Pros and Cons for Automatic Watches

What do you consider before picking a watch? Is it style, appearance, cost or brand? People have varying motivations when deciding on a watch to buy. But one thing you should definitely consider is if it’s an automatic watch or battery operated watch.

Automatic watches have been around since the 1920s. Omega and Tudor are a few examples of prominent brands that have their lines of automatic watches. One would think that because this watch features self-winding abilities, picking it is a no-brainer. But with pretty much every product, automatic watches have both advantages and disadvantages. Simply weigh the two before making a decision to buy. We’ll list these pros and cons below.

How Automatic Watches Work

Automatic watches either use a rotor or metal weight to power up the unit. This rotor is designed to move freely and the movement is further prompted by the wearer’s motion. Simply put: every time you move, the rotor spins – causing the hands to move.

front view of Omega Seamaster blue dial watch

Pros for Automatic Watches

No Battery Required

Since automatic watches are designed to wind automatically, it follows that they don’t need a battery to operate. You won’t wake up one day to find the watch battery drained on the morning of an important business meeting. Basically, you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries every now and then.

Fairly Accurate

These watches fare well where accuracy is concerned. A standard automatic watch will be plus or minus 25 seconds in respect to the actual time, which you’ll agree isn’t too bad. Of course, this will depend on who is wearing it or rather, what you want to use the watch for. If you’re in the medical, marine, or military sector, then naturally every second count. You’ll need a watch that’s extremely accurate as a chronometer from Ulysse Nardin.

closer view of Ulysse Nardin watch

No Hand Winding Necessary if Worn Regularly

If you wear your automatic watch all the time, you’ll never have to manually wind it which makes it very convenient.

Stellar Aesthetics

Just the craftsmanship alone incorporated in automatic watches is sheer genius, not to mention the engineering. This makes them some of the most aesthetically pleasing watches on the market. A look at the Rolex GMT Master II confirms this.

Smooth Movement

To add to the stunning aesthetics, these watches boast a smooth and suave hand movement. The smooth movement is more pronounced if you pick an automatic watch with high beats per second (BPH). A high BPH can also increase the reliability of an automatic watch. This is something you’ll appreciate if your taste in watches goes beyond the aesthetic appeal.

High Power Reserve

Automatic watches have a high power reserve—particularly if they are fully wound up. It can have up to 42 hours of power stored before you need to wind it up again. Depending on the brand you pick, some automatic watches can even store power for up to 10 days.

Rolex GMT-Master II watch on its side

Low Maintenance

Watches that are automatic are generally easy to maintain. By using a soft cloth to wipe your watch every night, you’ll have it looking as good as new for years. But this doesn’t eliminate the need to handle it with extra caution. Like any other watch, avoid showering or bathing with it (even if it’s waterproof). The gasket ends up expanding, reducing the watch’s accuracy and overall lifespan.

Cons for Automatic Watches

Rather Pricy

If cost is your determining factor when buying a watch, you may have to think twice. This is because this type usually fetches a higher price tag compared to its battery-operated counterpart. Jaeger Lecoultre has some of the market’s most expensive automatic watches that are worth over a million.

Extra Sensitive

The internal mechanisms behind the watch operation are rather delicate. In some cases, the watch becomes extra sensitive to the environment, causing the hand to move at the slightest shift when winding.

front view of Jaeger Lecoultre Polaris Automatic watch

May Need Winding

As stated earlier, to get the most out of your automatic watch, you’ll have to wear it on a daily basis. If not, you may have to wind it manually which can be inconvenient.

May Need to Install a Winder

To avoid having to wind your watch regularly, your next best option is to purchase a watch winder. The extra cost and added inconvenience aren’t appealing to some people. And the winder might interfere with the watch’s stunning aesthetics.

Loses Accuracy Over Time

Unfortunately, these watches tend to lose their accuracy over time. As you can imagine, this is rather disappointing considering the high price tag. You may have to consider tuning it up every now and then which is done at an extra cost.


Now that you have all the facts, it’s time to make a decision. Based on the pros and cons, will you be purchasing an automatic watch or not? These will always remain popular for their unique craftsmanship. Simply handle it with absolute care and it may last you a lifetime.

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