What is the difference between a mechanical watch and an automatic (self-winding) watch?

Do you wear a watch on a daily basis?

"Nowadays, I can check the time on my smartphone, so I don't need a watch."

I'm sure there are some of you who think this way.


Watches have their own wonderful aspects too!

Today, we'll be introducing you to watches in detail, which are not only practical but can also be a great accent for your everyday fashion!

What is a mechanical watch?

What comes to mind when you think of a watch?

Perhaps something like the photo comes to mind?

This is a format that is now used all over the world, and is sold at a wide range of prices, from ordinary souvenirs to luxury brands such as Raymond Weil!

Most of them are powered by built-in batteries, and unlike digital clocks, they show the time with hands on the face.

However, mechanical watches and quartz watches are a little different.

It is actually powered by an internal spring!

When the internal mainspring is wound, energy is transmitted to tiny gears and other components, ultimately moving the hands of the clock.

When talking about watches, the thing you want to look at in particular is the dial, also known as the face, which is shown in the image!

This part truly is the "face" of the watch, and is where the spirit of the craftsman shines through.

It is precisely because these faces vary widely depending on the sales company and craftsman that the diversity of watches is born, and which has given rise to so many enthusiasts.

Another distinctive feature of this clock is that, unlike the smooth movement of a digital clock, the hands move in gradual, tick-tick... movements!

Manual and automatic

Mechanical watches come in two types: manual, which you wind with your fingers, and automatic, which winds the internal mainspring automatically with the movement of your arm as you walk.

When you hear the term "hand-wound watch," some people might imagine a pocket watch that a Meiji-era gentleman would pull out of his bosom.

This is in fact true; hand-wound watches originated in Europe around the 17th century and have a long history!

A wide variety of watches have been created from a simple structure that transmits the force of the wound spring's gradual return to its original position to a hand.

The time before the mainspring needs to be rewound varies from watch to watch, ranging from approximately 24 hours to 5 days.

The Panerai Luminor 1950 GMT shown below can keep time for an amazing eight days without needing to be wound!

Nowadays, due to practical issues, very few people wear manual watches on a daily basis, but enthusiasts still value them more than automatic watches due to their rarity.

However, due to the nature of mechanical watches, if you do not wear them daily, the hands will stop...

Your love will be put to the test!

An automatic watch eliminates the need for manual winding, relying instead on the wearer's natural hand movements, such as when walking.

It is structurally almost the same as the manual type, but it has a metal weight called a rotor that creates a pendulum motion.

The rotor rotates to wind the mainspring. If you wear it daily, it will never stop!

Differences from quartz watches

The main difference between quartz and mechanical watches is their power source, which is usually a silver oxide battery.

There are types whose interior is made up of a collection of small parts, and types whose faces are all digital LCD displays.

Famous brands include Raymond Weil and Timex. The internal structure is very sturdy and the battery can be easily replaced.

Other than that, it doesn't require much maintenance. Most repairers treat the movement of a quartz watch as one large component and repair it by replacing it.

However, there are some things you should be careful about!

That's because if you take an expensive quartz watch to a repair shop, there's a chance that the entire movement will be replaced with a cheap, non-branded one.

If you want to avoid this, tell the repair person.

Specifically, electricity is passed through a quartz crystal, causing the crystal itself to vibrate and move the hands of the clock!

With cheaper models, the final time is often determined by the motor.

Many digital quartz watches are advertised as being suitable for sports, and are popular among outdoor enthusiasts!

In Japan, brands like G-SHOCK are famous, right?

There are models that are very casual, shock-resistant and even work in water.

A base is installed in place of driving parts such as gears.

Therefore, when you need repairs, you will have to send it to the dealer or take it to a specialized repair shop!

Most watch repairmen are familiar with mechanical watches, and it is difficult to find a shop that can handle watches that are made up entirely of digital parts. However, you can of course take it to the nearest repairman. Even if they can't repair it, they will give you advice.

The high degree of freedom inherent to digital means there is a wide variety of faces available.

Another attractive feature is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to other watches!

In 1960, quartz watches began to be mass-produced all over the world, and mechanical watches, seen as a symbol of an ageless era, were temporarily in danger of disappearing.

However, this does not mean that mechanical watches are inferior because they are difficult to mass-produce.

Mechanical watches have their own advantages!

Advantages of Mechanical Watches

The advantage of a mechanical watch is that it can be used almost indefinitely by simply replacing the parts.

In recent years, models that can be charged using solar power have been produced, but there will still come a time when the batteries need to be replaced.

However, mechanical watches are extremely durable because their internal mechanisms are analog.

With ever-advancing technology, new mechanisms are being developed almost daily.

Since the power source is solely internal, it can withstand drastic changes in climate (mountainous areas and arid regions).

It is also worth noting that craftsmen have paid great attention to the internal mechanism in order to compete with quartz movements.

Like this, there are models with transparent faces to show the inside, which are a lot of fun to look at!

This model is amazing, it looks like a machine from the near future.

What do you think of the world of watches?

What we've introduced in this article is just a small part of it.

Take this opportunity to step into the wonderful world of watches.