Fundamentally, there’s not a whole lot of variation in watch movements. Sure, the peripheral details might vary, but basically you’re either looking at a purely mechancial movement, with a mainspring and escapement setup that’s remained pretty much unchanged for the last few hundred years, or you’re looking at a battery-powered quartz watch that’s come to dominate mass market timekeeping over the last 50 years. And then there’s a few genuinely novel outliers, technologies such as Zenith’s recently announced Defy Lab and, the one we’re looking at today — Seiko’s Spring Drive technology.
Spring Drive had a long gestation. It was first conceived in the late ’70s, but didn’t see a commercial release till 1999. Fundamentally, Spring Drive is a hybrid technology that takes the autonomous, perpetual power capacity of an automatic movement, and melds it with the impressive accuracy of quartz. Like any uncommon technology, it can take a while to get your head around, which is why we’ve put together this handy (and hopefully informative) explainer. Everything you need to know about Spring Drive, in just under two minutes.