What Is the Difference Between Swiss Movement and Japanese Movement?

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The movement utilized by a watch is what makes it tick – pardon the pun. If it wasn’t for the intricately designed movement on the inside of the watch, the watch would be worthless. Watches today are usually either mechanical or electronic, but there are also hybrid brands available. The two most reliable movement types are Japanese and Swiss, and if you’re curious about the details of Japanese movement vs. Swiss movement, you’ve come to the right place. Both have some of the best names in the industry, and there’s little wonder why.

Which Is Better, Swiss or Japanese Movement?

To determine which movement is best, Swiss or Japanese, you should first know a little about what makes each type of watch a little different. First of all, there are three big names when it comes to Swiss-made watches: ETA, Rotund, and ISA. Most luxury watch companies include a unique marking on the back of the watch letting people know what kind of movement is used. This usually includes the letters CTA followed by a series of numbers. With Japanese watches, there is also indication of two other classifications, which include:

  • Hattori movement, which is interchangeable with other types. This is why this type of movement is usually included in Seiko watches.
  • Miyota movement, which has a lot more technical differences than the Hattori movement and is preferred by brands such as Citizen.

If the watch company uses Japanese movement parts, it is usually indicated at the bottom or on the back of the dial. One of the best ways to compare Japanese automatic watch movement with Swiss movement is to look at the similarities and differences between the two types, so that’s what we’ll look at right now.

How Are Japanese and Swiss Movements Alike?

The Japanese and Swiss movements are alike in that they both:

  • Are above average when it comes to traditional standards, including 2.5 Hz (18000 BPH).
  • Are automatic movements.
  • Are shock-resistant and therefore very durable.
  • Have higher-than-normal jewel counts – more than 17 jewels in each model.
  • Use synthetic rubies in the movement, which reduce wear and tear in all of the moving parts.

When you look at this, it is easy to understand why these movements are so popular in today’s luxury watches, which include brands such as Seiko and Casio, among others. Now, let’s look at some of the differences between these two movement types:

  • Both movements have shock absorbency, but they use different features to get it: the Incabloc Shock Protection System in Swiss movements, which allows the jewels to float if the watch is dropped or bumped; and the Parashock feature in Japanese movements, which is a variant of the one used in Swiss movements.
  • Swiss movements are usually twice as expensive as Japanese movements.
  • Swiss movements do not stop momentarily because of wrist movement. Japanese movements do stop for movements due to their drives (for example, Miyota in 8125).
  • The Japanese Miyota has 21 jewels and beats six beats per second, whereas the Swiss ETA has 25 jewels and beats eight beats per second.
  • The number of hours per full wind is different for each type of movement: 40 hours for the Swiss ETA and 45 hours for the Japanese Miyota. Still, the Swiss movement requires fewer winds throughout the day due to the fact that it doesn’t use ball bearings in its rotor, which means a more efficient winding of the watch.
  • The Swiss ETA watches offer high-polish mechanics and gold plating, but the Japanese movements (both Miyota and Hattori) do not.

Some of these similarities and differences may not sound significant, but the truth is, when they are all put together, they make a big difference and set both Swiss automatic movement watches and Japanese movements apart from most other watches. While Swiss-made watches come with a hefty price tag, they are worth every penny because every component and part of the watch is made to perfection, making them watches that are extremely accurate, durable, and attractive.

Which One to Choose?

If you are a watch collector or you are looking for the best wristwatch in existence, choosing a watch with either a Japanese or a Swiss movement is always a smart decision. While the Japanese movement watches usually cost about half of what the Swiss movement watches do, they are both very close to being the same when it comes to overall quality. Indeed, the movement of a watch is one of its most important features, but if you’re going to choose either a Japanese or Swiss watch, you’d be wise to make sure every component of the watch is Japanese or Swiss, not just the movement. Swiss and Japanese watches are best when the entire watch is made in that particular country, even though watches where only the movement is made there are still better than most other watches on the market.