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6 Kinds of Wristwatch Movement Mechanisms

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

The modern age is inundated with elaborate technology. Companies seem intent on cramming every function possible into their products. Smartphones are becoming more and more of a necessity and less of a luxury each year. The time blinks from the corner or top of countless device screens, from phones (landline, cell and smart), tablets, laptops, e-readers and more. Wristwatches might seem rather pointless and redundant when the plethora of time-telling advanced pieces of tech flooding the market is taken into account. However, they remain a trendy, popular accessory today. Mainly a female ornament until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they overtook pocket watches in popularity among men during World War I. This fashionable decoration/tool comes in at least 20 varieties, each one of which generally falls into multiple classifications. Advances in the electronics industry have even led to the development of smartwatches. There are three broad categories wristwatches may be placed in. The first is function and style. For example, some Swiss Army Watches, like some of the ones in the stock at My Gift Stop, are chronograph ones (a mix of a stopwatch and a display watch). The second way wristwatches may be differentiated is by their display type (analog, hybrid, tactile, etcetera). The third grouping and subject of this article is the watch movement mechanism. There are six primary ones. 

1. Quartz

This type of watch is battery-operated. A small piece of quartz/silicon dioxide receives electric signals from the battery via a circuit. It oscillates at a very precise frequency, exactly 32,768 times each second. The circuit then interprets the vibrations and sends regular pulses. These cause the watch’s hands to move or power a digital display. Quartz watches are accurate, shock-resistant and have longer-lasting batteries. They are also more affordable than mechanical and automatic ones and require little maintenance. 

2. Solar

As may be inferred from their name, sun energy drives the performance of solar watches. A solar cell unit beneath the dial captures it, changes it into a useful form and transfers it to a rechargeable battery that causes movement. Radiation makes these environmentally-friendly timepieces work during the day while the battery keeps it operating at night. 

3. Mechanical

Mechanical watches are either automatic or manual. A metal weight/rotor and a mainspring (where the energy is deposited) are the forces behind the motion of automatic watches. Wrist activity causes the former to spin, which in turn winds the latter. Manual watches, the original kind, are similar, except that instead of using a rotor, they are wound up by hand to twist the mainspring. If an automatic watch is not worn for some time, it may also need to be physically wound up. Otherwise, natural everyday actions involving the hands and arms should keep it working on its own. 

4. Kinetic

Human movement powers kinetic watches. The swinging of arms and hands, gestures and wrist movements trigger the movement of a small weight. This vibration converts to usable energy that fills a capacitor. This stores it and doles it out over time to a quartz crystal, stimulating the gear movement that actually results in timekeeping. Kinetic watches combine the best aspects of automatic and quartz watches.

5. Spring Drive

This kind of movement is a relatively new innovation. Like kinetic ones, spring drive watches are an amalgamation of two different kinds of watches. They have the mechanisms of automatic watches, an energy-storing mainspring and a rotor, but they also have a circuit and a quartz oscillator that enhance timekeeping accuracy. They also possess a continuously sweeping second hand. These kinds of watches are on the pricier end of the spectrum.

6. Chronometer

Chronometers are the most accurate form of automatic watch available. The label of “chronometer” may only be used for watches tested by Switzerland’s Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, or COSC. So essentially, these are time monitoring devices that have been assessed at varying temperatures and positions to ensure accuracy. They are generally composed of temperature-resistant materials. They are not the same as chronograph watches. 

Many different kinds and styles of watches may be found in the world. They make excellent aesthetic additions and may serve more functions than simply keeping track of time. They also make a great gift for both men and women.

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