Smoothest Sweeping Hand on a Watch -- Seiko Spring Drive Movement

Smoothest Sweeping Hand on a Watch -- Seiko Spring Drive Movement

This week's article, rather than introducing a watch to all of you, we are introducing a very special movement that only made by one manufacturer. Some readers may be able to guess it immediately, its the Seiko Spring Drive. A movement that balances mechanical of a watch movement while using modern-day quartz technology to strike for maximum timekeeping accuracy. It is a movement that driven by a mainspring, has a completely conventional gear train, however unlike other watch movements that use a mechanical escapement to limit the output of mainspring, it is regulated by a quartz oscillator and a flying rotor spinning at 8 rotation per second.

Let's dive into the mechanical world of this unique movement. A Spring Drive as its name can tell is driven by a spring, unlike any Quartz watch you have experienced. The spring drives a standard gear train attached to the hour, minute and second hard of the watch. At the end of the gear train, there is a circular magnetic rotor called glide wheel by Seiko. Right next to the glide wheel you can find two copper wire wrapper coils, these coils are connected to two electromagnetic brakes for controlling the glide wheel. 
While the glide wheel is spinning from the force of the mainspring, it induced electricity from the copper coil to the IC chip and Quartz crystal that regulates the time of the watch. The IC chip will then send a signal to the electromagnet to regulate the spinning speed of the glide wheel by applying braking force on it. The constant braking force keep the glide wheel spine at precisely eight revolutions per second.   
Ok, enough for the engineering lesson. So what makes the Spring Drive so different from other mechanical movements? 
The swiping second hand of the movement. Because there is no escapement in the movement, and the watch is drive by a continuous spinning wheel, the second hand of the movement sweeps smoothly over the dial unlike any mechanical or quartz watch you have ever seen.
Check out how smooth it is here:
The took an awesome close of the two watches.
Last year also marks a very special year for Spring Drive, its the 20th Anniversary since the commercial launch of Seiko's first Spring Drive watch in 1999. Although it hit the market in 1999, the first concept of Spring Drive was dated back to 1977 by Seiko's engineer Yoshikazu Akahane. He acquired the first patent for the concept in 1982, but it took Seiko's R&D department in their Micro Artist Studio almost 20 more years to compress all the technology from the initial idea to the actual movement able to pack inside a watch case. 
Nowadays, these Seiko Spring Drive Movements are usually fitted on Seiko's more prestigious watch line or Grand Seiko. 
The Spring Drive Tuna:
Grand Seiko Spring Drive 20th Anniversary Edition
The Seiko Spring Drive is uncountable an engineering marvel. It is also a showcase of Seiko engineer's dedication to building the most accurate mechanical movement with new technology.
Thank you for reading, see you all next week.

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