$31.19 million. That’s what the world’s most expensive watch, the Philippe Grandmaster Chime sold for at a 2019 auction.
Odds are, if you’re looking to buy a watch, you won’t be spending millions, let alone tens of millions. But you can spend a few hundred and get a gorgeous, high-quality automatic watch that will last for years.
What’s an automatic watch? And what are the pros and cons of buying one? Here’s what you need to know about these unique timepieces.
What Is an Automatic Watch
Most of us are familiar with battery-operated watches. But before battery-operated watches were invented, automatic watches were the de facto choice. In fact, automatic watches have been around since the 1770s.
Automatic watches are powered by a mainspring. Instead of being battery-powered, they get their energy from the movement of the wearer. Inside the watch is a rotor, which spins when the wearer moves.
This movement is what winds the mainspring, where energy is stored. This energy enables the watch to accurately keep time, requiring little manual winding.
Automatic watches are also called self-winding watches or automatics.
Pros and Cons of Automatic Watches
First the obvious: with an automatic, you never have to replace a battery. That means that unless the watch requires repair, there’s no unnecessary opening of the case. There’s also no risk of leaking batteries, which can cause permanent damage to your watch.
While it’s true that automatic watches need winding, many are capable of storing enough energy for 36 hours or longer. Winding them frequently shouldn’t be a problem unless the watch is in need of repair.
If you’re a watch collector or simply want to look fashionable, automatic watches should be part of your collection. It’s true that automatic watches are more expensive than quartz watches. However, if you’re looking for a luxury watch that’s sure to get compliments, an automatic watch is the way to go.
In addition to looking great, many of these brands have a long history of expert craftsmanship. Shop for Seiko watches, for example, and you will find stylish watches from a company that’s been around for over 100 years.
Not only do they look nice, but their movement is smooth. The higher the BHP (beats per hour), the smoother the ticking. A watch with a higher BHP will read out smaller fractions of each second, making them very accurate.
Due to the gears and craftsmanship, automatics are often heavier and thicker than other watch types. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to consider when shopping for watches.
Consider Purchasing an Automatic Watch
If you’re looking to purchase a watch, look at buying an automatic watch. While they can be more expensive than other types of watches, the quality is generally excellent, and they can last for years – even a lifetime.
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