What Are the Different Types of Watch Movements?

For some, watches only differ from their shape, size, and style. But, watch enthusiasts know that each watch varies on their internal mechanisms.

Watchmakers exquisitely design their timepiece.

Some makers use crystal case backs or clear glasses to have a look at how movements work inside.

Do you know how important the watch movements are? Let’s take a look at the movement descriptions to have a more comprehensive understanding of their movement mechanisms.

black watch held by a man on his palm

What is a Watch Movement?

gold color of watch movement and dial

Horology is fascinating, and it is the art of making watches to measure time. If you do not know yet, the watch movement is the heartbeat of every timepiece. It what makes the watch work, and that is where the ticking sound comes from.

The watch movement is the driving mechanism and the powerhouse of the timepiece. It moves the hands of the watch and powers the chronograph, dual time zone, and calendar of the watch. Its function is essential to keep accurate time.

Did you know, every watchmaker spends most of their time conscientiously designing the watch movement? The interior movement of watches distinguishes it as a masterpiece and separates it from other mediocre watches.

Generally, three types of watch movements keep every watch masterpiece working. In the three, two are mechanical movements, and the other is a battery-operated caliber.

Types of Watch Movements

Watch manufacturers have introduced several different watch movements that effectively use proprietary innovations, especially watch movements manufacturers in Swiss. These three common types of watch movements fall into two categories, mechanical and quartz movement.

You can easily distinguish the movement of mechanical and quartz through their second hand. The second hand on a clock that uses mechanical movement incorporates smooth pace motion, while the quartz watch operates with a tick-tock motion on every second.

Now, let’s get into details about the commonly utilized watch movements.

Quartz Movement

A timepiece with a quartz movement is battery-generated. It became famous in 1970 as it was massively produced and innovated out of Japan.

This type of movement led to a dramatic alteration of consumer habits as it became affordable by the masses.

Aside from its affordability, the battery-powered movement only requires minimal maintenance. But, some watch enthusiasts are not impressed with the movement.

Unlike the mechanical movement, the quartz movement employs an electric current to the quartz crystal to produce vibration and move the hands of the watch.

Quartz movement type of watch

Source: Crown and Caliber

In each second, the quartz crystal vibrates 32,768 times to create an accurate signal frequency. With the consistency of the watch’s hands, it veers the precise time. The second hand of the quartz movement ticks regularly and predictably.

The quartz movement only has few moving parts. Thus, you only need to replace the battery of the timepiece every one to two years. Changing the battery is essential maintenance of the watch. The drained battery may cause an acid leak, which can damage the movements.

Mechanical Movement

Most luxurious watches are made from mechanical movements. The movements are quite intricate, which makes it hard for the naked eye to unravel.

The mechanical movement uses tiny gears and little cogs working alongside and a mainspring to make the ticking motion accurately. The mechanical hand movement has two distinct categories, the manual and automatic movement.

Manual Mechanical Movement

manual mechanical movement

Source: Wristwatch Blog

The manual mechanical movement has been the oldest type of movement utilized. It was first invented way back in the 16th century and was referred to as the ‘hand-wound’ movement. With its name, users have to wound the watch by hand to produce and deliver energy to the watch’s mainspring.

The intervals for winding in this type of movement depends on the power reserve capacity of the timepiece. Some require daily winding, while others have a five-day power reserve that only needs winding every five days.

Thus, if you desire to own a watch with a manual mechanical movement, you need to develop the habit of winding the watch before wearing it.

Automatic Mechanical Movement

automatic mechanical watch without background

Source: Wristwatch Blog

The automatic mechanical movement is the second category for mechanical movement. A timepiece with automatic movement is self-winding.

Its mechanism makes use of the natural motion of the wrist. Wearers only need to regularly wear the watch to ensure a constant hand movement of the watch.

The only difference between the manual and mechanical movement is the rotor. It has an additional weight that rotates the mainspring after each movement of the wrist.

Wearers of automatic mechanical movement only need to wind when the watch has not been worn for some time.


Watchmakers carefully craft their masterpiece. While most people who purchase watches based only on the exterior design. We hope you are now keen on details that will make you appreciate the internal mechanism of a watch. Look for a watch with your favorite style and an exquisite movement beneath its surface. I hope the article can help you clarify types of watch movemnets. If you have any questions and different ideas on watch movemnts and watch part, please share your thoughts below in comments box for further discussion.

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I never knew that there are different watch movements that you should note when purchasing a watch. I have a friend who wants to gift his uncle an expensive watch for his birthday. Maybe we should consult a jeweler or a watch expert that can help him choose and repair it when needed.

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