What is a “Workhorse Movement”?

Miyota caliber 9015 automatic watch movement

“Workhorse movement” is a label given to certain watch movements by enthusiasts and collectors in many watch communities. The term is no officially used by movement manufactures, but has become a selling point in blog reviews and

A tried and true workhorse should be a simple/minimalist design that does the job efficiently with as few moving parts as possible, while still being effective at maintaining a track record of being reliable, acceptably accurate, not too expensive, and easy to service (or at least generally affordable to service).

A workhorse movement can be of any origin, although the most commonly known workhorse movements are Swiss made ETA/Sellita and Japan made Seiko/Miyota.

Below is an example of a solid automatic workhorse watch movement, the Seiko/TMI NH38. It features a simple, no-frills, 3-hands no-date display.

Tmi Seiko Caliber Nh38

The most common examples of workhorse movements are:

You may also hear watches being referred to as workhorses, for example the Seiko Monster.

A workhorse watch is basically a tool watch powered by any of the above movements, but also with other characteristics such as a sapphire crystal and screw-down crown.

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ETA Caliber 2824-2 Watch Movement | CaliberCorner.com
6 years ago

[…] 2824 is considered to be a “workhorse” movement by many watch […]

Jim
Jim
6 years ago

Workhorse movement is a forum cliche and now being used by watch manufacturers to make it sound good that they are selling a cheap Japan movement watch.

Benji
Benji
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Hahahaha This is a true statement!

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Miyota Caliber 8215 Watch Movement | CaliberCorner.com
6 years ago

[…] The Miyota caliber 8215 is a 21 jewel automatic movement. It is made in Japan and is found in many new microbrands because it is easily obtainable, low cost, and considered an entry level workhorse movement. […]

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Miyota Caliber 9015 Watch Movement | CaliberCorner.com
6 years ago

[…] The Miyota caliber 9015 is a 21 jewel automatic movement. It is made in Japan and is found in many new microbrands because it is easily obtainable, has a desirable hacking function, and considered a workhorse movement. […]

Charles Privitera
Charles Privitera
4 years ago

I think your defininition is as good as it gets. To me its a plain jane movement that is reliable. You dont worry about it breaking down and you wont have a heart attack when you get it serviced.

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ETA 2824-2 Clones Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
3 years ago

[…] ETA 2824 clone is an automatic watch movement with identical specs to the legendary workhorse movement ETA caliber 2824 (or more accurately the current […]

Mickey Johnson
Mickey Johnson
3 years ago

I read online, and I can’t remember where, that non-hacking watches generally outlast hacking watches. I have tried to verify the veracity of that statement, and I’ve come up empty. Do any of you know if it’s true non-hacking watches outlast hacking watches?

Benji
Benji
3 years ago
Reply to  Mickey Johnson

Hacking or non-hacking only has to do with it having a hacking mechanism. There is not much else to go wrong with a hacking watch compared to a non hacking except for the hacking mechanism to stop functioning. Sure it’s one more thing that can break, but the argument is like when cars first started having automatic windows instead of roll down handles. There were a lot of people saying they don’t want automatic windows because it’s one more thing to break. When is the last time you heard of an automatic window system breaking? About as often as you… Read more »

Mickey Johnson
Mickey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Benji

Good to know about hacking and nonhacking watches. For the record, I have had automatic windows go bad on a couple cars I owned.

Josh
Josh
3 years ago
Reply to  Benji

Back in the day, I bought a brand new 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix, and literally all four of the automatic window systems in that piece of shit car broke in the nine years that I owned it. I’ll never forgive that company.

Haruo128
Member
5 months ago
Reply to  Josh

I bought a new 1988 Acura Integra LS4dr; I still have “her.”

Haruo128
Member
5 months ago
Reply to  Haruo128

In 1979, I bought a new Rolex Datejust 16030 (Fred’s Joalier, salesman named “Rick”). I still have it, still running at COSC standards. ‘Nuff said!

Harrison
Harrison
2 years ago

I’m new to watches. What does hacking mean?

anonymous
anonymous
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

Harrison, hacking is when you can stop the second hand so that you can set the watch accurately down to second, compared to a reference time.

Rana Ashwatthama
Rana Ashwatthama
2 years ago

Least number of parts least number of problems! I like 6497-98 for this simple reason! i like things will little complication and parts!

Jeff E.
Jeff E.
1 year ago

Best movements around imo. ETA 6497.

Terry Greco
Terry Greco
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff E.

6497 and 6498 are so good that even the cheap Chinese made ones are excellent movements. Solid workhorse watches if you ask me.

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Landeron Caliber Landeron24 (L24) Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
2 years ago

[…] The Landeron caliber Landeron24 (L24) is a clone of the ETA 2824-2 workhorse movement. […]

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Miyota Watch Movements (List) Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
1 year ago

[…] What is a “Workhorse Movement”? […]

Bearen
Bearen
7 months ago

The last sentence of the first paragraph is not complete. Maybe you guys want to check and update it.

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