We find on the Foundation for Fine Watchmaking an amusing article, which we translate here from English. The author makes a comparison between a car engine and the movement of a mechanical watch. WARNING: the comparison is by no means realistic, as it disregards many factors, starting with the temperatures and speeds at which the two systems work! However, the piece does contain some curious figures, such as the distance virtually covered by a balance-spiral in one hour...
ENGINE: a car engine only runs when the vehicle is in motion.
MOVEMENT: the movement of a watch works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (a total of 8760 hours).
ENGINE: covers an average of 10,000 to 15,000 kilometres per year.
MOVEMENT: the oscillations of the balance (the heart of the movement) cover at least 8,000 kilometres in one hour.
ENGINE: a car engine requires an annual service and a complete overhaul every 15,000 kilometres, including changing lubricants, fuel filters and other components.
MOVEMENT: the movement must be completely overhauled every 4/5 years. During this operation, the watchmaker applies at least one gram of lubricant to at least 21 parts of the mechanism.
ENGINE: the average life of an engine is 150,000 kilometres.
MOVEMENT: the life expectancy of the mechanical movement of a high-quality watch is theoretically unlimited, provided it is regularly maintained over the years.