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Tudor Black Bay Bronze 79250BB-0001 Very good Bronze 43mm Automatic
TOP
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
£3,147
Verified Dealer
57
DK
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Q3432490 New Rose gold 36mm Automatic
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Q3432490 RENDEZ-VOUS
£24,018
Verified Dealer
20
HK
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 CAR2112.FC6267 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer 300 Slr Calibre 1887 Chronograph
£3,008
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
529
PL
Rolex Submariner Date 116613LB New Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date
£13,942
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
429
US
Graham Chronofighter Oversize 2CCAU.B34A New Steel 47mm Automatic
TOP
Graham Chronofighter Oversize Sniper Military Spetsnaz
£5,389
Verified Dealer
438
US
Chopard Mille Miglia 168571-3001 Very good Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Chronometer Chronograph Mint w. Box
£2,733
Verified Dealer
186
US
Cartier Santos (submodel) WSSA0010 Unworn Steel 35mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Santos De 41.9mm Custom Full Diamonds ICE BLUE Dial
£11,559
Verified Dealer
30
US
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver W2CA0008 New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Automatic W2CA0008 Men's Watch Gold...
£6,996
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
429
US
Cartier Tank Française 1840 Very good Yellow gold 28mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Tank Francaise Men/Unisex in Yellow Gold. Great Value...
£2,812
Verified Dealer
5
US
Longines Master Collection L.651.3 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Longines Master Collection Chronograph Date L.651.3 Steel Mens...
£1,074
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
156
US
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A-001 Very good Steel 40.8mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel-Time 5164A-001
£49,948
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1183
US
Rolex Explorer II 16570 Good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, HAYES
TOP
Rolex Explorer II 16570 Polar Dial
£5,750
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
75
UK
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5212A-001 Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Patek Philippe 5212A-001 Calatrava 'Weekly Calendar' -...
£37,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
209
UK
Bell & Ross BR V2 BRV294-BLU-BR/SCA New Bronze 41mm Automatic
TOP
Bell & Ross BR V2- 94 Aeronavale bronze
£3,827
Verified Dealer
438
US
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe BR01-94 Very good Steel 46mm Automatic
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 18k Rose Gold Chronograph, Box and...
£3,514
Verified Dealer
186
US
Cartier Santos (submodel) WSSA0010 Unworn Steel 35mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Santos De Custom Full Diamonds GREEN Dial 35mm Midsize
£11,559
Verified Dealer
30
US
Tudor Pelagos MT5612- LHD Very good Titanium 42mm Automatic United Kingdom, Norwich
TOP
Tudor Pelagos LHD – 2017 – Full Set
£2,950
Verified Dealer
191
UK
Rolex Submariner (No Date) 14060M Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Edinburgh
TOP
Rolex Submariner Non Date "4-Liner" (COSC) 14060M - 2012 FULL...
£9,100
Verified Dealer
52
UK
Omega Genève 135.033 Good Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Dynamic Automatic Men's Wrist Watch 1970s
£780
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
156
US
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 1127 55B Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Blancpain Villeret Quantieme Complet 6654-1127-55B
£7,771
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1183
US
Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase FC-705S4S6 New Steel Automatic
TOP
Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Automatic FC-705S4S6
£1,488
Verified Dealer
303
US
Ulysse Nardin Freak 2303-270/03 Titanium 43mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Ulysse Nardin 2303-270/03 Freak X 43mm Titanium - Box &...
£16,950
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
209
UK
Rolex Day-Date 36 118238 Very good Yellow gold 36mm Automatic United Kingdom, Shrewsbury
Rolex Day-Date President 36mm 18K Yellow Gold, Amazing Faded...
£18,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
97
UK
Fortis B-42 Flieger 656.10.141 Very good Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Fortis FLIEGER B-42 AVIATIS AEROMASTER DAWN CHRONOGRAPH
£1,093
Verified Dealer
186
US
Rolex Datejust 126334-0026 New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, Carlisle
TOP
Rolex Datejust
£9,200
Verified Dealer
95
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust 179163 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic United Kingdom
TOP
Rolex Lady Datejust 179163 – 2015 – Full Set
£5,250
Verified Dealer
191
UK
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 521.NO.1181.LR New Titanium 45mm Automatic United Kingdom
TOP
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 2020
£8,887
Verified Dealer
162
UK
Rolex GMT-Master 1675 Fair Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master, Gilt Dial, PCG. Ref: 1675 (1960)
£19,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
203
UK
Breitling Bentley B04 GMT NB0434E5/BE94 Very good Carbon 45mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Bentley GMT B04 Limited Edition NB0434E5/BE94
£6,600
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1183
US
Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic FC-750N4H4 New Gold/Steel Automatic
TOP
Frederique Constant Classic Hybrid Manufacture Automatic...
£1,566
Verified Dealer
303
US
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 16622 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Hertfordshire
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master, 2001 Ref 16622, sought after Blue Dial,...
£8,499
Verified Dealer
32
UK
Rolex Explorer II 216570 Good Steel 42mm Automatic United Kingdom, Shrewsbury
Rolex Explorer II Mens 42mm Steel Polar White Dial Watch
£7,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
97
UK
Montblanc Timewalker 7069 Very good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Montblanc Timewalker Stainless Steel Automatic Chronograph
£1,405
Verified Dealer
186
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1AR-001 Very good Gold/Steel 40.5mm Automatic United Kingdom, Carlisle
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus
£76,980
Verified Dealer
95
UK
IWC Portuguese Chronograph 371401 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, Norwich
TOP
IWC 371401 Portugieser Chronograph – 2007 – Full Set
£4,250
Verified Dealer
191
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Brackley
TOP
Rolex "GMT-Master II ""Batman"" 2019"
£13,375
Verified Dealer
24
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Datejust Ladies Bimetal with Blue Diamond Dial, 69173
£4,250
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
203
UK
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang 647.NX.1137.RX New Titanium 42mm Automatic United Kingdom
TOP
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang 2020
£11,941
Verified Dealer
162
UK
Frederique Constant Slimline Automatic FC-723WR3S6 New Steel Automatic
TOP
Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Automatic FC-723WR3S6
£1,289
Verified Dealer
303
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116613LN Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 116613LN Bi-Metal 40mm Black Dial - Full...
£11,000
Verified Dealer
101
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster 80298 Very good Yellow gold 29mm Automatic United Kingdom, Shrewsbury
Rolex Datejust Pearlmaster 29mm Factory Diamond Watch RRP £120K
£49,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
97
UK
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Chronographe BR03-94 Good Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Heritage Chronograph
£1,796
Verified Dealer
186
US
Tudor Black Bay S&G 79733N Very good Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Tudor Black Bay Steel & Gold 79733N mint with box & papers, 2019
£3,190
Verified Dealer
346
UK
Tudor Black Bay Chrono M79350-0001 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, Norwich
TOP
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph M79350 – 2019 – Full Set
£3,350
Verified Dealer
191
UK
Rolex Submariner (No Date) 114060 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Brackley
TOP
Rolex Submariner
£9,300
Verified Dealer
24
UK
Tudor Black Bay M79230R-0012 Unworn Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Tudor Black Bay Red, Steel Bracelet. Ref: 79230R (Unworn 2020)
£2,700
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
203
UK
Rolex Daytona 116528 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Daytona Black Diamonds 2018
£33,325
Verified Dealer
162
UK
Frederique Constant FC-380GT4H6B New Steel Automatic
TOP
Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown FC-380GT4H6B
£1,707
Verified Dealer
303
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16613 Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 16613 Bi-Metal Blue Dial 1993 – Rolex...
£8,250
Verified Dealer
101
UK
Patek Philippe Travel Time 5524G-001 Very good White gold 42mm Automatic United Kingdom, Shrewsbury
Patek Philippe Pilot Travel Time Blue Dial, 18K White Gold,...
£39,950
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
97
UK
Montblanc Timewalker 7187 Very good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Montblanc Timewalker Automatic DLC 18k Rose Gold
£1,639
Verified Dealer
186
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 79173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust Steel-18K Yellow Gold Champagne Diamond Dial
£4,491
Verified Dealer
103
US
Tudor Tiger Prince Date 79280P Very good Steel 39mm Automatic United Kingdom, Norwich
TOP
Tudor Tiger Prince Date 79280P – 1999 – Full Set
£3,650
Verified Dealer
191
UK
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A-001 Good Steel 40.8mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time 5164A-001
£39,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
24
UK
Rolex 177210 Very good Steel 31mm Automatic United Kingdom, Ampthill
Rolex 177210 With Custom Diamond Bezel
£3,750
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
UK
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 210.30.44.51.01.001 New Steel 44mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M Chronograph
£4,814
Verified Dealer
162
UK
Seiko Presage SRPB46J1 Very good Steel Automatic United Kingdom, Hertfordshire
TOP
Seiko Presage Automatic - Cocktail Time Rose Gold SRPB46J1 -...
£425
Verified Dealer
32
UK
Rolex Daytona 116520 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Daytona 116520 Steel 40mm White Dial -2004 – Rolex...
£16,500
Verified Dealer
101
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic United Kingdom, Shrewsbury
Rolex Lady-Datejust 26mm 18K Gold & Steel Factory Blue Diamond...
£4,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
97
UK
Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie 114873 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie 114873 Twincounter Date Automatic
£1,171
Verified Dealer
186
US
Rolex Datejust Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust Steel and 18K Yellow Gold Black Diamond Dial 79173
£4,315
Verified Dealer
103
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Ladies Datejust Steel & Gold, White Roman Numeral Dial....
£3,950
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
203
UK
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960/01G-001 Very good White gold 40.5mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph
£38,625
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
24
UK
Omega Seamaster 166.032 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Omega Seamaster Day Date 166.032 excellent condition, 1969
£980
Verified Dealer
346
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.


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