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Montblanc Meisterstück Timewalker 43 Chronograph Automatik |...
TOP
Montblanc Meisterstück Timewalker 43 Chronograph Automatik |...
R 46,818
Seller
Cassa watch
RU
Piaget MASSIVE 36mm 1970s 18KT WG AUTOMATIC CUFFLING SET BOX
TOP
Piaget MASSIVE 36mm 1970s 18KT WG AUTOMATIC CUFFLING SET BOX
R 140,894
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Hunter
 
US
Cartier PVD/DLC Roadster XL Chronograph 48mm  - Automatic 3405...
TOP
Cartier PVD/DLC Roadster XL Chronograph 48mm - Automatic 3405...
R 98,555
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
102
US
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Automatic Jewelled
TOP
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Automatic Jewelled
R 450,093
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
206
UK
Frederique Constant Classics Automatic
Frederique Constant Classics Automatic
R 18,706
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
Patek Philippe VINTAGE  PATEK PHILIPPE1960S 18KT YG REF 3425 AUTO
TOP
Patek Philippe VINTAGE PATEK PHILIPPE1960S 18KT YG REF 3425 AUTO
R 118,351
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Hunter
US
Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph
Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph
R 35,000
Seller
Private seller
ZA
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
R 109,000
Seller
Topwatch SA Pty Ltd
ZA
Chopard Mille Miglia Automatic Chronograph Ladies Watch
Chopard Mille Miglia Automatic Chronograph Ladies Watch
R 58,471
Seller
Luxurytime South Africa
ZA
Breguet Reine de Naples Automatic 35mm 8967st/v8/986 blue
Breguet Reine de Naples Automatic 35mm 8967st/v8/986 blue
R 119,055
Free shipping
Seller
East Coast Jewelry
7
US
Patek Philippe | A White Gold Automatic Perpetual Calendar...
Auction
Patek Philippe | A White Gold Automatic Perpetual Calendar...
R 505,041
Estimated price
Seller
Sotheby´s
 
Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date
Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date
R 152,151
Seller
chasovshik.ru
RU
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Stainless Steel Silvery White...
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Stainless Steel Silvery White...
R 60,966
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
18
HK
Frederique Constant Slimline Automatic
Frederique Constant Slimline Automatic
R 28,058
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
Panerai PAM00619 1940 Radiomir Automatic Titanium
TOP
Panerai PAM00619 1940 Radiomir Automatic Titanium
R 90,186
Seller
K&S Watch & Jewellery
13
HK
Chronoswiss Imperator Automatic
TOP
Chronoswiss Imperator Automatic
R 53,931
Free shipping
Seller
Deluxe ( Asia ) Ltd
11
HK
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
R 139,000
Seller
Topwatch SA Pty Ltd
ZA
Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Titanio 45 mm
Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Titanio 45 mm
R 151,797
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
206
UK
Omega Constellation Automatic Ref. 14381 Pie Pan Dial
Omega Constellation Automatic Ref. 14381 Pie Pan Dial
R 15,780
Seller
Best Deals HD
5
US
Franck Muller | A Stainless Steel automatic Triple Time Zone...
Auction
Franck Muller | A Stainless Steel automatic Triple Time Zone...
R 126,260
Estimated price
Seller
Sotheby´s
 
Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date
Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date
R 152,151
Seller
chasovshik.ru
RU
Franck Muller Vanguard Stainless Steel Gray Automatic V 45 Sc...
TOP
Franck Muller Vanguard Stainless Steel Gray Automatic V 45 Sc...
R 65,836
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
18
HK
Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
R 14,071
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
Panerai PAM00627  Radiomir 1940 3 Days GMT Automatic Acciaio
TOP
Panerai PAM00627 Radiomir 1940 3 Days GMT Automatic Acciaio
R 99,205
Seller
K&S Watch & Jewellery
13
HK
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lady Automatic
TOP
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lady Automatic
R 227,269
Free shipping
Seller
Deluxe ( Asia ) Ltd
11
HK
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic
Price on request
Seller
Topwatch SA Pty Ltd
ZA
Vacheron Constantin AUTOMATIC 18K YG WATCH 4870 / 1019...
Vacheron Constantin AUTOMATIC 18K YG WATCH 4870 / 1019...
R 104,262
Seller
NOSTIME
KR
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic NEW Ref. BGO40C14TTXAUTO
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic NEW Ref. BGO40C14TTXAUTO
R 157,922
Seller
Fabel GmbH
153
DE
Panerai | A Special edition Stainless Steel Automatic Wristwat...
Auction
Panerai | A Special edition Stainless Steel Automatic Wristwat...
R 117,242
Estimated price
Seller
Sotheby´s
 
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Automatic
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Automatic
R 119,746
Seller
chasovshik.ru
RU
Franck Muller Vanguard 18k Rose Gold Gold Automatic V 45 Sc Dt...
TOP
Franck Muller Vanguard 18k Rose Gold Gold Automatic V 45 Sc Dt...
R 193,178
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
18
HK
Frederique Constant Ladies Delight Automatic
Frederique Constant Ladies Delight Automatic
R 26,403
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
Tudor Prince Date Automatic - 72034
Tudor Prince Date Automatic - 72034
R 19,699
Seller
wagener-gold International e.K.
754
DE
Omega 4877.60.37
TOP
Omega 4877.60.37
R 124,457
Seller
Deluxe ( Asia ) Ltd
11
HK
Urwerk UR 202 Mens Automatic Watch 202/WG
Urwerk UR 202 Mens Automatic Watch 202/WG
R 915,740
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
37
US
Ingersoll IN6900RWH Grand Canyon IV Automatik 42mm 3ATM
Ingersoll IN6900RWH Grand Canyon IV Automatik 42mm 3ATM
R 4,618
Seller
Timeshop24.de Ltd.
3045
DE
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Automatic Skeleton
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Automatic Skeleton
R 1,034,602
Seller
Fabel GmbH
153
DE
Cartier | A Pink gold Rectangular Automatic Wristwatch
Auction
Cartier | A Pink gold Rectangular Automatic Wristwatch
R 63,130
Estimated price
Seller
Sotheby´s
 
Panerai LUMINOR MARINA 1950 3 DAYS AUTOMATIC
Panerai LUMINOR MARINA 1950 3 DAYS AUTOMATIC
R 91,567
Seller
chasovshik.ru
RU
Longines Heritage 18k Rose Gold White Automatic L4.267.8.73.2
TOP
Longines Heritage 18k Rose Gold White Automatic L4.267.8.73.2
R 26,875
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
18
HK
Frederique Constant Ladies Delight Automatic
Frederique Constant Ladies Delight Automatic
R 28,969
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Edelstahl 14790ST Automatik
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Edelstahl 14790ST Automatik
R 148,817
Seller
Juwelier Rieger
110
DE
Vacheron Constantin PATRIMONY TRADITIONELLE AUTOMATIK 18K GOLD...
Vacheron Constantin PATRIMONY TRADITIONELLE AUTOMATIK 18K GOLD...
R 99,156
Free shipping
Seller
Timeless Watches GmbH
107
DE
Breitling Chronomat Chronograph Automatic - B13047
Breitling Chronomat Chronograph Automatic - B13047
R 14,733
Free shipping
Seller
wagener-gold International e.K.
754
DE
Ingersoll IN1513SBK Bison No.71 Automatik 45mm 10ATM
Ingersoll IN1513SBK Bison No.71 Automatik 45mm 10ATM
R 4,469
Free shipping
Seller
Timeshop24.de Ltd.
3045
DE
Panerai PAM00572  Radiomir 1940 Automatic Black Dial
Panerai PAM00572 Radiomir 1940 Automatic Black Dial
R 94,695
Seller
K&S Watch & Jewellery
13
HK
Rolex | A Lady's Stainless Steel And Yellow Gold Automatic...
Auction
Rolex | A Lady's Stainless Steel And Yellow Gold Automatic...
R 50,504
Estimated price
Seller
Sotheby´s
 
Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date
Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date
R 224,007
Seller
chasovshik.ru
RU
Longines Heritage 18k Rose Gold White Automatic L4.767.8.73.2
TOP
Longines Heritage 18k Rose Gold White Automatic L4.767.8.73.2
R 29,942
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
18
HK
Frederique Constant Ladies Automatic
Frederique Constant Ladies Automatic
R 37,991
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic 35mm
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic 35mm
R 124,152
Seller
Bonanno Gioielleria
67
IT
Rolex Air King Edelstahl Automatic Saphirglas
Rolex Air King Edelstahl Automatic Saphirglas
R 49,495
Seller
Timeless Watches GmbH
107
DE
Omega Seamaster Professional Chronograph 300 m - Automatic -...
Omega Seamaster Professional Chronograph 300 m - Automatic -...
R 31,286
Free shipping
Seller
wagener-gold International e.K.
754
DE
Ingersoll IN1709RBL Kearny Automatik 44mm 5ATM
Ingersoll IN1709RBL Kearny Automatik 44mm 5ATM
R 7,102
Free shipping
Seller
Timeshop24.de Ltd.
3045
DE
Girard Perregaux Laureato 42mm Steel Automatic
Girard Perregaux Laureato 42mm Steel Automatic
R 140,193
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2188
IT
Louis Moinet | A Limited Edition Stainless Steel Automatic...
Auction
Louis Moinet | A Limited Edition Stainless Steel Automatic...
R 39,682
Estimated price
Seller
Sotheby´s
 
Hublot - Classic Fusion Titanium Automatic - 542.nx.1171.lr
Hublot - Classic Fusion Titanium Automatic - 542.nx.1171.lr
R 80,451
Seller
CONCEPT LUXURY
68
IT
IWC Portofino Stainless Steel Silvery White Automatic IW356505
TOP
IWC Portofino Stainless Steel Silvery White Automatic IW356505
R 51,009
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
18
HK
Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
Frederique Constant Classics Index Automatic
R 15,726
BrandBoutique Member
Frederique Constant SA
IWC IW377709 Pilot Black Automatic Chronograph Men's Watch
IWC IW377709 Pilot Black Automatic Chronograph Men's Watch
R 52,308
Seller
K&S Watch & Jewellery
13
HK
IWC PORTUGIESER PORTUGUESE CHRONO EDELSTAHL HERRENUHR
IWC PORTUGIESER PORTUGUESE CHRONO EDELSTAHL HERRENUHR
R 66,049
Seller
Timeless Watches GmbH
107
DE
Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Triple Date Automatic
Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Triple Date Automatic
R 36,252
Free shipping
Seller
wagener-gold International e.K.
754
DE

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.