A mechanical watch movement is made up of moving parts that wind up manually or automatically. The movement is driven by the mainspring, a spring that must be wound periodically. As the mainspring unwinds a force is transmitted through a series of gears to power the balance wheel, a weighted wheel which oscillates back and forth at a constant rate. This makes the ‘ticking’ sound characteristic of all mechanical watches. Mechanical watches are a favourite among traditional watch wearers.
A quartz watch is battery driven and measures time using a paper-thin piece of synthetic quartz. This tiny piece of quartz serves as the watch’s oscillator. The quartz vibrates very quickly in response to an electric charge; it is these vibrations that enable the watch to keep time. Quartz watches have either an analog dial, with rotating hands, or a digital display, which shows the time with numbers.
An automatic watch movement is wound by the motion of the wearer’s wrist and do not need to be wound manually. The mechanism consists of a semicircular ‘rotor’ which pivots when the wearer is in motion. This motion is then translated into energy that passes through various gears to wind the mainspring. A fully wound mainspring will typically last two days. While it is slightly less precise than a quartz movement (by a few minutes per month), an automatic watch movement is the ultimate example of Swiss watchmaking.
Citizen Watches have developed an environmentally friendly watch movement by using innovative Eco-Drive technology. It starts with a simple, yet revolutionary concept: a watch that never needs a battery. The Citizen Eco-Drive technology harnesses the power of light from any artificial light source and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium-ion cell. It recharges continuously in any kind of light to run forever. Sunlight and any artificial light are absorbed through the crystal and dial. A solar cell beneath the dial converts any form of light into electrical energy to power the watch. With regular exposure to light, Eco-Drive continuously recharges itself for a lifetime of use. Eco-Drive’s revolutionary Eco-Drive Energy Cell stores enough energy to power the watch up to 5 years, even in the dark.
Seiko Watches were the first to unveil a watch which was capable of converting kinetic movement into electrical energy. Kinetic watches use body movement to create the power needed to keep the watch running. A kinetic movement has oscillating weights that are turned by the movements of your wrist. These wrist movements create a magnetic charge within the watch which converts into the electricity needed to power the watch. A kinetic watch has the same, extremely high accuracy as a standard quartz watch, accurate to within 15 seconds per month, with the added advantage of never having to replace a battery.