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Manual winding, quartz and automatic watches

July 21, 2021 3 min read

manual winding, quartz, automatic watch

The heart of the watch and its movements

When we talk about the different mechanisms of the watch, we are talking about its heart. Sometimes aesthetically the watch might be the same, but the movement that propels it is different. So why choose one over the other?

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To choose the right watch for you and your needs, it’s important to know the different features in their movements, the three main ones are Manual, Automatic and Quartz.


The manual system is one of the oldest ones, they began to emerge in Europe in the seventeenth century. Its main characteristic is that it avoids the use of an electrical component. They are made of metal, are driven by a mainspring which must be wound periodically by hand It is a very refined and complex mechanism, screws, jewels and bridges among other components are what wind the watch. When this happens, the movement is transmitted between the gears that manage to move both the clock and hands.

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The main characteristic of the manual watches is that the user needs to wind it by hand periodically (approximately 40 hours). To do this, all you have to do is turn the crown. The winding mechanism of these watches, with its charging experience, has a special charm that makes its wearers fall in love.



It should be noted that this type of watch is highly appreciated by watchmaking lovers, because of the complexity and handcrafted component that this piece requires. If proper maintenance is carried out, your watch should last a lifetime.


The most important concept of the automatic watch is that it is capable of winding itself with the movement of its owner's arm. This system is based on an oscillating weight and a rotor that will spin around an axis powered up by wrist movements. Although theory is easy to understand, micromechanic engineer and master artisan work is needed to manufacture complex calibers that make possible the transformation and transmission of energy to turn it into impulses that may power up the hands accurately.

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Sometimes they consist of more than 300 parts. Each brand develops its own calibers in a competition of achieving the greatest accuracy. Even if the watch were no longer produced and no replacements were found, a watch expert can always replace the pieces damaged as each part is hand-assembled, giving you the opportunity to have your watch last a lifetime.


Among its advantages, it's important to highlight that there is no need to wind it by hand, as they are self-wound. Automatic watches can be stored unused for an indeterminate time, and by not using batteries they are environmentally friendly. Something to keep in mind is that mechanical watches tend to be heavier due to the many metal parts that make it up.


Quartz watches comprise approximately 90% of all watches market. These can be analog, digital, or analog / digital and contain a quartz crystal that vibrates about 33 times per second by battery. Those vibrations are converted into impulses that generate the hands movement.

Quartz watches appeared around the 70s and during the 80s, because of their lower value, they almost wiped out traditional watchmaking.

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The quartz watch requires a battery, that must be replaced, and if you want to keep the watch for some time without use, it’s necessary to remove the battery to prevent a leak that might damage the watch. For this same reason, these watches pollute more. 

Quartz watches are usually more accurate than automatizaciones and usually cheaper. Also, due to the simplicity of the mechanism inside, greater flexibility is allowed in their designs and they tend to be lighter and thinner.

There is no right or wrong choice of movement, it depends on personal style and preferences. If you love watches, are interested in the complexity of its mechanism and value artisan work, then you will completely appreciate the automatic or manual movement. On the other hand, if you prefer a lighter and simpler watch, your choice will probably be a quartz watch. Whatever your preference, the choice will always be correct.

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If you have any questions or want more information or advice, do not hesitate to contact us or visit our boutique at Núñez de Balboa 90, Madrid. It will be a pleasure to help you.

It is our pleasure to assist you. 

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