What Is a Movement Watch?

Every watch has a movement that powers the timepiece. It is an essential, vital component of the watch that sits at the very heart of the instrument allowing for the hands to keep ticking. Shielded by the case, dial and crystal, the movement or the calibre as it is sometimes known, is well protected from water, impact, shock and damage to ensure that no harm comes to the movement.

Automatic and Manual Movements

There are a few different types of movements that vary in cost, skill and looks. Automatic and manual movements are the more traditional and expensive of the movements. You might hear them being called mechanical movements also.

Many admire the craftsmanship and artistry involved in the manufacture. You can usually see the beauty of the movement at work via a transparent case back in a lot of watches. As the oscillating rotor spins the mainspring tightens storing energy that is transferred through many gears and springs that allow for the watch to run. Only a skilled expert can assemble such a complex movement made up of tiny components. The more complications the movement has (date aperture, moon phase, tourbillon etc) the more time and level of complexity from skilled engineers is required, which results in raising the price of the watch.

The difference between the two is the fact that automatic watches are powered by the wrist and manual movements require winding daily.


Quartz and Solar Movements

Quartz movements are their biggest rival. The more modern approach to watchmaking first invented in the seventies threatened the production of mechanical movements. Fortunately, today they exist in harmony both very relevant in the industry.

A battery powers the hands or digital display sending an electrical current through a small piece of quartz crystal. A much easier and cheaper movement to make bringing the overall cost down. Those who are not as fascinated with the traditional watchmaking techniques prefer a battery-operated watch. There is also the option of a solar powered movement, which relies upon natural and artificial light to transfer into energy that powers the watch. This type is becoming very popular with the likes of Seiko Astron and Tissot leading the way.


Which Movement Is Best for Me?

Choosing the right type of movement for you depends on your budget, lifestyle and personal preference. Those who appreciate traditional watchmaking will not choose a quartz movement, for example. There are many luxury brands that design both automatic, manual and quartz movements at affordable prices. It’s wise to research into brands that appeal to you in terms of style and price to decide which movement is best suited to your personality and lifestyle.