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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph White face chronograph
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph White face chronograph
S$ 60,112
Seller
WATCHGUY NYC
 
US
Rolex 1982 34mm 14K Yellow Gold DATE Black Dial w/ Rolex Box
TOP
Rolex 1982 34mm 14K Yellow Gold DATE Black Dial w/ Rolex Box
S$ 7,162
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
168
US
IWC „The Last Flight“ Ltd. 170 Ref.: IW388006 inkl. Mwst.
TOP
IWC „The Last Flight“ Ltd. 170 Ref.: IW388006 inkl. Mwst.
S$ 22,322
Seller
Watchplanet
40
DE
Hublot King Power F1 India,  Ltd Edition, Box & Papers
TOP
Hublot King Power F1 India, Ltd Edition, Box & Papers
S$ 30,227
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
99
UK
Rolex 31mm Presidential Champagne Dial/Diamond Bezel 68278
TOP
Rolex 31mm Presidential Champagne Dial/Diamond Bezel 68278
S$ 15,165
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
109
US
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5396G-001 |  white gold |...
TOP
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5396G-001 | white gold |...
S$ 43,051
Free shipping
Seller
A Collected Man
9
UK
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Microtor  Ultrapiatto 40mm Pink Gold 18K T
TOP
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Microtor Ultrapiatto 40mm Pink Gold 18K T
S$ 53,717
Free shipping
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2666
IT
Hublot Big Bang Chronograph 44mm Limited Edition XX/10
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Chronograph 44mm Limited Edition XX/10
S$ 14,293
Seller
Joaillerie Royale
478
BE
Seiko Green Alpinist (Discontinued)
Seiko Green Alpinist (Discontinued)
S$ 685
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Sinn 103 St Sa RB Classic Watch Sondermodell
TOP
Sinn 103 St Sa RB Classic Watch Sondermodell
S$ 3,935
Seller
Classic Watch
17
DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Hometime Rose Gold 230.2.77
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Hometime Rose Gold 230.2.77
S$ 15,176
Seller
Filipucci Juweliers
413
NL
Tudor Classic Date stainless steel and yellow gold, full set
TOP
Tudor Classic Date stainless steel and yellow gold, full set
S$ 6,823
Seller
My Local Time
 
CH
IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 Black Dial Set Collectors
TOP
IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 Black Dial Set Collectors
S$ 4,328
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
93
NL
Rolex Datejust 36mm Dark Grey Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm Dark Grey Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
S$ 9,925
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
109
US
IWC vintage mens 14K Gold/Steel Yacht Club automatic watch 1970
TOP
IWC vintage mens 14K Gold/Steel Yacht Club automatic watch 1970
S$ 2,969
Seller
qualityextra
6
HU
Bulgari Carbon Gold Automatic 40mm Blue Dial T  102634
TOP
Bulgari Carbon Gold Automatic 40mm Blue Dial T 102634
S$ 3,050
Free shipping
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2666
IT
Hublot Big Bang Chronograph 44mm Red Devil Bang
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Chronograph 44mm Red Devil Bang
S$ 12,831
Seller
Joaillerie Royale
478
BE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control
S$ 3,000
Seller
Private Seller
SG
A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual English dial
TOP
A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual English dial
S$ 83,348
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
398
UK
Glashütte Original Glashutte Original PanomaticReserve...
TOP
Glashütte Original Glashutte Original PanomaticReserve...
S$ 34,330
Seller
Metals In Time
5
US
Audemars Piguet QE II Cup Ref-15334OROO 18k Rose Gold Limited...
TOP
Audemars Piguet QE II Cup Ref-15334OROO 18k Rose Gold Limited...
S$ 24,699
Seller
Bachmann & Scher
42
DE
Omega Constellation Chronometer 1969 CAL 564  Automatic + Box
TOP
Omega Constellation Chronometer 1969 CAL 564 Automatic + Box
S$ 1,830
Free shipping
Seller
Vintage Omega Watch
114
UK
Breitling BENTLEY
TOP
Breitling BENTLEY
S$ 13,786
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
109
US
Franck Muller Master Banker GMT Automatic 3 Time Zone - 6850 MB
TOP
Franck Muller Master Banker GMT Automatic 3 Time Zone - 6850 MB
S$ 6,255
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
93
NL
Rolex TT Datejust Factory Diamond Dial w/ Original Box and Papers
TOP
Rolex TT Datejust Factory Diamond Dial w/ Original Box and Papers
S$ 7,300
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
168
US
Omega De Ville Platinum Co-Axial Limited Rattrapante 41mm
TOP
Omega De Ville Platinum Co-Axial Limited Rattrapante 41mm
S$ 20,877
Seller
KROMINI GOLD IMPEX S.R.L
29
RO
Rolex Sky-Dweller
Rolex Sky-Dweller
S$ 23,438
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Breguet Hora Mundi 5727
TOP
Breguet Hora Mundi 5727
S$ 73,391
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
398
UK
Chopard Mille Miglia Monaco Historique 2010 box & papers complete
TOP
Chopard Mille Miglia Monaco Historique 2010 box & papers complete
S$ 7,135
Seller
Vintage & Prestige
19
UK
Franck Muller V 45 T Gravity CS Yachting 5N.BL
TOP
Franck Muller V 45 T Gravity CS Yachting 5N.BL
S$ 110,291
Seller
VI Watch Guy
71
VI
F.P.Journe Octa Calendrier Platinum LE NEW
TOP
F.P.Journe Octa Calendrier Platinum LE NEW
S$ 67,449
Seller
Noblesse LP
56
UK
Rolex Datejust 36mm Ice Blue MOP Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm Ice Blue MOP Diamond Dial/Bezel/Lugs 16014
S$ 9,925
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
109
US
Junghans Chronoscope Gold - First Prize Chrono Awards in Austria
TOP
Junghans Chronoscope Gold - First Prize Chrono Awards in Austria
S$ 11,073
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
93
NL
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Automatik Dark 79230DK Lederband
TOP
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Automatik Dark 79230DK Lederband
S$ 4,561
Seller
Uhren2000 GmbH
326
DE
IWC Big Ingenieur 7 Days Platinum Limited to 500 pcs.45.5mm
TOP
IWC Big Ingenieur 7 Days Platinum Limited to 500 pcs.45.5mm
S$ 28,104
Seller
KROMINI GOLD IMPEX S.R.L
29
RO
Rolex Submariner Date Z Series
Rolex Submariner Date Z Series
S$ 14,988
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Oris Artelier Translucent Skeleton
TOP
Oris Artelier Translucent Skeleton
S$ 2,843
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
398
UK
Chopard cal. 80 automatic vintage dress watch 18k yellow gold
TOP
Chopard cal. 80 automatic vintage dress watch 18k yellow gold
S$ 2,739
Seller
Vintage & Prestige
19
UK
Seiko SBDC049 Sumo Padi Limited Edition 1000pcs
Seiko SBDC049 Sumo Padi Limited Edition 1000pcs
S$ 1,600
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak Offshore 44mm 26401ro
Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak Offshore 44mm 26401ro
S$ 48,900
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712G
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712G
S$ 62,000
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Seiko Astron GPS Solar
Seiko Astron GPS Solar
S$ 3,150
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Chopard Mille Miglia GTXL Chronograph, Split-second
Chopard Mille Miglia GTXL Chronograph, Split-second
S$ 11,900
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Vintage Caprice Limited Edition
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Vintage Caprice Limited Edition
S$ 7,000
Seller
Private Seller
SG
U-Boat Classico 1001/47 9mm Limited Edition 20/300
U-Boat Classico 1001/47 9mm Limited Edition 20/300
S$ 4,900
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Cartier Santos 100
Cartier Santos 100
S$ 5,791
Seller
Private Seller
SG
U-Boat U-1001 Limited Edition 78/1001
U-Boat U-1001 Limited Edition 78/1001
S$ 4,800
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Réserve de Marche
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Réserve de Marche
S$ 6,250
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Rolex Datejust 36mm Black Diamond Dial 16013
TOP
Rolex Datejust 36mm Black Diamond Dial 16013
S$ 8,271
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
109
US
F.P.Journe Octa Calendrier Annual Calendar Platinum Automatic...
F.P.Journe Octa Calendrier Annual Calendar Platinum Automatic...
S$ 64,524
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Zenith Captain Elite Power Reserve (40 MM) Papers Zenith Warranty
TOP
Zenith Captain Elite Power Reserve (40 MM) Papers Zenith Warranty
S$ 5,300
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
93
NL
Piaget Polo s
Piaget Polo s
S$ 8,962
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Richard Mille RM 11-03 NTPT
TOP
Richard Mille RM 11-03 NTPT
S$ 258,000
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar
TOP
Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar
S$ 12,719
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
398
UK
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph
S$ 11,512
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Oris Artelier Complication
Oris Artelier Complication
S$ 1,758
Seller
Private Seller
SG
F.P.Journe Octa Quantieme Perpetuel NEW
TOP
F.P.Journe Octa Quantieme Perpetuel NEW
S$ 85,481
Seller
Noblesse LP
56
UK
Seiko RARE Seiko Brightz Mechanical Bacardi Collaboration...
Seiko RARE Seiko Brightz Mechanical Bacardi Collaboration...
S$ 1,200
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Oris Artelier Skeleton
Oris Artelier Skeleton
S$ 1,720
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph
S$ 8,888
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Rolex Yacht-Master
Rolex Yacht-Master
S$ 11,000
Seller
Private Seller
SG
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Navy Seals Diving Limited...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Navy Seals Diving Limited...
S$ 13,374
Seller
Private Seller
SG
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  • 60
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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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