In the modern digital age with the presence of the smartphones and other portable media devices ubiquitous and growing, the mechanical wristwatch may seem like an extraneous accessory to some people who do not understand the extent of its craftsmanship and innovation throughout the ages. But enthusiasts agree that not only is a watch more functional and convenient than other portable timepieces, its inner workings all in the small space that separates your wrist from the watch case, reflect a mechanical and aesthetic magnificence that transcends any of today’s complicated digital devices. It is no wonder that the art of watch architecture has been appreciated for centuries for its precision and an attention to detail — a quality that a classic mechanical watch-wearer presents under the guise of a workaday appearance.
Men particularly report benefit from wearing a watch since fewer accessories are available for them to express individual style, the man purse notwithstanding. Donning a watch for both genders is an effective way to set yourself apart in your personal and professional appearance and presentation.
It can be interesting, also, to look deeper into the history of watchmaking and the parts that drive a small clock’s functionality. The Swiss, French and Americans are best known for developing the most exquisite of the portable timepieces, and a peek into the attention to detail in its outer shell and behind the watch crystal, reveals beauty, precision and innovation that meet or transcend the most elaborate jewelry creation.
A mechanical watch includes between approximately 130 and 1728 parts, depending on its complexity. The minimum number give a watch its basic functionality, while the additional parts can enhance timekeeping with luxury features, such as a sunrise and sunset indicator, or even in the most elaborate cases, a star chart that displays a map of the night sky.
The outer encasement of the watch hands and mechanical gears is called the case, also referred to as the face. On a well-made watch piece, it may consist of a clear or opaque sapphire or mineral crystal, whereas commonly produced watches have acrylic cases.
The mainspring is the metal piece in a mechanical watch central to the motion of its time-keeping movement. The winding tightens the metal mainspring into a coil that releases energy that drives a series of steps that ultimately propel the clock hands forward.
In a mechanical watch, the winding stem is the outer piece used for manually winding it, and in a self-winding watch, the oscillating weight is an internal device that winds the watch by absorbing energy from movement, such as during the motions of the arm or hand when the watch is worn.
The gear or wheel train consists of a series of gears and pinions that receives the power from the mainspring and rotates and moves the clock hands forward. The interlocking parts are set into a depressed arbor frame that secures them in place.
The balance wheel and hairspring are the regulator levers that control the speed of the watch hands’ movement.
The dial train moves the watch hands directly.
These parts combine together to form the basic mechanical pieces, the foundational groundwork accompanied by hundreds to thousands of other minor parts that encompass the final structure.