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FAQs about Watch Movements

by Staff Writer

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The bright gold gears of a mechanical watch movement

Though most watches are similar, you have the option to choose between several different watch movements. Watch movements drive the timekeeping function of the watch. Quartz watches use a battery and a quartz crystal to power the watch while mechanical watches use a traditional mainspring and winding mechanism for power. Kinetic and solar-powered watches are also available in many men's watches and women's watches. When shopping for a men's watch or women's watch, consider these facts to choose the best timepiece for you:

Commmon Questions about Watch Movements:

  1. Which movement is the most accurate?
    In general, quartz movements are more accurate than mechanical movements. It is common for watches to have some variation in timekeeping and a watch model is deemed accurate if it gains or loses the same amount of time every day. The average quartz watch has a variance of 0.5-2 seconds per day. The average mechanical or automatic watch has a variance of 3-5 seconds per day.

  2. What are the "jewels" of a watch movement?
    When a watch description lists the jewels, as in "17-jewel automatic movement", it is referring to the gems used as bearings in the finished movement. The jewels are usually synthetic rubies, which are a harder substance than metal. The gears of a watch will wear down over time due to the constant friction caused by metal rubbing against metal. Watchmakers place the synthetic rubies on highly stressed parts to increase durability and keep the movement in alignment. Mechanical, automatic and a few quartz watches have jewels, and timepieces featuring extra complications like chronograph watches will have a higher number of jewels.

  3. What is an automatic watch?
    An automatic watch is a mechanical watch that uses the motion of your wrist to wind the mechanism. Automatic watches are easy to maintain because they will never need to be wound manually if they are worn regularly. An automatic watch can be wound if it is unworn for a period of time and it will usually start ticking again right away with a gentle shake.

  4. What is a kinetic watch?
    A kinetic watch is similar to an automatic watch, but it has a quartz movement, making it slightly more accurate. Kinetic watches contain small oscillating weights that capture the movement of your wrist and convert it into energy. This energy is stored and released as needed.

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