Green Rambles: The Magic of a Movement

This article is from the WatchTime Archives and was originally published in June 2022.

While there are, without a doubt, collectors that focus on a single type of movement, I have learned to love them all. There is an almost intimate feeling when you turn the crown to wind the mainspring with a hand wound movement. It is like you are breathing life into the mechanism. The fact that you have to repeat that daily, or at least I do even when the power reserve is longer, also turns it into a pleasant routine.

With automatic movements, there is a different kind of magic, and that is that your own motions power it. Simply going about your day is often enough to keep things going, making it an (almost) perpetual pleasure. Perhaps this is also why I enjoy the Valjoux 7750 so much. As it only winds in one direction, the large oscillating weight can cause a wobble when free spinning in the other direction. While some might find this a less desirable design feature of the caliber, it always makes me smile as it is a reminder of the nature of this movement. Oscillating weights also give watch brands another way to express themselves, as these days most watches feature a display case back. Their decorations further add to the appeal of the movement and, therefor the watch as a whole.

In particular, in the beginning of my watch collecting career, I was a bit of a movement snob and looked down on the quartz calibers of my childhood watches. That all changed when somebody showed me the Rolex caliber 5035, which powered their Oysterquartz Datejust models. I was not only surprised to see all the decorations on the movement but also the ingenuity of the Rolex engineers who designed the movement. This made me dig deep into the history of the quartz movement (more about that later) and made me appreciate this type of movement again. The grab-and-go quality of watches with this caliber is also something that I enjoy from time to time because as much as I love hand-wound and automatic watches, the quartz ones have the biggest chance that I don’t have to set them, which is ideal when you are running late. Unless you find out in the car that the battery is dead, though I guess you can’t have it all.

What is your favorite type of movement? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Excellent viewpoints! I also purposely swung my wrist gently to spin the 7750 the “wrong way”. And my Day-Date Oysterquartz is a joy.

  2. Barton Rivkin

    Hello Martin, I have been collection watches since I was 8 years old my 1st watch was a Zorro watch, I have collected everything from Accutron to Zenith. Recently my wife and I were in Japan and I picked up a Grand Seiko evolution 9 SBGC249 Blue #137 out of 700 the movement on this watch is done just beautifully. I would like to see more discussion on these movements. also see if other owners are experiencing the amazing time keeping accuracy of these watches mine is running consistently about 2 seconds fast a month, It would be interesting to compare with other owners. Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Respectfully, Barton Rivkin

    • Martin Green

      Hi Barton, Congratulations on the beautiful Grand Seiko! Comparing rate results with other owners of this watch/movement is a bit challenging for us to arrange, as their accuracy should all be measured in the same way in order to compare. From my personal experience, Grand Seiko is very focused on this and delivers amazing accuracy, so I think I might know the answer to this question already. What we can do is highlight in the (near) future, how Grand Seiko is developing and making these movements. Thanks again for your kind response and great suggestion! Martin Green

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