How to Use Grail Watch Reference
Our watch movement database is currently online. Click “Movement Database” in the menu and use the filters to select a watch movement. You may then click on any detail to see all other movements that share that characteristic.
Here are some useful queries to get you started:
- All movements in our database
- Column wheel chronograph movements
- Movements with a power reserve indicator
- Movements from ETA, Rolex, or Seiko
About Grail Watch Reference
This site is a database of reference information. We are initially focusing on watch movements, and are building a fully cross-referenced database of mechanical watch movements. In the future we may also include other things, including perhaps watch models and companies.
We are trying to be authoritative and correct, and are relying on manufacturer information as our primary source. Most information comes from manufacturer web sites, documentation, and publications. We are also using independent research and information from third parties where manufacturer information is unavailable.
All illustrations are official manufacturer photos and are used for commentary according to the press license of each company. We are attempting to include a link back to the official manufacturer web page where possible. We are also linking to Watch Wiki, Watchbase, and other sites where appropriate.
Updates from Grail Watch Reference
May 28, 2020
This weekend I added a Zenith’s Elite family of movements to the site. These are an important series of modern automatic movements yet are not well-understood or documented. Introduced in 1994, the Elite series gave Zenith a compact movement that was robust, reliable, and could support complications across a wide range of watches. The series was almost retired in 2015 but has been given a new lease on life and is today one of two main movement lines from Zenith, along with the famous El Primero chronograph.
May 12, 2020
When ETA names a movement, they usually use the last digit or two to signify added functions, then a numeral after a dash to indicate an update. Cal. 2892-2 was an update to Cal. 2892, and that movement added a date complication to Cal. 2890. But this isn’t how it works for ETA’s “Travel Time Trio”, Cal. 2893-1, 2893-2, and 2893-3. These were introduced together in 1992 and represent variations on one complication rather than updates.
May 8, 2020
One of my goals with Grail Watch Reference is to use primary sources to develop the best information possible. Although many aspects of horology are widely reported as truth, we can not completely rely on these stories: There’s just too much folklore out there! To illustrate, I will walk through my process of verifying the timeline of one of today’s top movements, ETA’s 2892A2.
March 2, 2020
Continuing my research into the Sellita movements, I looked into the background of the SW300 and SW400 movements, as well as the compact SW100 and SW1000. Leveraging the Sellita documentation and website, I was able to uncover the launch chronology of these movements as well as lots of technical details. I was surprised to learn how similar most of the company’s movements are to each other.
February 29, 2020
I did a little research over the weekend into one of the top movement producers in Switzerland, Sellita. It can be difficult to find details on under-the-radar companies like Sellita – they didn’t exhibit at industry fairs and “have no particular need to advertise,” according to a 2014 Europa Star article. They just quietly built over a million watch movements per year, leveraging a network of subsidiaries and suppliers in Switzerland, Germany, and elsewhere.