will's watch pages
How a watch works 4: Balance wheel
The balance wheel keeps time for the watch. It consists of a weighted wheel which rotates back and forth, which is returned toward its center position by a fine spiral spring, the balance spring or "hair spring". The wheel and spring together constitute a harmonic oscillator. The mass of the balance wheel combines with the stiffness of the spring to precisely control the period of each swing or 'beat' of the wheel.