Let's talk watch movements. Watch wearers, whether occasional or frequent, should know the movement, (known in the industry as calibre), of a watch.
Why does it matter, or why should you be moved to find out? Well, the movement of a watch is the oyster of a timepiece, and in many cases even more important than the actual design of a watch. Quite simply, the movement handles the functionality aspect of a timepiece, including the calendar, and of course, the time.
So what are the different movements - and why do they matter?
Is there any superior movement type, or are they all the same?
Let's start with the absolute basics: There are two categories of movements. Yes, just two. No more, no less. A watch can have either a mechanical movement or a quartz movement. Of course, there are hundreds of different movement makers and models, but they all fall into these two categories.
Mechanical Manual Movement
The manual movement was the very first to be used on wristwatches. It is not powered by a battery but rather on stored energy that gets generated through hand-winding. With mechanical watches, the wearer must turn the crown multiple times. When released, the crown will unwind very slowly to release and regulate energy and power the watch's operations. Many manual movements require winding every day, although some can store the energy for several days.
Many people enjoy mechanical watches, but because they require daily re-winding, they are best for rare occasions and not for the typical watch wearer.
Automatic Manual Movement
Although it falls into the same category as the mechanical manual movement, the automatic has one major difference. It is self-winding. It harnesses energy through the natural movement and motion of the wrist, with a metal weight (rotor) connected to the movement, that spins and transfers energy, which makes the watch function.
The biggest downside with the automatic movement is just that: it relies on wrist movement, which means it will occasionally lag in time, and many must be reset each morning. So, unless you’ve got a lot of time to spare, and no concern for timeliness, an automatic manual watch may not be altogether convenient. The accuracy of an automatic manual watch can vary by as much as 4-5 seconds per day at its best, depending on how long it can store wound energy.
The most popular movement in the world is by far the quartz movement. The quartz uses a battery as its primary power source and sends power through a small quartz crystal (hence the name), which then creates vibration and makes the watch function.
The quartz movement is the most popular because it is extremely reliable and accurate, and it requires minimal maintenance except for changing the battery every 3-5 years. Compared to mechanical movements, the accuracy of quartz movements is of the charts, with about half a second of error. Since it doesn’t require rewinding, quartz movements are a superior choice for casual and everyday wearers. The quartz movement won't amaze watch experts, but it will definitely guarantee that your timepiece functions as it should and accurately keeps time.
I believe the quartz movement is the superior one for casual and every day wearers. It won't amaze the very best watch experts in the world - but it will definitely guarantee that your timepiece functions as it should and keep accurate time.