What to Know Before Buying an Automatic Watch

By  //  March 25, 2021

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As electronic devices like smartphones and smartwatches have simultaneously grown together to become the one-stop-shop for all of our problem’s solutions, including timekeeping, you might never have had cause to buy an automatic watch.

Alternatively, maybe you’ve only ever owned a manually winding mechanical watch or an electronic watch. In both cases, there are a lot of questions you could find yourself asking about your potential new wrist accessory.

Let’s go over a few of the essentials that you’ll need to know before deciding to purchase one of the most tried and tested trusty timepieces; the automatic watch.

The Difference Between Manual and Automatic

It might seem like the difference between manual and automatic watches are reasonably obvious. After all, it’s all in the name, right?

The implication behind the word “automatic” is a pinch misleading, however. Just because it’s automatic doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to need some interaction from you, the wearer.

Taking center stage of the fundamental mechanics in both manual wind and automatic watches is the mainspring. That magical little coil of metal is what keeps the mechanics ticking all throughout the day, and this is what will need your attention.

Shake It Like You Just Don’t Care

“But I don’t want to have to wind up the watch,” I hear you cry. Not to worry, you won’t be fiddling around with that crown as much as you would be with a standard winding watch, perhaps not even at all.

A series of complex rotors inside of the watch will help to generate the juice that the mainspring needs to keep things ticking away nicely, rotors which will spin and move in accordance with how often you are moving.

That doesn’t mean you need to spin your arm around like you’re a character in a 90s cartoon winding up a punch, or that you need to shake it around like a kid trying to find out what’s inside a wrapped parcel on the night before Christmas.

Simply moving around and going about your usual daily chores and tasks will be sufficient. If it has been dormant for a while, such as overnight, then usually a tiny little shake will get things moving again.

You’ll still find, however, that some watches possess a crown for winding. This is something that varies from watch to watch, so there’s no single standard or answer on whether or not you’ll have one.

If you are lucky enough to be part of the crown and rotor club, then you’ll also have the option of giving the crown a little twist if you feel like mixing things up a bit. Neat!

Wind It Until It Explodes!

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on the individual’s sense of humor, you aren’t going to overwind your watch until the faceplate comes flying off, raining miniature springs and cogs over passersby.

This is where automatic watches have superiority over their winding siblings. You see, because of the fact that it would be hard to predict how much someone was to move the watch and charge the mainspring, there’s a safety feature.

That safety feature is a special spring that causes the winding mechanism to just glide around inside its chamber if the watch is already fully wound. No need to worry your head over broken springs.

Easy Going Automatic

In comparison to the winding watch, the automatic should cause considerably reduced worry about making sure that everything stays on time. Just as long as you wear it often enough, and give it the odd shake here and there when you don’t, you’ll be golden!

Whether or not you decide to go with an automatic or a winding, nothing beats the classic look and the prestige of a mechanical watch!

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