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Breguet 18k W/Gold Silver Dial Marine Chronograph B&P 5827BB/1...
TOP
Breguet 18k W/Gold Silver Dial Marine Chronograph B&P 5827BB/1...
£19,500
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
169
UK
Patek Philippe Travel Time
TOP
Patek Philippe Travel Time
£46,116
Seller
Haute Horologe
AE
Rolex 31mm Presidential Champagne Dial/Diamond Bezel 68278
TOP
Rolex 31mm Presidential Champagne Dial/Diamond Bezel 68278
£8,454
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Longines Conquest Automatic Vintage 18k Yel Gold 1960s Mens...
TOP
Longines Conquest Automatic Vintage 18k Yel Gold 1960s Mens...
£2,934
Seller
GMTSKY
342
US
Ulysse Nardin 670-85 Sonata Silicium Grey Dial Automatic Men's...
TOP
Ulysse Nardin 670-85 Sonata Silicium Grey Dial Automatic Men's...
£22,750
Free shipping
Seller
Iceberg Jewelers
143
US
Rolex TT Datejust Factory Diamond Dial w/ Original Box and Papers
TOP
Rolex TT Datejust Factory Diamond Dial w/ Original Box and Papers
£4,070
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
167
US
TAG Heuer Monaco Automatic Chronograph MINT Condition
TOP
TAG Heuer Monaco Automatic Chronograph MINT Condition
£1,460
Free shipping
Seller
Chronodynamix
71
US
Rolex Sea-Dweller, Ref: 16600 (1991)
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller, Ref: 16600 (1991)
£4,950
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Rolex Milgauss 1019 black dial | Rolex Service Guarantee
TOP
Rolex Milgauss 1019 black dial | Rolex Service Guarantee
£23,750
Free shipping
Seller
A Collected Man
9
UK
Tudor Grantour Date
TOP
Tudor Grantour Date
£1,767
Seller
The Vintage Luxury
 
US
Rolex Sea Dweller Double Red Stainless Steel Men's 1665 - COM1657
TOP
Rolex Sea Dweller Double Red Stainless Steel Men's 1665 - COM1657
£29,995
Seller
Xupes.com
127
UK
Rolex Datejust 31mm Oyster Silver Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 68274
TOP
Rolex Datejust 31mm Oyster Silver Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 68274
£5,764
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Rolex Vintage 6084 Oyster Perpetual 1952 14K Gold Bubbleback...
TOP
Rolex Vintage 6084 Oyster Perpetual 1952 14K Gold Bubbleback...
£5,814
Seller
GMTSKY
342
US
Oris Divers Sixty-Five Movember 01 733 7707 4084 - Unworn 2018
TOP
Oris Divers Sixty-Five Movember 01 733 7707 4084 - Unworn 2018
£1,800
Seller
Mark Worthington Jewellers
84
UK
Rolex Unpolished 1993 TT Datejust Factory Blue Dial w/ Rolex Box
TOP
Rolex Unpolished 1993 TT Datejust Factory Blue Dial w/ Rolex Box
£2,994
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
167
US
Montblanc Time Walker Twinfly Flyback 7175 Chronograph
TOP
Montblanc Time Walker Twinfly Flyback 7175 Chronograph
£1,844
Free shipping
Seller
Chronodynamix
71
US
Rolex Datejust Midsize Yellow Gold  Ref: 68278 (1996 papers)
TOP
Rolex Datejust Midsize Yellow Gold Ref: 68278 (1996 papers)
£7,400
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 3448 | Archive Extracts |...
TOP
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 3448 | Archive Extracts |...
Price on request
Free shipping
Seller
A Collected Man
9
UK
Chanel J12 Diamond Set Bezel/Bracelet Automatic 38mm H1339
TOP
Chanel J12 Diamond Set Bezel/Bracelet Automatic 38mm H1339
£11,000
Seller
Wilson Watches
10
UK
Rolex Daytona Inverted 6 Chronograph Stainless Steel Men's...
TOP
Rolex Daytona Inverted 6 Chronograph Stainless Steel Men's...
£31,495
Seller
Xupes.com
127
UK
Rolex Datejust 36mm Black Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm Black Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
£5,533
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm Mens Watch 51.2080.400/69....
TOP
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm Mens Watch 51.2080.400/69....
£4,054
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Noble
11
US
Corum Bubble Lucifer Special Edition
TOP
Corum Bubble Lucifer Special Edition
£3,074
Seller
The Vintage Luxury
 
US
Rolex 2004 TT Submariner Factory Serti Dial Original Box & Papers
TOP
Rolex 2004 TT Submariner Factory Serti Dial Original Box & Papers
£8,066
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
167
US
Audemars Piguet“Predecessor to End of Days(AP serviced 2017)
TOP
Audemars Piguet“Predecessor to End of Days(AP serviced 2017)
£9,995
Free shipping
Seller
ChronoEdge
124
UK
Rolex Submariner Gilt Dial (no crown guard), Ref: 5508
TOP
Rolex Submariner Gilt Dial (no crown guard), Ref: 5508
£29,950
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710 - Coke Insert (1990)
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710 - Coke Insert (1990)
£6,495
Seller
Time Rediscovered Ltd
14
UK
Breguet S/S Type XX Transatlantique Chrono Ladies B&P 4820ST/D...
TOP
Breguet S/S Type XX Transatlantique Chrono Ladies B&P 4820ST/D...
£3,450
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
169
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust 18k White Gold Factory MOP Diamond Dial (B&P)
TOP
Rolex Lady-Datejust 18k White Gold Factory MOP Diamond Dial (B&P)
£11,794
Seller
Watch Center London
671
UK
Rolex Datejust 36mm Blue Flower Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm Blue Flower Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
£5,533
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Ton Up Stainless Steel
TOP
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Ton Up Stainless Steel
£3,439
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Noble
11
US
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 50th Anniversary
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 50th Anniversary
£10,950
Free shipping
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
44
UK
Orient Multi Year Calendar Mens Watch
Orient Multi Year Calendar Mens Watch
£239
Seller
Vintage Time Watches
11
UK
IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar IW503202(IWC Serviced 2017)
TOP
IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar IW503202(IWC Serviced 2017)
£15,995
Free shipping
Seller
ChronoEdge
124
UK
Rolex Day-Date Cognac Dial Leather Strap, Ref: 118138
TOP
Rolex Day-Date Cognac Dial Leather Strap, Ref: 118138
£10,200
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Rolex 2 tone datejust
Rolex 2 tone datejust
£4,100
Seller
G.W Blower
 
UK
Patek Philippe Calatrava 18K White Gold Men's 5524G-001 - COM1571
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava 18K White Gold Men's 5524G-001 - COM1571
£39,995
Seller
Xupes.com
127
UK
Rolex Day-Date Yellow Gold New Unworn (Box&Papers)
TOP
Rolex Day-Date Yellow Gold New Unworn (Box&Papers)
£12,326
Seller
Watch Center London
671
UK
Rolex Datejust 36mm Ice Blue MOP Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm Ice Blue MOP Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
£5,533
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Breguet 18k White Gold Transatlantique Type XX Flyback...
TOP
Breguet 18k White Gold Transatlantique Type XX Flyback...
£7,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
169
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377701
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377701
£3,395
Free shipping
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
44
UK
Raymond Weil Geneve Gold Plated Automatic Ladies Watch
Raymond Weil Geneve Gold Plated Automatic Ladies Watch
£179
Seller
Vintage Time Watches
11
UK
Omega Railmaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial Cal. 2403 c2006
Omega Railmaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial Cal. 2403 c2006
£2,500
Seller
The Classic Watch Buyers Club Ltd.
10
UK
Hublot King Power F1 India,  Ltd Edition, Box & Papers
TOP
Hublot King Power F1 India, Ltd Edition, Box & Papers
£16,500
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Bremont Watch Martin Baker MBI
Bremont Watch Martin Baker MBI
£27,500
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex Day-Date, ref: 1803.  Grey dial.  Yellow  Gold. 1967.
Rolex Day-Date, ref: 1803. Grey dial. Yellow Gold. 1967.
£7,995
Seller
Prestige Watches
 
UK
IWC Automatic 18k Gold Cal. 8541B
TOP
IWC Automatic 18k Gold Cal. 8541B
£1,800
Seller
Time Rediscovered Ltd
14
UK
Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 Stainless Steel Watch (White)
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 Stainless Steel Watch (White)
£11,145
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Rolex Date Vintage 1509
TOP
Rolex Date Vintage 1509
£6,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
169
UK
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934
£13,995
Free shipping
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
44
UK
Tissot Seastar Visodate Gold Plated Automatic Watch
Tissot Seastar Visodate Gold Plated Automatic Watch
£215
Seller
Vintage Time Watches
11
UK
Lum-Tec RR5 Auto Limited Edition Black PVD
Lum-Tec RR5 Auto Limited Edition Black PVD
£550
Seller
The Classic Watch Buyers Club Ltd.
10
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
£10,450
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Tudor Watch Submariner 94400
Tudor Watch Submariner 94400
£2,450
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Dreyfuss Co Dreyfuss & Co DGS00110/04 Men Dreyfuss & Co 1925...
Dreyfuss Co Dreyfuss & Co DGS00110/04 Men Dreyfuss & Co 1925...
£699
Seller
Its Watch Time Ltd
5
UK
Breitling Superocean 44
Breitling Superocean 44
£2,200
Seller
G.W Blower
 
UK
Rolex Daytona Black PVD/DLC Coated Stainless Steel Watch 116520
TOP
Rolex Daytona Black PVD/DLC Coated Stainless Steel Watch 116520
£14,218
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
107
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Bubbleback Vintage 6825
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Bubbleback Vintage 6825
£4,250
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
169
UK
Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Rose & Titanium
TOP
Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Rose & Titanium
£4,656
Seller
Watch Center London
671
UK
Bulova Seawhale King Mens Automatic Watch
Bulova Seawhale King Mens Automatic Watch
£215
Seller
Vintage Time Watches
11
UK
Chopard MILLIE MIGLIA Ltd. Ed. TITANIUM CHRONOGRAPH 2004
Chopard MILLIE MIGLIA Ltd. Ed. TITANIUM CHRONOGRAPH 2004
£1,850
Seller
The Classic Watch Buyers Club Ltd.
10
UK
Rolex Day-Date Silver Pinstripe Dial Ref: 18238 (with papers)
TOP
Rolex Day-Date Silver Pinstripe Dial Ref: 18238 (with papers)
£9,950
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
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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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