A real feat!
What is an automatic watch?
Invention and evolution of the automatic movement
Historians are not unanimous about the origin of this invention. For some, it is the Swiss Abraham Louis Perrelet who invented this device in 1777 , for others it is the Liègeois Hubert Sarton in 1778 with a rotor winding .
How it works ?
Instead of using a battery and an electrical circuit that make the hands turn at the right pace, it's the weight (rotor) which provides energy to the mechanism as soon as the watch moves. This weight also turns very easily , in fact all you have to do is wear the watch, and at the slightest movement you make with your wrist, the mechanism starts working and it is fed. And so, quite logically, if a mechanical watch remains static and resting on a piece of furniture for too long (several days), it ends up no longer working. No worries! All you have to do is wind it up, put it back on your wrist and it's ready to go again.
What is the internal mechanism made of?
To achieve this masterpiece of watchmaking whose lifespan is excellent , it is obviously necessary to call upon numerous internal components.
- The impeller: Also called weight, or oscillating mass, it is the famous weight in a semicircle which rotates 360° when the wrist moves. It is fixed at the center of the movement and supplies the energy.
- The barrel spring: It stores the energy produced by the rotor and restores it to the rest of the mechanism. This is a tape that acts as a motor.
- The transmission system: A small cog, it takes over from the mainspring of the barrel and transmits the accumulated mechanical energy to the escape wheel.
- The escape wheel: Also called an anchor wheel, its mission is to regularly and intermittently release the energy conveyed to it.
- The pendulum: Considered the heart of the movement, it beats between 5 and 10 times per second in a circular fashion and it regulates the movement of the hands.
- Rubies: These are hard and resistant synthetic stones that are installed inside the mechanism to reduce friction and wear.
- The crown : External button to the mechanism, present on the case of the watch, it is used to manually wind it and adjust it precisely.
Finally, here is a diagram of the movement
- The wrist moves and sets the rotor in motion.
- The rotor rotates and in turn actuates the mainspring of the barrel.
- The energy then reaches the transmission system.
- The transmission system then transmits this energy to the escape wheel.
- The escape wheel releases energy on a regular basis.
- The pendulum receives this energy and beats at this same regular rhythm.
- Each beat transmits energy to the hands which then turn on the dial!