What are Kinetic Watches?

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  • Originally Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2019
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Kinetic watches are timepieces that use the movement of the wearer's body to create the power that keeps the watch running. There are no batteries needed, and the wearer should not have to wind the watch to keep it going. A kinetic watch has oscillating weights that are turned by the movements of the wrist on which the watch is worn. These movements create a magnetic charge in the watch, which is turned into the electricity that is needed to power the watch. This type of watch might also be called a self-winding watch or an automatic watch.

Harnessing Energy

The term "kinetic" comes from the Greek word kinesis, which means "motion." Kinetic energy is power that the body produces through movement. The energy that the body produces through normal movement will stay constant until a negative energy is applied, such as the body stopping the movement. Kinetic energy can be created from other types of energy. For example, the body uses chemical energy, such as that gained from food, to make the energy needed to manufacture kinetic energy.


Some advantages of kinetic watches are their energy-saving ability and their accuracy. When they are operating properly, these watches never need winding or a battery change. Many newer models are capable of storing energy for several months. Most kinetic watches have power reserve indicators that show how much power is stored within the watch.


Other Features

These watches also have built-in sensors that tell the wearer if the watch has been inactive for at least 24 hours. If the watch senses this, it will automatically put itself in sleep mode. To awaken the watch, the wearer simply gives it a shake of the wrist, and it will automatically reset the time and the date. Some kinetic watches have the ability to reset themselves even if they have been suspended for more than a year. Their ability to do this gives them greater energy-saving capabilities.


Kinetic watches are manufactured by a variety of watchmakers. They come in all shapes and sizes. Their mechanisms are heavier than other types of watch mechanisms, so some types of kinetic watches are made only in men's styles.


Although these watches are environmentally friendly because they do not require batteries, they might need a tune-up every few years. Like many watches, they sometimes might be off by a minute or two need to be reset. Also, a kinetic watch's main capacitor, which stores its energy, eventually wears out and needs to be replaced.


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Discuss this Article

Post 21

When the capacitor craps out, you're in for a rude shock in replacing it. It's not worth it to do so. It's cheaper to buy a new watch altogether.

Post 19

Just bought myself an automatic watch by Rotary. Let's hope it works as well as it should.

Post 18

I have worn a seiko kinetic watch for about seven years, and I have never had a problem with it, until a cycling crash broke the bracelet and I left it in a drawer for six months. I eventually got around to getting the bracelet fixed, and then all I had to do was shake the watch side to side twice per second a couple of hundred times and it's back working perfectly again. I also love it!

Post 16

Have a Ferrari kinetic watch. Loses time and needs constant motion every morning. Needs activity throughout the day to keep it ticking. Not worth it.

Post 15

I haven't had any of the problems described here with my Armitron wristwatch which is powered by kinetic energy?

Battery powered watches have been nothing but problems for me! For some reason, battery powered watches quit on me and even after changing the battery they won't run. I have purchased a number of brand names from jewelers and major department stores and none of them have worked for more than three months for me.

This Armitron has been working well for a year now. I can't help but to recommend this watch as a decent timepiece. It was definitely worth the $100 I paid for mine!

Post 13

what are the disadvantages of buying a kinetic watch?

Post 11

How do you get a watch like this started? i have tried to move it and it does go for about a minute, and even after wearing it for a day it won't go. any suggestions?

Post 10

how do you get a watch like this started? i have tried to move it and it does go for about a minute, and even after wearing it for a day it won't go. any suggestions?

Post 9

Is it true some humans have certain chemicals or energies that prevent this watches from working? I have never been able to wear one because they don't work when I wear them.

Somebody told me that her doctor gave her this reason because her watches didn't work either.

Is it true, and if so what are the elements we have in our body for that to happen?

Post 8

I have been wearing a Seiko kinetic watch for over eight years and never had a problem. I think mine is the type that has a capacitor.

Nothing has been done to the watch in that time. It has never been opened. I just reset the time for the slight error in the time-keeping every year or so.

The only problem with this model is that it doesn't adjust for the number of days in the month. I hope Seiko has fixed that by now.

Post 7

I have a Seiko kinetic and it has *never* kept a "charge". It always shows less than a couple of days' reserve and when it is woke up after sleeping the time and date do *not* catch up. Keep your battery powered watch. mine sucks.

Post 6

olittlewood, My guess is that there was something wrong with the quality of the watch she had. I have worn a Seiko kinetic watch for years and have never had to give it a second thought. It always remains charged by my normal movements and is always accurate. It took a few days or so to get it charged up initially, but I have never had a problem since. I love it!

Post 5

How do EMP effect Kinetic watches?

Post 4

I got one from Seiko that if you wear it normally -- gets started smoothly and full charge kinetically lasts for a full week.

Post 3

Seiko utilized capacitors early in their technology, to be exact, caliber numbers 5M42 and earlier. They now use a lithium based cell that is stress tested to survive 25 years.

Post 2

I am a student in Boston and am trying to understand the possibilities of kinetic energy when applied to consumer products. Is the use of magnetizing a coil to produce electricity which gets stored in a capacitor the only way to transition energy from Kinetic to electrical potential?

Post 1

my mom had one of these and was always having to wave her hand around to get it going...she was always losing time. don't know if they're really worth it...just stick with the battery powered watches.

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