What is Japan Movement Watch?  – Find Every Detail of Japanese Watch Movement Explained

Do you know it is the Japan movement watches technology that was responsible for the Quartz Crisis or Quartz Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s?

Remember, it is the Japanese who pioneered the quartz movement by 1959. It was during this time that Seiko began designing and manufacturing the first quartz movement watch.

Through a series of research and technological advancements, Seiko Quartz-Astron 35SQ became the first quartz watch in the market 1969.

eiko Quartz Astron 35SQ

Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ – Photo credits: Seiko Watches

This marked the advancement in the Japan movement watch industry.

So today, I am going to explore all the fundamental aspects of the Japan movement watch. This will also give you an in-depth understanding why quartz is common in the best wood watches on the market.

First, let me take you straight to what I am about to discuss in this article:

What is Japan Movement Watch?

In these watch movements, the basic parts and components are made in Japan. At times, you may also refer to them as Japanese movement watch or Japan movt watch.

They all refer to various types of watch movements from Japan.

Generally, there are 3 main types of watch movements from Japan:

  • Citizen Miyota Movement
  • Seiko Movement
  • Orient Movement

I will discuss all types of Japanese watch movements shortly. But, before that, let us explore another critical aspect when it comes to types of watch movements.

Japanese Movement vs. Swiss Movement: What is the Difference?

Below are some obvious differences between Japanese movement and Swiss movement:

·         Geographical location

Like the names suggest, geographical location is a key distinguishing factor here. This is what I mean:

Japanese watch movements are those that are either made or assembled in Japan. On the other hand, Swiss watch movements are those that have been assembled in Switzerland.

That is, nearly 60% of the main parts and components that makes up Swiss movement watch (mechanism) must be manufactured in Switzerland. This also goes hand in hand with the inspection process.

·         Japan movement watch price vs. Swiss movement watch price

The price of watches varies broadly depending on design, capability and functionality. Generally, the price of a watch with either Japan movement or Swiss movement will depend on a range of factors.

In most cases, quite a number of Japan movement watch designs focus on accuracy and precision. On the other hand, you can distinguish the Swiss movement watches from their aesthetic value.

This explains why quite a number of watch enthusiasts tend to value the Swiss watch movement.

In addition to this, the Japanese quartz movement is common in most affordable watches. Quite a number of Japanese movement manufacturers use automated system in their production line.

Of course, this result in lower production costs than the Swiss movement.

In short, it is nearly impossible to have a straightforward price comparison between watches with Swiss movement vs. Japanese movement.

With these in mind, let’s go back to the main subject of this article – the Japan Movement Watches.

Types of Japan Movement

Let’s focus on the various types of Japanese watch movement in the market:

1.      Citizen Miyota Movement

Citizen Miyota is a perfect choice for many watchmaking industries. It is a Japanese watch movement that is common in most wood watches on the market.

Wood watch with Citizen Miyota Quartz Movement

Wood watch with Citizen Miyota Quartz Movement

At the moment, Citizen Miyota is one of the Japanese Movement watches that offer a range of watch options with different functionalities. Below is a video of Citizen Miyota 2415 by Jewelry Trade.

Depending on your specific needs, you can consider the following options of Japanese Citizen Miyota movement:

  • 2 or 3 hands
  • 3 hands with a date option
  • 3 hands with both day and date options
  • Jewel; quite a number of Miyota caliber have 21 jewels. A good example is the Miyota 8215.
  • Winding direction
  • Accuracy that may range from -20 to +40 seconds per day
  • Power reserve after winding or battery life span
  • Number of beats or cycles (mostly BPH)

In addition to these, you may also have 3 hands with date and wide day. Basically, this Japanese watch movement offers many possibilities.

Moreover, you can choose from basic, slim, super slim, small & slim or those with special functions.

Small and slim Citizen Miyota movement

 Small and slim Citizen Miyota movement

In addition to these, they may have other features such as shock detection. This is basically a new integrated circuit (IC) that detects any possible external shock.

It basically eliminated possible errors that may be due to external shock. Please follow this link to download the Citizen Miyota Movements catalogue.

Types of Citizen Miyota Movements

There are quite a number of Citizen Miyota movements you can choose for your watch. They basically range from the working principle, design and performance.

For the scope of this article, it will be impossible to highlight the key features of every series of Citizen Miyota caliber. For now, you should note the following:

Citizen Miyota Automatic Mechanical Movement: A good example is the Miyota 8215.

Miyota 8215

This is Miyota 8215 – Photo credits: Keep the Time

This is a non-adjusted 21-jewels caliber that beats at 21600bph and it does not hack the second hand.

A fundamental aspect to note at this point is that the Miyota 8215 is an automatic mechanical movement. Besides, it features Miyota’s parashock which protects this Japanese watch movement from shock.

Like other automatic watch movements, this Japanese movement watch has a rotor for winding the watch.

Apart from the mechanical movement, we have the:

Citizen Miyota Quartz Movement; a good example of the Citizen Miyota quartz movement is the series 2035.

Miyota 2035 caliber

Miyota 2035 caliber

Unlike the mechanical movement, the 2035 uses a battery with a service lifespan of 3 years. It has an accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per month.

This is a better accuracy than the 8215. Remember, quartz watches are more accurate than mechanical watches.

As you can see from above, the Citizen Miyota caliber has both mechanical and quartz caliber.

Let’s move to the second Japanese watch movement:

2.      Seiko Watch Movement

Some of the best world watches feature this Japanese movement, which has become a household name in the watch making industry. Seiko movements are popular for their four distinct types of calibers.

Seiko watches

Seiko watches

These movements include:

Seiko Mechanical Movements

This type of Japan movement is a perfect choice for watch enthusiasts who enjoy winding watches. Since 1968, Seiko has designed over 8 different types of calibers.

They vary in design, vibrations per hour, number of jewels, accuracy and special features. Depending on the type of Seiko caliber, the hands may vary from 3 to 6.

Seiko is one of the pioneers of the automatic mechanical movements in Japan. Its 8L35 and 8L55 are popular for their accuracy.

8L35 Seiko Watch

8L35 Seiko Watch

The Grand Seiko watches are subjected to strict quality tests and verifications as per the Grand Seiko Standard.  This standard is unique in that it tests six positions within three different temperatures.

This improves performance and accuracy of these watches.

For sure, this Seiko mechanical watch is a perfect choice for most watch enthusiasts. Apart from this, there is another mechanical watch option from Seiko:

Seiko Spring Drive

This is a more precise mechanical movement with one second/day accuracy. It is better than most mechanical movements in the market.

The Seiko spring drive has unique features such as:

  • Fast winding
  • Uses a Tri-synchro regulator to replace the balance wheel and escapement

In short, this is a Seiko mechanical movement watch with better performance.

Apart from these mechanical watch movements, we have the:

Seiko Quartz Movement

Seiko Quartz ASTRON was the world’s first quartz watch. This quartz watch was released in 1969.



Since then, Seiko has been the world’s leader in producing accurate and precise quartz watches. The company has been improving this Japanese movement by incorporating modern technologies such as:

  • Producing twin quartz watch for a consistent and stable oscillation. With this feature, the quartz watches became temperature resistant.
  • Improved accuracy that is better than mechanical watches. Most Seiko quartz movements have an accuracy of 5 seconds/year.

One of the greatest breakthroughs in this Japan watch movement was the Seiko Kinetic. This is where the Seiko watch movement could convert kinetic energy (due to use movement) to electric energy.

Clearly, you can see how much Seiko has invested in various types of watch movements in the market. You can follow this link to learn more about Seiko watch movement technology.

Whenever you are planning to buy a watch with a Japan movement, one of the main challenges will be to choose between Seiko and Citizen Miyota.

First, let me make a quick observation: Japan watch movements are some of the best calibers in the industry. So, you can count on any of these types of watch movements.

Still, at any given instance, whether you want to go for Seiko or Miyota, it is important to consider the following:

  • Type of movement; is it mechanical, quartz or an improved version of the two?
  • Accuracy, precision and consistency of the watch movement
  • Size of the watch movement
  • Features and capability
  • Price

With all these in mind, it will be easier to make the right decision.

Apart from these two, another unique Japan watch movement is:

3.      Orient Watch Movement

Do you need a Japanese movement that features the true tradition of watchmaking craftsmanship? Well, you may consider Orient watch movement.

Orient watch movement is built by hand. It is popular for its few parts and components than most Japanese movements or even the ETA (Swiss movement).

You can have a look at this:

Orient watch

Orient watch

Ideally, Orient produces their watch movement in-house for their own watches. This is unlike other Japan watch movement manufacturers such as Miyota.

In most cases, Miyota produces movements for other watch manufacturers too.

Like other Japanese watch movement manufacturers, Orient produces both mechanical and quartz watches. Let’s review the two technologies.

Orient Mechanical Watch Movement

Orient manufactures all its mechanical movement in-house. This gives them the freedom to customize every aspect of these watch movements to meet specific quality, performance and aesthetics.

Like other Japan watch movement, Orient uses mainspring to power mechanical watches. They feature unique craftsmanship.

Orient mechanical movements are designed to last for years and appreciated by watch enthusiasts.

Apart from this, the company also produces quartz watches.

Orient Quartz Watch Movement

Like other quartz watches in the market, Orient watches use battery to power its three variations of timepieces.

Orient produces the following quartz watches:

  • Analog quartz watches; of course they resemble mechanical watches except that these watches use quartz crystal and battery. They have the gear system too.
  • Digital quartz; it replaces the gears in analog quartz with an electric circuit.
  • Solar quartz; it use various light sources to power its battery

In short, with Orient movement, you have quite a number of quartz watch options to choose from. It will depend on your taste and preference, besides the amount of money you are ready to spend.

I know there are other Japanese watch movement manufacturers in the market. However, Orient, Seiko and Miyota are the most popular Japanese movement watches.

This is due to the innovative designs, robust structure, reliable performance and aesthetics. So next time whenever you are planning to buy a watch, ensure you specify the type of Japan movement watch.

Generally, all these three Japanese watch movements share almost a similar appreciation among watch enthusiasts. Remember, whether you are looking for a unique craftsmanship in the watch industry, there is that caliber that will meet your unique specifications.

Furthermore, I want you to remember that the watch movement is the brain of your timepiece. Therefore, you must strive to get high quality and reliable movement.

In fact, it forms one of the 11 critical features to consider when buying a watch.

Now it is your turn:

Do you have any questions about the Japanese movements? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

At OwoodWatch, we design and make a range of wood watches that feature mainly the Citizen Miyota quartz movement. Feel free to visit our online wood watch store for more details.


By | 2018-02-23T10:35:28+00:00 January 11th, 2018|Watches Knowedge|0 Comments

Leave A Comment