The Soul of a Watch
While most purchases of watches are centered only on its exterior, a person with an eye for detail will sure appreciate the mechanism inside a watch. A watchmaker can spend most of their time designing the interior of a watch meticulously. Those that are aware of watchmaking details insists that a carefully crafted mechanism will define a masterpiece and as well separate it from an ordinary watch.
So what is the soul?
This is the major mechanism that has the ability to measures the track of time and other possible information such as calendar, dual time zone or chronograph. Movement is also known as “Caliber” and it is what makes a watch tick. Movements can be “mechanical”, “automatic”, “electronic” with potentially no moving parts, or they might be a combination of both. Most watches that are mainly intended for timekeeping nowadays current have an electronic movement, with mechanical watch hands indicating the time.
Types of Watch Movements
Let's start with three types of popular watch movements:
1. Mechanical Movements – this movement requires a watch to be manually wound for it to function. It causes the second hand of the watch to move in a smooth sweeping motion.
2. Automatic Movements – this movement makes use of the kinetic energy from the user’s wrist, it automatically transfers the energy from the wrist to operate the mechanism inside the watch.
3. Electronic Movements – this movement makes the second hand of the watch to move individually and a battery powers it
Mechanical movement functions with the assistance of an escapement mechanism which helps it to control and manage the winding and unwinding parts of a particular spring, converting a simple unwinding into a measured and periodic energy release. Mechanical movement watches also makes use of a hairspring which helps it control the motion of the watch’s gear system in a manner that is equivalent to the pendulum of a pendulum clock. The tourbillon is a part of mechanical movements, which rotates in the frame of the escapement, it is used to control the effects of gravitational bias of timekeeping. But due to its complexity of tourbillons, they are expensive, and can only be found in luxurious watches. Apart from the absence of a batter, a closer inspection shows something extra, an additional emotion that has caught the attention of the elegance of most horologist. Traditional mechanical watch movement functions with a power source known as the mainspring. The spring must be rewound by the user periodically through whirling the watch crown.
Interesting fact, antique pocket-watches needs to be wound by inserting and turning a key into the hole located at the back of the watch. The complex mechanism in the mechanical movement watch models is often described as an art. Even, with the introduction of some mechanical movement watches, the act of reading time became a second thought, as these classic mechanical wristwatches emerged into something else. Mechanical movement watch is more appropriately referred to as “timepieces”, “collector's items or collector's accessories”.
Advantages of Mechanical Movement Watch.
• Durability: A well designed and built a mechanical watch with proper care will always last a lifetime.
• No Batteries: there is no need to worry about the use of any battery or battery replacements, which is always considered as an inconvenience by some users.
Most people also consider the manual rewinding procedure of a mechanic movement wristwatch to be a sturdily desirable custom.
• Aesthetics: Most mechanical movement timepieces processes a clear cobalt casing at the back which gives it a clearer view of the captivating rotations and oscillations process of the working parts of the watch.
Automatic movement has the ability to rewind the mainspring of a mechanical movement through the natural motion of its user’s body. This type of watch movement controls itself without any special intervention by the user. Watches with automatic movements can also be manually wound when not worn or if the motion of the user’s wrist is not enough to keep the watch active or wound so as to keep it running. The internal mechanism of an automatic movement watch is similar to that of a mechanical movement watch. An automatic movement watch has a metal weight known as a rotor, and it is always added to the manual parts because it has the ability to rotate freely and independently and this rotor is directly connected to the movement of the watch. This rotor then spins with each movement received from the vibration of the wrist while transferring the energy received from the wrist to the mainspring and the mainspring is then automatically wound as a result of the energy transferred by the rotor.
Advantages of Automatic Movement Watch.
• Automatic Movement watch does not require the ritual of daily winding.
• Automatic Movement watch will continue to work with regular wear, because of how it works with the energy received from the wrist of the user
• While mechanical movement watch tends to be relatively elusive and thin in shape, automatic movement watch models are usually thicker because of the size of the additional rotors inside of it. And the sign of a high-quality watch is found in its weight. It will feel hefty on the palm.
Electronic Movement Watch.
Electronic movement is also known as quartz movement. It has few or no moving component, except a quartz crystal that makes it vibrate through its piezoelectric effect. An erratic electric voltage which response by changing shape is used on the crystal, in combination with some other electronic components. It makes the crystal to functions as an oscillator and it vibrates at specifically a highly stable frequency, which is the used to pace a timekeeping mechanism accurately. Most quartz movements are majorly electronic but they are also designed to drive the mechanical hands of the watch in order to provide an analogue display of time. The first quartz watch that was ever designed was the Seiko 35 SQ Astron. This quartz watch hit the store shelves on 25 December 1969, speedily followed by the Swiss Beta 21, and a year after the prototype of the world's most accurate wristwatches the Omega Marine Chronometer. Modern quartz movements are made in very huge quantities, and in fact, the cheapest wristwatches typically are available with the function of quartz movements. The mass production of quartz wristwatches started after the merger of mechanical watch industry in Switzerland during the 1970s, under the management of the Swatch Group, which is a Swiss corporation with vertical control of Swiss watch production and related merchandises. For quartz wristwatches, the divisions of Swatch handles the manufacture watch batteries, oscillators and integrated circuits. Seiko's strives to combine both the quartz and mechanical movements and the result was effective after 20 years of hard work and research, which led to the introduction of the Spring Drive Watch which is able to keep time within quartz standards without any power source like batter. And it is also able to use a mechanical (traditional) gear train that is powered by a spring, without needing a balance wheel for work either.
Advantages of Electronic / Quartz Movement
• Time Accuracy: Watches with a quartz mechanism or movement hardly deviates from the exact time. Quartz movement ensures superior accuracy in watches.
• Easy to Use: Watches with quartz movement are powered by batteries and does not require human action like winding to keep it working.
• Low-Level Maintenance: The few numbers of the moving parts and the presence of a battery in the quartz movement watch ensures its low level of lower maintenance.
• Less Expensive: Both Mechanical and automatic movement watches requires more time and requires skill to produce which makes it very expensive on the market. But quartz watches are very cheap.
• Durability: A quartz mechanized timepiece has a very few moving parts which are flexible to repair, and making it more long-lasting than a watches that works on mechanical movement.
Luxury watch collectors always prefer watches that are powered by mechanical movement, while electronic / quartz watches are more preferred for regular use because of their superior reliability and accuracy.
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