Difference Between a Manual and Automatic Watch

Watches are a timeless piece of jewelry that suggests refinement and class. These timepieces come in a variety of styles and features, which are essential for the aesthetic. Another factor to consider for watches is the types of watch movements.

The mechanical style watch is either manual or automatic. Their similarity is that both watches are wound by a spring, and their energy builds through components inside the watch. The tension in the spring releases and this energy goes to the gear train; then the hands of the watch move and you can utilize it to tell the time.

The differences between a manual and an automatic watch come into play when analyzing how you wind them. No one style is better than the other for market value, so choosing the right watch comes down to your lifestyle preferences and the features you want.

Read through our guide on manual and automatic watches to decide which is best for you.

Manual Watch

Manual wind watches are the oldest type of watch, dating back to the 16th century. To power the watch, you will have to wind the spring using your fingers or a special tool. There is no rotor, so the manual watch cannot build up more energy while you are wearing it. Depending on the watch, there could be hundreds of small parts that keep it running.

This style is often popular for elegant watches that are worn for special events. Their detailed craftsmanship makes them valuable. Winding the watch will last the day, and it will need to be rewound if worn the next day. These watches are also thinner since they lack the rotor component, so this option may be best if you don’t like a bulky watch.


Automatic Watch

The automatic watch is called the self-winding watch because you do not need to wind it every day. The rotor is attached to the watch’s movement. Whenever you move your wrist, the rotor spins, and the mainspring tightens. The released energy from this spring is what powers the watch.

Automatic watches are best for everyday use. Regular wear means you will not have to wind it up manually on a regular basis. You will likely have to wind it manually if you go for a while without wearing it, though. This style is also more popular on the market, so you will have more options to select from when purchasing.


Purchase a Valuable Watch at Fortuna Auction


If you want an elegant and valuable watch, look to Fortuna Auction for watch options. We are the fastest-growing auction house in the world for antiques and watches. Our auction processes are transparent, honest and filled with integrity. Visit our NYC showroom, bid online and more to participate. With a global buyer and seller pool, you will find the perfect watch for your style.


Check out our upcoming auctions to find an automatic or manual watch for your collection.