Automatic watch

Automatic watch

Photo: bruce shippee – fotolia.Com

A high quality automatic watch is a desire that sooner or later appears in the life of every man. If possible, then also as a luxury watch, if the budget allows it. Most of the time at this point is not even determined which brand it should be. Other characteristics are not yet defined. Diver watch or pilot watch. Three hand or chrono. The question of the bracelet must still be clarified, but one thing is certain. It must be an automatic. Where does the popularity, popularity and also the desire for automatic watches come from, what is an automatic at all and what do I need to know if I also have this desire.


What is an automatic watch and how does it work??

Automatic watch

Photo: depositphotos.Com – pvstory

An automatic watch is a mechanical wristwatch in which the mainspring is automatically wound by a rotor when the wearer moves his arm. The rotor inside the watch is on the one hand attracted by gravity, on the other hand, due to its inertia, it exerts a torque on the winding mechanism when the watch moves. This tensions the mainspring. The spring refers to a kind of sliding mechanism that prevents overwinding. If the mainspring has already reached full wind, the mechanism slips and does not wind any further.

Even in space, in the absence of gravity, the winding mechanism works solely due to the inertia of the rotor.

In simple terms, the wearer of the wristwatch does not have to wind the watch manually.

When and by whom was the automatic watch invented??

The invention made around 1755 is attributed to abraham-louis perrelet (https://de.Wikipedia.Org/wiki/automatic watch), it was a bidirectional winding for pocket watches. About 3 years later, however, hubert sarton had also developed a pocket watch with automatic winding, and almost at the same time breguet produced a precursor of the automatic winding we know today, which he called perpetuelle.

Why an automatic watch?

But why does the desire for an automatic arise?? Is there nevertheless with the quarzuhr or. The wristwatch with manual winding alternatives that also have their merits.

Quartz watch:

  • High accuracy
  • Less sensitive to shocks
  • Lower purchase price
  • Longer revision intervals

Manual winding

  • flatter construction, because no rotor is necessary
  • Uncomplicated (wind up, set the time, done)
  • Better view of the movement
  • Several centuries of tradition
  • Ritual of winding

Nevertheless, because of its more complex mechanics and sophisticated technology, the automatic watch has a strong attraction, especially for men. Only the knowledge of the complicated processes of the gears and parts inside the watch is enough to give preference to this type of watch.

But there are also rational reasons for buying an automatic watch. There is no need to wind the watch every morning. With enough movement during the day, the watch should have wound itself up enough to keep running through the night. But also eliminates the need to set the time and date. Because the watch runs through, these values are preserved.

The wristwatch with automatic also has a greater accuracy than those with manual winding. If the tension of the spring decreases, there is an inaccuracy in the running of the gear train. If the watch is always fully wound, the forces will remain stable and the rate of the watch will be more even.

When to set the time, when to set the date?

The time can be easily set at any time. It should be noted, however, that for a watch with calendar function, the time must not be set more than 24 hours backwards, because otherwise the date function could be damaged. In addition, the date should not be adjusted between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. During this period, the date is changed and if the date is changed during this period, the date function could be damaged.

When is the time for a revision?

A mechanical watch has a movement in which many small parts are constantly moving. Therefore, it is also logical that wear occurs here. The oils used in the movement can volatilize or gum up, although this has been reduced to a minimum with the oils used in the meantime.

An automatic watch therefore needs a revision from time to time. In this case, the movement is removed, disassembled, checked and cleaned. Defective or worn parts are replaced, the movement is reassembled and freshly oiled. Only then can the watch be worn again with confidence.

How long this interval is, depends on the manufacturer or the number of stones used. This depends on the manufacturer of the caliber used and is also specified by the manufacturer. As a rule, an automatic watch should be serviced every 5-7 years.

What to do when the watch stops?

In spite of the greatest care, a wristwatch with an automatic movement may stop. This is no reason to panic. Mostly the power reserve is simply used up and the watch needs movement, so that the rotor can wind the spring again.

Especially in an office job, the hand may not move enough to get the rotor to wind the watch. Moving the mouse is usually not enough, it needs something more. In addition, one usually takes the clock off at night and it lies still again for several hours.

In such cases, it can help to purchase a watch winder, which moves the watch overnight and ensures full winding and a large power reserve. Then this should also run through the day.

If the watch still stops, a visit to the watchmaker will clarify the situation.

What to say about the accuracy

The self-winding mechanism contributes to the accuracy of the watch because the spring in the watch is always evenly tensioned. It therefore runs more evenly and accurately than a hand-wound watch. However, everyone must be aware that it is a mechanical watch and it will never match the accuracy of a quartz watch.

Even very high quality movements have an inaccuracy of a few seconds per day, whether in the minus or the plus.

For the buyer and wearer, however, the accuracy of these wristwatches plays only a very subordinate role. The important thing is a beautiful and high quality appearance, which shows excellent workmanship.

Why do you often read about stones?

In the movement of a mechanical watch, jewels are used as bearings or cap jewels (https://www).Watch instinct.De/magazine/lagersteine-im-uhrwerk/). Mostly rubies are used, which reduce the friction and wear of this bearing due to their hardness.

The number of stones used is not a quality factor, but only says something about the complexity of the clock. More jewels, more bearings, as a more complex movement.

May I also wind such watches

The biggest advantage of automatic watches is that you don’t have to wind them up, because the rotor inside the watch does it for you. Now there are nevertheless cases, in which this question arises. If you have not worn the watch for a while, or it has stopped because of too little movement.

Here is now to distinguish whether the watch has a manual winding at all. If this is the case, the watch can be "started" by turning the crown a few times. How far you should or may wind the watch, is not specified. Overwinding the watch is basically impossible because of the slipping construction of the mainspring.

But there are also automatic wristwatches, which do not have a manual winding system. Like the 7sxx movements from the seiko company. Here you have to shake the watch. To do this, you take the watch in your hand and try to drive the rotor by making circular motions. With most watches, you can tell right away if the rotor is moving. After a few movements the movement should start to run. Now you can set the time and put the watch on your wrist.

What is the power reserve?

In connection with automatic watches one reads again and again of the power reserve. This is the period of time that the watch continues to run when it is fully wound, until the spring is completely released and the watch therefore stops. Provided, of course, that the watch is no longer moved.

There are also models, which exactly this power reserve also show. In this way, the wearer is always informed of how much time is left before the wristwatch is in danger of stopping.

why do some automatic watches have a glass back?

The glass back is not a unique feature of the automatic, that much in advance. Even hand-wound watches sometimes have glass backs. The sense behind this is the view of the movement resp. On the moving rotor of the automatic.

Often the rotor and sometimes the entire movement is decorated and refined, so that the view through the glass bottom can also be enjoyed. So sometimes small works of art are created.


Although the automatic wristwatch is usually more accurate than a hand-wound watch, it is still not as accurate as a quartz watch. If you wear the watch regularly, you do not need to wind it up. the wearer is primarily concerned with the sophisticated mechanics that operate inside the watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.