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Beginners Introduction to Mechanical Watches

The benefits of mechanical watches are tenfold for a watch enthusiast, as there is nothing quite like exploring and watching the movements inside of a mechanical watch. They have been made through years of experience and expert craftsmanship, and are a working piece of history and art!

If you think a piece of oil painting that fetches millions is nothing but a cloth with some paint spillling over it, then you might never be able to appreciate why collectors spend huge amount of money on mechanical watches. Collectors have likened them to be like art. It's meant for appreciation not for time keeping.

Short History
Traditional mechanical watches were made with analogue dials (hands) and was based on the invention by Peter Henlein (1480Ė1542). It is made up of about 130 parts or more. These parts are assembled in the three main sections: the source of energy, the regulating parts, and the display.

What makes the mechanical timepiece special is that the number of parts varies depending on the function the watch has. Many collectors choose to buy mechanical watch that can record the phases of the moon, keep a record of the date, as well as record time on a daily basis.

If you were to pull a mechanical watch apart (which isnít recommended unless you know how to put it back together again!), you would see a finely balanced internal working movement, complete with hairsprings, a gear train, and a balance wheel. These are the parts that enable the watch to record the time.

High Maintenance
If you are thinking of buying one, you should be aware that although all the springs and gears are charming and beautiful, they will require regular servicing. This can be quite costly, as you will normally have to take it to a specialist watch repair shop.

Buying Swiss?
You should also be aware when buying any mechanical watches that some watches that claim to be Swiss Made only have a swiss movement. They are often built by other companies (e.g. Japanese companies). So check carefully that the watch is a true swiss mechanical watch before you buy it, if you intend on collecting these watches. A few Swiss watch movement making companies, including Valjoux and ETA (ETA was the movement manufacturing division of Eterna until 1932 when it split off and joined Ebauches S.A), make mechanisms that are found in many popular brands. For a list of our recommended mechanical watches, please visit Swiss-Watches-Guide.com.

Copyright Statement
This article was written by James Lam and may be reproduced on any watch/jewellery-related website provided this copyright statement is displayed unedited in its entirety at the foot of the article and you use the exact same HTML code to ensure a clickable link back to the author's site. Further articles are also available. Contact the author for more information.

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If you are in the market for a new timepiece, be sure to visit Introduction to Swiss Timepieces before buying.

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