Difference Between Mechanical and Automatic Watches


Automatic watches are categorized under mechanical movements. Also, a mechanical movement is referred to a watch having hand-wound movement.

A general question asked by watch enthusiasts is this: what is the difference between automatic and mechanical watches? A very good question indeed, this question holds a lot of significance, primarily because the difference is often what leads to a person determining a particular watch’s worth.
Likewise, if you care to compare two watches with the mentioned movements, it is essential to first clear your concepts regarding both types of movements. Accordingly, before stating their definition, it is important to note that automatic watches are categorized under mechanical movements (or self-wound movement). Likewise, a mechanical movement is referred to a watch having hand-wound movement.
Furthermore, here is a simple definition of both of these movements:
Movements: Mechanical (Self-Wound) Movements vs. Automatic (Hand-Wound)
Self-wound movement is fueled by a winding spring. This means as the energy of the spring releases, it allows the gears in the watch to turn, thereby moving its hands.
Comparatively, in automatic movement, a centrally mounted rotor is activated via the person’s wrist motion. As such, this motion allows the main spring to keep winding thereby providing energy to the timepiece; hence automatic watches don’t need a cell to function. Furthermore, such watches do not need to get wound manually, unless any such watch hasn’t been worn for a long time.
Watches: Mechanical vs. Automatic


In terms of appearance, mechanical watches are very similar to their automatic counterparts. Although, many mechanical timepieces consist of see-through glass enclosures that show the watch’s complex inner mechanisms, this includes the inner rocking escapement, springs and gears. For example the Orient Rally Collection CFT00004B is a famous mechanical watch that lets viewers have a peek at its inner mechanisms.

Comparing this to automatic watches, such features are close to none in existence. Still, these watches are well-renowned for their overall beauty. For example, automatic watches such as Tissot T0864071106100 and Citizen NB0070-06E are famous for their overall eye-catching appearance, giving the individual a boost in style and elegance.


In terms of dependability in both mechanical and automatic watches is at-par with each other. This can be more evidently seen from the comparison of two such watches, Bulova 98A139 (Automatic) and Tissot T92340812 (Mechanical). Here, both of these watches are known to be great in terms of their overall durability. For e.g. both of these watches are water resistant for up to 30 meters.
Furthermore, users of both sets of watches generally complement their long life and their capability to remain scratch free for a long time.


In terms of showing accurate time, automatic watches often lag behind. This is due to the fact that they greatly rely on wrist movements of the person wearing the watch. Therefore, it is right to state that the automatic watches better cater the needs of the casual watch wearers and generally not for the occasional wearers.
In conclusion, both mechanical and automatic watches have their own relative strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, none can be categorized above the other. Furthermore, this is evident from the fact that both categories have their own prestigious history of offering some top-quality timepieces that have amazed watch enthusiasts throughout the world.

By May 10, 2015 4:00 am ET


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