What Are the Different Types of Watch Movements?

In the world of watchmaking there are four types of movements that each appeal to a different clientele. We have the automatic and manual calibres that follow the traditional route concentrating on craftsmanship and intricacy and the quartz and solar powered movements that are concerned with expense and low maintenance. Each is well respected in the industry with brands catering for both needs.

Let’s find out a little more about each movement and which is most suited to you. 

Automatic Movements


Powered by the movement of your wrist, automatic watches are favoured by those who are active during the day. As you move the rotor spins tightening the mainspring, therefore if you sit at a desk all day you may need to wind the crown every so often to keep the watch powered. Many may invest in an automatic watch winder to help keep their timepiece ticking. 

Usually admired via the transparent case back, the skill and artistry of automatic movements is worth exhibiting. It is a work of art that only specialist engineers can master and therefore, should not be hidden. Due to the time, expertise and cost of making self winding movements, automatic watches are fairly pricey yet considered a worthwhile investment to those who appreciate the craftsmanship. Services are also required every 3-4 years, which can be costly depending on what requires fixing.

Manual Movements


In lots of ways, manual movements are very similar to automatic movements in terms of their complex nature, price point and time involved in the impressive manufacture that is mostly carried out by skilled hands. They are similarly adored by lovers of traditional watchmaking and very often can be admired via the exposed case back in most designs. 

The big difference is that manual movements require winding every day. It is a daily ritual that will keep your watch ticking precisely and cherished by watch collectors who love nothing more than wearing a complex manual calibre. Simply turn the crown 30-40 times each morning. Be careful to not overwind as this can cause damage to the mechanism. 

Again, make sure you budget for a service every 3-4 years as checking and cleaning every component takes time where they could come across an error. Always make sure that you find a trustworthy watch specialist who has worked with the movement many times.  

Quartz Movements


The more modern form of watchmaking is to power the timepiece via a battery. Quartz movements became extremely popular in the seventies when introduced to the world threatening the production of traditional timekeeping. Today, both exist quite nicely alongside each other ensuring that traditional techniques are not forgotten.

Many favour quartz watches reliability, low cost and unquestionable precision for their modern lifestyle as they are also low maintenance with batteries needing replacing approximately every 3-4 years. Those who are not as concerned with the traditional watchmaking skill will much prefer a quartz watch. There are many stunning designs available at a reasonable price point attracting many stylish ladies and gents.  

Solar Powered Movements


Converting both natural and artificial light into energy via a solar panel fitted behind the dial is a modern idea that is catching on. Many brands are introducing solar power movements to their collection of watches. This type of movement is becoming a lot more popular due to its low maintenance and environmentally friendly concept. Occasionally you may need to charge your solar watch every so often if it starts to drain of energy. However, this will only occur approximately every six months. Precision and reliability is just as impressive as is their futuristic, bold aesthetic.