Do cars and watches go well together? Yes, they do, but it might surprise you to learn and understand why these two items seem to be so connected in the world.
No matter where you go if fine cars are being shown off, you’ll see some incredible watches as well. Of course, the same could be true with some cheap cars and a mechanical watch that just seems to work. You know the old Timex slogan, “it takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” which is certainly admirable, but why are cars and watches so interconnected?
One Word Brings These Two Items Together
The single word that connects the timepieces we wear and the vehicles we drive is “engineering.” Yes, we do love the top cars that go fast and have the smoothest performance on any road. Similarly, we admire the finest watches with their movements and perfect timing. That doesn’t mean we have to see the most pretentious levels of engineering to appreciate either of these things. You can find a gentleman at a classic car show that will tell you all about the affordable but old car he brought. You might also find the same person willing to tell you about his $10 watch that doesn’t ever stop working.
Mechanical Watches are Absolutely Fascinating
Mechanical watches are one of the oldest machines we have in the world. These watches move using a mainspring that must be wound to make them work correctly. The energy in that spring is held back and used in small increments to move the gears and hands of the watch.
The knob of a mechanical watch is wound to tighten the spring, which then transfers energy to the gear train. This energy goes to the escapement, which is the item that holds back the mainspring and keeps it from unwinding all at once.
A balance wheel measures the rate to keep time constant and transfers the energy during that rate to the watch hands. This is an extremely intricate function and allows us to admire these mechanical watches for their movement.
Today, we have some automatic mechanical watches that use an oscillating weight. This allows the swinging motion of the arms of the wearer to wind the mainspring and keep things going. This means a watch that’s worn regularly will likely never need to be wound.
Can Mechanical Watches Have More Complicated Functions?
Yes, these watches, even though they don’t use a battery to make them work, can have several different functions, including a date wheel, chronometer, and even a second time zone. Because all of these functions happen mechanically, these watches can become more complicated and expensive.
Many of the automatic mechanical watches on sale today offer see-through functionality to allow the wearer or anyone else that sees the watch to visually see the movements working while it’s being worn. If you like watches at all, you’ll have a hard time not becoming mesmerized by the movements of these impressive devices.
Cars Are More Complex, but Both Are Amazing
Even the most basic car that doesn’t use any computers has a variety of mechanical movements that can be mystifying. Cars are certainly more complex than watches, although many watches are certainly amazing to see and witness. The basic functions of an automobile could be considered far less complex than a watch. Let’s take a look.
The Engine is the Heart of Every Car
Even in the age we’re moving toward with electric cars, the heart is still the engine. In the electric versions, that will be the battery pack and electric motors, but the same applies. In the internal combustion engine models, we see a device that uses many controlled explosions per minute to create movement. Inside the engine, a transfer of energy takes place, much like the movements in a watch, but far less elegant.
The pistons inside the engine move up and down to create combustion. Air and gasoline mix together inside the chamber. This mixture is then ignited by a spark from the spark plugs creating the controlled explosion. This explosion sends the piston back to its lowest position in the chamber.
How Do These Explosions Create Movement?
The piston, when sent to the lower part of the chamber, turns the crankshaft. Attached to that crankshaft are more pistons. Some are at the top of their chambers, ready to compress and combust with the explosion of the gas-air mixture, and others are at the lower part of the movement. This constant altering between the pistons constantly turns the crankshaft, which ten sends turning power to the wheels.
We skipped a few items between the crankshaft and the wheels, but you get the idea. The turning movement of the crankshaft, created by the pistons, turns the wheels on your car.
Watches and Cars Work Very Differently
You could say that both of these mechanical devices work very differently, and you’d be correct, but both also require some similar items. Watches are elegant timepieces that can have the most precise movements in a small space to keep time. We depend on these items to show an accurate depiction of the information desired. Cars also have precise movements, but they are not nearly as elegant as watches. Both of these items use converted energy to turn gears and wheels, and both are extremely complex items.
When you think about the timepiece, you wear on your wrist, or you get in your car and imagine how everything connects to work right and takes you where you need to go, the engineering for both items is baffling. Another similarity between watches and cars is the fact that both require maintenance and care to continually function correctly. Some watches must be taken to jewelers to be properly serviced, while your car needs a mechanic and various fluids to function at its best.
It’s fascinating to think of the parallels between timepieces that have been around since the 16th century and the cars that we love to drive. Many car enthusiasts are also crazy about their watches; who knew?
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