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Cartier Tank Francaise Large Model Stainless Steel W51002Q
TOP
Cartier Tank Francaise Large Model Stainless Steel W51002Q
£2,400
Seller
Freddie Keeble Watches & Diamonds
 
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Lady Orignal Diamond Bezel...
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Lady Orignal Diamond Bezel...
£14,900
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Freddie Keeble Watches & Diamonds
 
UK
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar
TOP
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar
£15,047
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Heritage Jewelry and Loan
8
US
Rolex 36mm SS DATEJUST Factory Slate Dial Jubilee w/ Rolex Box
TOP
Rolex 36mm SS DATEJUST Factory Slate Dial Jubilee w/ Rolex Box
£3,083
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Austins Watches Inc.
210
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Patek Philippe Jumbo Nautilus Power Reserve Full Set
TOP
Patek Philippe Jumbo Nautilus Power Reserve Full Set
£44,000
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
UK
Fortis Pilot Flieger Hungarian Air Force Colonel Peto Istvan
TOP
Fortis Pilot Flieger Hungarian Air Force Colonel Peto Istvan
£2,315
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May Street Services LLC
84
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Rolex Men's Oyster Perpetual 1003 Automatic 14K gold c.1966...
TOP
Rolex Men's Oyster Perpetual 1003 Automatic 14K gold c.1966...
£6,806
Free shipping
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GMTSKY
386
US
Richard Mille RM11-03 Flyback Red Quartz TPT NTPT Limited...
TOP
Richard Mille RM11-03 Flyback Red Quartz TPT NTPT Limited...
£177,480
Free shipping
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AB Time Inc.
156
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus Fully Loaded Rose Gold 5719/10R-010
Patek Philippe Nautilus Fully Loaded Rose Gold 5719/10R-010
£450,000
Free shipping
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Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
235
UK
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea NEW  126660
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea NEW 126660
£10,450
Free shipping
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JPA Watch Company Ltd
54
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Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic
£6,010
Free shipping
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Chronodynamix
85
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust Diamond Dial Fluted Bezel 26mm w/ Box &...
TOP
Rolex Lady-Datejust Diamond Dial Fluted Bezel 26mm w/ Box &...
£8,425
Free shipping
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LSM Watch
8
US
Rolex 18K/SS  DATEJUST Custom Black Onyx - Leather Band -...
TOP
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Custom Black Onyx - Leather Band -...
£2,774
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Austins Watches Inc.
210
US
Rolex Daytona
TOP
Rolex Daytona
£13,995
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Jopsons Jewellers
40
UK
Rolex Day-Date
Rolex Day-Date
£9,353
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
UK
Graham : Chronofighter Oversize Trigger R.A.C. :  2TRBS.B20A.K...
TOP
Graham : Chronofighter Oversize Trigger R.A.C. : 2TRBS.B20A.K...
£2,357
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Bernard Watch Co.
260
US
IWC Pilot's
TOP
IWC Pilot's
£4,861
Free shipping
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AB Time Inc.
156
US
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001
£23,950
Free shipping
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Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
235
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Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 116660
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 116660
£7,850
Free shipping
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JPA Watch Company Ltd
54
UK
Bell & Ross BR 03-90 B-Rocket Grande Date et Reserve de Marche
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 03-90 B-Rocket Grande Date et Reserve de Marche
£2,854
Free shipping
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Chronodynamix
85
US
Rolex Yacht-Master Rosegold  Diamond Dial Rainbow Bezel 40mm
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master Rosegold Diamond Dial Rainbow Bezel 40mm
Price on request
Free shipping
Seller
LSM Watch
8
US
Bremont Watch Kingsman BKM-RG
Bremont Watch Kingsman BKM-RG
£13,750
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex Submariner Date
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date
£17,850
Seller
Jopsons Jewellers
40
UK
Patek Philippe Nautilus White Dial Chronograph 2012
Patek Philippe Nautilus White Dial Chronograph 2012
£62,000
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
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Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar - 5074P
Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar - 5074P
£425,000
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Bloombar Watches
58
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Rolex Day-Date Yellow Gold Blue Baton - Serviced by Rolex
TOP
Rolex Day-Date Yellow Gold Blue Baton - Serviced by Rolex
£12,495
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Mark Worthington Jewellers
121
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Panerai 18k White Gold Carbon Fibre Dial Luminor Marina B&P...
Panerai 18k White Gold Carbon Fibre Dial Luminor Marina B&P...
£11,500
Free shipping
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Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
235
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Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Pyeongchang 2018 Limited Edition
TOP
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Pyeongchang 2018 Limited Edition
£4,800
Free shipping
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JPA Watch Company Ltd
54
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Rolex vintage 18k pink/rose 6511 day date black Stella dial
TOP
Rolex vintage 18k pink/rose 6511 day date black Stella dial
£6,752
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Providence Trading Co.
 
US
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph White Dial Diamond Bezel 36mm Watch
TOP
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph White Dial Diamond Bezel 36mm Watch
£5,317
Free shipping
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LSM Watch
8
US
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Steel & 18ct Everose 116621
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Steel & 18ct Everose 116621
£9,750
Free shipping
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ChronoEdge
162
UK
Rolex Datejust
TOP
Rolex Datejust
£8,295
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Jopsons Jewellers
40
UK
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar
£43,500
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
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Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion - 18K Rose Gold - Box & Papers
Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion - 18K Rose Gold - Box & Papers
£17,500
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Bloombar Watches
58
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Breitling Super Avenger II Diamond Bezel - Box & Papers 2017
TOP
Breitling Super Avenger II Diamond Bezel - Box & Papers 2017
£8,225
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Mark Worthington Jewellers
121
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Rolex Rare Date Automatic Steel 1530
Rolex Rare Date Automatic Steel 1530
£7,500
Free shipping
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Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
235
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Omega 60th Anniversary 1957 - Trilogy Set Limited Edition 557
Omega 60th Anniversary 1957 - Trilogy Set Limited Edition 557
£19,000
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Chronos Aeon Ltd
 
UK
Pro-Hunter Rolex Watch Deepsea 116660 -
Pro-Hunter Rolex Watch Deepsea 116660 -
£13,750
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Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady Date White MOP -with Box and Papers
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady Date White MOP -with Box and Papers
Price on request
Free shipping
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8
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Audemars Piguet 18ct Rose Gold Royal Oak Offshore (AP Serviced...
TOP
Audemars Piguet 18ct Rose Gold Royal Oak Offshore (AP Serviced...
£30,995
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ChronoEdge
162
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Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra
£2,995
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40
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£13,745
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
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Rolex Daytona - 116520 - Black Dial - Box & Papers
Rolex Daytona - 116520 - Black Dial - Box & Papers
£14,900
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58
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Omega Seamaster 300M 2636.50.91 - Serviced By Omega
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Omega Seamaster 300M 2636.50.91 - Serviced By Omega
£11,400
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IWC Portuguese Unworn IW371446
IWC Portuguese Unworn IW371446
£5,350
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235
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Cartier Tank Americaine W26055L1 Large size 18ct White Gold...
TOP
Cartier Tank Americaine W26055L1 Large size 18ct White Gold...
£8,950
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25
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Rolex Watch GMT Master II 16710
Rolex Watch GMT Master II 16710
£7,650
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Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
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Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 18k White Gold Meteorite Dial
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 18k White Gold Meteorite Dial
£17,000
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Chronos Aeon Ltd
 
UK
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 18ct White Gold(Patek Philippe...
TOP
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 18ct White Gold(Patek Philippe...
£10,995
Free shipping
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ChronoEdge
162
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Rolex Submariner Date Ceramic NEW
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date Ceramic NEW
£8,490
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Watch Center London
763
UK
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ultra thin
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ultra thin
£35,000
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
UK
Rolex Daytona 116500LN - Black Dial - Box & Papers - Stickered
Rolex Daytona 116500LN - Black Dial - Box & Papers - Stickered
£15,995
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58
UK
Rolex Black Dial Mens oyster perpetual datejust CAL 1570 watch
TOP
Rolex Black Dial Mens oyster perpetual datejust CAL 1570 watch
£4,999
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Fine Auction Club
213
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Unworn 126710BLRO
Rolex GMT-Master II Unworn 126710BLRO
£15,950
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Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
235
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Tudor Heritage Black Bay
TOP
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
£2,300
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Watches of Lancashire
11
UK
Rolex Watch Daytona 116520
Rolex Watch Daytona 116520
£11,450
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Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date With Black Dial (1995)
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date With Black Dial (1995)
£3,195
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Sanderson & Son Fine Watches Ltd
6
UK
IWC Pilots 18ct Rose Gold Automatic Chronograph IW371713
TOP
IWC Pilots 18ct Rose Gold Automatic Chronograph IW371713
£8,995
Free shipping
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ChronoEdge
162
UK
Rolex 1603 Datejust – 1974 – £2,550
Rolex 1603 Datejust – 1974 – £2,550
£25,502,550
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Oakleigh Watches
61
UK
F.P.Journe Octa Lune 38 mm Platinum
F.P.Journe Octa Lune 38 mm Platinum
£28,000
Free shipping
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M J GILLAN LTD
10
UK
Rolex Submariner Date 16610LV - Box & Papers - Factory Stickered
Rolex Submariner Date 16610LV - Box & Papers - Factory Stickered
£16,995
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Bloombar Watches
58
UK
Omega Seamaster CAL 1012 vintage watch Automatic Black dial + Box
TOP
Omega Seamaster CAL 1012 vintage watch Automatic Black dial + Box
£1,200
Seller
Fine Auction Club
213
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.