Four of the Most Innovative Watch Movements

innovative watch movements

Luxury watch brands stay relevant in the world of horology by releasing new and innovative mechanisms. One of the best ways to create attention for a watch is by creating a new, revolutionary movement that improves a watches accuracy, precision, and functionality. Here are just a few of the most innovative watch movements:

El Primero

  • Created in 1969, the Zenith El Primero movement was one of the first automatic chronograph movements. The El Primero movement allows the wearer to measure fractions of a second as the center seconds hand makes a rotation around the dial every ten seconds, making it very easy to measure 1/10th of a second. It has a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour.

Zenith El Primero Movement

7750 ETA/Valjoux 7750

  • ETA SA, a Swiss Watch Manufacturer owned by The Swatch Group and headquartered in Grenchen, Switzerland, created the Valjoux 7750 movement in the 1970s. One of the company’s most well known creations is the Valjoux 7750 movement, a widely used chronograph movement. However, the Valjoux 7750 is different from most other chronograph movements because it uses the three-plane cam system rather than the column wheel. It is constructed of a mainplate, calendar plate, and chronograph top plate. Levers push a cam back and forth, driving the stopwatch mechanism of the Valjoux 7750. This is referred to as a coulisse-lever escapement. In the 1980s, many companies began using the Valjoux 7750 during this time because it was easier to mass-produce and distribute in high-volume, thanks to its cam system construction. The Valjoux 7750 can be created in several different displays, including adding or eliminating a date window or adding or subtracting a subdial. Watch companies can purchase the movement and alter it in house if they desire. An indicating factor that the watch houses a Valjoux 7750 is the force necessary to activate the chronograph. The 7750 often requires a bit more force than many other movements need. This extra force can be contributed to the heart piece that is included in the 7750 movement, where most other movements have a wheel column.
  • Watch brands that use the Valjoux 7750:
Valjoux 7750

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Rolex 4130

  • Created in 2000 for the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph, the Rolex 4130 Chronograph Movement is used in most of the Rolex chronographs. The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph was previously equipped with a Zenith El Primero movement. It is comprised of only 290 parts, far less than the average chronograph. This innovative movement has a blue Parachrom hairspring that is resistant to magnetic fields. It also has a 72-hour power reserve. With the introduction of the 4130, Rolex creates the movement for every single one of its watches. It has 201 components, less than any other modern chronograph movement, and also features a 44-jewel movement. The movement uses a column wheel to engage and control the chronograph function. One unique part of the 4130 is the movement of the chronograph seconds hand. Its smooth start and motion is different from many other chronograph. This is because Rolex uses a vertical friction coupling to engage the column wheel, which is evident when the chronograph seconds hand is engaged.

Rolex 4130

214 Accutron

  • In October 1960, Bulova sold its first Accutron. This revolutionary watch featured 360-hertz tuning fork that drove a mechanical gear train that turned the hands of the watch. Created by Swiss inventor Max Hetzel, this watch featured the 214 Accutron movement that would become known as a groundbreaking invention in the watch making industry. Because it was so precise, it became the first watch to be precise enough to qualify for US railroad certification. The Accutron became known as the most accurate watch in the industry. What made the 214 movement in the Accutron so different from other movements was that the stem and the case was included on the back of the case, rather than the side of the case. Bulova continued to make changes to the 214 Accutron movement throughout the next decade, continuing to improve its accuracy and precision.

Bulova Accutron 214

There are many incredible and innovative watch movements and these four are some of the most well-known. Many watch houses continue to make changes to their innovative watch movements in order to keep up with the rest of the watch industry and to stay on the cutting edge of horology.

Did we miss anything? If you think a movement should be added or some information needs to be edited, let us know by leaving a comment below! We would love to hear what you think!

Latest comments
  • Breitling had a wonderful 1461 movement, chronograph, keep time, day of the week, moon phase, etc for 4 years including the leap year!

  • What about the Omega 8500 with co-axial release and Si14 balance spring or the Seiko Spring Drive?
    And of course, quartz. The greatest innovation since the hourglass. 🙂