How Makes a Mechanical Wristwatch Work?

A mechanical watch is a watch that uses mechanical mechanisms to measure the passage of time, as opposed to modern quartz watches with electronic functions. It is driven by a spring, called a spring, which must be wound periodically. Its force is transmitted through a series of gears to drive the cycloid, which is a counterweight wheel swinging back and forth at a constant speed. A device called escapement releases the wheel so that it moves forward a small part each time it swings, causing the pointer of the watch to move forward at a constant speed.

Automatic and manual movements use the same basic mechanism to measure and display time. The difference is in the way you wind up. In this article, we will study this improvement carefully and explain how it works.

The Components of Automatic Machine Movement

  • Balance wheel

This is the regulating organ of a watch, often called the heart of the movement, because it "beats" 5 to 10 times per second. The swing wheel is assembled with the swing wheel spring, and one end of the swing wheel is fixed on the swing wheel. Each time the cycloid swings in one direction, the "in and out" motion of the cycloid hairspring will make it return to the central position.

  • Jewellery

These are hard synthetic gemstones made of corundum and alumina. Jewelry is mounted at high friction points, such as the center of a constantly rotating wheel, to reduce friction and wear. The gems in the early movements were real rubies. Because of the high price of rubies and the use of new technology, today's watch movements use artificial jewelry. These "artificial" jewelry is actually colorless, but will be dyed red to make it more attractive and remind people of the original gem.

  • Rotor

The rotor is a semicircular counterweight mounted on the movement. Also known as a pendulum. Thanks to the watch's movement on the wrist, the rotor can rotate 360 degrees. Through a series of gears, the movement of the rotor makes the spring wind up, thus providing mechanical energy for the watch.

  • Reversing mechanism

The reverse mechanism is located between the rotor and the gear. No matter how the rotor rotates, it can make the spring wind up. There are various reverser mechanisms, the most famous of which is the pawl winding system. It consists of two wheels, each of which consists of a top plate and a chassis. The discs are connected by a spring-free pawl (d), which first releases one wheel and then the other according to the direction of rotation.

  • Crown

The crown is a button or wheel on the outside of the case. After pushing in the shank, it can be rotated to tighten the spring manually. When it is pulled out, it can be rotated to set the pointer.

  • Main spring

This is a coiled strip of metal that stores energy as it is wound and gradually releases energy as it unfolds. This energy is transmitted through moving gears.

  • Gear train

This series of gears transfers energy from the spring to the escapement wheel. The balance or wheel moves according to the energy consumed by the tightly wound spring that powers the watch. On manual up chain watches, the energy comes from periodically rotating the external crown to apply tension to the spring. A watch with automatic winding or automatic winding has a semicircular weight that can rotate with the movement of the arm, thus turning the winding gear.

  • Escapement

This is the part that divides time into equal parts. The escapement wheel releases the energy provided by the gear to the lever at regular intervals. There is less friction between the lever and the ruby on the pallet. In fact, the ticking sound of a watch is the sound of the escapement forks touching the escapement teeth. This escapement mechanism is called Swiss lever escapement mechanism, which is still widely used. In recent years, many innovations have been made in escapement, usually based on the performance of modern materials such as silicon.

How Does the Automatic Movement Work?

Now that we are familiar with the main components of an automatic watch, we will break down the six stages of calculating time and driving the pointer to display the hour, minute and second pointer on the dial.

  • Step 1

The movement of the wearer's wrist causes the rotor to rotate and wind up through gears. It can also be wound up through the crown just like the watch.

  • Step 2

The gears in the gear train transmit this energy to the escapement.

  • Step 3

The escapement device provides energy to the cycloid on a regular basis.

  • Step 4

The pallet on the lever pushes the wheel in one direction and then in the other direction. In this way, the energy generated by the spring can still be used to maintain the oscillation of the cycloid.

  • Step 5

Each swing of the swing wheel will make the gear transmission mechanism advance a certain amount to drive the pointer installed on the gear.

  • Step 6

The pointer opens the dial. For example, a reduction gear indicates that the minute hand will rotate faster than the hour hand.