Watch power source terminology
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I'm uncertain about current watch terminology. Are these correct: automatic=self winding as worn, quartz=battery operated, mechanical=manual winding? Could someone please describe the different watch mechanisms and power sources and their advantages and disadvantages?
thumb_upgorian2222, Duncan, and 1 other
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Rochsolid
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arislan
1352
Feb 8, 2019
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There's also meca-quartz which are chronograph watches (i.e. stop watch/timer function) quartz watches but the chrono function is a separate mechanical module however the mechanical movement is powered by the battery powering the quartz. A mechanical chrono module, whether batter or spring powered, typically when you press reset after it runs, it will "flick" back to the start position - also called "fly back" in WIS terms. Quartz chronos typically rotate clock-wise back to the start, i.e. if it stops at the 10 minute counter, the hands will do a full rotate clock-wise back.
Feb 8, 2019
Duncan
3643
Feb 6, 2019
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I've always felt that our communities need glossaries just to be able to navigate them as newbs. Would love to work with someone here in the Watches Community to write that out.
Feb 6, 2019
CraigLewis
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Feb 5, 2019
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Quartz doesn't have to require a battery. It can incorporate a very small photovoltaic panel that converts light into electricity, along with something like a capacitor or battery to store the power, and run the watch. Citizen's Eco Drive is by far the best known, but Seiko and Casio use this extensively as well. Outside Japan, it's much less common, but Junghans makes their own; Skagen and Bering, IIRC, have a few as well. The major advantage: no battery change. Ergo, no need to crack the case open and possibly mess up the seal. No trip to the mall. They do die eventually; the panels lose efficiency, the capacitors lose the ability to hold charge. But Citizen claims, IIRC, the storage device still retains 80% of its original capacity after 20 years. Almost all solar watches will run for at least 6 months with no light at all, so there's still plenty of capacity left. I did have 2 Casios die last year...but each was at least 30 years old.
Feb 5, 2019
Rochsolid
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Feb 5, 2019
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Thanks for your informative input to everyone who commented. I'm nearly an antique myself and remember a time when the mechanical watch was standard and Timex was dropping watches from tall buildings and blimps to show how tough they were. Mechanical watches don't require batteries, don't have to be worn daily, and winding them is a comfortable morning ritual. Now I wish I could afford one. Nowadays, I'm more interested in watch bands than watches and collect Navajo carved silver watch tips some of which have precious stone inlays. They usually come with dirt cheap watches whose batteries need to be replaced every few months. When that became a drag, I started looking into contemporary watches and have learned a lot from MassDrop. I ended up buying several Seiko and Citizen solar watches with faces that complement the bands and which don't require batteries or a winder that's priced higher than the watches.
Feb 5, 2019
Asheikm
2534
Feb 5, 2019
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In addition to what has been mentioned: The "Quartz" moniker for battery powered movements comes from their timekeeping element; the resonant frequency of a quartz crystal, cut in a precise manner and subjected to a certain voltage, is used as the time regulating element. Mechanical movements use an escapement, a gear with a locking action, as the regulating element; without the escapement, all of the potential energy in the coiled mainspring will be transferred to the gear train and the hands will spin uncontrollably until the energy is depleted. There are also hybrid movements. Seiko Kinetic movements are quartz regulated , and use an electrochemical cell to store the energy produced by a mechanical rotor (dynamo). Seiko Spring Drive (used in Grand Seiko watches) uses a mainspring to store energy and has a mechanical rotor assembly, but uses an electromagnetic braking system (glide wheel) in lieu of a traditional escapement.
Feb 5, 2019