A balance wheel inside of a watch, is a timekeeping device used in mechanical watches.
It is a weighted wheel that rotates back and forth, being returned toward its center position by a spiral torsion spring which is also called the balance spring or hairspring.
It is driven by the escapement, which transforms the rotating motion of the watch gear train into impulses delivered to the balance wheel. Each swing of the wheel allows the gear train to advance a set amount, moving the hands forward.
The balance wheel and hairspring together form a harmonic oscillator, and from resonance oscillates preferentially at a certain rate, its resonant frequency or ‘beat’, and resists oscillating at other rates.
The combination of the mass of the balance wheel and the elasticity of the spring keep the time between each oscillation or ‘tick’ very constant, accounting for its near universal use as the timekeeper in mechanical watches.
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