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Automatic Watches—How They Work and What Advantages They Offer

Automatic watches are a relatively new invention in contrast to hand-wound watches. Having only been available on a large scale since the middle of the 20th century, they enjoy an exceptionally high degree of popularity nowadays. In contrast to mechanical watches with a manual winding mechanism or to battery-powered quartz watches, automatic watches wind themselves automatically. All that these self-winding watches, as they are also called, need is the movement of the wearer's arm. To make this kinetic energy available to the watch, the movements of automatic watches are equipped with a rotor. It rotates when subjected to jerky or steady movements and transmits the energy to the mainspring that is housed in the barrel. The tensioning of the mainspring serves to store the energy. Even if an automatic watch isn't subject to any movements, it continues to run because its mainspring releases the collected energy in a slow and uniform manner. This running time is called power reserve. Depending on the manufacturer and the model, it amounts to 30 to 60 hours after the watch has been fully wound.
The functioning of an automatic watch is thus only half as mystical as it may initially seem. The technology behind it is sophisticated, and in some watches, it can be observed firsthand through a transparent caseback. The rotor's oscillating mass is made of high-quality materials such as gold or even platinum, and not just for optical reasons. Heavy materials are generally used for this purpose, even if the movement is fully out of sight, to make the energy generation as efficient as possible.

Useful Tips for Handling Your Automatic Watches

So far, so useful. But what do you do if you haven't worn or moved your automatic watch in excess of the power reserve and it stops running? There are several answers to this question, depending on the model. Many modern automatic watches are also equipped with a manual winding mechanism, which allows you to wind the watch manually. If your automatic watch doesn't offer this possibility, the only option is to jerk the watch until the mechanism mentioned in the first section resumes and the watch starts to run. However, setting the correct time remains to be done in either case. Especially if you have a larger collection of watches or automatic watches with complicated functions, as for example a perpetual calendar, the constant resetting can be very time-consuming and burdensome. This is where watch winders come in handy. As their name suggests, they wind automatic watches by keeping them in motion and thus reliably prevent the movement from standing still. Besides, they protect your automatic watches from dust and showcase them in an elegant box.

Automatic Watches at Wempe

At Wempe you will find watches from many renowned manufacturers, including a large selection of automatic watches for men and women and accessories such as travel bags and watch winders. If you cannot find your desired model online, we would be pleased to welcome you to one of our showrooms. In addition to personal consultation, we also offer comprehensive service for all aspects of your wristwatch.