How Classical Watches Work? – 2024 Guide

While there are probably thousands of watchmakers around the world, not all are quality timepieces that are worthy of our attention while some possess the craftsmanship and quality that you should expect from a gentleman’s watch.

Even as early as 15530, portable spring-powered clocks became an important part of an aristocrat’s outfit. Sized somewhere between a pocket watch and a desk clock, these portable timepieces could be worn on a lanyard around the neck or fastened to clothing. With basic mechanical movements, the average clock in those times had to be wound two times a day. Adorned with ornament and engravings, gentlemen would use these designs to show wealth and elitism. As timepieces became more affordable, these types of clocks were used mostly by night watchmen to keep track of their shifts.

Img source:

The use of night watchmen is where a lot of people believe the word “watch” comes from. The Old English word “woecce” has been translated to “watchman”. However, others believe the term came from sailors who used timepieces to keep track of their shipboard watches, now usually called tour of duty or a shift. As time passed on, watches began to appear on the streets in the seventeenth century. Before the 1920s, most watches were mechanical pocket watches and often referred to as conductor or railroad watches since they were mostly used by the railroads. However, during World War I, American soldiers determined that having to reach into a pocket to check the time while in trenches during a war was a ridiculous thought. This is how the trench watch was born and nor commonly known as a wristwatch. This gave the ability to American soldiers to check the time while still looking down the sights of their rifles. If you want to get a classic watch for yourself, check this website.

Types of watches

The wristwatch is the most common type of watch today, however, the pocket watch is also making a comeback these days. As the world keeps developing, watchmakers are putting effort into developing watches that can be used by scuba divers, by pilots in various environments and space. There are three types of movement when it comes to watches. Quartz, mechanical and automatic. We will be focusing on classic watches, the mechanical ones.

Mechanical movements

Img source:

Most commonly used in collector timepiece or luxury, a mechanical watch is much less accurate than quartz or automatic watch. Often losing several seconds a day, they have to be manually wound at least once a day. In addition to losing seconds, they can also be very sensitive to the environment. Factors such as temperature, elevation, magnetism, and position can cause the watch to fail despite being very costly to produce. These watches also require a lot of dedicated adjustment and maintenance. Regardless of all these issues that come with mechanical watches, they are serious craftsmanship and are very highly regarded by watch enthusiasts. The mechanical movement operates by using mechanisms to control the unwinding and winding parts of a watch. Basically, these mechanisms control the unwinding of the spring you have wound up. Instead of unwinding itself, a part called the escapement regulates so the spring periodically releases. The escapement uses the gears in the watch to deliver impulses to the balance wheel which causes what we call the heartbeat of the watch or tick.