What are the different types of watch movements, and which is best for me?

What are the different types of watch movements, and which is best for me?
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Posted in: Watches

Beverly Loan Company, the “pawn shop to the stars,” specializes in valuating and loaning against high end, beautifully crafted watches. There is little doubt that watches can be intricate and confusing. Not only do you have to decide which features to choose from, but also which movement you would prefer. The watch experts at Beverly Loan have seen an array of watches ranging from a Cartier Ballon Bleu with quartz movement, to a Patek Philippe Minute Repeater, and almost everything in between.

Acquiring a timepiece, whether you are an experienced purchaser of watches or not, can be somewhat puzzling, but it is important to know the basics of a timepiece. Here is a breakdown of the most common watch movements and complications.

Mechanical movements use the energy of a spiral wound spring, commonly called the mainspring, by regulating the release of energy with a series of gears. Most mechanical watches have a mainspring that must be wound each morning by hand, however some higher end watches, like the IWC Big Pilot, have a large mainspring, which allows it an 8 day reserve before you have to wind again. Some higher end mechanical watches, such as Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet will have a tourbillon complication that controls or reduces the effects of gravity in the timepiece. Mechanical movements have been used for centuries, and until the 1970’s, Switzerland was manufacturing more than 50% of the world’s mechanical watches.

Automatic mechanical movements have the same inner workings of a traditional mechanical movement, except for an oscillating weight which automatically winds the watch while you go about your day. Just the simple movement of your arm creates energy that runs the watch, and allows it to keep incredibly accurate time; within 15 seconds per month. Automatic watches have become increasingly popular in the past few decades, and are now the standard movement for most watchmakers.

Quartz movements utilize the use of a battery to oscillate or vibrate a tiny quartz crystal in the watch that produces pulses of electricity to a tiny computer chip. Quartz movement is very popular for mainstream markets, and also considerably more accurate than a basic mechanical movement. It was introduced in 1969 when Seiko unveiled the first quartz pocket watch, which quickly gained popularity and triggered what some like to call “The Quartz Revolution”.

Complications are the additions that include any other aspect to the watch except for the hours, minutes, and seconds that it normally displays. The most common complications include moon phases, time zone display, and power reserve. One of the most rare and superfluous features is a repeater. The repeater is a function for mechanical watches that chimes every hour, quarter hour, or minute at the push of a button that was invented in 1676, before electricity, as a way to tell the time in the dark. Another excessive, but potentially life -saving feature is on the Breitling Emergency II. This super watch has many complications, but the most notable is a satellite distress signal, which will send out both an analog and digital distress signal, that will be picked up no matter where you are in the world. A very practical watch for those risk takers out there.

Whatever type of watch you prefer, Beverly Loan would be happy to sell one to you at dealer prices, buy one from you, or make a pawn loan against one.

So which movement and/or complications is the best for you? It really depends on our lifestyle and needs. Buying a watch can be a very personal decision. Automatic watches for instance, are great for users who want low maintenance, but accurate timepieces to wear on a daily basis. Mechanical watches are typically for users that prefer impeccable craftsmanship, tradition and style. These watches require meticulous skill and precision in assembly. Quartz movements are simple, easy to use watches, as long as you don’t mind getting that battery replaced every few years.

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