The Difference Between Kinetic and Automatic Watches

The Difference Between Kinetic and Automatic Watches

There are a number of people who are quite confused about the difference between an automatic watch versus a kinetic watch. Oftentimes, the confusion stems out not from their difference but from their similarity. Oddly enough, both types of movement require a certain amount of movement from the wearer to be able to store the energy it needs to run the watch.

With this in mind, people usually confuse one with the other. As a result, they are unable to decide on the type of movement they would get. Here are a few of the things that could help you decide as we highlight the differences between the two.

Kinetic Watch

Kinetic watch
The Seiko Divers Blue Dial Scuba Watch is a prime example of a Kinetic watch

From the name itself, Kinetic movement has a lot to do with the energy resulting from movement. In terms of the watch, this approach enables the wearer to store energy on the watch simply by moving his wrist. This should come naturally from everyday movements such as walking or even running. This movement is then transferred to a rechargeable battery that powers the watch.

One key advantage that a Kinetic watch has over Automatic watches is the fact that it employs quartz movement. This makes it more reliable than automatic and even mechanical movements. It is for this reason that people sometimes refer to it as a kinetic quartz or even an automatic quartz. This helps it distinguish the movement from an entirely automatic one.

With this approach, battery replacement is far in between with kinetic watches simply because of the way it operates and powers the whole system. In powering the timepiece, a quartz watch uses a rotor which in turn charges a capacitor which that delivers the power to the watch. This is one of the main differences it has over an automatic watch.

It would be great to know that the early pioneers of a AGS watch is Seiko which they referred to at that time as Automatic Generating System or AGS. They were able to debut the watch in 1968 in Baselworld and released the same in 1988. The company, later on, replaced the term AGS with Kinetic. This change helps consumers directly correlate how it is connected with the movement of the wearer.

A kinetic watch is quite a fascinating approach to watch making. This diagram below will show you how the movements are put together in the watch.

Kinetic watch diagram

Automatic Watch

This type of movement is a self-winding watch. This means the mainspring is wound automatically from the natural movement of the person wearing the watch. The invention of this watch is attributed to John Harwood in the 1920’s according to Harwood Watches. This eliminates the need to manually wind the timepiece to keep it moving. Similar to a kinetic watch it is dependent on the movement of the wearer.

However, one downside automatic watches is the power reserve. It can only last for a few days on a full charge. This is a far cry from the kinetic quartz watch that can have reserves for about 6 months. This is why you have to keep in mind that with an automatic watch, you have to wear it often to keep it moving. Also, a kinetic watch uses a capacitor whereas an automatic watch, the rotor directly winds the spring of the watch to move the gears.

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