Explanation of the watch movement quartz and mechanical

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Different watch movements

The movement is the heart of each watch. The component that gives life and where all emotions arises.

Currently, there are two types of watch movements which are most often used; the quartz movement (battery) and the mechanical movement (no electronics). Read more on this page about the operation, differences and advantages of these types of timepieces.

Just want to know which kinds of watch movements Prisma is using? We use the brands Ronda (Swiss), Miyota and Seiko (Japanese). Especially the quartz movements. These are known for their durability and ‘value for money’. Discover quartz watches or read more about the characteristics of a quality watch.

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Quartz watch movement operation

What is a quartz watch? Quite simply said, the quartz watch uses a battery as drive. It is named after the crystal (quartz crystal) that gives very regular tens of thousands of cycles per second.

The I.C. (Control center of the timepiece) converts these vibrations into one pulse per second. With some logic circuits of the copper coil, rotor and other wheels, this pulse is passed to the seconds hand, so it can tick every second. If the watch has no second hand, the pulses are accumulated and let the hands take a small step every 20 seconds.

Research has shown that in this way the quartz watch shows the most accurate time. A digital watch works the same. Here, however, the impulse is passed to the LCD screen. This LCD screen with liquid let, under the influence of the electric voltage, a certain amount of light through.

This electrically powered timepiece is currently the most popular and is used in most watches. The quartz movement meant almost the demise of the traditional Swiss watchmakers in the mid-19th century. As the quartz watch is a lot cheaper than the mechanical watch.

Quartz movements benefits:

  • Makes watches more affordable
  • Very accurate, because of the high order worldwide
  • It can be produced very small
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Mechanical watch movement operation

The mechanical movement works completely without batteries. This is obviously quite complex, but we will try to give a simple explanation of the operation. By turning the crown (winding) or a fluctuating weight is a spring stretched in the mechanical watch.

This force is transmitted to the escapement, which consists an anchor and a gear wheel (the balance). The anchor gives the force of the spring dosed via this gear wheel on to the next wheels. The escapement creates the ticking sound you hear in a mechanical watch. The dosed transmission is important, because otherwise the clock will run faster.

Source photo: By Chetvorno


The dosage strength is passing through several gears (the radar work) to the minuterie. The minuterie are three sprockets that cause the hands to display the time. Therefore, you can imagine that the proper functioning of a mechanical watch movement depends on the combination of the components. Fir this, the materials and workmanship are essential. That is why only with watches worth 10,000 euros and above, these mechanical movements are still handmade.

A mechanical movement will never suffer from a leaking battery, but it does require more maintenance than a quartz watch. Because of the small forces from the moving parts. The battery does not need to be replaced, but it is wise to change the oil periodically.

Mechanical movement benefits:

  • The watch can last (with good maintenance) generations long
  • More emotion, because it works entirely mechanically.

Which of the two types of watch movements appeals to you most? Check out men’s watches or women’s watches from Prisma.