A watch movement is an essential part of a timepiece; it keeps the instrument running on time with precision and reliability. Also, known as a calibre, it is placed at the heart of the watch supplying power to the hands or digits. Protected by the case, dial and glass, the movement is shielded from water, shock, impact and damage. It is vital that these protective measures have been put in place to ensure that the watch continues to tick no matter the environment.
Depending on the purpose of the watch, some movements are protected more than others, as they will be presented with tougher conditions. For example, a diver’s watch will be designed to survive deep underwater, not allowing any to enter the movement whereas a dress watch will have a lower resistance to water as they are not supposed to used in this way. The brand will stipulate how far the watch can survive in the deep blue. Ensure that you purchase a diver’s watch if you plan to go the distance in the ocean; your dress watch will not survive.
There are different types of watch movements that are admired in the industry. Each is suited to various personalities, lifestyles, budgets and preferences. Let us explain further.
The movement of the wearer’s wrist causes for the oscillating rotor to spin and the mainspring to tighten. They may need winding now and again if you do not live an active lifestyle by simply winding the crown 30-40 times. Ranging in price, automatic movements are an investment and designed for those who appreciate the tradition and artistry that goes into handcrafting these fine movements. Many brands showcase their skills via the transparent caseback or the skeletonised dial. The more complex the movement, the more costly the calibres are.
Manual movements are actually very similar to automatic movements in terms of their complexity to craft and the expense involved. The main difference is that they require winding daily, as they are not powered by the wearer’s wrist. This type of movement honours traditional watchmaking showcasing the intricacy and skill required by engineers and designers. It’s wise to get your manual and automatic movement serviced with an expert every 2-3 years to keep it in tick tock condition.
Quartz movements are very different from automatic and manual calibres and actually threatened their production when first released in the seventies. Powered by a battery, quartz movements cost much less as the artistry of engineers is not required. They are considered more convenient as they do not demand as much care from the wearer. With fewer components, simply replacing the battery is easily done.
Utilising artificial and natural lighting, solar movements transferlight into energy that powers the watch. Solar panels are fitted behind the dial and are seen as very environmentally conscious by using resources already available to us. No battery, screws and gears are required. Luxury brands such as Seiko Astron, Junghans and Tissot are constantly working to evolve this latest technology further.