Watch Movements Automatic, Mechanical, Quartz, And Swiss Made Explained

Watch Movements Types

Watch Movements or Calibres are the beating hearts of the watch that in short, spin, turn, oscillate, and tick, to move the hour and minute hands around the watch dial at a uniform speed that reflects the conventional time.

Escapement or Lever Escapement

The escapement is a mechanism in a watch movement that captures and releases the train by a fixed amount then transmits the impulse from the spring or weight to the balance wheel which does the job of a pendulum.

Co-Axial Escapement

The Coaxial escapement is a type of modern watch escapement mechanism, a modification of the lever escapement with some advanced features. The co-axial escapement functions with a system of 3 pallets that separates the locking function from the impulse, avoiding the sliding friction of the lever escapement, making lubrication unnecessary. Take a look at the video below.

Self-Winding Movement (Automatic)

An automatic or self-winding watch is a mechanical watch where the mainspring is wound automatically due to the motion of the wearer, that provides energy to run the watch movement. The mechanism for this is based around the rotating or swinging semi circular rotor which winds the mainspring making manual winding unnecessary. In the image below this rotor is sitting in the up position allowing you to view the moving escapement.


Automatic 21 Jewel Movement

The 21 Jewel Movement sounds like something very good, right? Well, yes, it could be, but not necessarily and I’ll tell you why.

To understand what this is all about, think about two pieces of metal rubbing against each other of a long period of time. You will not be surprised to hear these two pieces will wear down and stop working after a long period of time. This is where jewels come into play.

Take a look at the image below. You can see the moving escapement wheel spinning back and forth and in the middle, you can also see a shiny purple jewel inserted at its axis where the wheel and its mount meet. The whole idea of having jewels in watches is to minimize wear on moving parts, so it’s not to be confused with the idea of more jewels being better than a few. The advancement in materials and their quality means modern watches no longer need so many jewels in order to prolong the life of the watch.

Mechanical Movement

The mechanical watch does not have a battery or a rotor arm to charge or wind the movement. This design requires the wearer to manually wind the movement at the crown to store energy in the main spring that is released over time to move the hands representing the movement of time. 


Quartz or Automatic

We already know what the Automatic movement is, but what does the Quartz movement do differently? The short answer is the Quartz crystal vibrates to give an exact and measurable heart beat that can be used to calculate and measure the passage of time at a uniform rate. 


Quartz Electronic

The Quartz movement needs a battery to send an electrical current through a small quartz crystal, that in turn creates uniform vibrations that keep the movement oscillating to drive the motor and the watch hands.


Swiss Movement

There is a simple way to explain what makes a Swiss made movement and what differentiates it from movements from elsewhere.

1.The movement has been assembled in Switzerland
2.The movement has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland 3.The components of Swiss movement account for at least 50 percent of the total value, without taking into account the cost of assembly.


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carl scutt
carl scutt
Carl's the founder and editor of His background's in Technology and Internet Marketing. He currently lives in southern Spain. Learn more about him here, and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.