One of the defining features of a mechanical watch is the sweeping motion of the seconds hand. Everybody loves it because of how elegant the motion looks, and for a while, this type of motion was exclusive to mechanical watches.
But because of innovation and the forward movement of technology, you can now combine the accuracy of a Quartz movement with the elegance of a sweeping seconds hand.
The challenge of making a Quartz watch that had a sweeping movement intrigued a lot of watchmakers in the ’70s, and the very first company to achieve this was none other than Seiko.
To their credit, they were actually able to accomplish their goal and create a masterpiece that was the Seiko Spirit: a watch that had the incredible accuracy of a Quartz movement, but had the smooth sweeping seconds hand that used to only be seen on mechanical watches.
This watch ran under Seiko’s 5S21 movement that carried on up until the ’90s. Watches with this movement are still highly sought after today due to the beauty of their design and the sweeping seconds hand, and they can still be found online, albeit this may be a difficult task.
The intrigue of having a sweeping seconds hand, however, did not stop with Seiko’s 5S21 movement as they continued their innovation with today’s Spring Drive movement.
The movement is a piece of golden innovation by Seiko as they took the combination of mechanical and Quartz movements to the next level by creating a movement that generates energy just like a mechanical watch, that has the sweeping movement of a mechanical watch but integrates an electronic regulator to be able to keep time with the amazing precision of a Quartz watch.
The Spring Drive movement is powered by a mainspring (just like mechanical watches) but has an electronic regulator to control the speed at which the spring unwinds, eliminating the possibility of having the watch either speed up or slow down because the spring isn’t unwinding properly.
Watchmaking is usually art that utilizes classic design and technology, as almost everyone loves the look and feel of an old-school, fully mechanical watch.
But every now and then, a step forward is taken and it just so happened that Seiko was the one who took this step. Because of them, we can now enjoy the beautiful sweep that used to be exclusive to mechanical watches, with the unmatched accuracy and practicality of Quartz.