The Best of Both Worlds
Introduced in 1986 Basel Fair, Seiko’s Kinetic technology has created a new movement platform that bridges automatic and quartz movements in perfect harmony. Providing quartz-like accuracy with the constant energy production caused by the wearer’s movement, the Kinetic movement provided Seiko with a new hybrid that provides near-perfect efficiency transfer of energy.
Let Gracious Watch take you on a storied adventure and let us provide a walkthrough on Seiko’s proprietary movement.
How Kinetic Movements Work
For the Kinetic movement, it’s a hybrid of both automatic and quartz movements. In order to understand how the hybrid works, let’s see if we can break down the differences between the main two watch movements we all know and love. We found this great article that Torneau created, and we can sum things up for you if you don’t want to bother with the nitty gritty details. It’s a great read though, so check it out.
Automatic movements rely on a weight (also known as a rotor) or another form motion to add tension to the mainspring and convert that potential energy into kinetic energy. A balance wheel keeps the energy constant, and then gears advance the hands on the watch.
Quartz technology is more accurate and reliable than automatic movements because there’s less moving parts in between the energy source and the final product, which is to move the watch hands. The source is a battery, and an electrical circuit vibrates the quartz crystal, which mimics the balance wheel, providing constant energy for the watch to utilize for movement.
Seiko Kinetic Movement
Seiko’s Kinetic movement is a hybrid of both, where it uses the automatic technology to charge the quartz battery within the watch. Instead of an automatic movement using potential energy into kinetic energy, the automatic movement charges the watch battery, adding additional power source for the battery.
We found a great schematic of how the Kinetic movement through a repair forum and it uses a rotor, similar to an automatic movement, to spin a generator.
The generator are then connected to capacitors, which maintains the charge of the watch battery. The mechanics after the battery are the same, giving the end result of powering the watch hands and generate accurate time.
It’s definitely the best of both worlds as it provides the wearer with quartz-like accuracy and constant power given by the automatic rotor. So long as the wearer keeps the Kinetic watch on them, then it should last longer than a quartz-only wristwatch.
The Evolution of a Powerhouse
Since the late 80’s, Seiko worked hard to make sure this technology can be utilized with other watch formats, so they produced various lines under the Kinetic banner including:
Kinetic Direct Drive – Seiko’s original movement with a power indicator and other various features such as a chronograph. The SRH019P1 (pictured right) is a great example of Direct Drive technology, with a real-time power reserve to reward you with your movements
Kinetic Perpetual Calendar – Combines the mechanical perpetual calendar design with the modern Kinetic technology, which can provide up to 4 years of autonomy when not worn
Kinetic GMT – Which is situated for travelers and flight catchers, which combines Kinetic technology with a GMT movement, featuring two time zones in one. We found a lot of great examples, but the SUN029P1 (pictured left) is a clean example with a classy wrist presence
Dependable Technology With Great Value
The great part of owning Kinetic technology is that you’ll have dependable, long-lasting wristwatches with less maintenance than automatic watches and for lesser price as well. It’ll be slightly more than quartz-only examples, but not much and Kinetic watches will be less prone to regular battery changes. For a great piece of Seiko technology, you can’t beat the electrifying presence of a Kinetic watch.