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Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 3940 Good Rose gold 36mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 3940R with Archive Papers
£42,500
Professional dealer
63
UK
U-Boat Classico 2278 Good Steel 45mm Automatic
TOP
U-Boat Classico Phantom 45 Cab 4 D Black Carbon Fire Dial...
£1,419
Professional dealer
18
BG
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier 17002 Good Yellow gold 28mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Tank Louis xl Jumbo automatic 28x35mm
£9,582
Professional dealer
67
IT
Rolex Datejust 116285BBR Very good Rose gold 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm, Everose Gold, Baguette, Zebra Diamantbesa...
£42,099
Professional dealer
238
DE
Montblanc Timewalker 7069 Good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Montblanc Timewalker 7069 Automatic Chronograph in Stainless...
£1,251
Professional dealer
219
US
Omega Seamaster 2992 2 SC Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Seamaster Calendar Hulk Green Automatic JUMBO Oversize...
£2,051
Free shipping
Professional dealer
263
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1P-001 Very good Platinum 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Patek Philippe 40th Anniversary Nautilus Platinum
£335,000
Professional dealer
63
UK
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Lady WAU2213.BA0861 Good Steel 37mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Formula 1
£1,450
Professional dealer
17
US
Audemars Piguet AP OFFSHORE WHITE GOLD 18K Very good White gold Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Audemars Piguet OFFSHORE W/G 18K FULLY INVISIBLEY SET
£49,800
Professional dealer
 
UK
Cartier Santos (submodel) WSSA0009 Unworn Steel 39.8mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Santos De 47.5mm Custom Full Diamonds Ice Blue Dial
£11,410
Professional dealer
46
US
Luminox Tony Kanaan 1181 New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Luminox 1181 Mens Tony Kanaan Limited Edition Valjoux Automati...
£828
Professional dealer
325
US
Omega Constellation 168.005 Fair Gold/Steel 34.0mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Constellation Cal. 564
£1,204
Free shipping
Professional dealer
 
US
Rolex Explorer II 16570 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Explorer II Black Steel 16570
£6,950
Free shipping
Professional dealer
745
UK
Rolex Explorer II 1655 Good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex 1655 Explorer II Steve McQueen Albino Freccione All...
Price on request
Professional dealer
219
US
Tudor Submariner 7021/0 Steel 39mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Tudor 7021/0 Submariner Snowflake - Unpolished - Full Set
£15,595
Free shipping
Professional dealer
227
UK
Rolex Day-Date 40 228206 Unworn Platinum 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Day-Date 40 Platinum Unworn
£53,500
Professional dealer
63
UK
Cartier Santos Galbée 2823 Very good Steel 32mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Santos Galbee XL Ref. 2823 Automatic Stainless Steel...
£3,677
Professional dealer
56
US
Patek Philippe Twenty~4 7300/1200A-010 New Steel 36mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Patek Philippe Twenty~4
£17,900
Professional dealer
 
UK
Cartier Santos (submodel) WSSA0009 Unworn Steel 39.8mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Santos De 47.5mm Custom Full Diamonds Purple Dial
£11,410
Professional dealer
46
US
Bremont Hawking-LE-SS New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Bremont Hawking LIMITED EDITION Stainless Steel 41mm Automatic...
£7,357
Professional dealer
325
US
Rolex Yacht-Master 37 268622 New Steel 37mm Automatic United Kingdom, Watford
Rolex Yacht Master 268622 Box and Papers 2020 NEW/UWWORN
£10,595
Professional dealer
37
UK
Patek Philippe World Time 5131R-010 Very good Rose gold Automatic United Kingdom, LONDON
Patek Philippe World Time Rose Gold Leather Strap
£77,495
Professional dealer
29
UK
Chopard Mille Miglia 16-8407 Good Titanium 40mm Automatic
TOP
Chopard Mille Miglia Rosso Titanium LTD Edition + Tire Gauge
£2,134
Professional dealer
219
US
Omega Speedmaster Racing 3519.50.00 Good Steel 39mm Automatic United Kingdom, Wilmslow Cheshire
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Racing 3519.50.00 Carbon Dial
£2,195
Free shipping
Professional dealer
140
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 126715CHNR Unworn Rose gold 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Rose Gold "Root Beer" 2021
£35,000
Professional dealer
63
UK
Omega Constellation Constellation Manhattan Very good Steel 35mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Constellation Manhattan Vintage 1985 Auto Chronometer...
£1,395
Professional dealer
56
US
Tudor Black Bay GMT M79830RB Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, Kent
TOP
Tudor Black Bay Gmt Pepsi 79830RB UK Full set 2019
£2,795
Free shipping
Professional dealer
106
UK
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner 40mm Custom Full Diamonds Emeralds 116610LN
£11,410
Professional dealer
46
US
Bremont Bremont RFU 150 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Bremont RFU 150 Men's LIMITED EDITION Blue Dial Automatic...
£3,677
Professional dealer
325
US
Rolex GMT-Master 1675 Good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Watford
Rolex GMT Master 1675 Long E MK1 Box & Papers 1971 Fuchsia
£33,995
Professional dealer
37
UK
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G-001 Very good White gold 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, LONDON
Patek Philippe Nautilus White Gold Blue Dial
£148,000
Professional dealer
29
UK
Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver PT6248-PVB01-332-1 Good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver Automatic 600M PVD- Rubber and...
£662
Professional dealer
219
US
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 215.30.44.21.04.001 Unworn Steel 43.5mm Automatic United Kingdom, Wilmslow Cheshire
TOP
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Orange Bezel 215.30.44.21....
£4,750
Free shipping
Professional dealer
140
UK
Rolex Submariner Date 126610LN Unworn Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 41mm Factory Stickers UK Supplied
£12,650
Professional dealer
63
UK
Cartier Tank Française W51002Q3 Very good Steel 28mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier Tank Francaise 2302 Automatic Stainless Steel W51002Q3...
£2,205
Professional dealer
56
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26331OR.OO.1220OR.02 Very good Rose gold 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
£89,250
Professional dealer
14
UK
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso (submodel) 250.5.11 Good Gold/Steel Automatic United Kingdom, London
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Date Mop
£2,995
Professional dealer
15
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust 6917 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic United Kingdom, Liverpool
TOP
Rolex Datejust
£3,450
Free shipping
Professional dealer
22
UK
Rolex Submariner Date 116618LB Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Watford
Rolex Submariner 116618LB Box and Papers 2012 Full Set Flat...
£27,995
Professional dealer
37
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26320ST.OO.1220ST.01 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, LONDON
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
£25,495
Professional dealer
29
UK
Chopard Superfast 168523-3001 Very good Steel 45mm Automatic
TOP
Chopard Superfast 45mm Classic Racing 168523-3001 Manufacture...
£2,870
Professional dealer
219
US
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-0001 New Steel 39mm Automatic United Kingdom, Wilmslow Cheshire
TOP
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030N-0001 BLACK UNWORN 2020
£3,295
Free shipping
Professional dealer
140
UK
Rolex Day-Date 40 228238 Unworn Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
TOP
Rolex Day-Date 40 Yellow Gold Diamond Baguette Dial 2021 Unworn
£36,500
Professional dealer
63
UK
Rolex Daytona 16520  A series Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona
£25,729
Professional dealer
238
IT
Rolex Daytona 116506-0002 Very good Platinum 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Rolex Daytona
£106,500
Professional dealer
14
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST.OO.1256ST.01 Very good Steel 38mm Automatic United Kingdom, Carlisle
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
£27,500
Professional dealer
104
UK
126613lb New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
NEW Rolex Submariner Date 41mm Bluesy 126613LB
£12,850
Professional dealer
15
UK
Rolex Submariner Date 116613LB Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Watford
Rolex Submariner 116613LB Box and Papers 2016 Blue 18K Gold...
£12,495
Professional dealer
37
UK
Rolex Daytona 116515ln Very good Rose gold 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, LONDON
Rolex Daytona Rose Gold Ceramic
£25,400
Professional dealer
29
UK
Bulgari Diagono DP45BSTVDCH/GMT Very good Steel 45mm Automatic
TOP
Bulgari Bvlgari Diagono X-PRO Chronograph GMT 45mm
£3,164
Professional dealer
219
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 25940SK Very good Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Ice Diamonds TW-VVSI...
£24,808
Professional dealer
205
DE
Rolex Day-Date 36 1803 Very good Rose gold 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Day-Date
£9,848
Professional dealer
238
IT
Richard Mille RM 030 RM030 Very good Titanium 50mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Richard Mille RM030
£231,000
Professional dealer
14
UK
Rolex Submariner (No Date) 114060 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Carlisle
Rolex Submariner
£9,500
Professional dealer
104
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Rolex GMT-Master II Coke Steel 16710
£9,950
Free shipping
Professional dealer
745
UK
Rolex Daytona 16520 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Watford
Rolex Daytona 16520 "PATRIZZI" Dial W Serial
£23,995
Professional dealer
37
UK
Rolex Daytona 116520 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, LONDON
Rolex Daytona Steel Box and Papers White Dial Mint Condition
£17,995
Professional dealer
29
UK
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe BR01-94-S Very good Steel 46mm Automatic
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 01-94-S B-Rocket CHRONOGRAPH 46MM Automatic...
£2,576
Professional dealer
219
US
116500LN Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, Leeds
2020 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN Box And Papers
£23,500
Professional dealer
7
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR New Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Rolex GMT-Master II "Batman" 2020 UK Supplied
£13,250
Professional dealer
63
UK
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69178 Very good Yellow gold 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust Lady oro
£5,146
Professional dealer
238
IT
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-010 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United Kingdom, London
Patek Philippe Nautilus
£91,350
Professional dealer
14
UK
Hublot Big Bang Ferrari 401.NJ.0123.VR Very good Titanium Automatic United Kingdom, Fareham
Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Carbon 401.NJ.0123.VR Ltd Ed
£11,995
Free shipping
Professional dealer
323
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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