5 Must-Know Facts About Automatic Watches

If you love watches, you adore automatic watches. I have heard this so many times, but is this true? What makes automatic watches so special? And do they have a place in a world where smartwatches dominate the markets? 

Watches are a whole new universe for me. Yes, they are linked to the jewelry world; most jewelers have one or more watch brands in their collections. But simultaneously, the watch and jewelry worlds are very much separated. 

In the upcoming VicenzaOro show, there will be more dedicated space and attention to watch brands, with an increased number of watch exhibitors from independent watch brands. And I am curious!

I could never understand why anyone would want an automatic watch. Why choose this when batteries make it all so much easier!? And why choose a watch in this era when we focus massively on smartwatches? This dinosaur piece seems like. But the watch collector market is a thriving business, with many younger collectors finding each other on Reddit and other social media groups to discuss their love for watches endlessly. 

I feel a little like an explorer in this field. I am holding a light in the palm of my hand, pushing my way through the exciting jungle that is the watch world. My first blog on watches should cover the basics, so I thought. Because perhaps, just like me, you are not ” in the know” either. Take my hand, and let’s go!  

Automatic watches, also known as self-winding watches, are a type of mechanical timepiece that uses the movement of the wearer’s wrist to wind the mainspring, powering the watch. This is in contrast to quartz watches, powered by a battery.

One of the biggest pros of automatic watches is their precision and durability. Because they are mechanical, they don’t rely on batteries that need to be replaced, and they can last for decades with proper maintenance. They also have charm and elegance that many watch enthusiasts find appealing.

On the downside, automatic watches can be more expensive than quartz watches and require more maintenance. They need to be serviced every few years, and if they’re not worn regularly, they may need to be manually wound to keep them running.

Automatic watches are popular among watch enthusiasts, collectors, and those who appreciate the craftsmanship and precision of a mechanical timepiece. Some well-known popular brands of automatic watches include Rolex, Omega, Breitling, and IWC.

  1. Make sure you understand the movement: Automatic watches have different types of movements, so it’s essential to understand the differences and choose the one that best fits your needs.
  2. Consider the brand: Different brands have different reputations for quality and durability, so do your research to find one that you trust.
  3. Decide on the style: Automatic watches come in a wide variety of styles, from sporty to formal, so think about what you’ll be using the watch for and what style best suits your needs.
  4. Think about the price: Automatic watches can be pretty expensive, so make sure you have a budget in mind and stick to it.
  5. Consider the warranty: Ensure you understand it and what it covers before purchasing.

Overall, automatic watches are an excellent choice for anyone who values precision, durability, and craftsmanship in a timepiece. With so many options available, you can find one that fits your needs and style. 

Several brands stand out for their quality, craftsmanship, and reputation regarding automatic watches. Here are some of the most sought-after brands in the world of automatic watches, along with their approximate price ranges:

  1. Rolex: Known for their precision and durability, Rolex automatic watches are some of the most sought-after timepieces in the world. Prices for a new Rolex automatic watch can range from around $5,000 to over $50,000, depending on the model and materials.
  2. Omega: Another well-known brand in the world of automatic watches, Omega is known for its precision and durability. Prices for an Omega automatic watch can range from around $3,000 to $10,000, depending on the model and materials.
  3. Breitling: Breitling is known for its sporty, high-performance automatic watches. Prices for a Breitling automatic watch can range from around $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the model and materials.
  4. IWC: IWC, short for International Watch Company, is known for its precision and luxury watches. Prices for an IWC automatic watch can range from around $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the model and materials.
  5. Panerai: Panerai watches are known for their bold designs, considered one of the most sought-after luxury watches; prices for a Panerai automatic watch can range from around $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the model and materials.
  6. Patek Philippe: Patek Philippe is considered one of the most prestigious watch brands in the world, known for its exceptional craftsmanship and precision. Prices for a Patek Philippe automatic watch can range from around $10,000 to over $100,000, depending on the model and materials.

It’s worth noting that the prices of automatic watches can vary depending on the model, materials, and features, and these are just approximate ranges. Be sure to research and compare different models and brands to find the one that best fits your needs and budget. 

While many reputable brands of automatic watches are on the market, two stand out to me. They have a gorgeous design, and exceptional craftsmanship and precision are Christiaan van der Klaauw and Jaquet Droz.

Christiaan van der Klaauw is a Dutch brand that creates automatic astronomical watches. These watches are known for their intricate and precise astronomical complications, such as displaying the moon’s phases, the stars’ position, and the planets’ movement. Prices for a Christiaan van der Klaauw automatic astronomical watch can range from around $20,000 to $100,000, depending on the model and complications.


Lady Arpels Planetarium by Van Cleef & Arpels in collaboration with Christiaan van der Klaauw. Self-winding mechanical Power reserve: 40 h, 28800 variations/hours. Price: €256.000,-. White Gold, Alligator. Functions: Hours, Minutes, Date, Day, Month, Year, Moon phases
Planetarium Movement. Courtesy: van Cleef & Arpels and Christiaan van der Klaauw

On the other hand, Jaquet Droz is a Swiss brand known for creating elegant and sophisticated automatic watches. These watches are known for their intricate and precise complications, such as tourbillons, perpetual calendars, and minute repeaters. Prices for a Jaquet Droz automatic watch can range from around $20,000 to $100,000, depending on the model and complications. Their most exclusive model is the “Grande Seconde Off-Centered,” considered one of the world’s most elegant and sophisticated watches; its price can range from $50,000 to $100,000. 

This company also creates unique pieces filled with enameled details, such as The Bird Repeater, with the Tropical Bird Repeater as one of my favorites. Recently, the brand made headlines with The Rolling Stones Automaton, with an estimated retail price of $268.000-

Indeed, for the wealthy Rolling Stones fan! 

Jaquet Droz. The Rolling Stone Automaton. The guitars and their amp are individually shaped by hand from a block of red gold, engraved then painted. The various drum toms are also made of white and red gold threads. The exact color tone of each instrument, the tweed finish of the amp, the pickguard of the guitars, the tolex of the loudspeakers: every tiny detail, the slightest imperceptible reflection, is painted by hand. Even Mick Jagger’s harmonica is reproduced, next to his microphone, in a block of gold that does not exceed a few 1/10th millimeters. On the sapphire case back, the red gold oscillating weight will be engraved with the name of the chosen album, among the 23 available, by the collector to illustrate the image under the central stage – with its release date and the name of the studio where it was recorded, leading to a unique piece duly engraved “1/1”. (Informational text and image, courtesy of Jaquet Droz)

As for the most expensive automatic watch currently on the market, it’s difficult to say as prices can fluctuate and new models are constantly being released. Still, some of the most expensive automatic watches ever sold at auction include the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518, which sold for over $11 million in 2016, and the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263, which sold for around $17 million in 2017. 

  • Automatic watches are a true masterpiece of engineering and craftsmanship. They are precision instruments that have stood the test of time and are built to last for decades, if not centuries.
  • Automatic watches are a symbol of style and elegance. They are the perfect accessory for anyone who wants to make a statement and stand out.
  • Automatic watches are a significant investment. They are not only practical timepieces but also valuable pieces of art that can be appreciated over time.
  • Automatic watches are the perfect blend of tradition and technology. They are a nod to the past, but they also incorporate the latest advancements in engineering and materials.
  • Automatic watches are a great conversation starter. They are fascinating topics that can spark interesting conversations with other watch enthusiasts.

On the other hand,

  • Automatic watches require regular maintenance and servicing. They need to be serviced every few years, and if they’re not worn regularly, they may need to be manually wound to keep them running.
  • Automatic watches can be more expensive than quartz watches, especially those from luxury brands. They might only be affordable for some.
  • Automatic watches are not the best option for people looking for a watch that is easy to use and maintain, a quartz watch.

Jaquet Droz; GRANDE SECONDE OFF-CENTERED watch (courtesy Jaquet Droz) 

Properly storing an automatic watch is vital to ensure that it continues to run accurately and maintain its condition. Here are a few tips on how to store an automatic watch:

  1. Keep it wound: If you’re not planning on wearing your automatic watch for an extended period, manually wind it before storing it. This will keep the mainspring tight and prevent it from running down.
  2. Store it in a cool, dry place: Avoid storing your automatic watch in a damp or humid environment, as this can cause rust and corrosion. It is best to keep your watch in a cool, dry place, such as a safe or a watch box.
  3. Use a watch winder: A watch winder is a device that keeps an automatic watch wound when it’s not being worn. This is an excellent option for people with multiple automatic watches who want to keep them all running accurately.
  4. Please keep it away from magnets: Automatic watches are sensitive to magnetic fields, so it is best to keep them away from electronic devices and other sources of magnetism.
  5. Use a watch cover: To protect the watch from dust, scratches, or any damage; you can use a watch cover. This will help to keep your watch in good condition while it is being stored.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your automatic watch is adequately stored and continues to run accurately for years to come. 


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