Industry News – World’s First Self-Powered Mechanical Watch
The world’s first self-powered mechanical watch movement has been invented
by American master watchmaker Steven Phillips. The mechanism, which he has
trademarked as the “Eternal Winding System,” is continually powered by a
temperature-sensitive bimetallic coil.
“You can lay an EWS watch down on a table, leave it alone and come back in two
years, and it will still be running,” said Mr. Phillips.
An international patent for the movement, almost three years in development, was
issued by the U.S. patent office to Phillips in October. The horological
breakthrough was first reported in the November issue of the consumer magazine
Phillip’s achievement has generated interest in the international watch
community. In recent weeks he has been contacted by “all the major watch
manufacturers in Switzerland and watch companies in the Orient”, according to
The EWS mechanism will officially debut in April at the 2003 international watch
and clock trade show in Basel, Switzerland. He plans to either sell or license
the EWS patent at that time.
The EWS mechanism uses a bi-metallic coil, which has a two-degree reaction to
temperature (one degree up or down). That motion is transferred to the
mainspring, which keeps the watch wound and running, without the need for manual
winding, batteries or other stimuli.
Phillips new movement is simpler than traditional mechanical movement. There is,
for example, no rotor, no need for a wind-set mechanism—and no need for a
winding crown on case.
So far, Phillips has only made a prototype timepiece using the EWS movement.
Phillips, 64, is a lifelong watchmaker. Born in Hungary, he came to the United
States in 1956, following the Hungarian Revolution. He opened his business, The
Budapest Watch Company, in Guilford, Connecticut in 1964.
Phillips is also the first and only American member of the prestigious and
exclusive Swiss “Academie de Horlogere de Createurs Independants” (AHCI),
which promotes the tradition of handcrafted timepieces. He earlier created his
own automatic winding movement and a handmade series of watches, called
“Guardian,” including the skeletonized and enameled “Guardian II.”
Phillips has worked on the EWS project since early 2001, spending “probably
4,000 to 6,000 hours” in designing the EWS mechanism. He is currently working
on two more patents, one for an eternal calendar clock, using EWS, and one for
“a special escapement.”