The iconic Zenith El Primero caliber 3019 PHC manually-wound movementHey all, I wanted to start a new series! Obviously, many people here are already extremely knowledgeable about watches, but one of the joys of the hobby is spreading knowledge. Please let me know in comments if there's anything that the community would like to learn about. I definitely don't know everything (or even more than many people), but we have such a breadth of knowledge in the community that it would be a waste to not share! For this first installment, I'd like to talk about the (almost literal) heart and soul of every watch, the movement.
Here you can see the difference between a manual wind movement (left, Lemania CH27) and automatic movement (right, Rolex 4030). The semicircle at the top of the automatic movement is the weighted rotor, which is absent on the manual wind.
Some automatic movements, such as this Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor, have a smaller weighted rotor (as shown at 3 o'clock of this photo) instead of the full semicircle. These rotors are a little less efficient at winding the mainspring, but look darned cool.Here's a nifty little video that does a great job detailing how a mechanical movement works:
The ubiquitous Ronda 715 quartz movement
Rolex 5035 Oysterquartz movement
F.P. Journe Caliber 1210 quartz movement. Journe's decision to make a quartz movement is seen as controversial by some, as this watch is over $10,000. That being said, the technical considerations that went into this watch are astounding; the bridges and plates are made of rose gold, and the hands stop after thirty minutes of stillness to save battery. The microprocessor will continue to run and the hands will sync up as soon as the watch is moved.You can typically tell the difference between a mechanical and quartz movement by how the seconds hand moves. A seconds hand on a quartz watch will tick discrete seconds, jumping from one second to the next. Meanwhile, the seconds hand on a mechanical watch will “sweep” along. It is still ticking, just in smaller and quicker increments which contribute to a smooth glide around the dial. This is muddied a bit when you get into complications and haute-horology, some manufacturers (such as Jaeger-LeCoultre) make what is called a deadbeat or “true” second hand. These are purely mechanical watches, but the escapement and balance wheel is made in such a way that will cause the second hand to tick once a second. Whether this complication is enjoyed for precision or for whimsy is up to the owner of the watch.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive Caliber 9R65. The weighted rotor is up top, and you can see the glide wheel escapement in gold at around 7 o'clock in this photo.TECHNOLOGY AND ADVANCEMENTS