Categories: Uncategorized

by Romlicen

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Categories: Uncategorized

by Romlicen

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A Complete Guide to Watch Movement Manufacturers

Just like you, I consider many factors before buying a wristwatch. However, one of the key factors I consider is the watch movement and its manufacturer. Did you know that the most expensive watch ever sold at auction worldwide is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010? It fetched 31.19 million US dollars in Geneva on November 9, 2019.

So, why was this watch expensive? What made the Patek Phillipe watch fetch a huge sum of money? Well, it’s easy–the watch movement, among other features. As a result, in this article, I consider watch movement manufacturers to help you make better choices.

What is a watch movement?

Experts say that the watch movement is the most important part of a wristwatch. They liken it to a heart in the human body.

A watch movement, also known as a caliber, is key in keeping a watch running. It is also important in displaying the accurate time. The watch movement is the engine of a watch which enables all parts of the watch to work as they should.

Types of watch movements – Mechanical vs Automatic vs Quartz watch movements

Wristwatch makers have come up with a lot of methods to make a wristwatch function well. Hence, different types of watch movements emerged.

Experts have grouped these watch movements based on certain features. These features include price, function and many more. The three watch movements include manual, automatic and quartz watch movements.

Manual watch movement

Dating back to the 16th century by experts, the manual watch movement is the oldest type of movement made.

Experts describe a manual watch movement as a movement that is powered by many parts. These parts are the mainspring, gear train, escapement and balance wheel. People consider this movement very traditional. It is mainly used in simple watches designed for everyday use.

Pros

  • The workings of a manual watch are simpler than that of an automatic watch movement. This is because there are fewer moving parts needed in the manual watch movement.
  • The manual watch movement is also cheaper compared to the automatic watch movement.

  • The manual watch movement is easier to maintain due to the lower number of moving parts.

Cons

  • Due to wear and tear, manual watch movements become less accurate over time.
  • To power the mainspring, manual watch movements need to be wound manually. Therefore, it is possible for a manual watch to stop unexpectedly due to the limited power reserve.

Automatic watch movement

Wristwatch makers refer to this type as the self-winding watch movement. In 1924, John Hardwood produced the first wristwatch with an automatic watch movement.

The wearer powers the watch when the mainspring is wound through the natural motion from the wrist. It is similar to the manual watch movement because they both require a winding for the watch to operate.

Pros

  • Compared to the manual watch movement, customers do not need to wind the wristwatch daily. The watch generates power from the wrist movement of the wearer.

  • Watches with this type of movement do not require a battery to function

  • They are very durable and comfortable to wear

Cons

  • If customers don’t wear the wristwatch for a long time, it may power down.

Quartz watch movement

The quartz watch movement is quite famous because of luxurious watch brands. Kazunari Sasaki made the first watch with this type of movement called the Seiko Quartz Astronaut 35SQ.

This watch movement is affordable, and watchmakers attribute this to its mass production. Unlike mechanical watch movements, the quartz watch movement makes use of a battery. Manufacturers run the engine of the watch with a battery. The watch movement also comprises a quartz crystal. Manufacturers design the crystal to receive signals from the battery.

Pros

  • Quartz watch movements are the most precise out of all the watch movements

  • Wristwatch makers produce these watch movements in mass. Hence, they are cheap
  • Manufacturers also design these movements with batteries that last a number of years. So, they are budget-friendly
  • They are durable and comfortable. This is because they have fewer moving parts compared to mechanical watch movements.

Cons

  • It needs a battery to operate

  • Women's watches

    27

  • Quartz watches

    6

  • Mechanical watches

    6

  • Chronograph watches

    21

Differences between Mechanical, Automatic and Quartz Watch Movements

Although each watch movement is similar, there are still some differences between them. This makes it easy for customers to decide if they want to purchase a wristwatch or not.

Price

Manual and automatic watch movements require many parts to make the watches operate. This high manufacturing cost makes watches expensive in the market.

On the other hand, quartz watch movements are affordable. This is because of the low manufacturing cost.

Function

Mechanical watch movements have to be wound for it to operate. This winding can be done either manually or automatically. For manual watch movements, the customers have to wind the wristwatch by turning it manually. In the case of automatic watch movements, customers generate power in the wristwatch when they move their wrist.

For quartz watches, wristwatch makers use a battery to get power for the watch to function.

Accuracy

Generally, mechanical watches are a bit inaccurate. This is due to the wear and tear of the wristwatches. This is also because watches with mechanical movements can stop at any time.

However, quartz watches are inarguably the most accurate of the three.

Maintenance

Customers do not need to replace the batteries of manual and automatic watch movements. Hence, the cost of maintenance is low. This is because customers only take them for tune-ups.

On the flip side, customers have to replace batteries in quartz watches in 12-24 months

Top watch movement manufacturers

Wristwatch makers study the use cases of the watch movements in order to create timely watches. Here’s a list of some of the top watch movement manufacturers, categorized by their region

Swiss watch movement manufacturers

Here are some of the watch movement manufacturers which emerged from Switzerland.

ETA:

  • General Introduction: ETA designs both mechanical and quartz watch movements.

  • History: Founded in 1856, ETA is a union of former Swiss watch manufacturers such as Peseux, Valjoux and others. They have now become the largest makers of Swiss watch movements.

  • Advantages: Experts know the ETA watch movement for its high accuracy and durability

  • Featured movements and watch: Many luxurious pieces are based on the ETA watch movement. Some of them are the original Tudor Pelagos, Certina’s DS Action Diver and many more. The most common ETA watch movement is the Caliber 2824-2. Experts consider it famous because of the three-hand automatic watch movement that it has.

Selitta:

  • General Introduction: The Selitta company makes watch movements based on ETA prototypes. However, these calibres are produced with expired patent rights. This is because experts have seen a likeness between the calibres of the Selitta and ETA.

  • History: The founder of Selitta launched this company in 1950 in the canton of Neufchâtel.

  • Advantages: Brands know this watch movement manufacturer company for their high precision and reliability

  • Featured movement and watch: Some examples include the Oris Drivers Sixty-Five with the Selitta SW200 watch movement

Soprod:

  • General Introduction: They focus mainly on the production of mechanical movements.

  • History: Founders created the Soprod SA Les Reussiles in 1966 and it is fast becoming a leading watch movement maker.

  • Advantages: Experts recognize this type of watch movement to be advanced, slim and created with modern technology.

  • Featured movement and watch: Manufacturers have utilized the Soprod Caliber A10 in manufacturing premium watches. Some examples include JS Watch 100, Steinhart Ocean Titanium 500 Premium and many others.

STP:

  • General Introduction: They supply the Fossil Group with watch movements. In addition, they also make the movements available to third-party companies.

  • History: Swiss Technology Production (STP) is a part of the Fossil Group. It launched in 2008 and since then they have made mechanical watch movements.

  • Advantages: They are quite effective and reliable

  • Featured movement and watch: Manufacturers use the STP 1-11 to create numerous wristwatches. Examples include Méraud Bonaire, Stella Felix and so on

Ronda:

  • General Introduction: They produce both manual and automatic watch movements. They design movements to supply to third-party manufacturers such as Victorinox.

  • History: William Mosset founded the Ronda company in 1946 in Switzerland.

  • Advantages: The company makes use of high Swiss precision in producing these watch movements.

  • Featured movement and watch One of their best sellers is the 5-light R159 caliber.

Jaeger-LeCoultre:

  • General Introduction: Watch experts classify this brand as one of the top luxurious brands.

  • History: Experts trace the history of the Jaeger-LeCoultre watch movement manufacturer back to 1833. The founder was Antoine LeCoultre and he founded his first watchmaking workshop.

  • Advantages: Experts know them for their keen attention to detail and beautiful watch lines.

  • Featured movement and watch: Brands have used the Caliber 815 to create Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm, Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox and so on

Piaget:

  • General Introduction: Piaget is one of the top watch brands that develop unique watch movements.

  • History: Founded in 1874, the founders have a name for making high-quality calibers.

  • Advantages: Brands recognize this watch movement for creating excellent and reliable timepieces

  • Featured movement and watch: A good example is the 18K Gold and Diamond Piaget Polo. It was designed with the Polo Tourbillon ref. G0A29065

Vaucher:

  • General Introduction: Vaucher makes high-end mechanical watch movements and watchmaking kits. Manufacturers make these movements in the purest Swiss tradition. They also come with Haute Horlogerie finishing.

  • History: This company started out in Fleurier in 1975. It was created by Michel Parmigiani when he launched his watch-making company.

  • Advantages: Experts recognize it by its sleekness and its ability to allow thin movements.
  • Featured movement and watch: Vaucher watch movements are used in creating a number of Hermès watches. For example, the Vaucher 5401 is with the Slim d’Hermès in steel

Lemania:

  • General Introduction: The company does the design and assembly of wristwatches as well as watch movements. They also produce watch movements for companies such as Omega, Speedmaster and others.

  • History: Alfred Lugein founded the Swiss Lemania company in 1884.

  • Advantages: Experts note it to be durable and accurate

  • Featured movement and watch: The Lemania CH27 is used in the manufacture of Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph ref. 3970. It is also used to create the Omega Speedmaster.

Why are swiss-made exceptional?

  • They have a reputation for high quality and luxury.

  • They have a powerful level of craftsmanship.
  • They are also very durable and effective.

Japanese watch movement manufacturers

Here are some of the watch movement manufacturers which emerged from Japan.

Seiko:

  • General Introduction: The company makes watches, clocks, semiconductors and many more. Experts also know them for introducing one of the very first quartz wristwatches in existence.

  • History: Founders launched the Seiko Holding Corporation in 1881.

  • Advantages: They are affordable and budget-friendly.

  • Featured movement and watch: One of their best sellers is the 4R35. It is notable as cost-effective. It is also known for having a three-hand automatic watch movement solution. It is used for their in-house wristwatches.

Citizen Miyota:

  • General Introduction: Citizen produces watch movements for quartz wrist watches. Also, Miyota produces mechanical movements in mass.

  • History: This company started out as a factory in the 1950’s in Miyota, Japan

  • Advantages: Experts note these movements to have a high level of accuracy

  • Featured movement and watch: Some of the watch brands that make use of them include NaviForce, Vincero and others.

Chinese watch movement manufacturers

Here are some of the watch movement manufacturers which emerged from China.

Seagull:

  • General Introduction: The Seagull company produces only mechanical movements and watches. Their watch movements are famous when compared to many international brands.

  • History: The company was established in 1955. It was a result of an order from the Chinese government to establish a watchmaking company

  • Advantages: Brands speak highly of the high quality of their watch movements

  • Featured movement and watch: An example is the Seagull 1963 chronograph watch became popular using the ST19 Seagull watch movement.

Sunon:

  • General Introduction: Sunon Internal Group Limited is known for the design and assembly of quartz watch movements.

  • History: It was established in 2004. With close to 100 production lines, they produce up to 2 million pieces of watch movements

  • Advantages: They create effective watch movements. This has enabled them to enter international markets.

  • Featured movement and watch: The PE902 SUNON Quartz Watch Movement is a commonly used watch movement in the brand

German watch movement manufacturers

Here are some of the watch movement manufacturers which came from Germany

A. Lange & Sohne:

  • General Introduction: They produce a range of watch movements for different companies.

  • History: Ferdinand Adolph Lange founded this company in 1845.

  • Advantages: Experts identify their watch movements as ideal. They also boast of traditional craftsmanship and high attention to detail.

  • Featured movement and watch: The 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold is a good example of one of the premium watches created with this watch movement

Glashutte Original:

  • General Introduction: The company produces their own watch movements in order to make classic pieces.
  • History: Founders birthed the Glashutte Original brand in 1994.
  • Advantages: They are known to make decent mechanical watch movements.

  • Featured movement and watch: Manufacturers created the Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 with the Caliber 54-01.

What is in-house movement?

Watch brands produce in-house watch movements for their wrist watches within the company. This is in contrast to the watch brand giving the project to another company.

Luxury brands like Omega and Rado produce their in-house movements. This also affects the production cost and the purchase amounts of the watches.

What companies own their in-house movement?

Tag Heuer:

  • Edouard Heuer founded the Tag Heuer brand in 1860 in Switzerland. They produce watch movements for use in their company. This is because they are a luxurious brand. Manufacturers produce and assemble them all in Switzerland.

Patel Phillipe:

  • Patel Phillipe is a luxurious watch manufacturer and they make use of their in-house movements. The World Time Chronograph by Patel Phillipe is one of the best in-house timepieces ever known to man.

How to identify a watch movement (General tips for identifying movements)

Visuals:

One great way to tell watch movements apart is by looking at the second hand. On a watch with a mechanical movement, the second hand has a smooth, sweeping seconds motion. On the other hand, quartz watches have a tick-tock movement that stirs once per second.

Dr Ranfft Watch Movement Database :

Dr Roland Ranger compiled this database and it contains over 1600 watch movements. It contains information on each watch movement. This helps customers to identify movements quickly.

Final thoughts: What watch movement should you consider before purchasing a new wristwatch

Considering an audience going for a classy look, the mechanical watch movement is definitely your best choice. This is because they have a great level of craftsmanship. They are also highly durable and pleasing to the eye.

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