We may be in an age full of innovations but automatic watches are still the in-thing for many people. They were the in-thing before the 1970s when quartz took over, and in recent times they’ve returned as snazzy fashion pieces.

Manual or battery-operated watches are good too, but there are advantages that only an automatic timepiece can offer. We’re gonna run down the major ones here.

First things first, though: what are automatic watches?

If you’re not one for checking time on your mobile handheld - be that a huge 10-inch tablet or a four-inch iPhone SE - you’re gonna have a watch. A watch can be automatic, manual or quartz (think batteries). Both manual and automatic watches have to be wound but, as the names suggest, one self-winds while the other is, well, manual.

 That’s why an auto watch is also called a self-winding watch. Rather than having to do it yourself, these novel watches rely on the movements made by your arm to generate the power needed to run them. As long the wearer is alive and animated, they run. Pretty cool, huh?

Complicated

It’s only in horology where the word complication has a positive connotation. A complicated watch has more features, and is therefore considered more exclusive and luxurious.

Most of the world’s most complicated watches are mechanical watches, and automatic watches are mechanical. If you like a watch to be able to give you more than just the time then an auto watch is a good bet. Some of their extra features are pretty unique too.

Davosa’s 200m Apnea Diver watch is an excellent example. Not only does it feature a beautiful and durable stainless steel build but also its dial offers a very novel feature for diving enthusiasts. The dial uses brilliant, internationally recognised color codes to help the diver breathe well while under water.

Davosa Apnea - Automatic divers watch

 

Sweep seconds

Yet another stylish feature exclusive to mechanical watches, a group that automatic watches are a part of. The second's hand on many auto timepieces moves in a continuous, smooth motion, giving the watch a sophisticated and elegant feel. The hand almost glides around the dial.

Still, for those who prefer the traditional style, some modern autos feature additional gears that enable them to tick once each second.

Self-winding watches last long

Automatic timepieces can run for decades. In fact, those that are serviced professionally every four to five years can last more than half a century!

The important thing is to make sure the parts are cleaned and oiled every number of years. For many collectors and enthusiasts, picking up a screw-driver set and fine-tuning their beloved watch is a fulfilling hobby. Those who are less handy prefer to take them to a professional for a relatively small fee.  

Also, auto watches are easy to bring back to life if left unused for long. Most restart once the parts are re-oiled and the watch is given a good shake.

 

That unique, aristocratic feel  

Watch connoisseurs will tell you that timepieces are not just for telling time. A good watch will accentuate the sharp look of a nice suit in a way that no other jewellery can.

Automatic watches today are coveted for the same reason as restored VW Beetles - vintage glamour. They were great before the quartz surge of the 1970s and now they’ve stolen the show again. If you love vintage stuff, they’re a must-have.

Automatic watches with a see-through case back take it up a notch. Watch with wonderment as the gears move and tick in perfect symphony to drive your device. They never stop. The beauty of it is eternal.