Automatic watches, also known as self-winding watches, are a popular choice among watch enthusiasts. These convenient timepieces offer the wearer the luxury of not having to wind their manual watch by hand; instead, they are powered by the natural movements of the wearer’s wrist.
Automatic watches have been around as pocket watches since the late 1770s thanks to Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet, and have since become popular among wristwatch connoisseurs. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what automatic watches are, the benefits and drawbacks of having one, and the features to look for when purchasing one.
Whether you’re a watch enthusiast looking to upgrade your collection or simply curious about the concept of automatic watches, this blog is here to provide you with all the answers.
Definition of an Automatic Watch
An automatic watch is a type of mechanical watch that is powered by the movement of the wearer’s arm. This power is then used to wind the watch and keep it running. The most distinguishing feature of an automatic watch movement is the rotor, an oscillating metal weight that is attached to the movement’s mainspring.
The weighted rotor spins as the wearer moves their arm, providing enough energy to power the watch for about forty hours. This makes automatic watches a convenient and reliable option for those who don’t want to worry about daily winding. Many automatic designs have a 7-day power reserve, with some going beyond ten days.
How Automatic Movements Work
Unlike quartz watch movements, which use an electrical circuit with a power source to power the movement, automatic watches use a mechanical movement and natural motion.
Automatic watches are made up of a series of gears and springs that are wound by the motion of the wearer’s arm. As the wearer moves, the rotor, a very small weight, rotates and creates a wound spring called a mainspring. The mainspring in an automatic watch is held under tension, allowing it to store kinetic energy as it winds and providing power to the movement as it unwinds.
Advantages of Automatic Watch Movements
Automatic watches are highly accurate and durable, so you can depend on them for decades with proper care. Additionally, they have a timeless aesthetic and their intricate mechanisms make them a popular choice for watch enthusiasts. Here are three advantages of an automatic watch:
1) They are self-winding
2) They are extremely accurate and durable
3) They look great and have an interesting internal mechanism which is a pleasure to look at.
Disadvantages of an Automatic Watch
Although automatic watches are a great choice for many, they do have some drawbacks. The most notable is that they require regular maintenance and servicing to keep them running smoothly. Additionally, they are more expensive than quartz watches due to their intricate mechanisms. Finally, they can be affected by magnetism which can cause the watch to stop or run inaccurately.
Types of Movements in Automatic Mechanical Watches
Automatic watches employ a variety of types of mechanical watch movements to make the watch function, such as the uni-directional movement, bi-directional movement, and the tri-directional movement.
The uni-directional movement is a simple oscillating system that only requires the user to move in one direction to generate energy.
The bi-directional movement is a more complex system that requires the user to move in both directions to generate energy. This type of movement is usually found in higher-end watches and offers greater accuracy and power reserve than the uni-directional movement.
Finally, the tri-directional movement is an even more complex system that requires the user to move in three directions to generate energy.
Maintenance of Automatic Winding Watches
To ensure that your automatic watch remains in good working order, it should be serviced and cleaned at least once a year. This includes checking all of the components, lubricating any parts that may need it, and adjusting the timekeeping accuracy.
Additionally, you should make sure that you keep your automatic watch away from strong magnetic fields, as these can interfere with its timekeeping accuracy. Regular maintenance of your automatic watch will help to ensure that it will continue to function properly for years to come.
Cost of Automatic Watches
The cost of an automatic watch depends on many factors, such as the brand, the movement, and the complications. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 in the budget range to luxury watches over $100,000. Luxury brands and complicated movements tend to be more expensive than entry-level brands and simpler movements. However, no matter the cost, automatic watches offer exceptional value for money and will last for generations.
Popular Brands of Automatic Watches
Automatic watches are incredibly popular, and many brands offer variations of them. Popular brands of automatic wristwatch include Seiko, Citizen, Orient, Hamilton, Tag Heuer, Longines, Tissot, and Omega.
Seiko has been producing watches since 1881, and its watches are known for their accuracy and reliability.
Citizen is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of watches and clocks, with a wide range of both mechanical and quartz watches. Orient is a Japanese-based watch manufacturer that creates unique designs and is known for its high-quality movements.
Hamilton is a Swiss-based watchmaker that is known for its classic American style.
Tag Heuer is a Swiss luxury watchmaker that specializes in high-end chronographs and chronometers. Longines is a Swiss luxury watchmaker that produces classic and elegant timepieces.
Tissot is a Swiss watchmaker that is known for its modern and innovative designs.
Finally, Omega is a Swiss luxury watchmaker that is renowned for its precision and accuracy.
Keep Time with Self-Winding Watches
Automatic watches are a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable, hard-wearing timepiece. With their self-winding movements and timeless look, they are a great way to add a touch of sophistication to any wardrobe.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional dress watch for business or a more casual style for the weekend, a self-winding watch is sure to fit the bill.
Plus, with their robust construction and low maintenance requirements, these watches are sure to last for years to come.