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The Different Movements of Watches

Date Added: December 03, 2013 04:33:55 PM

The movement is one of the three major parts of a watch, which also includes the case (which encloses and protects the movement) and the face, which shows the time. Through time, the movements of watches have developed into various types. The modern boys watches and girls watches, for example, have a modern quartz movement. The older types, on the other hand, have varying kinds of mechanical mechanisms.

Earlier Forms

In the early days of watchmaking, the only movement created was the mechanical type. Until the 1960s, all clocks and watches ran on the mechanical movement. This movement, which is very rare these days, has a particular snag—it has to be stimulated to work.
The mechanical watches from the 16th to the 19th century have five major parts: the mainspring which stores energy used to run the movement, the gear train that transmits mechanical energy to the balance wheel, the balance wheel that serves as the timekeeping element, the escapement that keeps the balance wheel vibrating and, finally, the indicating dial that displays time in a format that's readable to the user.
Before the 1770s, the only type of mechanical watch sold is the manual type. Manual mechanical watches require manual winding for it to function. Typically, this type needs to be wound everyday so the mainspring will be energized and start the watch movement. Past the 1770s, however, the automatic type of mechanical watch was invented. This sort is also called the self-winding watch as it can jumpstart the mainspring without manual winding. Automatic mechanical watches wind the mainspring through the circular motion detected by the watch in the wearer's arms. The movement is made possible by simply wearing the watch. 

Quartz Movement

Most modern watches today—be it luxury watches or childrens watches—are electronic. This is clearly opposite to the mechanical type and even the movement of electronic watches are different from that of their mechanical counterpart. One such watch that works under electronic energy source is the famous quartz watch.
Quartz watches are considerably new additions to the watch market. They were introduced by the Japanese in 1959 and became available around the world in 1969. They come in two styles, the analog and digital forms. Almost 95 percent of watches sold today have the quartz movement and they are considered to be more accurate than mechanical watches.
The mechanism of the quartz watch involves a sheet of quartz crystals that are energized by a battery that allows the crystals to vibrate. This vibration forms electrical pulses that are sent and translated in a small computer chip. The next steps differ between analog and digital types of quartz watches.
Different watches follow different mechanisms in order to function. Today, most boys' watches and girls' watches run in the quartz movement. However, before the 1960s, all watches—from luxury watches to Flikflak watches—have the mechanical movement installed in them.