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Patek Philippe Calatrava
Patek Philippe Calatrava
NZ$ 18,284
Seller
上海天仪轩钟表有限公司
CN
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
NZ$ 4,159
Seller
Watches Lombard
RU
Chopard 1970s LARGE HAPPY DIAMOND SAUDI KING REF. 2121
Chopard 1970s LARGE HAPPY DIAMOND SAUDI KING REF. 2121
NZ$ 14,556
Free shipping
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Watch Hunter
 
US
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph - 5960R-001
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph - 5960R-001
NZ$ 78,123
Free shipping
Seller
Watches.de - Mercurius Trading Ltd.
63
CH
Vacheron Constantin Malte Régulateur Dual Time
Vacheron Constantin Malte Régulateur Dual Time
NZ$ 27,686
Seller
Rent a Box Schmuck und Uhren AG
 
CH
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph - Stainless Steel
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph - Stainless Steel
NZ$ 11,865
Free shipping
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WatchesofMayfair.com
169
UK
Breguet Classic 18kWG Diamonds 72% off
Breguet Classic 18kWG Diamonds 72% off
NZ$ 8,179
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Raffi Boyadjian Watches Inc.
6
US
Franck Muller Vanguard Chronograph V 45 Cc Dt In Titanium And...
Franck Muller Vanguard Chronograph V 45 Cc Dt In Titanium And...
NZ$ 16,438
Seller
Taleda
212
CH
Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 Ref. 79540
Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 Ref. 79540
NZ$ 3,239
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WINGOO WATCHES
160
IT
Franck Muller V 45 T Gravity CS Yachting 5N.BL
Franck Muller V 45 T Gravity CS Yachting 5N.BL
NZ$ 121,304
Free shipping
Seller
VI Watch Guy
VI
U-Boat 5573 Classico AB 4/2/A 53mm 10ATM
U-Boat 5573 Classico AB 4/2/A 53mm 10ATM
NZ$ 2,440
Seller
Timeshop24.de Ltd.
2471
DE
Patek Philippe 1960s PATEK PHILIPPE 18KT YG REF 3425 CALATRAVA...
Patek Philippe 1960s PATEK PHILIPPE 18KT YG REF 3425 CALATRAVA...
NZ$ 12,338
Free shipping
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Watch Hunter
 
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Rose Gold Arnold Schwarzene...
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Rose Gold Arnold Schwarzene...
NZ$ 47,118
Seller
KROMINI GOLD IMPEX S.R.L
 
RO
Ulysse Nardin 18k White Gold Ulysse Nardin Sonata Cathedral,...
Ulysse Nardin 18k White Gold Ulysse Nardin Sonata Cathedral,...
NZ$ 31,235
Free shipping
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
41
UK
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44 mm
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44 mm
NZ$ 9,440
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
169
UK
Blancpain Villeret Perpetual Calendar Moon + Blancpain-Service...
Blancpain Villeret Perpetual Calendar Moon + Blancpain-Service...
NZ$ 8,626
Seller
Dreamwatch - fine used watches
104
DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chrono 146.2.25 Red Gold, 41mm
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chrono 146.2.25 Red Gold, 41mm
NZ$ 18,025
Seller
Taleda
212
CH
Rolex Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster
Rolex Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster
NZ$ 23,925
Seller
OROeORA PRINTEZIS
42
GR
Hublot Big Bang Ferrari  Unico All Black Limited Edition , NEW...
Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Unico All Black Limited Edition , NEW...
NZ$ 26,855
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesNorte
15
ES
IWC Portoghese IW371430 chronograph Boris Becker Edition 2006
IWC Portoghese IW371430 chronograph Boris Becker Edition 2006
NZ$ 12,288
Seller
Watches Management
 
IT
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712G-001
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712G-001
NZ$ 56,639
Seller
Artex AG
 
CH
IWC Platinum Portuguese Perpetual Calendar 44mm 502111 Limited
IWC Platinum Portuguese Perpetual Calendar 44mm 502111 Limited
NZ$ 41,503
Seller
KROMINI GOLD IMPEX S.R.L
 
RO
De Grisogono Instrumento Uno
De Grisogono Instrumento Uno
NZ$ 161,941
Free shipping
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
10
MC
Audemars Piguet Offshore Limited  Tantale  Asia  "Orchard...
Audemars Piguet Offshore Limited Tantale Asia "Orchard...
NZ$ 53,701
Seller
10PAST10.COM
85
NL
Rolex Submariner
Rolex Submariner
NZ$ 18,000
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Tudor Rotor Prince Date 79430p Steel, 39mm
Tudor Rotor Prince Date 79430p Steel, 39mm
NZ$ 3,893
Seller
Taleda
212
CH
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Lady Duetto JLQ 7052421
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Lady Duetto JLQ 7052421
NZ$ 17,159
Seller
TimeWorld
17
CH
Omega De Ville 14k gold caliber 565
Omega De Ville 14k gold caliber 565
NZ$ 6,274
Seller
Vintage Watch Services
72
NL
Rolex Submariner 5512 UAE by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum...
Rolex Submariner 5512 UAE by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum...
price on request
Seller
Watches Management
 
IT
TAG Heuer Grand Carrera
TAG Heuer Grand Carrera
NZ$ 4,069
Seller
Reclaimed Jewels
 
NL
Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Automatic 18K Rose Gold 521.OX.2611.OX
Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Automatic 18K Rose Gold 521.OX.2611.OX
NZ$ 38,247
Seller
KROMINI GOLD IMPEX S.R.L
 
RO
Girard Perregaux WW.TC ZEGG & CERLATI - LIMITED EDITION
Girard Perregaux WW.TC ZEGG & CERLATI - LIMITED EDITION
NZ$ 18,391
Free shipping
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
10
MC
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Royal Blue Diamond Dial NATO Strap 36mm
Rolex 18K/SS DATEJUST Royal Blue Diamond Dial NATO Strap 36mm
NZ$ 4,984
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Austins Watches Inc.
81
US
Rolex Datejust
Rolex Datejust
NZ$ 10,434
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Porsche Design P6500
Porsche Design P6500
NZ$ 2,773
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Private seller
NZ
Patek Philippe Nautilus kleine Komplikation
Patek Philippe Nautilus kleine Komplikation
NZ$ 59,324
Seller
Uhren Schöfer GmbH
DE
Ulysse Nardin Automatic 18K Gold
Ulysse Nardin Automatic 18K Gold
NZ$ 2,987
Seller
Vintage Watch Services
72
NL
Rolex GMT Master 1675 for Sultanate of Oman Full Set 1977’s
Rolex GMT Master 1675 for Sultanate of Oman Full Set 1977’s
price on request
Seller
Watches Management
 
IT
Chanel J12 Automatic Black Ceramic, Diamond Set, Box, Papers,...
Chanel J12 Automatic Black Ceramic, Diamond Set, Box, Papers,...
NZ$ 5,346
Seller
Nicolas Watch Co.
 
UK
Graham Chronofighter 43mm Roségold 2CFAR.B10A.C54B
Graham Chronofighter 43mm Roségold 2CFAR.B10A.C54B
NZ$ 14,241
Seller
KROMINI GOLD IMPEX S.R.L
 
RO
Vacheron Constantin Vintage Gold Dress Watch Ref  2143
Vacheron Constantin Vintage Gold Dress Watch Ref 2143
NZ$ 7,943
Seller
Time Rediscovered Ltd
UK
Heuer Autavia
Heuer Autavia
NZ$ 9,426
Seller
MKG
 
US
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea
NZ$ 12,608
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Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Baume & Mercier Classima (MOAO8688)
Baume & Mercier Classima (MOAO8688)
NZ$ 2,000
Seller
Private seller
NZ
Patek Philippe Nautilus Chrono-Flyback
Patek Philippe Nautilus Chrono-Flyback
NZ$ 224,602
Seller
Uhren Schöfer GmbH
DE
Chopard L.U.C. 1937 Classic Rosé Gold, NEW
Chopard L.U.C. 1937 Classic Rosé Gold, NEW
price on request
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesNorte
ES
Rolex SeaDweller 1665 by Sultanate of Oman very rare Full Set...
Rolex SeaDweller 1665 by Sultanate of Oman very rare Full Set...
price on request
Seller
Watches Management
 
IT
Richard Mille RM 022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Black Carbon
Richard Mille RM 022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Black Carbon
NZ$ 589,191
Seller
Watch & Bullion
 
GI
Chopard - Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique - 8992
Chopard - Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique - 8992
NZ$ 4,394
Seller
New Watches Barcelona, S.L.
 
ES
Rolex Steel 36mm DATEJUST Electric Blue Diamond Dial Quickset
Rolex Steel 36mm DATEJUST Electric Blue Diamond Dial Quickset
NZ$ 5,538
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
US
Pierre Vallee Chronomaster/Aviator/Sea Diver
Pierre Vallee Chronomaster/Aviator/Sea Diver
NZ$ 1,594
Seller
MKG
 
US
Rolex Datejust
Rolex Datejust
NZ$ 3,652
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Porsche Design DASHBOARD
Porsche Design DASHBOARD
NZ$ 5,768
Seller
Gold Time
 
CH
Patek Philippe World Time Cloisoneé
Patek Philippe World Time Cloisoneé
NZ$ 162,755
Seller
Uhren Schöfer GmbH
DE
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5159J-001
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5159J-001
NZ$ 82,680
Seller
Spliedt & Cie GmbH
 
DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days 146.6.17 Antoine LeCoultre...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Eight Days 146.6.17 Antoine LeCoultre...
price on request
Seller
Watches Management
 
IT
Patek Philippe World Time 5131/1P-001
Patek Philippe World Time 5131/1P-001
NZ$ 289,704
Seller
Watch & Bullion
 
GI
Bulgari -   chronograph - BB 38 GL CH
Bulgari - chronograph - BB 38 GL CH
NZ$ 7,568
Seller
New Watches Barcelona, S.L.
 
ES
IWC Fiegerchronograph
IWC Fiegerchronograph
NZ$ 4,232
Seller
Plinio Gioielli S.R.L.
 
IT
Rebellion REB-7 Regulateur Limited 36
Rebellion REB-7 Regulateur Limited 36
NZ$ 43,781
Seller
Fischer Uhren Optik Schmuck GmbH
 
DE
Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT
Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT
NZ$ 6,783
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Porsche Design DASHBOARD
Porsche Design DASHBOARD
NZ$ 3,605
Seller
Gold Time
 
CH

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.