What is an Automatic Mechanical Watch?

You might have heard someone who said automatic watch and you are curious as to
what it is exactly. You think to yourself, ‘aren’t all watches mechanical’? Well, there is
some degree of truth to that but an automatic watch is actually a league of its own.

In this article, I will go over all of the essential information that you need to know about
automatic watches.

What is It?

First and foremost, there is no such thing as an automatic mechanical watch. It is simply
called an automatic watch and that is mainly because of its watch movement.

Most people call it an automatic mechanical watch because that is actually because of a
certain watch movement from which it was derived from.

Watch Movements

In the market today, there are three prevailing watch movements; each having their own
characteristics.

The first watch movement is mechanical watch. This is the first watch movement ever-
created and it makes use of a mainspring to power the entire mechanism. The problem
with mechanical watches is that they are not known for their accuracy, simply because
of its mechanism.

For people that want the watch to tell the time, they must manually wind the watch until
everything is set and they will have to do this from time to time, which is quite
cumbersome in a practical sense.

So, to remedy this, watchmakers added a self-winding mechanism where you will only
have to set the watch’s time once and this mechanism will ensure that it tells the time
somewhat accurately without user intervention.

This self-winding mechanism will make use of kinetic energy that is produced by your
body’s movements. So, the idea is that you will wear the automatic watch, move about,
and it should hold some charge until it comes to the point that it will have to suck your
kinetic energy again.

People who have a collection of automatic watches would use a self-winding box that
will ensure that their watches hold a charge even if they are not wearing the watch.
So, what about Quartz watches? Unlike the previous two watch movements, the quartz
watch is not powered by a manual mechanism but instead gets power from a microchip
that gets an electric charge from a small battery.

Technically, the quartz watch has a microchip that is powered by the battery. It will
prompt the quartz crystal that is inside the watch to vibrate the mechanism so that the
vibration will then be converted into regular electrical pulses.

Those pulses will then make the motor run, thus everything in the watch will then work
after that.

How Can You Tell?

So, how can you tell if the watch you are wearing is automatic or quartz? Well, the
easiest way to discern one from the other is the smoothness of the second-hand. If it is
smooth, then it is automatic. If it has a staggered movement, then it is quartz.

Alternatively, some watchmakers will just add the word ‘automatic’ to denote that it is an
automatic watch and ‘quartz’ if it is a quartz watch.