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When it comes to choosing the perfect watch, there are so many decisions that you will be faced with, and one of the first ones is the type of watch movement that you want to consider.

Sometimes referred to as a “calibre” a watch movement is the heart of the watch - the engine. It is this which makes the watch and any functions that it might have work. This is the mechanism that is found inside the watch, moving the hands and also giving power to any other functions that your watch might have such as annual calendar or chronograph. The movement is the essential component of the watch, without which it would not function; it is what makes the timekeeping functions work.

While there are innumerable different movements with proprietary innovations that are created by watch manufacturers there are only two types of movement – mechanical and quartz.


What is Quartz Movement?

A watch with a quartz movement is one that is powered by a battery as its primary source of power. Typically, quartz movement if the type of movement that you will find in a more basic watch that has fewer functions, and it is estimated that quartz watches make up approximately 90% of the watches in the world.  In order to create the power that drives the watch to work, an electrical current is sent from the battery through a small quartz crystal. This causes the quartz to be electrified and this, in turn, creates vibrations – around 33 vibrations per second. It is these vibrations that keep the movement in the watch moving and driving the motor which allows the watch hands to move.

On the whole quartz movement watches tend to be lower in cost, they offer fewer functions and have fewer moving parts than the mechanical alternative. Amongst watch alternatives quartz movement watches are less desirable; they are somewhat lacking on the engineering from and also on the technical craftsmanship. However, when it comes to brands like Patek Philippe, and other fine Swiss watch brands, there are strict quality standards in place, and these watches are designed to comply with them. It is this attention to detail and quality that places these Swiss brands very much in the desirable category with watch enthusiasts.


What is a Mechanical Movement?

When it comes to luxury watches mechanical movement is often preferred over quartz movement because it offers a better level of quality and craftsmanship. These movements require a high level of skill and an expert watchmaker to create them. The mechanical movement contains a number of tiny, intricate, components that work together in order to power the watch. Over the centuries, the general design of the mechanical watch has not altered; however advances in technology have had a considerable impact. These advances in technology offer greater attention to detail and much more precise engineering of those tiny components that power the watch. 


Vault Mens Watch VT107


The power in a mechanical movement is provided by a wound spring and not a battery. Energy is stored in the spring, and this is then transferred through a series of small springs and gears which control the release of energy that is used to power the watch. In order to keep time, a mechanical movement watch relies solely on this energy provided by the spring.

A mechanical watch does not have a batter to power it, they are either self-winding or manual. A self-winding watch is often referred to as “automatic” or “Kinetic” – the spring is automatically wound due to a rotor which turns with the movement of the wearer – in other words wearing the watch and moving the wrist keeps the watch working. A manual mechanism, on the other hand, requires some user intervention on a regular interval. The wearer must turn the crown, sometimes referred to as the winder, in order to tighten the spring. This will usually provide the watch with around 40 hours of power for a complete winding of the mainspring. There are however manual watches that can offer the user a power reserve that lasts as long as ten days.


Manual Movement

This by far the more traditional movement, and it is also the oldest type of watch movement around. There is something about a manual movement watch that appeals to many – the ability to see the beautiful display of the watch movement through the case-back. While it might seem that the need to manually wind the watch could be seen as an inconvenience for many people, it is something that they prefer and can easily incorporate into their daily routine. Whether you prefer a watch that should be wound daily, for example, hen you put it on, or one that offers you a lengthier reserve there are plenty of different types to choose from that will suit your requirements.

The wearer must turn the crown multiple times to wind the mainspring and store potential energy. The mainspring will unwind slowly and release energy through a series of gears and springs that regulate the release of energy. This energy is then transferred to turn the watch.


Automatic Movement

This type of movement has been around for less time than manual movement; however, it is an incredibly popular choice. This type of watch is incredibly popular as the wearer does not need to remember to wind it, in fact, all they need to do is wear the watch on a regular basis, and it will keep working without the need to do anything.


Which Movement is Best For You?

Ultimately only you can decide which type of movement, quartz or mechanical, is best for you. You will need to consider whether you are looking for a watch that simply tells the time or if you want one with more functions. Other things to consider are whether you prefer a watch with a battery, one you manually wind up or of course one that does it all for you.