Mechanical watch

The mechanical movement watch , or mechanical watch , is a type of watch commonly composed of movement and clothing within a case . The reassembly making it possible to give the operating energy to the watch can be carried out manually or automatically by the movements of the wearer of the watch. Before the appearance of watches with solar energy, it was distinguished from the watch with electronic movement or quartz by its absence of battery. It is distinguished from quartz solar watches by its absence of battery.


Animated diagram of the mechanism of a watch.

Movement refers to the set of mechanisms used to indicate the units of time: hours , minutes , seconds , date , day , moon phase and others

  • The draft
    • the platinum
    • The watch jewels or “ruby”
    • The date discs or bearing additional indications according to the complication of the movement
    • The bridges
    • The wheels
    • The sprockets
    • The Window
    • The self – winding system with oscillating weight , also called rotor
    • The lubricant
  • The barrel spring
  • The exhaust
  • The regulating member
    • The pendulum
    • The spiral spring
    • The anti-shock system
  • whirlwind
    • The Tourbillon


The clothing consists of all the constituent parts of the watch surrounding, dressing , movement, giving the watch its aesthetic, allowing the indication of all its functions.


The case is the protection of the set: “movement / dial / hands”. It is also the main element of customizing the watch model. It is composed of the middle part (central) part of the case to which are fixed:

  • outside :
    • The tube and crown assembly allowing the reassembly and the setting to the time,
    • The bezel , if any,
    • the ice or glass watch,
    • The bottom ,
    • The seals ,
    • The horns or covers of handles : to which are fixed on both sides of the casing the two parts of the bracelet ;
  • inside :
    • The circle and the flanges , to which is fixed the “movement / dial” assembly.


The dial is a plate covering the turntable of the movement. It bears numbers or markers to read the time according to the positions of the hands (or other moving parts). Originally, the dial was called “watch”. It was he who, alone visible, hiding and covering the entire surface of the mechanism, became by synecdoche the name of this portable watchmaking mechanism, distinguishing it from the large and cumbersome clocks which largely overflowed their dials. Often decorated, it also indicates the trademark , the type of the watch (eg automatic , quartz , stopwatch ) and, where applicable, provenance (eg Swiss made in Switzerland,

It is usually made of metal (copper, silver, steel or other) and can be coated with paint, lacquer or enamel. It can also be guilloché , giving the metal decorations in relief.

There are also wood, marquetry, stone, decorated with feather or precious stones. Some dials are drilled to make visible part of the mechanism, such as open hearts showing the pendulum, swirls and carousels. Other watches do not have a dial in order to observe the movement, whose bridges and deck have been hollowed out. These are the “skeleton watches”.


The hands are each attached to a pinion coming from the movement through a hole in the dial, indicating the hours, minutes, sometimes seconds (the needle is sometimes called “second hand”), and others, in addition to the indications of discs Housed on the plate, of which we see only a part by a window of the dial , according to the complication of the movement. The most common window display example is the date window, displaying the date disk.

Wicket watches are a particular case of watches without hands where the hours and minutes are displayed according to the same principle of rotating disc through a window. Only seconds are then marked with a needle.


The bracelet is generally attached to the middle by the horns. It can be made of leather, plastic foam, natural fibers, rubber, as well as various noble metals, steel, titanium, aluminum and various metal alloys.


There are different types of clasp , butterfly buckle, or deployant buckles, or even pin buckle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *