They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and that’s especially true in the world of watches. The mechanical innards of a watch—the “movement”—is the very heart of what makes a watch function. Think of them as the engine in a car.
Most high-end watch brands have teams of highly trained watchmakers who create their own movements in-house (called “in-house” or “manufacture”), but a variety of watch brands outsource their movements from dedicated makers like ETA and Miyota. One of the most famous and sought-after of these—the 5.7 V8 of the watch world—is the triple-dialed Valjoux 72 and its variants. While a Valjoux 72-powered chronograph by Rolex or Patek Philippe may set you back tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are many mechanically identical watches from lesser-known brands that can be had for a relative steal.