A watch movement (also known as a “calibre”) is the engine of a watch that acts as the powerhouse to make the watch and its functions work. This internal mechanism inside the timepiece moves the hands and powers any complications available. Driving all of the timekeeping functions, the movement is the most important component in a watch.

There are countless different variations created by watch manufactures. Each of them will fall into one of two main categories — quartz or mechanical.

Mechanical Movement

Mechanical movements are often preferred over quartz for luxury watches because of the level of quality and craftsmanship involved in their creation. Skillfully manufactured by expert watchmakers, these movements contain an deliberate series of tiny components working together to power the timepiece. Although the general design of mechanical watches hasn’t changed much in centuries, technology has allowed for more precise engineering and higher quality.

The mechanical movement uses energy from a wound spring to power the watch. This spring stores energy and transfers it through a series of gears and springs, regulating the release of energy to power all thew function of the watch.

Automatic Movement

Often referred to as “self-winding”, automatic movements harness energy through the movements of the wearer’s wrist. Watches with automatic movements are very popular because you don’t have to worry about winding the watch daily to ensure constant operation as long as it’s on your wrist and you are moving.

An automatic movement works largely the same way that manual movements do, with the addition of a metal weight called a rotor. The rotor is connected to the movement and it can rotate freely. With each movement of the wrist, the rotor spins, transferring energy and automatically winding the mainspring. Also there is clutch that keeps the spring from over-winding.

Quartz Movement

Quartz movements are very accurate and require minimal maintenance aside from battery replacements. They tend to be cheap since they are mass produced and have few moving parts.

A quartz movement utilizes a battery as its primary power source and is typically the type of movement that you will find in your standard, mass produced watch. The battery sends an electrical current through a small quartz crystal, electrifying the crystal to create vibrations. These vibrations keep the movement oscillating and drive the motor to move the watch hands.

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