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Watch Movements: “The Other Guys”

From the very beginning, pocket watches, followed by wristwatches, were powered by mechanical movements. This meant they had to be periodically wound by the wearer in order to keep on ticking. Even today, most of the watches we encounter at Feldmar use mechanical movements, but in the time since personal timepieces first appeared, horological innovations have brought several other types of movements to the watch world. What are the different types of watch movements? From quartz to mecha-quartz, let’s talk about… the other guys.


The first wristwatch powered by a quartz movement reached the commercial market in 1969 and when it landed, it set off an earthquake in the industry, the reverberations which are still being felt today. A quartz watch uses a battery to send an electrical charge to a quartz crystal, causing it to vibrate at a rate of 32,768 times per second. Those oscillations create electrical pulses that are converted to mechanical power. The result is a watch movement that provides unparalleled accuracy, with fewer moving parts for better durability and minimal maintenance, at a more affordable price.



Seiko has long been at the forefront of watch technology, and the mecha-quartz movement they invented is an excellent example. This is a hybrid chronograph movement that utilizes quartz technology for some of the watch functions, while making use of a traditional mechanical module for the chronograph portion. Using this hybrid caliber gives you an extremely accurate timepiece thanks to the quartz aspect, while allowing a slimmer profile than most mechanical movement watches.


In an industry where innovation happens in slow, creeping increments, Accutron’s proprietary electrostatic movement is a quantum leap forward. Like an automatic movement, Electrostatics rely on the wrist’s natural motion of the wearer. Electrostatic energy is created when twin turbines rotate at incredible speeds between two electrodes affixed to the movement. The energy is then stored in an accumulator, which powers two motors—an electrostatic motor (the world’s first) that moves the second hand, and a step motor that powers the hour and minute hands.



Grand Seiko is one of just a handful of watch manufacturers with dedicated craftsmen adept at both electronic and mechanical watchmaking, which allowed for the development of Grand Seiko’s spring drive. The spring drive caliber generates energy in the same way as other luxury mechanical timepieces, but then pairs it with an electronic regulator. This unique technology was the result of 28 years of research and development and 600 prototypes. It allows for a level of rigorous precision that cannot be matched by any strictly mechanical watch.



A watch with a digital module inside is exactly what it sounds like, a timepiece that displays the time, and a host of other features, digitally. It’s powered by an electronic oscillator synchronized by a quartz crystal. Digital watches are accurate to the microsecond, have great readability, and because they have fewer moving parts, are less vulnerable to shock, friction, and wear. And due to the nature of the LCD display, digital watches are able to present a host of advanced information quickly and cleanly.


Smart, wearable technology—three words that, when used to describe a timepiece with a smartwatch movement, open up an entire universe to the wearer. A smartwatch is, literally, a powerful, wearable computer, accurate to within one second every 100,000 years. Many smartwatches are GPS enabled, in constant communication with Global Positioning System satellites for unmatched connectivity. They also include accelerometers to measure your movement, and altimeters to know where you are in relation to sea level. When Chester Gould created Dick Tracy in 1931, with his famous two-way watch, this is what he was imagining! At Feldmar, TAG Heuer’s line of Connected smartwatches bridge the gap between past and present.

Discover these and other luxury watches at Feldmar. Browse our online store or stop into our flagship location.

About The Author: Tom Roth


Born in Washington state, Tom developed an interest in photography during college at University of San Diego. There, he got started in music journalism, interviewing artists and taking photos at concerts. A life-long tinkerer and collector, it wasn’t long before Tom became fascinated with fountain pens and watches.

Those interests collided in November 2020 when Tom started at Feldmar Watch Company where he lives out every watch geek’s dream: photographing and writing about timepieces. When he’s not tinkering with his watch collection, Tom can be found traveling, biting his nails while watching PNW sports teams, and taking flying lessons.

Read more from Tom Roth

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