Different Types of Watch Movements

The movements of a watch are endlessly fascinating for many people. Other people just want a watch that they can feel confident will work well for a very long time to come. Here’s what you need to know about watch movements and how to pick the right kind for your needs. 


Quartz watches are the most common and affordable of watch movements. They rely on a piece of quartz and a battery to power the watch. These watches must have the battery periodically replaced to keep working. 

However, watch batteries generally last for a very long time. For some watches that need a lot of power to run all of their functions, such as chronograph watches, quartz may be the only option. These watches need more power to run than other watches, so the energy offered by a battery is generally the best choice. 


Manual watches were the original watches from the time of the pocket watch. They don’t need batteries to work and can function for hundreds of years. To keep a manual watch running, you turn a small knob on the side of the watch regularly. If the watch should run down, you will need to reset the time and turn the knob to get it working again. 


Automatic watches work on exactly the same principles as manual watches. However, instead of having to turn a knob to keep the watch working, the watch is automatically recharged by the motion of your arm as you’re walking. 

While you may need to turn the knob to recharge an automatic watch if you let it sit for too long without walking, for the majority of the time, it will take care of charging itself while you go about your day. 

What are Different Types of Watches?

The average person may find any of these watch movements useful, but they may be more or less practically for different uses. Depending on the type of watch that you’re using, one or another of these types of watches may be more or less useful. Here are some of the most common types of watches.


Racing watches were some of the first watches to develop beyond just telling the time. Racing watches were made with a stopwatch feature included so that you could accurately tell how long a race was run. Now, racing watches are customized for all kinds of uses.

For instance, a quality regatta timer has a specific section on the face of the watch to time the period in the race before the boats can start. Even if you don’t have a Regatta to time, the classic nautical good looks and additional features of a watch like this may make you choose it as your standard watch.


Not surprisingly, dress watches are ideal for when you want to look your best. Whether you want to use a dress watch to smarten a casual outfit or you’re considering the best accessories for a suit, a dress watch is probably the best pick for you. These watches are generally made with a gold or silver backing and band, although stainless steel can also look very attractive.


Pilot watches were developed between the world wars, specifically for pilots to use in the cockpit of an airplane. Previously, wristwatches had been worn only by women, but pilots needed a watch that they could easily check without fumbling with a pocket watch. 

When pilots did want to take the watch off of its strap to put somewhere they could easily see in the cockpit, the watches were designed with an easy snap off band. These watches are easy to read in low light conditions and are generally pretty tough, so if you want a good-looking, classic watch that is very easy to read, the pilot’s watch might be right for you. 

Field Watch

The field watch is very similar to the pilot watch, with the primary difference of being a bit tougher and more rugged. These watches were popularized for military use, built to withstand water, sand, dirt, and general abuse. 

They can take more of a beating than any other kind of watch. This doesn’t just make them a great choice for people in the military, but also a great option for anyone who wants a very tough watch. 

These watches don’t necessarily have to look tough all the time. Choose one with an interchangeable strap and pick a heavy-duty cloth or worn leather for field use and an attractive strap for fancier times. 

Pick the Right Watch and Movement for You

The best watch and movement for your needs will provide you with a watch that looks awesome, fits with your personal style, and offers you the tools that you need, whether you’re in the office or the forest. Be sure to plan for a face and features in a watch that you love, since the straps are generally interchangeable. 

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