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Automatic Watch Movements: What Makes Automatic Watches Move?

Automatic watch movements refer to the internal mechanism of a wristwatch that enables the clock to move and tell time. Throughout history, there have been a number of automatic watch movements that have been used, from the old mechanical movements to the more recent quartz movement, and the automatic movement. In comparison with the standard quartz-operated watches, how do automatic watches work?

A Quick Look at Quartz Watches

Before people can understand how an automatic watch works, they must first get an idea of how standard watches work. Today’s standard watches typically use quartz movement. This is the battery-operated watches people have used and loved for years.

It is called quartz watch because the mechanism has a quartz crystal inside. The battery emits electrical pulses through the crystal that enables it to drive a motor that is essentially what causes the hands at the top of the clock face moving at a constant rate. This means that each second is exactly the same as all the rest of the seconds it will make for as long as it is running.

Self-Winding Watches aka Automatic Watches

Automatic or self-winding watches, on the other hand, require no batteries to power up its clock face hands. Instead of a quartz crystal that oscillates when passed by electric currents from a battery, an automatic watch uses the wearer’s natural arm movements to automatically wind up an internal spring that powers the rotor which makes the hands on the top part of the clock face move.

Remember what was stated with a quartz watch movement being equal every single time? This is particularly important in self-winding watches, because their hands’ movements are not regulated as those of the hands of a quartz watch. As a result, the watch can be delayed by a minute or more after some time, and will require manual resetting once in a while.

There are two countries that specialize in watches: Japan and Switzerland. Preference over one of the two depends on each person, as both countries produce exceptional watches.

Which Movement is Better?

Both of these movements are efficient, and both of these movements have their own strengths and weaknesses. For automatic watches, however, the main advantage lies in the fact that their self-winding movement enables the watches to not rely on batteries ever. These watches will only need the wearer to wear the watch—which is technically what the wearer will do anyway. Another advantage is that automatic movement watches will ensure durability, as each watch must be assembled by hand. This will ensure the quality and artisanship of each watch.

On the other hand, non-regulated movements create minute discrepancies in an automatic watch; however, these discrepancies are minimal and can be easily readjusted and compensated. Self-winding watches can also wear down in time, especially if left standing for long periods. If that is the case, though, repair is quick and easy, usually requiring no more than oiling up the gears.

Automatic watch movements are a fusion of the old mechanical movements with the more recent quartz, giving its owners a sense of vintage charm but with the touch of modern technology.

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