Mechanical, Automatic, & Quartz Movements: What to Know

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The most commonly found watch movements available today include mechanical, automatic, and quartz movements. When shopping for a new watch it is important to know the difference between them in order to make the purchase best suited for your lifestyle and preferences. il_fullxfull.267912677

  • Mechanical: These movements, also referred to as hand wound, are widely sought after by collectors, as they represent the original form of watch making. These watches must to be wound by hand every few days for use, and possess no electric components. Most high end Swiss timepieces possess mechanical movements. Even the best brands recommend the servicing of mechanical movements every 4-6 years.
  • Automatic: Automatic movements work similarly to mechanical movements, differing only in the way in which they gain their power. Instead of being hand wound, the movements of automatic watches possess a metal pendulum, or rotor, that spins as the wearer’s wrist moves throughout the day. The rotor, which is connected to a winding mechanism and main spring, generates power when in motion.
  • Quartz: Introduced to the wristwatch in 1969, quartz movements are the most accurate type of watch available today. Unlike mechanical or automatic movements, quartz watches operate by means of a battery that does not require frequent changing in order to maintain power. Despite their high level of reliability and accuracy, these watches are generally not as highly sought after by collectors. Be sure to have your old battery replaced as soon as possible!
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