How to Choose a Watch – Automatic Watches – Part One

If you have been pondering over purchasing a watch, or you already have, but you honestly just do not know that much about watches in general, then this series of articles is just for you.  In “How to Choose a Watch”, we will go over not only the pros but also the cons with different types of timepieces. We will also go over the different styles and of course cover the basics.

What does ‘Watch Movements’ mean?

One of the terms you will continue seeing when you begin learning about watches, is watch movements. But, what does it mean?  Watch movements is how the hands of the watch move around the face and it also applies to the inner mechanisms that create that effect.  The watch movement is critical in how the timepiece works and how it keeps track of time.  There are three different types of watch movements and they are automatic, mechanical and quartz.

Automatic– Automatic watches operate in some of the same ways as a mechanical watch does. They are both powered by a mainspring and they both make use of gears in order to move the watch hands.  However, where they differ, automatic watches do not need to be hand-wound in order for the watch to keep ticking. Instead, the watch movement winds up the mainspring over the course of the day. This is why it is referred to as an automatic movement, and they are also commonly called self-winding watches.

How does an automatic movement self-wind?

On the inside, there is a small weight that is referred to as a rotor. The rotor will move as you move about, specifically when your wrist moves to be precise. The rotor is connected to the mainspring and as it moves it winds the mainspring. Automatic watches also have a device called a slipping clutch.  The slipping clutch prevents the mainspring from becoming over-wound.

In the event that you do not wear the timepiece for a period of time, you will need to put it in a watch winder. The watch winder moves the watch in a circular motion while it is in storage in order to keep it wound.  If the automatic watch has a feature such as a calendar or date display then by not putting the watch in a watch winder it will eventually run out of juice. When it does, the calendar and date will be stuck at the exact time that the watch ran out of power. This will need to be manually reset once you put the watch on again.

What are the Pros of Automatic Watches?

  • They do not require a battery.
  • Automatic watches do not have to be wound by hand.
  • They have a smooth movement.

What are the Cons of Automatic Watches?

They are sensitive to the environment. Dust, dirt and debris can gum up the components inside of the watch if it is not properly maintained.

  • Must be stored in a watch winder. When it is not in use, It will need to be placed in a watch winder in order keep the timepiece wound.
  • Automatic watches can be just as accurate as masterfully crafted mechanical watches. However, they will lose accuracy over time and will eventually need a tune-up.
  • Automatic watches are rather expensive.


In the next article we will continue our article series on how to choose a watch. We will go into detail about mechanical watches and all of the pros and cons that deal with them. If you would like to learn more, continue reading below.


About Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry

Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry has been providing quality products and professional services to the metropolitan Denver, CO area since 1951.  The very first watch repair and service facility ever opened in Colorado. Dan Matheu, watchmaker, pioneered watch repair and services in Colorado.  Today, Scott Matheu is at the helm steering Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry. With his vision, Scott opened a watch store in Highlands Ranch and has made Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry not only one of the largest watch stores to provide watch repair in Denver, CO but also the entire state.

Whether you need watch repair in Denver, CO, watch engraving, or even if you have an antique watch that you would like appraised, you can count on Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry to provide you with superior service each and every single time. All of our watchmakers are factory trained and we have CW21 Certified by the American Watchmakers and Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) on site. This certification has the most stringent standards for watchmakers performing repair, restoration, and service work on watches.With one of the largest service centers in the metropolitan Denver, CO we are not only able to provide watch repair in Denver, CO but to the entire 50 states as well.

Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry is also a factory authorized service center for Cartier, Tag Heuer, Philip Stein, Swiss Army and many more brands. When you use Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry for your watch repair in Denver, CO, you can rest assured knowing that you will receive our (3) three-year warranty on major watch repairs that we provide. If you are looking for the best watch repair service center throughout the United States, you cannot go wrong when you choose Matheu’s Fine Watches & Jewelry. With certifications from not only AWCI but SAWTA too, we not only stand out from the pact; we lead it.