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Cartier Rotonde de Cartier W1556217 New Rose gold 40.5mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier W1556217 ROTONDE DE CARTIER
R 660 486
Verified Dealer
19
HK
Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix 4400E/000A-B437 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Day-Date
R 283 916
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
37
AU
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 522.32.40.20.01.005 New Steel 39.5mm Automatic
TOP
Omega 522.32.40.20.01.005 OLYMPIC OFFICIAL
R 68 450
Verified Dealer
19
HK
Urwerk UR-210 UR-210BPT Royal Hawk Very good Platinum 53.6mm Automatic
TOP
Urwerk UR-210 BPT Royal Hawk.
R 2 214 841
Verified Dealer
13
US
Rolex GMT-Master 1675 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master Gilt Dial Fuchsia Bezel 1675
R 639 783
Verified Dealer
14
FR
Richard Mille RM 027 Rm27-01 Very good Carbon Automatic
TOP
Richard Mille RM 27-01 Rafa Nadal (Limited of 50) WIRE ONLY
R 14 174 981
Verified Dealer
14
US
Rolex Datejust 126334 Very good Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic
Rolex Datejust 41 Fluted Jubilee Blue Dial
R 203 214
Verified Dealer
1457
NL
Harry Winston Midnight MIDAHD42WW002 New White gold 42mm Automatic
Harry Winston Midnight Automatic 42mm - MIDAHD42WW002
R 287 043
Verified Dealer
13
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR Very good Steel 40mm Automatic South Africa, johannesburg
Rolex GMT-Master II
R 200 000
Private Seller
ZA
Omega Constellation 167.005/6 Automatik Chronometer Very good Yellow gold 35mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Constellation 18K Gold Automatic Service 04/2020
R 155 376
Verified Dealer
536
DE
Rolex Daytona 16523 Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex 2000 Rolex Daytona Zenith 40mm INVERTED 6 SIX Diamond...
R 233 763
Verified Dealer
542
US
Rolex Submariner 6205 Very good Steel 37mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner ref 6205
R 853 202
Verified Dealer
214
UK
Bell & Ross BR V2 BRV293-BL-ST/SST New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Bell & Ross BR V2
R 45 174
Verified Dealer
59
NL
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 3738/100G-012 Very good White gold 31.1mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 3738/100G-012
R 309 196
Verified Dealer
14
FR
TAG Heuer Connected SBF8A8001.11FT6076 Very good Titanium 45mm Automatic South Africa, Cape Town, Western Cape
TAG Heuer Connected modular 45
R 21 999
Private Seller
ZA
Breitling Crosswind Special J44355 Very good White gold 44mm Automatic
Breitling Crosswind White Gold Diamonds
R 326 698
Verified Dealer
1457
NL
Ulysse Nardin Unworn 33mm Automatic South Africa, Johannesburg
Ulysse Nardin Automatic 21 jewels waterproof Incabloc
R 20 000
Private Seller
ZA
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 3589 Good White gold 33.5mm Automatic South Africa, Somerset West
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse
R 324 176
Private Seller
ZA
Hublot Big Bang 44 mm 301.PB.131.RX Good 44mm Automatic
Hublot ウブロ HUBLOT ビッグバン クロノグラフ 301.PB.131.RX 自動巻 メーカーOH済...
R 299 313
Verified Dealer
JP
IWC Porsche Design IW3702 Very good Titanium 42mm Automatic South Africa, Harkerville
IWC 3702 serial number: 2297099
R 49 612
Private Seller
ZA
IWC Big Pilot IW502617 Very good Rose gold 46mm Automatic
TOP
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Saint Exupery 46mm 18K Rose...
R 469 440
Verified Dealer
542
US
Bell & Ross BR V2 BRV294-BU-G-ST/SST New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Bell & Ross BR V2-94 AERONAVALE
R 59 856
Verified Dealer
59
NL
Rolex Daytona 16520 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 16520 T Series
R 386 981
Verified Dealer
14
FR
Bulgari Diagono SD40S RE Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Bulgari Diagono Pro Aqua Regatta Chronograph 40mm B&P
R 75 841
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
412
PL
Rolex Submariner Date 16803 Good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic
Rolex Submariner Date Gold/steel 16803 Blue Dial
R 140 986
Verified Dealer
1457
NL
Rolex Submariner Date 168000 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date Tropical dial
R 310 168
Verified Dealer
61
NL
Rolex Daytona 116500LN Very good Steel 40mm Automatic South Africa, Pretoria
TOP
Rolex Daytona
R 372 093
Private Seller
ZA
Breitling Navitimer GMT U13324211G1P1 New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic
Breitling NAVITIMER 1 CHRONOGRAPH GMT 41
R 102 579
Verified Dealer
702
IT
IWC Aquatimer (submodel) Good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
IWC Aquatimer Vintage Dive Watch
R 125 809
Verified Dealer
214
UK
Rolex Air King 116900 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic South Africa, Paarl
Rolex Air King
R 97 900
Verified Dealer
 
ZA
Chronoswiss Lunar CH 7522L Very good Gold/Steel 38mm Automatic
Chronoswiss : Lunar Chronograph : CH 7522L : 18k Gold &...
R 62 016
Verified Dealer
557
US
Rolex Datejust 1603 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Datejust Sigma Dial 1603
R 75 841
Verified Dealer
14
FR
Hermès Dressage DR1.785 Unworn Yellow gold 40  case without crownmm Automatic
TOP
Hermès Dressage 1928 18K Gold New Box Papers
R 250 857
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
412
PL
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time 47450/B01R-9229 Good Rose gold 42mm Automatic
Vacheron Constantin オーバーシーズ デュアルタイム 47450/B01R-9229
R 672 844
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
818
JP
Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing PFC528-1210301-HA1412 New 45mm Automatic
TOP
Parmigiani Fleurier Pershing 005 Chronograph Automatic 18k...
R 212 607
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
628
US
Corum Bubble L082/02981 - 082.310.98/0335 PR01 Unworn 47mm Automatic
Corum Bubble 47 Red Python Watch L082/02981 - 082.310.98/0335...
R 41 107
Verified Dealer
135
US
Tissot PR 100 T1012071105100 New Steel 33mm Automatic
Tissot PR 100 POWERMATIC 80 LADY
R 9 431
Verified Dealer
702
IT
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3993/17 Very good Yellow gold 34.5mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Calatrava 18ct gold with Factory diamond bezel...
R 503 125
Verified Dealer
214
UK
Rolex Submariner Date 116619LB Good White gold 40mm Automatic South Africa, Paarl
Rolex Submariner Date
R 450 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
Rolex Daytona 116520 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona 116520 in New Old Stock Condition with Box & Papers
R 478 406
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
44
US
Audemars Piguet 5279 Very good Yellow gold 33mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet 18k Gold 5279
R 85 564
Verified Dealer
14
FR
Montblanc 1858 117832 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Montblanc Ungetragene 1858 Automatic 40 mm
R 42 587
Verified Dealer
135
DE
Tudor Oysterdate Big Block 79170 Fair Steel 40mm Automatic
Tudor クロノタイム 79170
R 115 439
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
818
JP
Franck Muller Conquistador Cortez 10000 H CC Unworn Steel Automatic
Franck Muller Cortez 10000 H CC Conquistador Diamond Set
Price on request
Verified Dealer
105
UK
Zenith 49.2520.400/98.R578 Very good Ceramic 45mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Chronograph 49.2520.400/98.R578
R 114 286
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
946
US
Breitling Navitimer U13324211G1X1 New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic
Breitling NAVITIMER 1 CHRONOGRAPH 41
R 99 273
Verified Dealer
702
IT
Ulysse Nardin Dual Time 243-55 Very good Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Ulysse Nardin Gmt Dual Time Big Date Silver Dial
R 53 477
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
219
RO
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic PAM 01305 Good Titanium 47mm Automatic South Africa, Centurion
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
R 110 250
Verified Dealer
ZA
Rolex Datejust 178278 Very good Yellow gold 31mm
Rolex President 178278 Midsize 18K Yellow Gold New Style Heavy...
R 317 963
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
99
US
Rolex Bubble Back 5028 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Semi-Bubble Back Ovettone 5028
R 153 626
Verified Dealer
14
FR
Rolex Daytona 116520 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona 116520 Oman Crest in New Old Stock with Box &...
Price on request
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
44
US
Cartier Pasha C W31076M7 Good Steel 35mm Automatic
Cartier パシャC W31076M7
R 29 684
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
818
JP
Rolex GMT-Master II 16713 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II
R 153 267
Verified Dealer
176
US
Breitling Chronomat Colt A17388101C1S1 New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Colt Automatic A17388101C1S1 blue dial unworn
R 48 421
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
161
FR
Rado Centrix R30036712 New Steel 38mm Automatic
Rado Centrix Automatic
R 31 834
Verified Dealer
702
IT
Omega Seamaster 26365091 Very good Rose gold
TOP
Omega Seamaster Professional 18 Rosegold wavy dial
R 155 376
Verified Dealer
277
DE
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A-010 Unworn Steel 40.5mm Automatic South Africa, Centurion
Patek Philippe Nautilus
R 1 150 000
Verified Dealer
 
ZA
Rolex Lady-Datejust 79173 Very good 26mm
Rolex As NEW Rolex Datejust Lady's Model 79173 Steel and Gold...
R 87 619
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
99
US
Panerai Luminor Submersible PAM 00024 Very good Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Panerai Luminor Submersible
R 93 245
Verified Dealer
1538
ES
Zenith Port Royal 03.0550.4021 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith El Primero Port Royal Automatic
R 62 228
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
219
RO
Rolex Yacht-Master II 116681 Very good Gold/Steel 44mm Automatic
Rolex Yacht-Master II Regatta Chronograph Stainless Steel...
R 383 530
Verified Dealer
334
UK
Tudor Prince Oysterdate Very good Steel 22mm Automatic
TOP
Tudor Ladies Princess Oysterdate Ref.7981 22mm Automatic,...
R 37 209
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
679
US
Rolex Day-Date 36 18238 Good Yellow gold 36mm Automatic South Africa, Johannesburg
Rolex Day-Date President 18k Yellow Gold (36mm)
R 199 999
Verified Dealer
31
ZA
Rolex Milgauss 1019 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Milgauss Ref 1019 with Original Punched Paper - Full Set
R 611 296
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
44
US

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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