What makes a watch tick? That is a question that we normally take for granted. Oftentimes, we buy watches without any regard for what makes it move; for what is behind its constant motion.
This is what watchmakers call movement. It is basically the brain of your watch, dictating what it is supposed to do. In addition, a watch’s movement is what allows for complications in its design such as sub-dials and date windows.
There are two main categories for watch movements and these are the quartz movement and the mechanical movement. For expert watchmakers, the difference is obvious. However, your average watch guy is oblivious to the difference.
How do you differentiate quartz from a mechanical movement?
THE EYE TEST
- The Second Hand
This might be the most obvious difference between the two. With a quartz movement, the second hand moves with a tick-tick motion, meaning, it goes from one marker to the next every second.
The mechanical movement on the hand makes a sweeping motion. It is smooth to look at and does not necessarily tick to every marker. Instead, it just sweeps by them.
- Power Source
Quartz watches normally have a battery as its power source. At its core is a quartz crystal. This crystal will receive the electric signals coming from the battery causing the crystal to send vibration. As a result, the vibrations keep the gears in motion making your watch work.
Mechanical movement relies on springs. This spring is wound up to store the energy which is then transferred to a series of gears and springs that would eventually power the watch.
STAYING IN TOP SHAPE
Other than those two, the eye test difference between a quartz movement and a mechanical movement ends there. Therefore, we have to dig deeper.
Quartz watches require far less maintenance compared to timepieces with mechanical movement because of the attention to detail given when making the latter. It has intricate, time mechanisms that need regular check-ups to make sure they are working well. The former however requires no more than the regular changing of batteries. You can have them checked, but normally, that is all it needs.
This is also the reason why a mechanical watch outlasts a quartz watch. In fact, some watches, when taken care of properly, can even outlive its owner.
Watchmakers prefer to build luxury watches using the mechanical movements. This is due to the fact that the mechanical movement has a higher level of quality when compared to the quartz. This is also the reason why enthusiasts prefer the former.
It is that sophistication that mechanical movement timepieces have that makes them more desirable.
The more expensive quartz watches go through strict quality control just to justify its price.
Movement is the brain behind a watch. Without it, we would have nothing to talk about other than the look and the brand that sells them.
As simple as watches may be, there is more to it than meets the eye. Watchmakers have worked on the technology to further refine these timepieces, quartz or mechanical, therefore the movement should never be taken for granted.