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We all use a watch, whether a wristwatch, a wall-clock or a watch in the mobile phone. However, only few really know how a modern wristwatch measures the passage of time. Watches are very complex machines and most of the documents meant to explain how watch movements and mechanisms work are often difficult to understand and/or to assimilate. On the other hand the mechanic of most common watches is based on very simple principles not that difficult to understand and assimilate. Under this optic, watch movements can be explained in a very simple way and “beginners guide” should start from explaining those overall principles.
We will try to simplify as much as possible the explanation and clarify the way watches measure the passage of time. In a second phase we will go a bit more in details so to familiarize with the most common parts of a watch but we will not cover every single part of a watch movement. Before doing that, let’s clarify that for the purpose of this article we will consider only three types of watch movements: manual and automatic movements and quartz watches. Manual and automatic movements are called mechanical as they are made of only mechanical parts like gears and springs. On the other hand the quartz movements have an electrical circuit but may also have some mechanical parts.
There is a piece of history that always accompanies us – the watch! What is on your wrist (if you have one) is the result of thousands of years of research and development - Sumer and Egyptians are among the first to have developed and used watches. Since then every single culture or population in any geography started developing systems and deviced to measure the passage of time. The first watches were leveraging the movement of the sun, water or sand and even the consumption of candles. Modern watches have nothing to do with the initial developments but they are the direct consequences of that work and the many stories and anecdotes that came with it. You might expect that only scientist and “technical” people influenced the watch development but you might discover that even movies had an impact. We could write an encyclopedia with those many stories but we wanted to bring to you only our top 25 interesting facts – from historical facts to curiosities, anecdotes and even simple technical information.
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A wristwatch is generally made of five parts: i) a clockface which shows the timing, ii) a mechanism that measure the passage of time, iii) the gears that link the clockface to the mechanism iv) a source of energy and v) the case and bracelet.
The most common watches are either mechanical (manual or automatic) or quartz and the main difference between them resides in the source of energy and the way the passage of time is measured.
In the mechanical watches the energy is generated by either a manual winding or by the natural motions of the wearer's body which activate a series of gears that measure the passage of time and also drive the hands in the clockface.
Like the mechanical watch, also the so called quartz watch has gears inside to count the seconds, minutes, and hours and to sweep the hands around the clockface. However, the gears are regulated by an electric circuit instead of a mechanical one. In the watch there is a battery which sends electricity to a quartz crystal. The crystal oscillates at a precise frequency and generates regular electric pulses (one per second) that can drive a small electric motor to turns gear wheels to spin the clock's second, minute, and hour hands. Alternatively the pulses might power an LCD display.
The so called crystal oscillator creates a signal with very precise frequency, so that quartz watches are at least an order of magnitude more accurate than mechanical watches. The first quartz watch was built in 1927 and in the 80s they become more compact and inexpensive, and thanks to their precision they are now the world's most widely used timekeeping technology.
Todd & Marlon believe that every second count and having an accurate view of the time is a must. For their first timepiece Todd & Marlon have then selected a Swiss Made movement because of the quality and Quartz for its reliability and accuracy. This specific caliber is made of hundreds of parts (including 1 jewel) and it has been customized to fit the specific 24 hour dial of #YOURTIME watch.
A 24 hour watch works exactly as a common (12 hour) watch with the only difference that in this kind of watch there is one hand that completes a rotation in 24 hours instead of 12 hours. Most of the 24 hour watches have two hands to indicate the hours: one is based on the standard of 12 hours while the second one completes the rotation in 24 hours. Some have only one hand to indicate the hours and this is the 24 hour hand. In the first collection of Todd & Marlon the watches have only one hand indicating the hours (24 hour) in order to keep it clean and simple.