Technology is dynamic and new discoveries and changes are being adopted day by day. If you weren’t born yesterday, am sure you have ever seen your grandfather, father or uncle wind his watch before retiring to bed. If for any case he forgot, to do this, then he would wake up to a watch that doesn’t work anymore. With the introduction of self-winding watches, this has become history. However, what most of the people don’t know is how these automatic watches work. What makes it automatic? Does this watch has the same basic mechanism to keep the watch working. We don’t have to dwell so much on this but the fact is that self-winding watches have come to change everything.

When quartz watches arrived in the market, people thought there’s no other technological advancement that will beat this. Most of the people thought that quartz watches were the end of normal mechanical watches. Things are changing and new advancements are being made and for this case self-winding watches are more popular than ever.

The question of who invented the automatic movement is still disputed. What this means is that the information available is not satisfactory. As a matter of fact, self-winding dates back to several centuries ago and was first introduced to a watch in the 18th century and later perfected to give raise to what we see today. With all the advancements that have been made since the invention of automatic movements, automatic mechanical watches have a power reserve ranging from 30 hours to 1 month. Now the watches are made to thrive on any condition. There are water resistant watches that are available in the market today for sea dwellers. A good example is rolex Sea dweller the ultra-resistant diver’s model that was designed and crafted by Rolex.

All automatic watches works in almost the same way. They all require a series of movements to facilitate the whole functionality. Automatic watches have a series of gears that tick the increment in time which later reflects as the movement of watch hands on the screen.

The movements of an automatic watch are a combined effort of several parts. There are several components that concurrently work to give you accurate time by the use of your wrist movement. Now we want to understand each of the components and later explain how these watches work and why they are very reliable than the previous versions where you had to wind the watch before you retire to bed.

The main components of Automatic watches

Before we rush on explaining how an automatic watch works, we have to check on some of the components that facilitate the whole capability. Every automatic watch has a Rotor, Reverse mechanism, crown, geartrain, escapement and mainspring. They also have a balance wheel and jewels.

• Rotor-This is a semi-circular weight which is also known as Oscillating weight. This component is mounted on the movement and swings through 360o

• Reverse mechanism-This other component sits between the gears and the rotor with the main purpose of winding the mainspring regardless of which way it turns. The most popular reverse mechanism is the pawl-winding system which has two wheels with a top and bottom discs each.

• Crown-This is another very important component of automatic watches. It is a wheel which is found outside the casing which is used to either set the hands or manually wind the watch.

• Geartrain- this is a series of gears that transfer energy to the escape wheel from the mainspring.

• Escapement-This is the most important component of a watch because it divides time into equal fractions. The escape wheel releases energy to the lever at regular intervals.

• Mainspring-This is a coiled part of the watch that stores energy. It gradually releases that energy as it unwinds. The energy released by the mainspring is later transferred through the movement gears.

• Balance wheel-This is the heart of the watch simply because it beats about 5-10 times a second. Most people thinks that this is the regulating organ in an automatic watch.

• Jewels-These are the hard surfaces that are fitted at high friction points including the center of the wheel and other parts that are constantly rotating. The jewels are composed of corundum and aluminum oxide.

How does an automatic watch work?

Now that we have already seen some of the most influential and important components of automatic watch, we will get direct to the functionality part of the watch. This is one of the commonly asked questions. The watch works in six stages which we are now going to break down and explain a little.

The wrist movements make the rotor to turn and later wind the mainspring through gears. In manual watches, this is done through the crown. After that, the energy released by the mainspring is transferred by the geartrain to the escapement. As I had already explained above, the escapement will release this energy at regular intervals to the balance wheel.

The balance wheel is pushed to one direction then the other by the pallets on the level. The main reason for this is to maintain the oscillations of the balance wheel. As the balance wheel swings, it advances the geartrain that eventually sets the pace that drive the hands mounted on the gears. The last thing that is visible on the screen is hands turning on the dial. I bet you already observe the minute hand moving faster than the hour hand.
When you wear an automatic watch, it never stops running. As a matter of fact it never runs out of power. Now I bet you know this is not magic. I hope this description has helped you know something about the components of an automatic watch and what makes it work the way it works. Previously, watches were using battery power but with this technology, things have changed for better.

We have described how this watch is able to use the motion of your wrist to convert it into hours and minutes. The functionality is simple if at all you understand all the components that are involved on this.

Author's Bio: 

This is Arifur Rahman. Who is a professional SEO Specialist & Blogger. He has been working since 2015. He loves to share his stories, tips, tricks and teach online readers.