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Franck Muller 18Kt Perpetual Calendar Moon folding closure
TOP
Franck Muller 18Kt Perpetual Calendar Moon folding closure
NZ$ 25,093
Seller
Ingo Freiherr von Seld
9
DE
Chronoswiss Opus Skeleton Rosegold Automatic Box Papier...
TOP
Chronoswiss Opus Skeleton Rosegold Automatic Box Papier...
NZ$ 14,700
Seller
Uhrenmarkt München
121
DE
Rolex Datejust Everose Two Tone  Gold MOP Diamond Dial 126301
TOP
Rolex Datejust Everose Two Tone Gold MOP Diamond Dial 126301
NZ$ 22,269
Seller
Harley's Time LLC
158
US
Rolex Lady Datejust Lapis 18K GOLD GELBGOLD DAMENUHR
TOP
Rolex Lady Datejust Lapis 18K GOLD GELBGOLD DAMENUHR
NZ$ 11,649
Seller
Timeless Watches GmbH
230
DE
Patek Philippe 5015 Mondphase 950er Platinum Power Reserve...
TOP
Patek Philippe 5015 Mondphase 950er Platinum Power Reserve...
NZ$ 52,051
Seller
Uhrenkapital
337
DE
Cartier Roadster
TOP
Cartier Roadster
NZ$ 5,457
Seller
Chase Hattan
24
UK
Omega 326.32.40.50.06.001
Omega 326.32.40.50.06.001
NZ$ 4,550
Seller
Private Seller
NZ
Longines Master Collection 42 mm
TOP
Longines Master Collection 42 mm
NZ$ 3,572
Seller
LUX-Timepieces GmbH
737
DE
Girard Perregaux WW.TC
Girard Perregaux WW.TC
NZ$ 14,000
Seller
About Time Ltd
NZ
Corum AdmiralS.C.One
TOP
Corum AdmiralS.C.One
NZ$ 9,872
Seller
CANTELI JOYEROS SL
9
ES
Chopard Tycoon Two o Ten Rose Gold With Diamonds
TOP
Chopard Tycoon Two o Ten Rose Gold With Diamonds
NZ$ 17,860
Seller
Juwelier Burger, since 2001
726
NL
Rolex Sea-Dweller
Rolex Sea-Dweller
NZ$ 58,335
Seller
Private Seller
NZ
Rolex Datejust Edelstahl/ Gelbgold Oysterarmband Automatic...
TOP
Rolex Datejust Edelstahl/ Gelbgold Oysterarmband Automatic...
NZ$ 6,264
Seller
Timeless Watches GmbH
230
DE
Glashütte Original Glashutte Original PanomaticReserve...
TOP
Glashütte Original Glashutte Original PanomaticReserve...
NZ$ 38,308
Seller
Metals In Time
6
US
Piaget Emporador P10041
Piaget Emporador P10041
NZ$ 7,692
Seller
Private Seller
NZ
Tudor Heritage Advisor 79620TN
TOP
Tudor Heritage Advisor 79620TN
NZ$ 6,063
Seller
Chase Hattan
24
UK
Omega Globemaster
Omega Globemaster
NZ$ 6,450
Seller
Private Seller
NZ
Alain Silberstein Tourbillon Volant
Alain Silberstein Tourbillon Volant
NZ$ 18,462
Seller
About Time Ltd
NZ
Omega 331.10.42.51.02.002
Omega 331.10.42.51.02.002
NZ$ 8,350
Seller
Private Seller
NZ
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph
TOP
Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph
NZ$ 14,270
Seller
CANTELI JOYEROS SL
9
ES
Breguet Transatlantique Type XX Chronograph Black Dial...
TOP
Breguet Transatlantique Type XX Chronograph Black Dial...
NZ$ 7,449
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
169
NL
Rolex Daytona White gold  Oro Bianco - Blue Dial - quadrante Blue
TOP
Rolex Daytona White gold Oro Bianco - Blue Dial - quadrante Blue
NZ$ 48,461
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2927
IT
Nomos Zürich World Time - refurbished
Straight from the manufacturer
Nomos Zürich World Time - refurbished
NZ$ 6,857
BrandBoutique Member
NOMOS Glashütte
De Grisogono UNO GS N08 Or 18 KT. Bruni
TOP
De Grisogono UNO GS N08 Or 18 KT. Bruni
NZ$ 15,720
Seller
Bijouterie-Horlogerie Langel
51
CH
Bell & Ross BR 01-92
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 01-92
NZ$ 3,941
Seller
Chase Hattan
24
UK
Patek Philippe Annual Calender Moonface 5396/1r-001 Rose Gold...
TOP
Patek Philippe Annual Calender Moonface 5396/1r-001 Rose Gold...
NZ$ 73,042
Seller
Taleda
387
CH
Omega Seamaster 1000m / 3300ft
Omega Seamaster 1000m / 3300ft
NZ$ 8,500
Seller
About Time Ltd
NZ
Parmigiani Fleurier KALPA KALPAGRAPHE CHRONOGRAPH DATE 18K...
TOP
Parmigiani Fleurier KALPA KALPAGRAPHE CHRONOGRAPH DATE 18K...
NZ$ 18,759
Seller
A.S. INVESTMENTS SP. Z O.O.
125
PL
Omega Seamaster De Ville Don Draper black dial mens watch + Box
TOP
Omega Seamaster De Ville Don Draper black dial mens watch + Box
NZ$ 4,040
Seller
Fine Auction Club
188
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph "Le Petit Prince" Edition - IW 377717
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph "Le Petit Prince" Edition - IW 377717
NZ$ 6,551
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
169
NL
Rolex YACHT-MASTER Oyster, 40 mm,  Everose Pavè Diamonds
TOP
Rolex YACHT-MASTER Oyster, 40 mm, Everose Pavè Diamonds
NZ$ 61,923
Free shipping
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2927
IT
Nomos Ahoi Atlantic Date - refurbished
Straight from the manufacturer
Nomos Ahoi Atlantic Date - refurbished
NZ$ 5,510
BrandBoutique Member
NOMOS Glashütte
IWC vintage automatic Cal 854B Stainless Steel 1971
TOP
IWC vintage automatic Cal 854B Stainless Steel 1971
NZ$ 2,511
Seller
qualityextra
13
HU
Rolex UNPOLISHED 18K/SS GMT-Master ll Jubilee w/ Silver Serti...
TOP
Rolex UNPOLISHED 18K/SS GMT-Master ll Jubilee w/ Silver Serti...
NZ$ 19,992
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
199
US
Montblanc Gabiddu Grand Chronographe Régulateur
TOP
Montblanc Gabiddu Grand Chronographe Régulateur
NZ$ 71,454
Seller
Taleda
387
CH
Bovet Recital 3 Tourbillon
Bovet Recital 3 Tourbillon
NZ$ 78,462
Seller
About Time Ltd
NZ
Omega CONSTELLATION DOUBLE EAGLE CHRONOMETER DIAMONDS LADY LADIES
TOP
Omega CONSTELLATION DOUBLE EAGLE CHRONOMETER DIAMONDS LADY LADIES
NZ$ 12,533
Seller
A.S. INVESTMENTS SP. Z O.O.
125
PL
TAG Heuer Monaco Steve McQueen Like Nos
TOP
TAG Heuer Monaco Steve McQueen Like Nos
NZ$ 23,334
Seller
MASTROLORENZI S.A.S DI MATTIA MASTROLORENZI & CO.
61
IT
Chaumet Dandy W1167026B Paris Automatic Date
TOP
Chaumet Dandy W1167026B Paris Automatic Date
NZ$ 3,141
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
169
NL
Tudor HERITAGE BLACK BAY DARK 79230DK
TOP
Tudor HERITAGE BLACK BAY DARK 79230DK
NZ$ 5,203
Free shipping
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2927
IT
Nomos Zurich World Time - refurbished
Straight from the manufacturer
Nomos Zurich World Time - refurbished
NZ$ 6,857
BrandBoutique Member
NOMOS Glashütte
IWC 18K Gold vintage automatic date Cal 8541 1964
TOP
IWC 18K Gold vintage automatic date Cal 8541 1964
NZ$ 3,588
Seller
qualityextra
13
HU
Rolex Rare Ladies Oysterdate Precision 6406 Hand-Wind Dress...
TOP
Rolex Rare Ladies Oysterdate Precision 6406 Hand-Wind Dress...
NZ$ 5,400
Free shipping
Seller
GMTSKY
376
US
Franck Muller Master Of Complication 8880 B Sc Dt Rose Gold 45mm
TOP
Franck Muller Master Of Complication 8880 B Sc Dt Rose Gold 45mm
NZ$ 57,163
Seller
Taleda
387
CH
Rolex Ladies TT Oyster Perpetual - Mother Of Pearl Diamond...
TOP
Rolex Ladies TT Oyster Perpetual - Mother Of Pearl Diamond...
NZ$ 4,915
Free shipping
Seller
LovinTyme
94
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre MASTER CALENDAR MOON PHASE RESERVE DE MARCHE...
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre MASTER CALENDAR MOON PHASE RESERVE DE MARCHE...
NZ$ 23,133
Seller
A.S. INVESTMENTS SP. Z O.O.
125
PL
Rolex 36mm SS DATEJUST Slate Dial w/ Rolex Box - 1603 model
TOP
Rolex 36mm SS DATEJUST Slate Dial w/ Rolex Box - 1603 model
NZ$ 5,838
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
199
US
Bulgari Bvlgari Diagono Professional Chronograph Gold & Steel...
TOP
Bulgari Bvlgari Diagono Professional Chronograph Gold & Steel...
NZ$ 4,936
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
169
NL
Omega CONSTELLATION OMEGA CO-AXIAL 38 MM ROSE GOLD
TOP
Omega CONSTELLATION OMEGA CO-AXIAL 38 MM ROSE GOLD
NZ$ 18,845
Seller
Plus Watch - Luxury Watches
2927
IT
Nomos Ahoi Date - refurbished
Straight from the manufacturer
Nomos Ahoi Date - refurbished
NZ$ 5,331
BrandBoutique Member
NOMOS Glashütte
Concord C2 Chronograph
Concord C2 Chronograph
NZ$ 2,260
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Breguet Classique Automatico Brillantes
TOP
Breguet Classique Automatico Brillantes
NZ$ 23,244
Seller
Fernando Monge SA
126
ES
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 25960bc.oo.1185bc.01 White Gold...
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 25960bc.oo.1185bc.01 White Gold...
NZ$ 66,690
Seller
Taleda
387
CH
Rolex Ladies 18K/SS Oyster Perpetual -Factory Silver Diamond...
TOP
Rolex Ladies 18K/SS Oyster Perpetual -Factory Silver Diamond...
NZ$ 5,531
Free shipping
Seller
LovinTyme
94
US
Girard Perregaux 1966 AUTOMATIC DATE CLASSIC KLASSIK CLASSIQUE
TOP
Girard Perregaux 1966 AUTOMATIC DATE CLASSIC KLASSIK CLASSIQUE
NZ$ 8,145
Seller
A.S. INVESTMENTS SP. Z O.O.
125
PL
Rolex 2001 26mm 18K/SS Datejust Custom MOP Diamonds - Box &...
TOP
Rolex 2001 26mm 18K/SS Datejust Custom MOP Diamonds - Box &...
NZ$ 6,146
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
199
US
Oris Artelier Pointer Automatic Day & Date - (44 MM)
TOP
Oris Artelier Pointer Automatic Day & Date - (44 MM)
NZ$ 1,615
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
169
NL
Girard Perregaux Vintage Chronograph
TOP
Girard Perregaux Vintage Chronograph
NZ$ 19,000
Seller
Metals In Time
6
US
Nomos Tangomat Date - refurbished
Straight from the manufacturer
Nomos Tangomat Date - refurbished
NZ$ 4,469
BrandBoutique Member
NOMOS Glashütte
Martin Braun MB811L
Martin Braun MB811L
NZ$ 3,500
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Bell & Ross Vintage 126XL  Limited Edition
TOP
Bell & Ross Vintage 126XL Limited Edition
NZ$ 13,417
Seller
Fernando Monge SA
126
ES
Richard Mille RM010 Le Mans Classic Limited Edition 30 pcs
TOP
Richard Mille RM010 Le Mans Classic Limited Edition 30 pcs
NZ$ 130,132
Free shipping
Seller
AP Watches
15
ES
  • 30
  • 60
  • 120

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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