Orient Watch Mechanical Movement: Working Together

December 30th, 2009 | 10 Comments

“What sets Orient apart from other watch companies is really the fact that Orient has always been focusing on making its mechanical movements better and more reliable. It is unusual today to find a watch company that makes its own movement selling watches at prices offered by Orient.”

M.T. Nino, January 24, 2006

Understanding and appreciating the movement of a mechanical watch is both important and interesting when looking to purchase a mechanical watch. There are a variety of necessary components that make up a watch; these parts work together to produce the movement of a mechanical watch.

If you’re interested in mechanical watch movement, you can read more about:



Mechanical Movement: 3 Key Components

To begin, a watch movement (regardless of what type of watch it is) allows a watch to keep time.

A mechanical watch movement is essentially made up of 3 parts:

  1. Mainspring
  2. Gears
  3. Balance wheel

All mechanical watches must have these components. The mainspring is used to conserve mechanical energy.

A gear train (also known as a going train) has two essential jobs; it must:

  • Broadcast the force of the mainspring to the balance wheel.
  • Increase the swings of the balance wheel to ensure proper work of occupying seconds, minutes and hours units.

The balance wheel’s primary purpose is to move back and forth (oscillating) in such a way that each swing takes the same amount of time. The oscillation of the balance wheel is the definite time keeping element in a mechanical watch.

Another component that is important for mechanical movement is the escapement mechanism. This mechanism is responsible for generating the ticking sound in a mechanical watch.

This component serves two purposes:

  • Ensures that the balance wheel continues to vibrate by providing it with a drive or an impulse at each swing
  • Grants access to the clock’s gear to progress with a specified amount with each swing.


How Mechanical Watch Movement Operates: Putting the Pieces All Together

First and foremost, a mechanical watch needs energy to work. Energy is supplied to the mechanism by a spring which is constricted when the watch is wound. This mainspring is located within a barrel. After being wound, the spring tries to regain its initial shape by uncoiling, thus creating the energy necessary to drive the watch.

The barrel is connected to a jagged wheel interlocked with the movement gear trains. The gear train conveys the energy stored in the barrel to the escape-wheel. As the spring unwinds, the barrel turns and drives the wheels of the watch.

The wheels include:

  • Center-wheel: Executes 1 turn in 12 hours and carries the hour hand.
  • Third wheel: An intermediate wheel.
  • Fourth wheel (seconds wheel): Executes 1 turn in 1 minute and serves to carry the seconds hand on watches that have such a hand.
  • Pallet-wheel (escape-wheel): Not actually part of the gear train, but the escapement. It functions to release the energy transmitted by the gear trains to pallet-lever in a sporadic way.

The escapement converts the energy therefore received into impulses. The escapement then distributes the impulses to the balance. The pallet-lever receives initial energy from the mainspring through the impulses of the pallet-wheel. The function of the pallet-lever is then to convert the circular movement of the wheel into an alternating movement to power the balance.

Lastly, the balance and spring assembly works to regulate the flow of time. This is accomplished by way of the oscillations of the balance. An oscillation is composed of 2 vibrations. The balance performs a circular back-and-forth motion and divides up time into equal units. Ultimately, this is responsible for the accuracy of a watch.

All of the components of a watch work together to provide a high-quality and accurate mechanical movement. Many watches today even give their owners the chance to appreciate the inner workings of this movement. For example, the Orient CFT00004B and Orient CFT00003D feature a partial skeleton face to in order to observe the movement.

Watch the video below for a review of the Orient CFT00004B:



  1. 10 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Kyle on Nov 4, 2009

    Thanks for a great article that takes the time to explain what few do.

    What leads people to Orient watches is a desire for something authentic from a company that takes the time to develop their own movements. So, it only makes sense that these same people would be the ones who appreciate what is happening inside this piece of wearable history, that you can’t find in a quartz movement.

  3. By Marc on Nov 23, 2009

    I stumbled on this item while researching a vintage Orient watch that I have inherited. It’s about 30 years old but still looks great and keeps good time. This article has taught me a bit about what makes it tick and now I want to know more. The video of the CFT00004B is fascinating. The moving parts that can be seen look almost alive as they tick away inside the watch. What an amazing tiny machine.

  4. By Alexandrea M on Dec 31, 2009

    I’ve always been fascinated by the amazing stuff that goes on inside a watch! Thank you for the further information!

  5. By Marc Wilson on Dec 31, 2009

    For me there is something about having an automatic watch on my wrist. I own quite a few and I am amazed at the accuracy of your in house movements. I own a few of your automatics and I bought them to wear as they say “beaters” but when the arrived at my door I quickly realized I would have to find another watch to beat around. I really have no idea how you can sell such a quality product for such a low price but I guess that’s the point. I guess you can say I’m a watch nut but if people could understand what makes an automatic movement work from every gear, cog, spring and rotor working seamlessly together it would seam an impossibility to have it all work and maintain the correct time. I’m an “amateur watchmaker” and I mean amateur, but I do love working on my own auto’s. There is nothing more pleasing to the eye than to take apart a nonworking movement, clean it, replace some parts, oil it and give it a wind and see it come to back to life again. It still amazes me looking at all those tiny parts moving and working together. I only wish that one of my Orient automatics would stop working, I would love to get in there and see what makes your incredibly accurate movements tick. I have a feeling I’m going to have a long wait ahead of me.

  6. By Joseph Stowell on Dec 31, 2009

    Sharp watch! I really like the “open heart” design in which you can see some of the workings of the watch. The Orient CFT00004B looks beautifully crafted, elegant, and stylish.

  7. By Aisling on Dec 31, 2009

    I really like that you take such pride in the making of your watches. They look great and I trust that your attention to detail makes for a great running watch.

  8. By Gordon West on Dec 31, 2009

    i want to win

  9. By Gordon West on Dec 31, 2009

    winner

  10. By Gordon West on Dec 31, 2009

    I want to win the warch

  11. By FAHAD ALJALSI on Feb 21, 2010

    I like automatic watches and I love to watch the balance wheel moving and
    I think it like our life If we stop the movement and work we will lose our balance!!
    Good luck in your future movement’s :)

10 comments | Tell us what you think!