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Montblanc Heritage Spirit 111624 New 39mm Automatic United States of America, California, San Mateo
TOP
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Automatic Silvery White Dial Men's...
$3,609
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1546
US
Hublot Classic Fusion 45, 42, 38, 33 mm 568.NX.1170.NX New Titanium 38mm Automatic United States of America, California, San Mateo
TOP
Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium Bracelet Automatic Black Dial...
$6,079
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
1546
US
Breitling M2336022/BC17 Good Steel Automatic
TOP
Breitling Serviced M2336022 Navitimer Chronospace Automatic...
$4,401
Verified Dealer
429
ES
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 26552BC.OO.D002CR.01 Unworn White gold Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Audemars Piguet ROYAL OAK OPEN WORKED GRANDE COMPLICATION
$665,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
219
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix 26290PO.OO.A001VE.01 Very good Platinum Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix
$65,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex Daytona 116508 New Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Woodbridge
TOP
Rolex Daytona Champagne Color 8 Diamonds UNWORN 116508
$35,700
Verified Dealer
26
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16610 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, ATLANTA
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date M serial Card Hangtag
$8,900
Verified Dealer
10
US
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116655 New Rose gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Everose Gold 116655 NEW
$21,994
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
18
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A-014 Unworn Steel 40.5mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus
$118,525
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 179178 New Yellow gold 26mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Rolex 18K Yellow Gold Lady Datejust 26 President 179178 NEW
$16,995
Verified Dealer
342
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5976/1G-001 Unworn White gold 44mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary - 5976/1G-001
$314,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
219
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN 2019 NEW
$10,749
Verified Dealer
199
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 26480TI.OO.A027CA.01 Unworn Titanium 42mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
$30,459
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
162
US
Rolex Datejust Rolex Very good Rose gold 36mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex 18K Rose Gold Oyster Perpetual Datejust Watch, 1970s
$20,000
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex Daytona 116505 New Rose gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Woodbridge
TOP
Rolex Daytona Rose Gold Cosmograph 2019 NEW 116505
$39,500
Verified Dealer
26
US
Ulysse Nardin Diver Black Sea 353-92 New Automatic United States of America, Georgia, ATLANTA
TOP
Ulysse Nardin Diver Black Sea
$6,700
Verified Dealer
10
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex New Submariner Date 116610 2019 Edition
$10,900
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202BA.OO.1240BA.01 Unworn Yellow gold 39mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202BA yellow gold
$69,999
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex Datejust 126334 New Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Rolex Datejust 41 Slate Dial Oyster 126334 NEW
$9,795
Verified Dealer
342
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-011 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711\1A-011
$69,995
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
219
US
Rolex Datejust 126334 New Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
TOP
Rolex Datejust 41mm 126334 New 2019
$9,900
Verified Dealer
199
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126719BLRO New White gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II
$43,239
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
162
US
IWC Pilot Mark IW327006 Unworn Titanium 40mm Automatic United States of America, Virginia, Williamsburg
TOP
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII - Heritage Titanium - 327006
$3,575
Verified Dealer
270
US
Rolex Daytona 116518LN Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Woodbridge
TOP
Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Oysterflex 8 DIAMOND Black Dial
$30,500
Verified Dealer
26
US
Rolex Datejust 126300 Unworn Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, ATLANTA
TOP
Rolex Datejust 41 Smooth Bezel Rhodium Stick Dial 126300 Stickers
$8,100
Verified Dealer
10
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman 126710BLNR 2019 Edition
$14,999
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun IW389001 Very good 44.5mm Automatic United States of America, Massachusetts, Boston
IWC IW389001 Top Gun Flyback Chronograph Ceramic 44.5MM (33308)
$7,500
Verified Dealer
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 New Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 [White Dial] NEW
$16,995
Verified Dealer
342
US
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164R-001 Unworn Rose gold 40.8mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time 40MM Rose Gold Watch 5164R
$70,200
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
219
US
Rolex Yacht-Master II 116681 New Gold/Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master II 116681 NEW HANDS
$22,799
Verified Dealer
199
US
Panerai Luminor GMT Automatic PAM 01616 New Carbon Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Panerai SUBMERSIBLE CARBOTECH
$14,899
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
162
US
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 541.NX.1171.LR New Titanium 42mm Automatic
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph
$8,474
Verified Dealer
 
ES
Rolex Submariner Date 116618LB New Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Woodbridge
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date Gold 116618LB NEW 2019 Blue Dial
$31,800
Verified Dealer
26
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, ATLANTA
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710 Black Dial Green GMT Hand
$10,400
Verified Dealer
10
US
Rolex Daytona 116500LN New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex Daytona New 2019 Edition Ceramic White Dial 116500LN
$24,850
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
US
Rolex Datejust Very good 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex Datejust Two Tone S/Steel 18k Diamond Bezel-Green...
$5,450
Verified Dealer
94
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 114300-0003 Unworn Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 Watch 114300 Stainless Steel 39mm Blue
$5,850
Verified Dealer
26
US
Richard Mille RM 011 RM011 AK TI Very good Titanium 50mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
TOP
Richard Mille RM 011 "Felipe Massa" Flyback Chronograph RM011...
$129,950
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
671
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 New Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 NEW Full Stickers 2019
$18,349
Verified Dealer
199
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326935-0005 Unworn Rose gold Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller
$42,849
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
162
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked 15466BC.GG.1259BC.01 Unworn White gold 37mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked 18K...
$85,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach, Orange County
TOP
Rolex GMT Master II Batman Blue/Black Bezel Steel Black Dial
$14,975
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
41
US
Rolex Datejust 116234 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, ATLANTA
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36 Rodium Roman Dial 116234
$6,300
Verified Dealer
10
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR New Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Everose Gold & Steel Watch 126711CHNR
$17,399
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16613 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex Submariner 16613 Two Tone 18k & S/Steel Oyster 40mm...
$8,599
Verified Dealer
94
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex 126710BLNR GMT-Master II Batman Stainless Steel Watch
$14,550
Verified Dealer
26
US
Rolex Explorer II 216570-0001 Very good Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Rockwall
Rolex Explorer II
$9,450
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO 2019 Full Stickers New
$17,999
Verified Dealer
199
US
Panerai PAM 00788 New Ceramic Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Panerai PAM00788
$12,719
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
162
US
Richard Mille RM 011 RM011 Unworn Titanium 50mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Richard Mille RM011 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Demon...
$190,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
Rolex Submariner Date 16800 Good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, HARRISBURG
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date 16800 Matte Dial Atocha Treasure Box Papers
$31,876
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
64
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-010 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus Blue Dial 5711/1A-010
$62,500
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
76
US
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116655 New Rose gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Black Dial 18kt Everose Gold 116655
$22,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
US
Rolex Datejust Very good Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex Datejust S/Steel 36mm Watch-Blue Vignette Roman Dial-18k...
$4,199
Verified Dealer
94
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 114300 New Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 114300 Stainless Steel Rhodium Dial
$5,625
Verified Dealer
26
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116613LB Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Rockwall
Rolex Submariner Date
$14,500
Verified Dealer
 
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 15400ST.OO.1220ST.04 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400ST.OO.1220ST.04
$24,950
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
671
US
Panerai Luminor PAM 00764 New Titanium Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
TOP
Panerai PAM00764
$10,799
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
162
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26332PT.OO.1220PT.0 New Platinum 41mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 41 Platinum
$175,000
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
Chronoswiss Lunar CH 7522L Very good Gold/Steel 38mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Austin
TOP
Chronoswiss : Lunar Chronograph : CH 7522L : 18k Gold &...
$3,690
Verified Dealer
455
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR New Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR Rose Gold & Steel
$16,900
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
76
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 New Gold/Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
TOP
Rolex Sky-Dweller 42MM Two Tone Champagne dial 326933
$17,300
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
US
Rolex Datejust 16233 Very good Steel 36mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
TOP
Rolex Datejust 16233 Two Tone Steel/ 18k Gold 36mm-Ivory Roman...
$6,000
Verified Dealer
94
US
Rolex Datejust 126334 New Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, New York, NEW YORK
TOP
Rolex 126334 Datejust 41 Blue Roman Jubilee Stainless Unworn
$10,150
Verified Dealer
26
US
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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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