Watch Anatomy: Mainspring

If you are a watch enthusiast who’s really into mechanical watches, you may often hear or see "mainspring" word on a mechanical watch movement. So, do you know what mainspring is?

In a way, a mainspring is the “heart” of a watch, it shares the same function as the heart in the human’s body. If the human's heart pumps blood to all of the human organs to keep us alive, mainspring's job is to store and distribute the energy to other components so the movement can keep moving.

Actually there’s some other stuff like kitchen timers, music boxes, toys, and clockworks radio that use mainspring as a source of power.

Around 15th-century in Europe, mainsprings appeared in the first spring-powered clocks. It replaced the weight hanging from a cord wrapped around a pulley, which was the power source used in all previous mechanical clocks.

In 1400 coiled springs began to be used in locks, and many early clockmakers were also locksmiths. Springs were applied to clocks to make them smaller and more portable than previous weight-driven clocks, evolving into the first pocket watch by 1600.

How does the mainspring work? Mainspring gets power from the rotation of the crown for manual-winding movement or by moving your watch to self-winding movement. When spinning, the mainspring will get tighter and spin slowly to provide power to the movement.

The power stored in each movement has a different time period, and commonly referred to as a power reserve.

Mainspring is one of the most vital parts of a watch, because if the mainspring is damaged, it will affect other components and make your watch unable to move. Therefore, it takes a strong and elastic material and foresight to be able to make mainspring on a watch.

The material used for a mainspring is a piece of steel with a length of 20-30 cm and a thickness of 0.05-0.2 mm. The manufacture of the right material for a mainspring has high difficulty, watchmakers in the past ordered mainspring from steel specialists. The specialist made it by hand and mixed several types of materials such as nickel, iron, titanium, and others.

With today's technology, a mainspring can be done in bulk with a short time using a machine. However, it still has to be observant in order to produce movements with a good accuracy.

So that is the explanation of mainspring, one of the vital components in an automatic watch. To get an automatic watch with the best movement and also a long power reserve, please visit your nearest The Time Place boutique.

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