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Automatic variants are powered instead by an oscillator which automatically winds the mainspring to power the watch. The oscillator can be thought of as a type of rotor that spins when the wearer moves his wrist. This means that the watch is powered entirely by kinetic energy.
Both types have a similar construction, however. Winding puts pressure on the mainspring, which creates a force that is then transferred through the gear train (the collective term for the components in the watch) to an escapement. This puts out a little bit of power each time.
This power is released in intervals consistent with that of a 24-hour day. Though the concept remains timeless, advanced technology and manufacturing methods have made mechanical movements more accurate than ever.