FAQs about Kinetic Watches

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Published April 29, 2010 | Updated June 17, 2015

Kinetic watches, also known as automatic watches, are popular right now, but if you haven't had one of these watches before, you might be wondering what they are and if one would be the right kind of watch for you. These low-maintenance timepieces save you money on batteries because they don't require any power source other than the energy they receive through your own daily movements. A kinetic watch is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a worry-free automatic timepiece.

Kinetic Watch Questions:

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  • What is a kinetic watch and how does it work?

    Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. A kinetic watch uses the everyday motion of the wearer to operate the watch engine, also known as the movement. It stores energy that is produced by simple, everyday movements, such as shaking someone's hand, gesturing, swinging your arms while walking, or turning the steering wheel while driving. The energy is captured when the movements of the person's arms and hands cause a weight to oscillate within the watch. This energy is then stored in a capacitor that discharges slowly over time.

  • How is a kinetic watch different from an automatic watch?

    Kinetic movement is sometimes called automatic-quartz movement, and kinetic watches combine the best elements of automatic and quartz watches. A kinetic watch has a self-winding movement, just like an automatic, but it uses a quartz timekeeping mechanism. The capacitor transfers energy to a quartz crystal, which vibrates at a high frequency to run the gears at a consistent rate. Automatic movement is a form of mechanical movement, so it uses a hair-spring and a balance wheel to keep time. Quartz movement is much more accurate than mechanical movement; on average, a quartz movement loses a few seconds a month, while a mechanical movement loses a few minutes. Read our watch movement buying guide for more information on how watches work.

  • How durable is a kinetic watch?

    You may have concerns about investing in a kinetic watch, due to the unfamiliar nature of the technology, but you should know that they are just as durable as any other type of watch. The capacitor can be filled with energy and discharged thousands of times, and although a recalibration of the capacitor every ten years or so can help keep your timepiece in top condition, the capacitor does not wear out.

  • What are the important things to keep in mind while I am shopping for a kinetic watch?

    They are meant to be an investment that will last a long time. They are usually men's watches, but women's watches with kinetic movement are also available. The most important thing to consider while shopping is your fashion preferences because the low-maintenance nature of the watch will make you want to wear it every day.

  • I left my kinetic watch in a drawer for a few weeks and now it doesn't work. Is it broken?

    Probably not! Since it doesn't have a battery, it is charged through your movement. If you left it sitting for an extended period of time, it probably just needs to be recharged through movement. Move it around, then re-set the time. It should start working again.

  • I don't wear my automatic watch every day. How do I keep it charged?

    You can purchase a watch winder for your automatic watch. It's like a special jewelry box for kinetic watches because it keeps moving to keep the charge. Some watch winders hold multiple watches, which is excellent if you have a collection of automatic timepieces.