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Rolex Sky-Dweller Rosegold Brown Dial LC-EU
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller Rosegold Brown Dial LC-EU
£22,275
Free shipping
Seller
Tradeluxe Uhrenhandels GmbH
53
AT
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800 yellow good 18k full set
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800 yellow good 18k full set
£28,185
Seller
MMC RIVIERA
6
MC
Cartier Santos Galbée
TOP
Cartier Santos Galbée
£1,756
Seller
Barrons
 
US
Rolex Unpolished 18K Gold Day-Date Factory 8+2 Champagne Dial
TOP
Rolex Unpolished 18K Gold Day-Date Factory 8+2 Champagne Dial
£11,170
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
189
US
Rolex Mens Datejust SS & 18K Y Gold Champagne Diamond Dial
TOP
Rolex Mens Datejust SS & 18K Y Gold Champagne Diamond Dial
£4,031
Free shipping
Seller
SGA Watches & Jewelry
11
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox
£5,650
Free shipping
Seller
Stewart's Watches
27
UK
Ulysse Nardin 1846 Le Locle Chronometer 18K Solid Gold 38mm
TOP
Ulysse Nardin 1846 Le Locle Chronometer 18K Solid Gold 38mm
£6,995
Seller
WT Time Pieces
44
UK
Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic 18kt Rose Gold Fumé Dial
TOP
Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic 18kt Rose Gold Fumé Dial
£6,928
Free shipping
Seller
The Luxury Well
116
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710 - Coke Insert (1990)
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710 - Coke Insert (1990)
£6,149
Seller
Time Rediscovered Ltd
16
UK
Omega Seamaster Automatic
Omega Seamaster Automatic
£590
Seller
Arlington Watches
5
UK
Rolex Daytona Zenith Stainless Steel Men's 16520 - W5290
TOP
Rolex Daytona Zenith Stainless Steel Men's 16520 - W5290
£19,995
Seller
Xupes.com
148
UK
Bremont Watch Kingsman BKM-RG
Bremont Watch Kingsman BKM-RG
£13,950
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex 2009 34mm SS Air-King w/ Inner Bezel Engraving 11420 model
TOP
Rolex 2009 34mm SS Air-King w/ Inner Bezel Engraving 11420 model
£2,949
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
189
US
Oris S.A. 7400 BC Automatic Wrist Watch
Oris S.A. 7400 BC Automatic Wrist Watch
£425
Seller
Andrew charles
 
UK
Alpina Startimer Pilot Manufacture
TOP
Alpina Startimer Pilot Manufacture
£1,650
Free shipping
Seller
Stewart's Watches
27
UK
Zenith Elite 37mm 18K Rose Gold Ultra Thin Automatic Watch B&P
TOP
Zenith Elite 37mm 18K Rose Gold Ultra Thin Automatic Watch B&P
£4,495
Seller
WT Time Pieces
44
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
203
UK
Longines Master Collection 42 mm
TOP
Longines Master Collection 42 mm
£1,809
Seller
LUX-Timepieces GmbH
630
DE
Rolex Submariner Date
Rolex Submariner Date
£5,995
Seller
Arlington Watches
5
UK
Rolex Submariner Smurf 18K White Gold Men's 116619LB - W4131
TOP
Rolex Submariner Smurf 18K White Gold Men's 116619LB - W4131
£21,995
Seller
Xupes.com
148
UK
Corum Watch Bubble 082.400.20/0019 SQ19
Corum Watch Bubble 082.400.20/0019 SQ19
£3,950
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex SS 26mm Datejust Black Roman Sunburst w/ Customized...
TOP
Rolex SS 26mm Datejust Black Roman Sunburst w/ Customized...
£5,583
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
189
US
IWC Automatic 18k Gold Cal. 8541B
TOP
IWC Automatic 18k Gold Cal. 8541B
£1,600
Seller
Time Rediscovered Ltd
16
UK
Rolex Explorer II
Rolex Explorer II
£4,200
Seller
Vine Jewellers Ltd
 
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
£15,000
Seller
Broadwalk Group Ltd.
 
UK
9ct Gold Emperor Automatic
9ct Gold Emperor Automatic
£395
Seller
Andrew charles
 
UK
Rolex Datejust 1603 36mm silver dial Year 77 Top Condition
TOP
Rolex Datejust 1603 36mm silver dial Year 77 Top Condition
£2,773
Seller
Dienneci Gioielli
9
IT
Seiko 5
Seiko 5
£39
Seller
Arlington Watches
5
UK
Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi Gilt Dial Stainless Steel Men's 1675 -...
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi Gilt Dial Stainless Steel Men's 1675 -...
£27,995
Seller
Xupes.com
148
UK
Rolex Watch Sea-Dweller 16600
Rolex Watch Sea-Dweller 16600
£5,750
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Rolex 18K/SS  DATEJUST Custom Black Onyx - Leather Band -...
TOP
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Custom Black Onyx - Leather Band -...
£2,869
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
189
US
IWC Ingenieur Chrono AMG for Mercedes IW372504
TOP
IWC Ingenieur Chrono AMG for Mercedes IW372504
£4,100
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
203
UK
Rolex Submariner Date
Rolex Submariner Date
£6,900
Seller
Vine Jewellers Ltd
 
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
£69,000
Seller
Broadwalk Group Ltd.
 
UK
Swiss Zodiac Sea Wolf Automatic Wrist Watch
Swiss Zodiac Sea Wolf Automatic Wrist Watch
£695
Seller
Andrew charles
 
UK
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
101
UK
Ikepod Hemipode Platinum Chronograph
Ikepod Hemipode Platinum Chronograph
£14,500
Free shipping
Seller
Almar
10
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
148
UK
TAG Heuer Watch Monaco CAL5110.FC6265
TAG Heuer Watch Monaco CAL5110.FC6265
£6,250
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Omega Seamaster Mid Size Steel Automatic Watch
Omega Seamaster Mid Size Steel Automatic Watch
£1,550
Seller
WT Time Pieces
44
UK
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
203
UK
Rolex Submariner Date
Rolex Submariner Date
£7,000
Seller
Vine Jewellers Ltd
 
UK
Richard Mille RM 010
Richard Mille RM 010
Price on request
Seller
Broadwalk Group Ltd.
 
UK
Oris 7464 BC Pointer Date Wrist Watch
Oris 7464 BC Pointer Date Wrist Watch
£425
Seller
Andrew charles
 
UK
Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition - Unworn 2018
TOP
Oris Aquis Clipperton Limited Edition - Unworn 2018
£1,720
Seller
Mark Worthington Jewellers
101
UK
Hamilton Khaki X-Wind
TOP
Hamilton Khaki X-Wind
£916
Seller
First Advanced Watches
38
ES
Rolex Submariner Gilt Gloss Meters First Underline Pointed...
TOP
Rolex Submariner Gilt Gloss Meters First Underline Pointed...
£23,995
Seller
Xupes.com
148
UK
Omega Watch Planet Ocean 232.30.38.20.01.001
Omega Watch Planet Ocean 232.30.38.20.01.001
£2,910
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Vostok Amphibian Vintage
Vostok Amphibian Vintage
£139
Seller
Arlington Watches
5
UK
De Grisogono Instrumento Dual Time UNO DF
TOP
De Grisogono Instrumento Dual Time UNO DF
£8,250
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
203
UK
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
£2,350
Seller
Vine Jewellers Ltd
 
UK
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Price on request
Seller
Broadwalk Group Ltd.
 
UK
9ct Gold Swiss Bernex automatic
9ct Gold Swiss Bernex automatic
£325
Seller
Andrew charles
 
UK
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea James Cameron 44mm Steel Watch 2017
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea James Cameron 44mm Steel Watch 2017
£11,500
Seller
WT Time Pieces
44
UK
Omega Seamaster De Ville Automatic - 1 Year Warranty
TOP
Omega Seamaster De Ville Automatic - 1 Year Warranty
£1,200
Seller
Time Rediscovered Ltd
16
UK
Hamilton Khaki Aviation  X-Wind
TOP
Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind
£1,127
Seller
First Advanced Watches
38
ES
Omega Watch Seamaster 300m 2254.50.00
Omega Watch Seamaster 300m 2254.50.00
£2,350
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Seiko 5
Seiko 5
£49
Seller
Arlington Watches
5
UK
Ikepod Horizon in Platinum
Ikepod Horizon in Platinum
£13,500
Free shipping
Seller
Almar
10
UK
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar
TOP
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar
£15,564
Seller
Heritage Jewelry and Loan
7
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
£43,000
Seller
Broadwalk Group Ltd.
 
UK
Oris 7641-47 All Stainless Steel Wrist Watch
Oris 7641-47 All Stainless Steel Wrist Watch
£595
Seller
Andrew charles
 
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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