Whether you are making your first important watch purchase or adding another new timepiece to your collection, taking into consideration the watch’s movement is a necessary factor to consider. Simply put, the watch movement is actual heart of a watch. It is the mechanism that measures and displays the time on the watch dial. Automatic, mechanical and quartz watches are the top choices. Hybrid solar powered and Kinetic models featuring quartz movements are other options.
Mechanical Watches hold the distinction of having the oldest movement around dating back to the introduction of timepieces in the early 17th Century. Mechanical watches are highly regarded for their Old World workmanship, bespoke quality and expertise. The mechanism inside is spring driven and is powered by a series of gears oscillating back and forth at a constant rate. Mechanical watches do require manual winding on almost a daily basis to keep the movement running smoothly.
Automatic Watches are revered for their time-keeping excellence and are among today’s most coveted timepieces in the world. A true automatic or self-winding watch features a built-in mainspring mechanism that winds automatically from the natural motion of a user’s arm and provides sufficient energy to run the timepiece and avoid manual winding. In 1770 Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet invented the first self-winding automatic timepiece, a pocket watch which was designed to operate when the user walked, using an oscillating weight that moved up and down and provided sufficient energy to run the watch.
Automatic timepieces for generations were produced by hand, being both costly and only worn by a prestigious few. Today automatic watches are produced both by hand and in mass at watch factories throughout the globe and come in a wide variety of prices from affordable to highly expensive.
Although automatic timepieces operate on the motion of the wrist when in use, they will wind down in 10 to 72 hours depending upon the power reserve inside. Winding the watch is one solution. An automatic watch winder, which replicates the movement and oscillation of the wrist is another solution.
Quartz Watches offer the most accurate display of time and are powered by batteries. The movement inside has a vibrating quartz mineral that operates with a battery to convert the vibrations into power and time.
In 1969 Seiko introduced the Astron, the first quartz powered watch in the world. Interestingly, the timepiece cost considerably more than both mechanical and automatic watches and was on par with the price of an automobile at the time.
Today, quartz watches are the most widely produced and popular watch styles in the world. In comparison to mechanical and automatic timepieces, they are also the most inexpensive watch styles. The batteries on most quartz watches have to be replaced anywhere from 12 to 36 months.
An easy way to tell the difference between an automatic or quartz watch is the movement on the second hand of each. Automatic styles have a smooth second hand operation that runs fluidly in a continuous sweeping movement. Quartz models have a second hand operation with a pulsating or ticking repeated starting and stopping action.
Hybrid Quartz Watches are a new trend in the field of watch movements. These new, specially engineered quartz movements feature solar powered or motion technology with rechargeable batteries inside that will not ever have to be replaced.
In addition to their economical advantage, these hybrid quartz watches are ecologically friendly, since the batteries are rechargeable and will not have to be discarded into the environment.
The Citizen Eco-Drive, Seiko Solar and Casio Tough Solar quartz timepieces are powered by direct sunlight and other manmade light sources. Each has built-in solar panels inside along with lithium ion-cell batteries that can store power for long durations of time. Seiko Kinetic quartz watches have been around for over 25 years since their introduction in 1989. Revolutionary at the time, Kinetic watches operate by the movement and motion of the wrist and will also never require new batteries.