Quartz watches movement.

The difference between the two can be easily deciphered when you observe the second hand of the watch. On the quartz watch, the second-hand moves in a ticking motion (it ticks) while, on the mechanical watch the second-hand moves in a seamless sweeping motion.


Essentially, mechanical watches movements are made only of mechanical parts like gears and springs. The watches movement is powered by a flat coiled mainspring the supplies power to the watch. It uses the kinetic energy from the regular winding of the coiled mainspring, which stores energy to keep it powered.

Mechanical watches movements are the preferred option for luxury watches because of the level craftsmanship involved in its making. The main reason being that the creation of the watches movement requires skilled watchmakers to assemble the intricate series of the tiny components that complement each other to drive the watch.


This makes the mechanical watches movement-based watches more expensive because it's labor-intensive to build. This type of watches movement can be either manual or automatic.


Mechanical watches movements are generally of two types, can either be manual and automatic. Each type with unique features and desirability is dependent on personal preference.


This is the oldest type of watches movement made, as far back as the 16th century. It is popularly known for its hand-wound characteristics. This means that the watch has to be wound manually by hand, creating kinetic energy which is then transferred and stored in the mainspring, which powers the watch.

Due to the manual watches movements' antique form, it is usually found in conservative, expensive and collectible watches.


How It Works

As stated earlier, a manual watch requires regular winding and this is done by turning the crown. The crown, in turn, winds the mainspring, causing it to store the kinetic energy generated.

There's another component called the escapement which acts as a brake, taking the energy from the mainspring through the gears and distributing it into regulated parts.

The balance wheel is the heart of the watches movement. As it uses the regulated energy to beat back and forth in a circular motion, at a constant rate. At a certain number of beats, the regulated energy is released into another set of gears known as the dial train. The dial train, in turn, transfers the energy to the hands of the watchmaking them move.

Winding Intervals

The power reserve capacity of a manual-wind watches movement determines the winding intervals of a watch. It could be a daily wind capacity or every five days or move. However, most owners of this type of mechanical watches movement are simply used to winding their watch daily.

Proper care should be taken so as not to damage the watch in the process of winding. It should not be wound past the point where you feel a little tension, otherwise, damage may occur. It is also advisable to remove the watch from the wrist before winding, to prevent damage to the crown, stem or watches movement.


This type of mechanical watches movement is referred to as automatic because it is self-winding. It was introduced in the early decades of the 20th century. It regarded as self-winding as it harnesses energy through the natural watches movements of the wearer's wrist, eliminating the need for daily hand winding to keep it running. This unique characteristic ensured the popularity and success of this type of mechanical watches movement.

It is largely mechanical and similar to the manual wind. With the major difference in how the mainspring is wound automatically. This is done through a weighted rotor attached to the back of the watches movement, that spins with each watches movement of the wrist keeping the mainspring wound.

Note that, if the watch is not worn for a prolonged period, (this does not include taking off the watch before bed) the watch will stop and require a manual hand winding. As long as the watch is worn regularly, it would keep to its timekeeping functions without manual winding.


How it Works

Automatic watches movement works largely in the same way that manual watches movements work. Watches movement of the wrist turns the rotor. The rotor is shaped like a semi-circle metal weight attached to the back of the watches movement, that freely swings in 360 degrees.

The rotor winds the mainspring with each spin, then the gear train transfers the energy to the escapement. The escapement the distributes the energy in regulated parts and just like in the manual watches movements, the balance will beat at a constant rate. The dial train transfers the energy to the hands of the watch at every certain number of beats.


In the late 1960s, the Japanese watchmakers invented the quartz watches movement. This new innovation rapidly gained consumer appeal, it also challenged the traditional watchmakers who focused on mechanical watches movements.

Quartz watches movement uses a battery as its power source and does not require any form of winding like the mechanical watches movement. The biggest selling point of the quartz watches movement will always be that, it's the most accurate type of watches movement with beats 32,768 cycles per second.

It also requires low maintenance due to the low number of moving parts and the use of a battery ensures that there is an ease of use. Quartz watches are relatively cheaper compared to the mechanical watches because it does not require the skill and hours that go into producing mechanical watches.


How it works

The components of the quartz watches movement are significantly from that of the mechanical watches movement. Parts such as the battery, integrated circuit, quartz crystal, stepping motor, with only the dial train been similar to the mechanical watches movement.

The battery like the mainspring on a mechanical watch is the powerhouse of the watch. However, the battery needs replacing every 12 or 24 months depending on the battery size. It's important to replace the old battery as soon as possible, to avoid leakages from the battery damaging the watches movement.

The integrated circuit carries electrical charges through various parts of the watches movement, acting as the gear train. The quartz crystal acts as a balance wheel in the quartz watches movement, it vibrates and generates a voltage when electricity is applied to it. The stepping motor transforms electrical impulses into mechanical power.

Thus, when electricity from the battery is transferred by the integrated circuit to the quartz crystal, the quartz crystal would vibrate at a rate of 32,768 cycles per second. This electrical impulse from the quartz crystal is then carried to the stepping motor via the integrated circuit, moving the dial train to power the hands of the watch.

Asides, the types of watches movement listed above. There are other types of watches movement available such as, the solar watches movement, eco-drive watches movement, etc. However, they are not as prevalent and popular as the mechanical and quartz watches movement.

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