Over the years, watches have come in all forms and sizes.
From the Victorian pocket watch, to Casio’s calculator/wrist watch, the face of a timepiece has progressed, congruent with the signs of the times.
These days, the availability and preferred type of watch types rely on what “runs behind the clockwork”, and not just simply with what a particular watch can do.
There are watches run by batteries. There are also watches which are self winding. There are some that are run by solar power. And there are some run by springs (winding).
Let’s take a look at just what commonly powers a watch these days.
Among the many watch power sources known, self-winding watches have been around for a long time. Invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1770, the start of variations of watch power sources came to be, in the form of the “self-winding” watch.
Self-winding watches basically work on a “rewind” principle. A mainspring (also called the power spring) is the power source of a winding watch’s mechanical movement.
The mainspring is “re-wound”, as to keep the watch accurate and on time. Watch Power Sources of this type are seen as classics, in the realm of watches.
John Harwood, in 1923, improved the “established” wind-up watches into becoming self-winding watches. In the roster of watch power sources, a self-winding watch simply means that the watch can be worn, without any constant winding. An eccentric weight (known as the winding rotor) runs the basic flow of the watch’s power source.
Since the watch is worn (a wrist watch), back-and-fourth motion is expected. The movement of the wearer triggers the winding rotor to action. The rotor is coupled to a ratchet, which automatically winds-up the watch, keeping it “alive” as long as it’s worn.
The most common of watch power sources would be batteries. As electronic devices require electricity as its power source, electronic watches need a battery to function.
First released in 1957 by the Hamilton Watch Company, battery watches were aimed to replace wind-up watches.
Watch batteries are specifically designed for watches. They are really small, and provide small amounts of power, and last for long periods (most last a year). Silver-oxide, lithium and alkaline batteries are commonly available.
Solar (light-powered) Watches
Photovoltaic cells are basically what run watch power sources of this type. Positioned on a watch’s face/dial, detected light is converted into electricity, and is used to charge a power source capacitor or rechargeable battery. Just as long as the watch is exposed to light, the need for replacing batteries is negated.
Citizen’s Eco-Drive is notorious for its intense “charging” capabilities. A few minutes of exposure would equal to weeks of energy for it to function optimally.
Solar powered watches are environment friendly, and require minimal maintenance. In the roster of watch power sources, they hold a special place for being safe, and efficient.
Watch power sources vary from one to another. The bottom line is, they exist because the need for watches exist. As varied watch power sources are, the need for them is no different, as people’s needs vary from one to another.