In the past, mechanical movements of watches and clocks are so abstract, so complex, and so beyond human comprehension that many seem to consider these as sorcery. Mechanical movements of clocks (watches especially) are so composite that those individuals with horological skills can only make the most perfect, fine tuned design, and make tons of wealth out of it. Just like a good winemaker or a boot maker, watch and clock makers are born out of strong tradition.
In fact, such aspect is taken so much as a pride that you’ll never see an electrical movement or a quartz movement on all high end watches, even though almost any non mechanical movement are several times more accurate. A Swiss Prestige watchmaker Blancpain, for instance, followed a slogan in conceit that say they will never make nor have produced a watch of quartz movement.
Though mechanical movements of watches are overly complex, all of them can be identified with essential parts. There is the motor section that usually houses the mainspring, a coiled piece of wire that’s purely responsible of the mechanical movements, and the ratchet wheel and the transmission wheel. The train of power section consists of yet several more wheels fastened to their pinions, transmitting the movement power to the escapement, a device that maintains the oscillation made by the regulating organ. The escapement composes of a balance wheel and a pallet fork. The regulating organ is usually a spring largely responsible for tracking the passage of time, as it receive impulses from the escapement. Winding mechanisms and setting mechanisms exist of mechanical units. In the past, the setting of time were done by directly moving the hands but over time, as faceplates become more intricate that damage might result from direct contact, knobs are made available to set the time. On wound mechanical watches, winding knobs are usually present.
In traditional clocks, the oscillation provides yet another visual appeal. Like in grandfather clocks whose oscillation is the pendulum. Though mechanical movements of grandfather clocks are larger, they are nonetheless very complex, thus resulting in these clocks fetching very high prices. Usually grandfather clocks are items normally found in high-end residences.
Mechanical movements are staple fare to high-end watches, because making them are very intricate, thus more expensive. Mechanical movements are generally not necessarily more precise than quartz and electric movements, in fact quite the opposite since mechanical watches frequently make inconsistencies in time. That’s why in most high end watches, consistency in precision is very much considered.