10.11.2023 - Luxe Watches

A guide to different types of watch movement

A watch movement – also known as a calibre – represents the intricate mechanism of a timepiece.

It is different from the case that safeguards the movement, and the face that presents the time. 

Its inception can be traced back to the early days of mechanical timepieces, characterised by complex clockwork movements composed of many interlocking components.

What does a watch movement do?

The internal workings of this mechanism propel the hands and enable various additional features, such as a chronograph, annual calendar or dual time zone

A movement governs all timekeeping operations and plays a crucial role in maintaining precise time..

Watch manufacturers have developed innumerable variations of movements, incorporating their unique proprietary advancements. However, all these mechanisms can be broadly classified as either quartz or mechanical movements.

Quartz watch movements

Quartz movements are known for their accuracy and reliability, as they are less susceptible to temperature variations and other environmental factors compared to traditional mechanical movements. 

They are commonly used in both analog and digital watches, as well as in various types of clocks, due to their ease of manufacture and high precision.

A quartz watch relies on an electric current generated by a simple battery and therefore require little upkeep beyond periodic battery changes. Their cost-effectiveness stems from their reliance on batteries and the limited number of components. 

Although lacking the mechanical complexity cherished by most watch fans, quartz timepieces, especially those incorporated into esteemed Swiss watch brands like Patek Philippe, stick to rigid quality benchmarks.

Mechanical watch movements

Luxury watches tend to prefer mechanical movements over quartz ones, owing to their exceptional quality and craftsmanship. 

Meticulously crafted by skilled watchmakers, these movements comprise a complex array of tiny parts operating in unison to drive the timepiece. 

Despite the longstanding traditional design of mechanical watches, technological advancements have facilitated more precise engineering with a massive focus on fine details.

What is the difference between a manual and automatic watch?

Luxury timepieces come in two types of mechanical movements: manual and automatic, each with its own special features. The choice between these movements is down to personal preference. 

Manual movement

Manual movements need to be wound by hand. They often showcase the intricate inner workings of the watch through the case-back.

By twisting the crown, the wearer stores energy in the watch’s mainspring. This energy is released gradually through gears and springs, powering the watch’s hands and complications.

The frequency of winding depends on the power reserve, which can range from 24 hours to over a week. Some need daily winding, while others can go for days without it.

Automatic movement

Automatic movements, also known as self-winding, harness energy from the wearer’s wrist movement. They don’t need daily winding as long as they are regularly worn.

Similar to manual movements, automatic movements have a rotor that spins with the wearer’s wrist movement, automatically winding the mainspring.

While they still require winding, they need it less frequently than manual watches. If not worn for some time, they might need a quick wind to start functioning. Using a watch winder is a good way to keep them fully wound when not in use.

Want to speak to Luxe Watches experts?

Choosing the right watch movement ultimately depends on what you’re after and how much you’re willing to spend. If you want accuracy and dependability, go for a quartz movement. 

For a more refined option, consider a mechanical or automatic movement, but keep in mind that these may need more maintenance.
Contact our team today  if you’d like more information on watch movements.