How does a mechanical or automatic watches work?

How does a mechanical or automatic watches work?

KEY

1) Barrel/mainspring providing the power

2) Gear train, transmitting the power

3) Escapement, distributing the impulses

4) Balance wheel & hairspring, oscillating, making the division of time

5a) Winding stem, for manual winding and setting

5b) Oscillating Weight, for automatic winding (automatic movements only)

6) Dial train, activating the hours, minutes, seconds hands

The mainspring, housed in a barrel, is wound by hand or automatically: Automatically means that a weighted rotor arm swings back and forward when worn, This winds the mainspring Not wearing an automatic watch means the watch will eventually stop. Both movements have protection against overwinding. This spring unwinds very, very slowly. The unwinding power is transmitted through a set of gears called a gear train. The energy ‘escapes’ the gears via an escapement which is a wheel with teeth that drives a pallet fork. The pallet fork produces impulses to a small balance wheel, making it oscillate or swing (causing the ticking). Another set of gears and wheels transmit the regulated power to the hands of the watch.

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Article by Adam J

Adam J

Adam's been working at Jacobs since 2003, has a professional jewellers diploma and looks after the business as whole.