The first mechanical watch was invented in Germany back in 1510. Since then, the mechanical watch has served mankind. And no one will determine the value of time in a sentence. Isn’t it? The mechanical watch helps us to keep track of time, though it does not require any external power source to run.

So, how do mechanical watch works? For a mechanical watch to work, only mechanical energy is required. The efficient use of this mechanical energy by the gears of the mechanical watches provides the benefits we are having.

How do Mechanical Watch Works?

Mechanical watches can be bought at a relatively cheap price. Many stores provide skeleton watches under 300 dollars. So, how do mechanical watch works? And here are some basic ideas about the components required for the procedures. Once gathered the basic knowledge, an explanation of the winding will untie all the mechanical clock’s mysteries.

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Watch Hands-On aBlogtoWatch

Basic Functionality:

The job of a watch is to show the time. In terms of mechanical watches, the mainspring does the trick. Power is initially provided and stored in the mainspring. The mainspring provides the power to the wheel to tell the time when needed.

When released from the mainspring to a wheel train, the power is used to rotate the wheel train. The wheel train acts as an oscillator and turns back and forth. However, the mechanical watch uses the back and forth technique to let you know the time.

The Main Components:

A mechanical watch’s main components do all the work that allows the watch to run without any external power source. The key components are given below:


Due to the motion of the watch, the rotor rotates up to 360 degrees. The rotation is transferred through some other gears and causes the winding of the mainspring of the watch. The power of the mainspring provides the energy to run the watch.

Reverse Mechanism:

The rotor may rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise. That’s where the reverse mechanism comes in. It helps the rotor to provide the winding which the mainspring requires.


A button is provided on the side of the watch to control the winding of the watch. If the time needs to be adjusted, then the crown provides the feature to do so.


The mainspring is the metal body that contains the power that runs the watch. When the mainspring releases the stored power, the power is transferred to gears that eventually causes the movement escape wheel.

Gear Train:

All the gears that are located in between the mainspring and the escape wheel are known as gear train.

How It Works:


Movement of the Arm:

The rotor is located adjacent to the gear train that is liable to the mainspring to move. This movement of the mainspring allows the watch to show the time. So, the movement of the rotor is very important.

To keep the rotor moving, put the watch on, and the arm’s movement will provide the energy rotor needs. The watch works with the hand’s average movement, so your daily task should provide enough power to the rotor.

For couch potato people, their movement is not enough for the watch to go on. Then the watch may shut down, as enough motion is not achieved.

Excess movement of the arm may backfire. The watch will not be accurate if excess movement is acquired. So, it’s not permissible or recommended to wear the watch while engaging in heavy duties.

Manual Winding:

The mechanical watch is supposed to work on the energy provided by the rotor. However, it requires manual winding from time to time.
While performing manual winding, the leverage should not be excessed. And you shouldn’t wear the watch while using the crown.

Function of the Crown:

The crown is the switch that can be used to control and force winding. Usually, three options are available in the crown. One is when the crown is totally pushed. Second, the crown is pushed halfway through. Third, a large portion of the crown is pulled out. Based on the watch that you own, the crown will allow manual winding on the second or third position. As the crown rotates, the gear train will rotate and will provide the power to the mainspring.

For some watches, the crown cannot be pulled that easily. The crown has to be unscrewed first, and then it will allow the manual winding. So, it’s mandatory to follow the rules to keep your watch waterproof.

Clockwise Rotation of the Crown:

Hold the crown with your fingers and rotate it in a clockwise direction. The clockwise movement will allow the watch to wind. It takes more than thirty takes to affect the winding. To be sure if winding occurred, watch the second spike carefully. The movement of the second spike indicates the winding.

Ronde Louis Cartier Watch

The crown should not be overturned in order to achieve over-winding. It may backfire and cause the crown to fail.

Only Forward Rotation:

While rotating the crown, always remember to push the clock spikes in a forwarding direction. That’s the way mechanical clocks are built. Backward rotation may cause the mainspring to fail. The gear train will not be able to transfer the force required to run the watch.

Push the Crown Back:

When the winding is completed, you should place the crown in its natural position. Once the crown goes back to its original position, then the watch starts functioning properly.

This is how a mechanical watch works. The winding is all it needs. Winding provides the energy required for the watch to move. The gear, rotor, and mainspring then use the power to cause the clock to tick.

Final Words

Rolex Watches

The mechanism of a mechanical watch is simple but very impressive. Usually, smartwatches need additional power sources to run the functions, but it doesn’t need any additive to operate. Then how do mechanical watch works?

And hopefully, you’ve got a clear vision of its techniques. The mechanism uses the movement of the hand or the crown to run the watch and tell time. It is an amazing method to run the clock that the user needs to know for maximum efficiency.