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Patek Philippe VINTAGE  PATEK PHILIPPE1960S 18KT YG REF 3425 AUTO
TOP
Patek Philippe VINTAGE PATEK PHILIPPE1960S 18KT YG REF 3425 AUTO
$8,500
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Hunter
 
US
Baume & Mercier Linea 18K Rose Gold & Steel MOA10073...
TOP
Baume & Mercier Linea 18K Rose Gold & Steel MOA10073...
$2,299
Seller
Phigora
63
US
Panerai Luminor GMT Automatic SS PAM88 Box & Papers
TOP
Panerai Luminor GMT Automatic SS PAM88 Box & Papers
$6,499
Seller
Phigora
63
US
Bulgari Diagono Scuba Chronograph Automatic 18K Yellow Gold
TOP
Bulgari Diagono Scuba Chronograph Automatic 18K Yellow Gold
$6,795
Free shipping
Seller
AJ Watches
35
US
Breitling Colt Automatic
Breitling Colt Automatic
$1,399
Seller
BraKar LLC
 
US
Urwerk UR 202 Mens Automatic Watch 202/WG
Urwerk UR 202 Mens Automatic Watch 202/WG
$132,000
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
34
US
Chopard Mille Miglia Automatic Stainless Steel Black Strap...
Chopard Mille Miglia Automatic Stainless Steel Black Strap...
$2,850
Seller
Sea Wave Diamonds
60
US
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5066/1A Automatic Men / Unisex watch
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5066/1A Automatic Men / Unisex watch
$14,600
Seller
FeelGoodWatches, Inc.
US
Patek Philippe 2526 2526 Vintage Calatrava Automatic Enamel...
Patek Philippe 2526 2526 Vintage Calatrava Automatic Enamel...
$45,350
Seller
European Watch Company
56
US
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ref. 42002 Automatic 18k Yellow...
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ref. 42002 Automatic 18k Yellow...
$5,400
Free shipping
Seller
Best Deals HD
 
US
Richard Mille RM030 Titanium Automatic with Declutchable Rotor
Richard Mille RM030 Titanium Automatic with Declutchable Rotor
$78,999
Free shipping
Seller
Avi & Co NY
25
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 16014 Stainless Steel Automatic
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 16014 Stainless Steel Automatic
$3,799
Seller
Phigora
63
US
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms GMT Automatic 18K Yellow Gold
TOP
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms GMT Automatic 18K Yellow Gold
$11,995
Free shipping
Seller
AJ Watches
35
US
Patek Philippe Diamonds  Nautilus 2tone18k Gold Chronograph...
Patek Philippe Diamonds Nautilus 2tone18k Gold Chronograph...
$79,999
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
44
US
Rolex Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA Mens Automatic Watch 116660/98210
Rolex Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA Mens Automatic Watch 116660/98210
$10,500
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
34
US
Panerai : Luminor Submersible :  PAM 25 :  Titanium automatic...
Panerai : Luminor Submersible : PAM 25 : Titanium automatic...
$6,175
Seller
BernardWatch.com
129
US
IWC Portugieser 7 day power reserve Automatic Black Strap
IWC Portugieser 7 day power reserve Automatic Black Strap
$7,500
Seller
Sea Wave Diamonds
60
US
Patek Philippe 3445g 3445G Vintage Calatrava Automatic 18K...
Patek Philippe 3445g 3445G Vintage Calatrava Automatic 18K...
$15,500
Seller
European Watch Company
56
US
IWC Portuguese 7 Days Power Reserve Automatic IW500107
IWC Portuguese 7 Days Power Reserve Automatic IW500107
$9,750
Seller
Kronopassion
5
US
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic
TOP
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic
$8,995
Seller
Private seller
 
US
Glycine Airman 24 Automatic Vintage Watch PAT. 314.050
TOP
Glycine Airman 24 Automatic Vintage Watch PAT. 314.050
$2,499
Seller
Phigora
63
US
Breitling Men Colt A32350 Steel 500M Date 41mm Automatic...
Breitling Men Colt A32350 Steel 500M Date 41mm Automatic...
$1,745
Free shipping
Seller
Luxury Horology
84
US
Rolex Mens Rolex Datejust Ii Black 41mm  Automatic Watch...
Rolex Mens Rolex Datejust Ii Black 41mm Automatic Watch...
$9,945
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
44
US
Franck Muller Conquistador Sport GPG Men's Automatic Watch...
Franck Muller Conquistador Sport GPG Men's Automatic Watch...
$7,239
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
34
US
Omega Vintage 24 Jewel Seamaster Automatic
Omega Vintage 24 Jewel Seamaster Automatic
$750
Seller
Wristwatch Now
 
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Blue Dial 18kt Pink Gold
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Blue Dial 18kt Pink Gold
$42,500
Seller
Sea Wave Diamonds
60
US
IWC IW376704 IW376704 Aquatimer Chronograph Automatic / Blue...
IWC IW376704 IW376704 Aquatimer Chronograph Automatic / Blue...
$4,450
Seller
European Watch Company
56
US
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic
$6,100
Free shipping
Seller
White Glove Watch Company
 
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ladies Automatic Watch. 30mm
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ladies Automatic Watch. 30mm
$5,380
Seller
FeelGoodWatches, Inc.
US
Cartier Santos 100 Stainless Steel Automatic 2878
TOP
Cartier Santos 100 Stainless Steel Automatic 2878
$2,999
Seller
Phigora
63
US
Omega Men's Omega Seamaster 2599.80.00 Date Automatic...
Omega Men's Omega Seamaster 2599.80.00 Date Automatic...
$2,445
Free shipping
Seller
Luxury Horology
84
US
Breitling Two Tone B13050 Chronograph Automatic Watch With...
Breitling Two Tone B13050 Chronograph Automatic Watch With...
$4,999
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
44
US
Panerai : Luminor 1950 3 Days Automatic :  PAM 312 :  Stainles...
Panerai : Luminor 1950 3 Days Automatic : PAM 312 : Stainles...
$5,970
Seller
BernardWatch.com
129
US
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic
$5,450
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
Richard Mille RM030 Rose Gold Automatic with Declutchable Rotor
Richard Mille RM030 Rose Gold Automatic with Declutchable Rotor
$105,000
Free shipping
Seller
Avi & Co NY
25
US
Patek Philippe 5060J Aquanaut Automatic 35MM 18k Yellow Gold...
Patek Philippe 5060J Aquanaut Automatic 35MM 18k Yellow Gold...
$16,500
Seller
European Watch Company
56
US
Omega Seamaster Calendar Automatic Date Steel Mens Vintage Watch
TOP
Omega Seamaster Calendar Automatic Date Steel Mens Vintage Watch
$1,024
Seller
Watch World Star
124
UK
Franck Muller Men's Automatic Watch 8880CDTACWLAQ
Franck Muller Men's Automatic Watch 8880CDTACWLAQ
$8,450
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
34
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 6565 Yellow Gold Automatic
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 6565 Yellow Gold Automatic
$6,399
Seller
Phigora
63
US
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Automatic
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Automatic
$4,250
Seller
Kronopassion
5
US
Rolex Yacht-master Ii 116688 18k Yellow Gold White Dial...
Rolex Yacht-master Ii 116688 18k Yellow Gold White Dial...
$30,995
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
44
US
TAG Heuer CARRERA Automatic REF:CV2014-2
TAG Heuer CARRERA Automatic REF:CV2014-2
$2,550
Seller
Sea Wave Diamonds
60
US
Seiko Grand Seiko 9S Mechanical Automatic 3-Day SBGR257
Seiko Grand Seiko 9S Mechanical Automatic 3-Day SBGR257
$2,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
148
US
Panerai : Luminor Submersible :  PAM 1024 :  Stainless Steel...
Panerai : Luminor Submersible : PAM 1024 : Stainless Steel...
$5,925
Seller
BernardWatch.com
129
US
Patek Philippe 5107P-001 5107P-001 Calatrava Automatic...
Patek Philippe 5107P-001 5107P-001 Calatrava Automatic...
$33,500
Seller
European Watch Company
56
US
Cartier Pasha C Pink 2412 MOP Dial 35mm Chronograph Automatic
Cartier Pasha C Pink 2412 MOP Dial 35mm Chronograph Automatic
$4,300
Free shipping
Seller
Best Deals HD
 
US
Franck Muller Casablanca Men's Automatic Watch 8880CDTNRRE...
Franck Muller Casablanca Men's Automatic Watch 8880CDTNRRE...
$7,015
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
34
US
Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Stainless Steel 2878
TOP
Cartier Santos 100 Automatic Stainless Steel 2878
$3,999
Seller
Phigora
63
US
F.P.Journe Octa Lune Platinum  Date Automatic  5 Days Power...
F.P.Journe Octa Lune Platinum Date Automatic 5 Days Power...
$34,500
Seller
Kronopassion
5
US
Cartier Diamond Cartier Ballon Bleu W6920071 Automatic Small...
Cartier Diamond Cartier Ballon Bleu W6920071 Automatic Small...
$13,499
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
44
US
Omega Speedmaster Automatic "Broad Arrow" 42mm
Omega Speedmaster Automatic "Broad Arrow" 42mm
$4,175
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Ingenieur Silberpfeil ref. IW378505 Chronograph Flyback...
IWC Ingenieur Silberpfeil ref. IW378505 Chronograph Flyback...
$6,280
Seller
FeelGoodWatches, Inc.
US
Panerai Luminor Marina Automatic
Panerai Luminor Marina Automatic
$6,300
Seller
RealTime NY LLC
 
US
Jaquet-Droz J007030248 J007030248 Grande Seconde Quantieme...
Jaquet-Droz J007030248 J007030248 Grande Seconde Quantieme...
$5,500
Seller
European Watch Company
56
US
Cartier Pasha Diver Chronograph Automatic  W3103055
Cartier Pasha Diver Chronograph Automatic W3103055
$3,600
Seller
Sea Wave Diamonds
60
US
IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Men's Automatic Chronograph...
IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Men's Automatic Chronograph...
$11,376
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
34
US
IWC Ingenieur Stainless Steel IW323301 Automatic
IWC Ingenieur Stainless Steel IW323301 Automatic
$4,199
Seller
Phigora
63
US
Omega Mens  Speedmaster 3523.80 Automatic Chrono Steel 39MM
Omega Mens Speedmaster 3523.80 Automatic Chrono Steel 39MM
$1,645
Free shipping
Seller
Luxury Horology
84
US
Rolex Datejust 36mm Black Diamond Dial Stainless Steel Diamond...
Rolex Datejust 36mm Black Diamond Dial Stainless Steel Diamond...
$5,999
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
44
US
Breitling Chronomat Automatic Stainless Steel Gold 40mm...
Breitling Chronomat Automatic Stainless Steel Gold 40mm...
$2,545
Seller
La Jolla Jewelry and Collateral Loan Company
16
US
Chopard "Tycoon 16/8961 Chronograph" Watch - Automatic...
Chopard "Tycoon 16/8961 Chronograph" Watch - Automatic...
$4,500
Free shipping
Seller
Miami Watch Company / PBC Inc
 
US
Panerai : Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT :  PAM 320 :  Stainless...
Panerai : Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT : PAM 320 : Stainless...
$6,795
Seller
BernardWatch.com
129
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.