The History and Evolution of Automatic Watches

First Steps in Automatic Watchmaking

Watches have been a part of our lives for hundreds of years. The evolution of watches and timekeeping has been an integral part of our society. In the beginning, men used a sundial to tell time, but as civilization progressed, so too did the design of timepieces. Clocks and then pocket-watch designs started to become popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. It wasn’t until the 20th century that wristwatches became widely popular.

Automatic watches, also known as self-winding watches, were invented in the 1920s to make watch-winding a more relaxed experience for individuals. Harwood, a Swiss watchmaker, created the world’s first automatic wristwatch in 1928. The design was crafted with a rotor, which wound up mainspring movement every time a user would move their hand. This eliminated the need to wind the watch every day.

The 1950s and the Invention of the Wristwatch

Automatic watches became the focus of watchmakers in the 1950s, with companies such as Rolex, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and several others competing to create a more efficient and effective design. By the late 1950s, automatic watches had become the norm. They boast of being more accurate than mechanical watches and are celebrated by horology enthusiasts for their precise timekeeping abilities.

The 70s to Now – Changes in Automatic Watches

Following the onset of the electronic quartz watch, the industry experienced a decline in the popularity of automatic watches. However, since the 1990s, sales of mechanical watches skyrocketed again. In the twenty-first century, other automatic features have become standard on luxury brands to lure customers. One of these standout features is the chronometer design, which increases the accuracy of the quartz watch. An alternative to the traditional automatic watch design is the tourbillon, which counteracts gravity effects that can affect the watch’s accuracy. These designs are still being innovated and will continue to change over time. Discover additional insights on the topic by exploring this meticulously chosen external source. 6 watch winder Box, unveil worthwhile knowledge and fresh viewpoints on the subject addressed in the piece.


Automatic watches have come a long way since their inception in the 1920s. They have become more precise, with added features. Even with the influx of digital watches, the popularity of the mechanical watch in general, and the automatic watch, in particular, is still strong. Great designs, intricate technology, and precision craft combine to make these classical timepieces a valued accessory for both men and women.

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