I'm interested only in what works. This page is dedicated to the best mechanical watches for hard use and reparability. This means that appearance, aside from reflectivity, has no merit.
First it must be made clear as to why you want a mechanical movement over a digital chronometer. Aside from the prestige, there are many technical benefits an automatic mechanical movement has over a digital watch. In extreme G-Forces a digital LCD watch will become unreadable, this is not the case with the ETA-2824. Sevier gravitational (centrifugal, centripetal, or general acceleration) forces exerted on the movement may cause it to lose time, but will never cause it to be unreadable (within human tolerable ranges). Also extreme cold will cause a quartz watch to seez functioning correctly, this is not so with the ETA-2824. Magnets are a watches enemy, where analog quartz watches stop the 2824 will keep ticking. However, the accuracy of a quartz watch is far greater then a mechanical watch under normal conditions. The robust ETA-2824 mechanism is very accurate, as far as mechanical movements go. Also the reliability is second to none. Everything in a 2824 caliber watch movement is repairable and is made to last a lifetime with proper maintenance. This is also true with the 3135 Rolex movement found in Submariners and SeaDwellers. Although there are many similar movements these are my favorites. However there is a drastic price difference between these two movements. I don't believe that price really biases any of my opinions because, in watches of this caliber if your not paying for the movement, you're paying for the case. I appreciate many of the different watch technologies that have matured over the years. The Accutron, The Bulova that was powered by temperature differences, The Solar powered watches, the generator watches (Seiko Kinetic), the first quartz watches, the spring drive, the co-axial escapement, the tourbillon. The Accutron I named first for it's pure genius, but I really marvel at the mechanical solutions to problems that could be fixed electronically will $0.002 worth of circuit board. For instance Indiglo 100 years ago was called a repeater, it would chime you the time in the dark...'85. LOTS OF GEARS! We will start with the movement.
The movement must be accurate, reliable, take the shock of firing a gun and throwing a punch, be relatively temperature stable, automatic, and anti-magnetic. Rolex produced a watch called a Milgauss just for working in high magnetic fields in the 60s. Now many of the parts in modern movements are made of special alloys that combat magnetism and thermal differences at the molecular level. Also, low magnetic permeability iron shields can be made to encase the movement and virtually stop the effects of strong magnets. As for thermal differences, the watch is guaranteed to be of something that (if all goes well) is always 98.6F. Another piece of pure genius in mechanical engineering is the Swiss bi-directional winding mechanism. The bi-directional winding mechanism consists of a master gear, 2 click wheels, and an upper gear, which in turn will wind the watch.
Each click wheel consists of a perimeter gear, a central gear, and, in the middle of the central gear, a fixed smaller gear.
The perimeter gear has ratchet pawls around the inside. The central gear has sloping teeth around its circumference that engage with the ratchet pawls around the inside of the perimeter gear to act as a one-way clutch. When the left click wheel assembly is rotated counter clockwise by the clockwise movement of the master gear it will turn the central gear, turning the upper gear in a clockwise direction. However, when the master gear rotates counter clockwise the left perimeter gear will turn clockwise, this will not engage the central gear but, the left perimeter gear will turn the right perimeter gear counter clockwise, engaging the right central gear and again, turn the upper gear in the same clockwise direction. This mechanism allows the rotor (connected to the master gear) to swing in either way and still wind the watch in a clockwise direction.
Rolex pictures are from www.AbbeyClock.com This is a really smart dude... Anyone that visits his site will learn something.
Alex McAlpine shot all ETA-2824 movement pictures
The Ideal Mechanical Watch Movement.
It must be understood that the above explaned the Rolex system
where both clickwheels are the same. With ETA the rotor
turns both clickwheels and the click wheels are opposite
of each other.