Precision Marvels: How a Mechanical Watch Works


Watch Wise

Website Admin


In this article, we will learn how an automatic watch works, and explore the fascinating world of automatic watches & what makes them Tick'


Wristwatches have come a long way from their humble origins as simple timekeeping devices. Among the various types of watches available today, automatic watches stand out as a testament to mechanical ingenuity and craftsmanship. Unlike their quartz counterparts, automatic watches rely on intricate mechanical movements to keep time. In this article, we will learn how a mechanical watch works, and explore the fascinating world of automatic watches & what makes them Tick'

The Basics

An automatic watch, also known as a self-winding watch, operates without a battery. Instead, it harnesses the natural motion of the wearer to wind the watch's mainspring. This is made possible through a complex system of gears, springs, and other components that work seamlessly together.

The Rotor

At the heart of the automatic watch is the rotor, a small, semi-circular piece that moves with the motion of the wearer's wrist. The rotor is connected to the movement and is mounted on a pivot, allowing it to rotate freely. As the wearer moves their wrist, the rotor swings back and forth, transferring energy to the mainspring.


The Mainspring

The mainspring is a coiled wire of metal that stores energy when wound. When the rotor rotates, it winds the mainspring, storing potential energy in the coiled form. As the mainspring unwinds, it releases this energy in a controlled manner, powering the watch's movement.

Gear Train

The energy generated by the unwinding mainspring is transferred through the gear train. This system of gears regulates the release of energy, ensuring a consistent and accurate timekeeping mechanism. The escapement and balance wheel are crucial components within the gear train, responsible for dividing time into equal intervals.

Balance Wheel and Escapement

The escapement is a mechanism that regulates the release of energy from the mainspring to the gear train. It consists of an escape wheel and a pallet fork. As the balance wheel oscillates back and forth, the pallet fork engages with the escape wheel, allowing a controlled amount of energy to be released at each oscillation.

The balance wheel, resembling a tiny wheel with a hairspring, is responsible for maintaining the watch's accuracy. The hairspring controls the speed at which the balance wheel oscillates, ensuring that the watch's timekeeping remains precise.

The Hands & Dial

The regulated energy from the gear train is then transmitted to the watch's hands, moving them in a continuous, smooth motion. The hands are affixed to the central axis, which is connected to the gear train, allowing them to rotate around the dial and indicate the time.


In the age of digital advancements, automatic watches serve as a testament to the beauty and complexity of mechanical engineering. The intricate interplay of gears, springs, and other components within these timepieces transforms the simple act of wearing a watch into a dynamic process that keeps it ticking. The automatic watch not only tells time but also tells a story of craftsmanship and precision, making it a cherished accessory for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Learn more about how a mechanical watch works here.

Have an Automatic Watch to sell?

Sell your automatic watch today with Watchwise. Watchwise is the best place to sell your pre-owned luxury watch. Compare deals from the UK's Best & Biggest Pre-owned Watch Retailers.

Are you a Retailer? Read & learn more about how the WatchWise Platform Can Help Your Business and Private Individuals Looking To Sell Luxury Watches

Become a verified UK retailer now.

New post in your inbox

No spam. just a latest exclusive post on watches interviews and articles