Difference between Manual Wind and Automatic Watches

Perhaps one of the most frequently asked question, what is the difference between an automatic watch and a manual wind watch? And it is critical to know the difference between manual wind and automatic watches because they are how the watch actually works and makes up the character of the watch. So let’s take a closer look at them.

Manual Wind  (Hand Wind)

A manual wind watch, also commonly known or referred as the hand-wind watch, is a mechanical watch that uses non-electrical technology to measure time, it is driven by a spring which has to be the wind periodically and that’s what releases the energy into the watch’s wheels as it unwinds.


If you have a self-winding mechanical watch, you can see the balance wheel going back and forth at a constant rate. A device called an escapement releases the watch’s wheels to move forward a small amount with each swing of the balance wheel, moving the watch’s hands forward at a constant rate and that’s what makes the ticking noise when it’s operated. Mechanical watches evolved in Europe in the late 1600s from spring powered clocks.

So how do you actually wind a manual wind watch? It’s pretty simple, you just have to turn the crown until you feel a tension and that will probably keep your watch going for a day or so, depending on your watch capability.


Automatic Watch (Self-Winding)

Automatic Watch, also known or commonly referred as the self-winding watches, an automatic watch contains a semi-circular rotor which turns on a pivot and the movements of your arms and wrist cause the rotor to pivot back and forth which automatically wind the watch.


Basically, the rotor is attached to the winding mechanism of the watch, so the motion of your arms and wrists causes the motion of the rotor, in turn, winds the series of the gears in the winding mechanism which winds the main spring of the watch.


Difference: As its name suggest, the self-winding watch requires you to manually wind the watch yourself so that it can work, whereas the automatic watch, commonly known or referred as the self-winding watch does not need manual winding, instead only requires movements that will pivot the rotor in the watch so that it can in turn wind the watch itself.

Similarities: Both self-winding watches and automatic watches are mechanical watches which operates through gears and springs inside.


So what is your take on manual wind watches and automatic watches? And which is your preferred choice? 🙂


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