Watch Movements – Manual Versus Automatic

Are you debating between purchasing a manual movement watch or an automatic? Well, you are not alone, as many people often get stuck in the same dilemma. Here are the differences between these two movements:

Manual Movement: Overview

The manual watch movement is the oldest and most traditional type of watch movement. Also called “hand-wound movements,” the manual wind watches are delightful to look at thanks to their beautiful presentation of the watch’s movement. However, you need to manually wound them by hand to produce the energy required in the watch’s mainspring.

Manual Movement: Mechanism

First, you need to turn the crown multiple times so that you can wind the mainspring and then store potential energy. After that, the mainspring unwinds slowly to release energy via a series of gears and springs which regulate the energy release. Consequently, it utilizes the energy to turn the watch hands and bring the watch into motion.

Manual Movement: Winding Intervals

Often, the winding intervals for the manual movement watch range from 24 hours to five days. It varies depending on the power reserve capacity of the movement. Since most manual wind watch owners have a habit of winding their watch, it hardly matters.

Automatic Movement: Overview

Another mode of mechanical movement is automatic or “self-winding.” These acquire energy through the motion of the wrist of the wearer. As a result, these are more popular than the manual movement watches since the owner does not have to bother with winding it daily. As long as you regularly wear it, it will continue to function.

Automatic Movement: Mechanism

The automatic movement has a similar mechanism as the manual movement, but with the addition of a rotor. It rotates freely, particularly when the wrist moves. Thus, energy from the wrist transfers to the rotor, which winds the mainspring.

Automatic Movement: Winding Intervals

With an automatic movement watch, there should be no winding intervals unless the user does not wear the watch daily. If so, a quick wind should suffice to restore its power. Another alternative to this is purchasing a watch winder, which enables winding even without wearing the watch.

Selecting Your Mechanical Watch

If you have decided between manual or automatic, then it may be time for you to purchase a watch. As much as possible, you should purchase locally, but if there aren’t any available, opt for online shops. You should visit a reliable watch store to ensure that you only get the best quality.


Manual movement watches require you to wind them regularly, depending on their power reserves. For some, it is a hassle, but others find that appealing. As for automatic movement watches, they only require you to wear them daily. If not, you have to either wind them before use or utilize a watch winder.