Main Plate – The Secret to Happiness?

January 16th, 2010 | 1 Comment

Yes, I have a secret. Yes, knowing it can make you happy. Not just because people like to know something that others don’t, but because this secret will teach you the fundamental horological aspects of keeping accurate time.

Here’s the secret: the main plate of a watch is essential to a watch’s accuracy. Bet you didn’t know that.

Like many well produced and functioning machines, each part of the machine depends on another. The main plate of a watch can be thought of in the same way. The main plate of a watch only matters in terms of its interconnectedness, within its relation to other parts.


What is a Main Plate?

The main plate of a watch is the base plate on which all other parts of the movement are mounted. Specifically, it’s a metal plate having several tiers that generate motion in the gear train.
The movement of a watch cannot operate independently from the main plate.

Main Plate- Part of the Ebauche

Ebauche is a French term still used in horology, watchmaking and clock making. The term refers to an incomplete or unassembled watch movement.

This term captures the necessity of cohesion and unity a main plate provides to the watch movement, and thus, the watch’s accuracy. It’s one of the most underrated, overlooked and crucial aspects of a watch’s accuracy.


Why’s it so important?

Without a properly functioning main plate, a watch won’t have a properly functioning movement. A movement is the internal mechanism responsible for keeping time. The movement not only moves the watch gears to keep basic time, but it is responsible for keeping other methods of time as well, such as calendars, alarms, etc.

If the main plate of a watch isn’t up to par, the other functions of the watch will suffer.

Below are some accurate and precise watches with quality movements, and thus, quality main plates.

The Seiko 5 Automatic Watch

This Seiko timepiece offers the 5 traits of a quality watch.

  • Self-winding, automatic movement, which means it’s automatically wound for you.
  • Day indicator
  • Date calendar
  • Water resistant
  • Shock resistant

These five attributes come together to make a useful timepiece. It goes for $136 on Amazon.com.

The Orient Automatic CETAC002B Watch

This Orient model delivers a quality automatic movement. This movement is installed by hand by Orient professionals. It’s not imported from a large supplier. This kind of meticulous care and attention ensures quality movements, and thus, accurate watches.

  • Stainless steel bracelet and case
  • Day and date display, along with a 24 hour hand on a sub dial
  • Water resistant up to 50 meters

This watch is hard to pass up. The quality movement and main plate of the CETAC002B make it worth the $225.

The Invicta Pro-Diver Automatic Watch

This watch comes with a Swiss automatic movement. It functions without a battery; it’s powered by the motion of your arm, which can really come in handy if the power gets too low when diving.

  • Stainless steel bracelet and case
  • Water resistant up to 660 feet, as it is tailored for diving purposes
  • Runs about $330 on Amazon.com


Who wants an inaccurate watch? The accuracy of a watch depends on the movement, which depends on the main plate.

If the main plate functions properly, the movement will deliver quality timekeeping, and a long lasting, pleasing watch.

The main plate of the watch is where the magic happens; well, at least really close to it.



  1. 1 Comment | Tell us what you think!

  2. By sivasubramanian on Feb 20, 2013

    Very clear arguement. Metal mainplate withstand temperature variations than plastic results to no change in clearance between pinion & mainplate. This results to very less time variation.

1 comment | Tell us what you think!