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Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44 mm
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44 mm
£5,357
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
169
UK
Bulgari 18k White Gold Diamond Bezel B&P BBW42C5GDLDAUTO
Bulgari 18k White Gold Diamond Bezel B&P BBW42C5GDLDAUTO
£8,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
54
UK
Patek Philippe Complcations Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960R-001
Patek Philippe Complcations Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960R-001
£45,351
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
119
US
Rolex Daytona 16520 Zenith 1995
Rolex Daytona 16520 Zenith 1995
£11,830
Seller
Phigora
58
US
Omega Seamaster 300 M Midsize Chronometer 2551.80
Omega Seamaster 300 M Midsize Chronometer 2551.80
£1,274
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Bulgari Diagono Regatta Chrono 80% off
Bulgari Diagono Regatta Chrono 80% off
£3,431
Seller
Raffi Boyadjian Watches Inc.
6
US
Hermès Authentic Men's Hermes Clipper Diver CP1.810 44MM...
Hermès Authentic Men's Hermes Clipper Diver CP1.810 44MM...
£2,165
Free shipping
Seller
Luxury Horology
61
US
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Royal Blue Diamond Dial NATO Strap 36mm
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Royal Blue Diamond Dial NATO Strap 36mm
£2,835
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
80
US
Rolex Datejust 41 126301 Sundust Index Rose Gold Stainless...
Rolex Datejust 41 126301 Sundust Index Rose Gold Stainless...
£7,807
Seller
JazTime
5
US
Pierre Vallee Chronomaster/Aviator/Sea Diver
Pierre Vallee Chronomaster/Aviator/Sea Diver
£907
Seller
MKG
 
US
Tudor Pelagos
Tudor Pelagos
£2,220
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Omega Pocket watch, erotic depiction – Omega – 1905
Omega Pocket watch, erotic depiction – Omega – 1905
£554
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Rolex Air King Precision
Rolex Air King Precision
£2,450
Seller
Kings Hill Jewellery
 
UK
Omega "Olympic Games Collection" Planet Ocean
Omega "Olympic Games Collection" Planet Ocean
£3,727
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
£6,900
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak auto Skeleton 39mm full set 15305st
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak auto Skeleton 39mm full set 15305st
£39,622
Seller
TempoInverso.com / Gift and Communication LTD
UK
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Custom Silver Diamond Dial - 36mm Quickset
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Custom Silver Diamond Dial - 36mm Quickset
£2,914
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
80
US
Rolex Submariner Date 40mm Steel Ceramic
Rolex Submariner Date 40mm Steel Ceramic
£5,521
Seller
Noblesse LP
 
UK
Heuer Autavia
Heuer Autavia
£5,362
Seller
MKG
 
US
Rolex Daytona (White dial)
Rolex Daytona (White dial)
£11,750
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex 116400 GV MIlgauss Men's watch 2013
Rolex 116400 GV MIlgauss Men's watch 2013
£4,175
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
£16,495
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
5
UK
Omega Seamaster 300 M Chrono Diver   2594.52  41.5mm
Omega Seamaster 300 M Chrono Diver 2594.52 41.5mm
£2,110
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Rolex Daytona JULY 2017
Rolex Daytona JULY 2017
£13,950
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
Breguet Type XX
Breguet Type XX
£3,900
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex Submariner Date green 1st series Fat Four N.O.S. Full set
Rolex Submariner Date green 1st series Fat Four N.O.S. Full set
£17,086
Seller
TempoInverso.com / Gift and Communication LTD
UK
Patek Philippe World Time
Patek Philippe World Time
£77,450
Seller
A Collected Man
5
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm Chronograph Stainless Steel...
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm Chronograph Stainless Steel...
£13,995
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK
Sevenfriday M-Series M1/01 RRP £1115
Sevenfriday M-Series M1/01 RRP £1115
£550
Seller
The Watch Directory
31
UK
Doxa Pocket watch with erotic image – Doxa – 1905
Doxa Pocket watch with erotic image – Doxa – 1905
£277
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Rolex GMT Master, with Gilt Dial', Ref: 1675 (1966)
Rolex GMT Master, with Gilt Dial', Ref: 1675 (1966)
£11,950
Free shipping
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
41
UK
Omega Seamaster 300 M Midsize Chronometer 2551.80
Omega Seamaster 300 M Midsize Chronometer 2551.80
£1,321
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Rolex Submariner (No Date)
Rolex Submariner (No Date)
£5,250
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
£19,750
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono Kasparov blue dial full set...
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono Kasparov blue dial full set...
£15,608
Seller
TempoInverso.com / Gift and Communication LTD
UK
Omega Speedmaster 'Dark Side of the Moon' NEW
Omega Speedmaster 'Dark Side of the Moon' NEW
£5,850
Seller
Tempo and Time Ltd
9
UK
Audemars Piguet Offshore Royal Oak Royal Blue NEW
Audemars Piguet Offshore Royal Oak Royal Blue NEW
£16,169
Seller
Noblesse LP
 
UK
Rolex Explorer II
Rolex Explorer II
£3,850
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Doxa pocket with an erotic image 'hunting scene' –...
Doxa pocket with an erotic image 'hunting scene' –...
£352
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Cartier Pasha Seatimer
Cartier Pasha Seatimer
£2,000
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Omega Seamaster 300 M Chronometer 2531.80  41mm
Omega Seamaster 300 M Chronometer 2531.80 41mm
£1,558
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Rolex 18k Day-Date Champagne Dial Ref: 18238 (With Papers)
Rolex 18k Day-Date Champagne Dial Ref: 18238 (With Papers)
£9,500
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
41
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
£18,850
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17
£2,850
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono 41mm QE 2 cup Limited full set
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono 41mm QE 2 cup Limited full set
£19,303
Seller
TempoInverso.com / Gift and Communication LTD
UK
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Deep Black” 600M Co-Axial GMT
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Deep Black” 600M Co-Axial GMT
£6,650
Free shipping
Seller
ChronoEdge
57
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ref. 25654.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ref. 25654.
£16,800
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex — Tudor Prince Oysterdate Silver - Service by Rolex —...
Rolex — Tudor Prince Oysterdate Silver - Service by Rolex —...
£1,247
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Rubens Barrichello II Limited...
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Rubens Barrichello II Limited...
£54,250
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph   2210.50
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph 2210.50
£2,425
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Louis Moinet Tempograph
Louis Moinet Tempograph
£10,000
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak 44mm Offshore Steel Ceramic Bezel
Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak 44mm Offshore Steel Ceramic Bezel
£18,500
Free shipping
Seller
Freddie Keeble Watches & Diamonds
UK
Rolex Datejust Turn-o-graph Stainless Steel Gents 16264
Rolex Datejust Turn-o-graph Stainless Steel Gents 16264
£4,995
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK
Rolex Sea-Dweller
Rolex Sea-Dweller
£6,641
Seller
TempoInverso.com / Gift and Communication LTD
UK
Breitling Chronomat Evolution Mens 44mm 18K Gold Watch
Breitling Chronomat Evolution Mens 44mm 18K Gold Watch
£9,995
Free shipping
Seller
WT Time Pieces
21
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 2017
Rolex GMT-Master II 2017
£19,950
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
Rolex 1961s Vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual AirKing Explorer...
Rolex 1961s Vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual AirKing Explorer...
£2,355
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph GMT Limited Edition Ref:  8954
Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph GMT Limited Edition Ref: 8954
£2,400
Free shipping
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
41
UK
Panerai Luminor GMT PAM 00159
Panerai Luminor GMT PAM 00159
£3,845
Seller
PreOwned Watch Shop
8
US
Bell & Ross BR 02
Bell & Ross BR 02
£1,650
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak Offshore 42mm | 18ct Rose Pink...
Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak Offshore 42mm | 18ct Rose Pink...
£39,500
Free shipping
Seller
Freddie Keeble Watches & Diamonds
UK
Rolex Datejust Stainless Steel Unisex 116200
Rolex Datejust Stainless Steel Unisex 116200
£4,595
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK

Automatic Watches: Self-Winding Mechanical Timepieces

Automatic watches are powered by the natural motion of your wrist while you wear them. This type of watch has a rich history reaching back to the 18th century. Today, countless brands produce their own automatic calibers for their watches.

Highlights

  • Automatically wound by the natural movements of your arm
  • Environmentally-friendly: No batteries to produce or throw away
  • The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is one of the most famous automatic watches
  • John Harwood is considered the inventor of the automatic wristwatch
  • Automatic watches available in almost every price range

Automatic Watches: Self-Winding Timepieces

Automatic watches fall under the larger umbrella term of mechanical watches. They offer a key advantage over manual timepieces: They wind automatically via the movement of the wearer's arm. An oscillating mass inside the caliber is responsible for winding the spring. Today, this is in most cases a winding rotor. It is flexibly mounted so that gravity pulls it towards the center. When you're wearing the watch and move your wrist, the rotor moves and gives the caliber new energy. Automatic watches don't require batteries, making mechanical watches comparably more environmentally friendly than battery-powered quartz watches.
Automatic watches are available from almost every famous watch manufacturer in all price ranges. Less expensive models are often powered by base calibers made by the ébauche manufacturers ETA, Soprod, or Sellita. Various manufacturers use these calibers in a more or less reworked form in their watches. These calibers even power the watches made by famous brands such as Breitling and TAG Heuer. However, both manufacturers have developed their own in-house movements as well.
Rolex and Patek Philippe are some of the most well-known watch manufacturers. Unlike many other brands, these two Geneva-based manufacturers don't outsource base calibers. Instead, they use their own. For example, Rolex's caliber 3130 is considered very robust, reliable, and precise. These qualities and more make the caliber one of the best automatic movements on the market; it powers Rolex watches such as the Submariner. Since Rolex produces their watches almost entirely in-house, production is costlier. This results in higher prices for automatic watches with in-house movements.

Buying Tips

If you're searching for an automatic watch, the hard part is actually choosing one. Should it be large or small, simple or extravagant, affordable or expensive? The selection is ample for every taste and budget. Pre-owned automatic watches from Citizen, Seiko, or Swatch are available for around 50 euros. These watches often only have three hands for the hours, minutes, and seconds. Some also have a date or even day/date display.
In the price range between 100 and 200 euros, you can find diverse new automatic watches from brands like Seiko or Fossil. Pre-owned watches from long-established manufacturers such as Tissot, Hamilton, or Longines cost up to 500 euros. The situation is similar in the 1,000 euros and under price range, though here you can also find new models from the German brand Marcello C.
In the 1,000 euro price range, you can find pre-owned Omega or Breitling watches. New automatic three-hand watches are available from Oris, Raymond Weil, or Rado.
However, if you're looking for an automatic chronograph, you need to adjust your budget accordingly. A pre-owned automatic chronograph costs at least 500 euros; this applies to watches from brands such as Tissot or Hamilton. New chronographs cost a few hundred euros more, around 800 euros. These watches are often powered by ETA's Valjoux 7750, which is considered one of the most successful automatic chronograph calibers in the world.
If you're searching for a new automatic Rolex, you need to plan on spending at least 3,000 euros. You can purchase the introductory model, Oyster Perpetual, for this price. You can occasionally find pre-owned vintage watches from this Genevan manufacturer for less than 1,000 euros. The Submariner, one of the first and most famous diving watches in the world, is available pre-owned for around 4,100 euros. New, it costs around 5,600 euros. Rolex's chronograph, the Daytona, is available for around 7,500 euros.
The most expensive automatic watches are from brands such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. These watches are often made of platinum or 18-karat gold and feature countless diamonds on their dial and/or case. At times, these watches are also incredibly expensive as they're rare vintage watches coveted by collectors. Prices over 1 million euros are not too rare when it comes to these watches.

The Technology Behind Automatic Watches

The mainspring of an automatic watch is, as the name suggests, automatically wound by the movement itself. The mainspring is wound, becomes tense, and stores energy. This happens through the natural movements of the wearer's arm when the watch is on his or her wrist. This mechanism eliminates the need to manually wind the mainspring. Instead, an oscillating mass - often the rotor - winds the mainspring. Gravity causes the flexibly mounted rotor to move towards the center and a gear-train transfers the energy from the rotor's movement to the barrel. Viewed from a physics standpoint, the mechanism converts kinetic energy into potential energy.
There are automatic movements that wind in one or both directions. Bi-directional winding movements have so-called reverser gears. These ensure that the rotor winds the barrel in both directions. Uni-directional winding movements actually wind bidirectionally, but the mainspring is only wound in one direction. Both variants have a reduction gear which converts the fast movements of the rotor into slower movements with more torque. The end of the mainspring is not directly connected to the barrel so that it doesn't snap off when it's fully wound. The outer end of the spring is outfitted with a bridle, which keeps the pressure on the mainspring's outermost coil. When not fully wound, that pressure allows the outer end of the mainspring to be caught in a notch in the barrel wall. Once the spring is fully wound, it moves along to the next notch.
Automatic watches have many advantages: They're comfortable, environmentally-friendly, and usually more precise. This improved precision is due to the mainspring, which is always tense and has a more constant torque than mainsprings in hand-wound calibers. This has a positive effect on the amplitude. The amplitude is the balance wheel's degree of rotation and refers to the wheel's maximum rotation angle between equilibrium and a reversal point.

Technical Details of Automatic Watches

  • The winding rotor winds the mainspring in the barrel
  • Advantages: no manual winding required, environmentally-friendly, more precise
  • Uni-directional and bi-directional winding movements

The Origins of Automatic Watches

Automatic winding is one of the most important and long-lasting innovations in the history of watchmaking and the mechanism is one of the most widespread complications in use today.
Today's automatic watches can trace their origin back to the year 1729. Abraham-Louis Perrelet improved the winding mechanism of pocket watches in the 18th century. A small key was required to wind a movement before this improvement. Since the key was never there when you needed it, winding mechanisms that didn't require a key were in high demand. Perrelet wanted to invent a self-winding pocket watch. In 1770, he introduced his pedometer watch after countless attempts. The watch had an oscillating weight which teetered back and forth as the wearer walked. The motion caused the oscillating weight to tense the mainspring. Perrelet also developed a caliber with a winding rotor which swiveled above the movement. With these innovations, the groundwork for today's automatic watches was laid.
Refined men carried their pocket watches tucked away safely in their jacket, vest, or pants. The timepieces barely moved while in their pockets, which meant that the oscillating mass didn't have enough energy to wind the mainspring. The crown-wind method solved the key-wind problem in the mid-19th century, making the automatic pocket watch superfluous.

The First Automatic Wristwatches

The French watchmaker Léon Leroy was also a pioneer in the development of automatic watches. He presented his first automatic wristwatch in 1922. Some of these watches even had a date display. However, Leroy was far away from being able to mass produce a series.
The British watchmaker John Harwood lead automatic wristwatches to series production. He began working on automatic movements in 1922. Two years later, he patented his work, paving the way for the first series-produced automatic wristwatches.
Rolex's Oyster Perpetual was one of the first automatic wristwatches. Rolex introduced the watch to the market in 1931. It's one of the few early models that has lasted over the years and is still produced today. The principle behind Oyster Perpetual's winding rotor is at the heart of every modern automatic wristwatch.