Learn what an automatic watch is, names of key watch components, and the history of automatic watches.

Learn what an automatic watch is, names of key watch components, and the history of automatic watches.


Jess Chow, Founder of VIEREN Watches

January 2022


Jess Chow, Founder of VIEREN Watches

January 2022

IN THIS ARTICLE

VIEREN Swiss Made ETA-2671 automatic watch movement

IN THIS ARTICLE

VIEREN Swiss Made ETA-2671 automatic watch movement

WHAT IS AN AUTOMATIC WATCH?

Automatic watches are defined by their watch movements. Similar to car engines, watch movements are the mechanisms inside that determine the functionality and quality of the watch.

Automatic watches are among the most advanced of the 3 movement types because automatic watch movements can keep accurate time with daily wear, rather than with manual winding for mechanical watches or with a battery for quartz watches.

Also known as a "self-winding watch", this technological innovation from the early 20th century powers itself, giving people more freedom and convenience to make the most of every second of their life.

WHAT IS AN AUTOMATIC WATCH?

Automatic watches are defined by their watch movements. Similar to car engines, watch movements are the mechanisms inside that determine the functionality and quality of the watch.

Automatic watches are among the most advanced of the 3 movement types because automatic watch movements can keep accurate time with daily wear, rather than with manual winding for mechanical watches or with a battery for quartz watches.

Also known as a "self-winding watch", this technological innovation from the early 20th century powers itself, giving people more freedom and convenience to make the most of every second of their life.

ANATOMY OF AN AUTOMATIC WATCH

Deconstructing the automatic watch into key parts and functions
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ANATOMY OF AN AUTOMATIC WATCH

Deconstructing the automatic watch into key parts and functions
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WATCH MOVEMENT

Timekeeping engine that powers the watch
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WATCH MOVEMENT

Timekeeping engine that powers the watch
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WATCH CASE

Exterior metal shell that protects the watch
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WATCH CASE

Exterior metal shell that protects the watch
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WATCH DIAL

Decorative metal plate that displays units of time
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WATCH DIAL

Decorative metal plate that displays units of time
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SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL

Clear glass that is hard and scratch-resistant
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SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL

Clear glass that is hard and scratch-resistant
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CROWN

Outside gear that adjusts and winds the watch
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CROWN

Outside gear that adjusts and winds the watch
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HANDS AND DATE DISC

Tracking markers that display units of time
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HANDS AND DATE DISC

Tracking markers that display units of time
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BRACELET

Metal band that secures the watch onto the wrist
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BRACELET

Metal band that secures the watch onto the wrist
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BUCKLE

Clasp that releases and fastens watch onto wrist
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BUCKLE

Clasp that releases and fastens watch onto wrist

A LEGACY OF INNOVATION

Automatic watch movements are advanced timekeeping tools honed over generations of watchmakers striving for beauty and precision.

A LEGACY OF INNOVATION

Automatic watch movements are advanced timekeeping tools honed over generations of watchmakers striving for beauty and precision.
First automatic watch movement by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet 1770

1776

First automatic pocket watch movement invented by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet (powered for up to 8 hours)
First automatic wrist watch movement by British watchmaker John Harwood 1923

1923

First automatic wrist watch movement invented by British watchmaker John Harwood (powered for up to 12 hours)
VIEREN Swiss Made automatic watch movement ETA-2671 2022

2021

Modern automatic watch movement with rotor that spins 360 degrees in both directions (powered for up to 36-48 hours)
First automatic watch movement by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet 1770

1776

First automatic pocket watch movement invented by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet (powered for up to 8 hours)
First automatic wrist watch movement by British watchmaker John Harwood 1923

1923

First automatic wrist watch movement invented by British watchmaker John Harwood (powered for up to 12 hours)
VIEREN Swiss Made automatic watch movement ETA-2671 2022

2021

Modern automatic watch movement with rotor that spins 360 degrees in both directions (powered for up to 36-48 hours)

HISTORY OF AUTOMATIC WATCHES

The pursuit for accurate timekeeping has been a global race for centuries. The first automatic movement was created in 1776 for the pocket watch by Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Perrelet in Le Locle, Switzerland. Over the next few decades, people continued to innovate parts and processes to make the automatic watch movement smaller, more accurate, and keep time for longer.

But it was only after World War I when automatic wristwatches became a coveted household item. Back then, "bracelet watches" were seen as decorative jewellery for women, rather than functional timekeeping devices. However, during the war, people started to realize the benefits of having a timekeeping device strapped onto the wrist (instead of in their pocket). Wristwatches became widely popular among men going into the military in the 1910s. and almost almost every man had a wristwatch strapped to their arm when they returned home from the war.

Later in 1923, the first automatic wristwatch was created by John Harwood from Britain. Known as the "bumper watch", this initial design featured a primitive weighted rotor that would swing 180 degrees to power the watch, often "bumping" into the sides of the watch. But this early version was quite heavy and would only power the watch accurately for up to 12 hours.

The modern automatic watch features a rotor that swings a full 360 degrees, allowing it to run autonomously for more than 40 hours. This improved design was first introduced in 1930 by Rolex with their Oyster Perpetual, an innovative style that pushed the watchmaking industry forward. Today, the highest quality automatic watch movements come from "Watch Valley" in Switzerland, a 200km region in the Jura Mountains that is home to many of the world's best luxury watch manufacturers in the world.

HISTORY OF AUTOMATIC WATCHES

The pursuit for accurate timekeeping has been a global race for centuries. The first automatic movement was created in 1776 for the pocket watch by Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Perrelet in Le Locle, Switzerland. Over the next few decades, people continued to innovate parts and processes to make the automatic watch movement smaller, more accurate, and keep time for longer.

But it was only after World War I when automatic wristwatches became a coveted household item. Back then, "bracelet watches" were seen as decorative jewellery for women, rather than functional timekeeping devices. However, during the war, people started to realize the benefits of having a timekeeping device strapped onto the wrist (instead of in their pocket). Wristwatches became widely popular among men going into the military in the 1910s. and almost almost every man had a wristwatch strapped to their arm when they returned home from the war.

Later in 1923, the first automatic wristwatch was created by John Harwood from Britain. Known as the "bumper watch", this initial design featured a primitive weighted rotor that would swing 180 degrees to power the watch, often "bumping" into the sides of the watch. But this early version was quite heavy and would only power the watch accurately for up to 12 hours.

The modern automatic watch features a rotor that swings a full 360 degrees, allowing it to run autonomously for more than 40 hours. This improved design was first introduced in 1930 by Rolex with their Oyster Perpetual, an innovative style that pushed the watchmaking industry forward. Today, the highest quality automatic watch movements come from "Watch Valley" in Switzerland, a 200km region in the Jura Mountains that is home to many of the world's best luxury watch manufacturers in the world.
VIEREN Swiss automatic watches for men and women editorial