Usually the escapements are classified in three categories, the recoil escapement, the rest escapement and the free escapement. This is the chronological order of their appearance.

The foliot escapement, one of the first escapements to appear is a recoil escapement. The escape-wheel always makes a slight backward movement at each vibration.

One of the most popular types of escapement has been the cylinder escapement. When restoring a watch of this type it is always best to leave the original barrel spring in. To put a new, slightly stronger spring in would only increase the friction and thus the watch would run less well.

As for the free escapements, we can count the detent escapement formerly used on marine chronometers or the Swiss lever escapement now present in a large part of mechanical watches.

The tourbillon is itself in a way also an escapement. In its cage it has for a large part a Swiss lever escapement or more rarely a detent escapement.