Men's Watches

Mechanical, Automatic or Quartz. What Exactly Are These Watch Movements?

Imagine this. You walk into the watch shop, hoping to purchase a new timepiece. As you enter through the front door, you saw the salesperson standing behind the counter. Both of you exchange smiles. The salesperson greets you politely, knowing of your intentions to buy a watch. But before you can take a look around the watches on display, they asked you one question. Such a simple question, yet you can’t stop to think of an answer. In fact, you felt paralyzed by this question.


“What kind of movements are you looking for”?


Of course, being a man we cannot admit that we do not know what the salesperson is talking about. Right? So we proceed to ask the most general question ever. “What type of watch movements do you sell here”? By asking this question, we hope to redirect the question to the salesperson. Wrong move. That’s when you hear the three words.


Mechanical, Automatic, Quartz.


Don’t worry if these words sound alien to you. I hope that this post can help to give you a basic view of the watch movements first, before studying watch movements in-depth. Are you ready? Let’s go!!


Mechanical Watch Movements

Basically, a mechanical watch refers to a timepiece, in which its “movement” is powered mechanically by hand. In other words, the timepiece is powered manually. All the user has to do is to wind the watch completely, by turning the crown on the side of the timepiece.


Of course, the manual timepiece will require constant re-winding to power the hands of the watch and other complications, if necessary. But that is the beauty of mechanical watches, that is, it does not require battery replacements in the long term.


Click here to see an example of a mechanical watch as shown.

Mechanical, Automatic or Quartz. What Exactly Are These Watch Movements?

Stuhrling Original- Stuhrling Delphi Watch 924.02 with 3 hand Japanese ST-90896 Movement


Automatic Watch Movements

The next type of watch movements is automatic movement watches.  In terms of its composition, it is very similar to mechanical watches. Just like mechanical watches, automatic watches also has an assembly of springs, gears, axles, and other small mechanical parts, with an additional semi-circular metallic piece, called the rotor.


The rotor is able to swing both clockwise and counter-clockwise when the user moves his/her wrist. The swinging action of the rotor automatically winds the watch, providing power to the watch hands and complications. An example of an automatic movement watch is shown below.


Mechanical, Automatic or Quartz. What Exactly Are These Watch Movements?

Stuhrling Original- Stuhrling 877C.02 with 90650 Automatic Movement


Quartz Watch Movements


Of course, we cannot forget quartz movement watches. In fact, most watches nowadays run on quartz movement. Unlike mechanical and automatic watch movements, quartz timepieces powered by lithium batteries.


A small DC battery inside supplies the voltage to the quartz crystal, which causes it to vibrate. As it vibrates, it sends electrical impulses to the dial, which in turn moves the hands. Unlike manual and automatic watches, the quartz watch movements constantly require battery replacements every year.


Also, because it uses a lithium battery, there is a risk of leaking which could damage the movement of the watches. An example of a watch with the Ronda 515 Swiss Quartz Movement is as shown below, with the Agent 768 from Stuhrling original.

Mechanical, Automatic or Quartz. What Exactly Are These Watch Movements?

Stuhrling Original- Agent 768, with the Ronda 515 Swiss Quartz Movement



Therefore, we can conclude that there are 3 main types of watch movements. Mechanical, automatic as well as quartz movement. Then, the real question is, which type of watch movements should I go for? Is mechanical better than automatic movements? Which is the BEST watch movements to buy?


The choice of the types of movements will depend on a lot of factors, which will be discussed in the future. For now, please stay tuned for more as we get ready to explore deeper into the world of watches.





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