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Omega De Ville Prestige 424.13.40.21.03.001 New Steel 39.5mm Automatic United States of America, California, San Mateo
TOP
Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial Power Reserve 39.5 mm...
$3,659
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4641
US
Rolex Daytona 116515LN bkp Unworn Rose gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex Daytona 116515LN bkp Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona...
$49,665
Free shipping
Professional dealer
519
US
Tudor Black Bay Dark 79230DK New Steel 41.00mm Automatic United States of America, California, San Mateo
TOP
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Stainless steel Automatic Black Dial...
$4,589
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Professional dealer
4641
US
Rolex 279163-0006 New Steel 28mm Automatic United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Steel And 18ct Yellow Gold Automatic...
$8,299
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Professional dealer
4641
US
Rolex Daytona 116519LN New White gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex 2021 White Gold Daytona Steel Dial NEW OysterFlex 116519LN
$45,495
Professional dealer
577
US
Franck Muller Vanguard V45 YT SC DT AC BL New Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Miami
TOP
Franck Muller Vanguard KOI
$7,900
Professional dealer
292
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST.OO.1256ST.02 New Steel 38mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST
$42,600
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Professional dealer
427
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16613 Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Rolex 2007 Blue Submariner with Box and Papers
$12,900
Professional dealer
84
US
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 86020/000R-9239 New Rose gold 42.5mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Bi-Retrograde
$28,000
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Professional dealer
357
US
IWC IW387905 Unworn Ceramic 41mm Automatic United States of America, New York, Westchester County
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IWC Tribute To 3705 Watch Chronograph Edition
$16,950
Professional dealer
9
US
Ulysse Nardin Marine 263-22 Very good Steel 38mm Automatic United States of America, Virginia, Manassas
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Ulysse Nardin marine Chronometer
$3,495
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Professional dealer
6
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 New Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
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Rolex Sky-Dweller Stainless Steel Blue Dial
$30,000
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Professional dealer
209
US
Rolex Sea-Dweller 126603-0001 Very good Yellow gold 43mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Rolex Sea-Dweller Two Tone 18k Gold and Steel 43mm 126603 Box...
$17,900
Professional dealer
28
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 278273 New Gold/Steel 31mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex 2021 Ladies Datejust 31 Black Mother of Pearl Diamond...
$16,845
Professional dealer
577
US
Bell & Ross BR 05 BR05A-BLU-ST/SST New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Miami
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 05 Blue Steel
$4,200
Professional dealer
292
US
Rolex Datejust 126234-0017 Unworn White gold 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA
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Rolex Datejust 36mm Blue Dial White Gold Bezel on Jubilee...
$11,695
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Professional dealer
75
US
Rolex Explorer 214270 Very good Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Rolex Never Polished 39mm Explorer Mk2 Dial
$10,200
Professional dealer
84
US
Breguet Reine de Naples 8968BR/11/986 0D00 New Rose gold 34.95mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
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Breguet Reine De Naples 8968BR/11/986 0D00
$16,700
Free shipping
Professional dealer
357
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16610 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 2000 Boxes Papers Black Dial Bezel...
$13,878
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179
US
Rolex Datejust II 126331 New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, California, Sunnyvale
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Rolex Datejust 126331 Wimbledon
$16,500
Free shipping
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173
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 15400st.oo.1220st.01 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm Stainless Steel...
$44,500
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Professional dealer
209
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Jubilee Pepsi 126710 BLRO Ceramic Red Blue
$22,500
Professional dealer
28
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326238 New Yellow gold 42mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex 2021 Sky-Dweller Yellow Gold OysterFlex NEW White Dial...
$44,975
Professional dealer
577
US
Franck Muller Vanguard V 45 SC DT YACHTING New Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
TOP
Franck Muller Vanguard V45 SC DT YACHTING
$6,800
Professional dealer
292
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 178271 Very good Gold/Steel 31mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA
TOP
Rolex Datejust Ladies 31mm Factory Mother of Pearl Dial 18k...
$12,595
Free shipping
Professional dealer
75
US
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph 16263 Very good Gold/Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph, Box and Papers, Blue Dial, Oyster...
$7,150
Professional dealer
84
US
Omega Seamaster 522.30.42.20.04.001 New Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
TOP
Omega Seamaster 300M Tokyo 2020 Blue Co-Axial Master Chronometer
$6,795
Professional dealer
641
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 16710T Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II UN-WORN Boxes Papers Pepsi Blue Red Bezel...
$18,964
Free shipping
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179
US
Breitling Superocean Heritage AB2030161C1A1 New Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Princeton
Breitling Superocean Heritage II B20
$3,356
Professional dealer
 
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 15400OR.OO.1220OR.03 Unworn Rose gold 41mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding
$98,500
Free shipping
Professional dealer
209
US
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5153R-001 New Rose gold 38mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Patek Philippe 5153r Calatrava Automatic 5153R-001 38mm 18k...
$29,500
Professional dealer
28
US
Rolex Air King 116900 New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Rolex 2021 Air King NEW 116900
$9,045
Professional dealer
577
US
Roger Dubuis Excalibur EX45-781-20-00 RDDBEX0264 Good White gold 45mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
TOP
Roger Dubuis Excalibur
$23,000
Professional dealer
292
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 179173 Very good Gold/Steel 26mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA
TOP
Rolex Datejust Factory Slate Diamond Dial 18k Yellow Gold...
$8,795
Free shipping
Professional dealer
75
US
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph 232.30.46.51.01.003 Very good Steel 45.5mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Omega 45.5mm Seamaster Planet Ocean, never polished.
$5,150
Professional dealer
84
US
Vacheron Constantin Overseas 4500V/110A-B128 New Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Vacheron Constantin 2021 Overseas Blue Dial Steel/Leather/Rubb...
$39,499
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Professional dealer
196
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16610 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 2007 Boxes Papers Black Dial Bezel...
$13,981
Free shipping
Professional dealer
179
US
Breitling Superocean Heritage 42 A17321 Good Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Princeton
Breitling Superocean Heritage
$2,950
Professional dealer
 
US
Rolex Day-Date 40 228238 New Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
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Rolex Day-Date 40mm 18K Yellow Gold Champagne Roman Dial 228238
$45,500
Free shipping
Professional dealer
209
US
Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Rolex Milgauss 116400 V Green Crystal Black Dial Stainless...
$10,995
Professional dealer
28
US
Rolex Datejust 126301 New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Rolex 2021 Everose Gold Datejust 41 Chocolate Dial NEW 126201...
$13,495
Professional dealer
577
US
Breguet Marine 5817ST/12/5V8 Very good Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
TOP
Breguet Marine
$10,800
Professional dealer
292
US
Breitling Superocean 44 A1739102/BA77 Very good Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach, Orange County, CA
TOP
Breitling Superocean 44 Chronometer Black Dial yellow accents...
$2,695
Free shipping
Professional dealer
75
US
Corum Admiral's Cup Legend 42 984.101.98/F502 AN46 Very good Steel 42mmmm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Corum Admiral's Cup 42mmm PVD Legend, complete set
$3,100
Professional dealer
84
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex 2014 Submariner Date Green Hulk Box/Papers/Card 116610LV
$19,999
Free shipping
Professional dealer
196
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16613 Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date Boxes Papers Blue Dial Bezel SS/18kt Gold
$13,873
Free shipping
Professional dealer
179
US
Rolex Air King 116900 New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Princeton
Rolex Air-King
$9,435
Professional dealer
 
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326135-0007 New Rose gold 42mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller 42mm Rose Gold Dark Rhodium Dial 326135
$42,500
Free shipping
Professional dealer
209
US
Rolex Datejust 126300 New Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Rolex Datejust 41mm Stainless Steel White Stick Dial Oyster...
$10,250
Professional dealer
28
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26400SO.OO.A055CA.01 New Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph NEW Khaki Green...
$45,995
Professional dealer
577
US
Franck Muller Vanguard V45 SC DT TT BR.5N New Titanium 44mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
TOP
Franck Muller Vanguard V45 SC DT TT BR.5N
$6,800
Professional dealer
292
US
Rolex Datejust 126200 Unworn Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm MOP Diamond Dial & Diamond Bezel
$10,795
Free shipping
Professional dealer
75
US
Rolex Explorer 1016 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Rolex Explorer 1016 Matte Dial with Pumpkin Lume
$19,800
Professional dealer
84
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 New Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex 2021 Sky-Dweller Black Dial Stickers Oyster Box/Papers/Card
$24,999
Free shipping
Professional dealer
196
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 2018 Boxes Papers 40mm Black Dial...
$15,972
Free shipping
Professional dealer
179
US
Rolex Datejust II 126331 New Gold/Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, California, Sunnyvale
TOP
Rolex Datejust 126331 Wimbledon
$16,500
Free shipping
Professional dealer
173
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31 277200 New Steel 31mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31mm Steel Pink Dial 277200
$6,900
Free shipping
Professional dealer
209
US
Patek Philippe 5065/1A Good Steel 38mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Patek Philippe Vintage Aquanaut Jumbo 5065/1A Time Capsule...
$56,000
Professional dealer
28
US
Rolex Daytona 116500LN Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Rolex Daytona Black Dial Ceramic Bezel STICKERED 116500LN
$32,495
Professional dealer
577
US
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 47300/000J-9065 Very good Yellow gold Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
TOP
Vacheron Constantin Historique Toledo 1952
$17,000
Professional dealer
292
US
Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 9985 Good Yellow gold 32mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hallandale Beach
TOP
Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon
$22,199
Professional dealer
266
US
Tudor Black Bay Steel 79730 Unworn Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
TOP
Tudor Unworn 2021 Heritage Black Bay Steel
$3,500
Professional dealer
84
US
Rolex Datejust 126234 New Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex 2021 Datejust 36 Silver Index Fluted Jubilee Box/Papers/...
$9,999
Free shipping
Professional dealer
196
US
Rolex Day-Date 36 18238 Unworn Yellow gold 36mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex Day-Date President 36 Boxes Papers Factory Champagne...
$23,478
Free shipping
Professional dealer
179
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.