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Automatic watches differentiate themselves from fully mechanical watches by their ability to hold energy from a person’s kinetic movement rather than daily winding. This is typically done through a spinning rotor in the back of the movement. For some background on the history of automatic watches, check out our recent blog post here! Below are 4 fun facts on the amazing automatic watch!

 

1. Kinetic Energy Powers Automatic Watches

These watches do not require a battery or a winding mechanism to work. All it takes is the everyday movement of your wrist. For the most part, you are the battery that powers the watch! As long as you are moving, the watch will store energy. Automatic watches differ in design, but generally, a rotor moves back and forth with the wearer’s motion and stores energy that is then released into the movement of the watch. 

 

2. The First Automatic Watches Weren’t On Wrists

The first iteration of automatic watches was seen in the latter part of the 18th century, but these watches were not worn on the wrist. Rather, these watches were pocket watches. These proto automatic wristwatches worked with many of the same mechanisms that led to the more modern development of automatic wristwatches, with some design changes over time

 

3. A Modern Automatic Watch Never Overwinds From Motion

No matter how much you shake it, move it, and use it, the modern automatic watch will never overwind from motion. If another mechanical watch were to become overwound, the tension on the mainspring of the watch would become too great and the timekeeping can become inaccurate. To prevent this a mechanism is included in the watch, called a slipping clutch device, to prevent issues with overwinding. Once fully wound, the rotor will stop spinning and collecting energy. Beware of older/lower quality movements that may be prone to overwinding. 

 

4. Automatic Watches Can Run Out Of Power 

If an automatic watch is idle for more than a day or two, it can lose power and time. This is not an issue, however – all that is needed is a simple wind or turn and time reset and you’re good to go. Remember: the watch runs on kinetic energy and when the kinetic energy runs out,  the watch ceases to work until kinetic energy becomes stored again. 

 

If you are interested in the components and inner workings of a watch, why not try and build your own! Go to our shop here to get a kit to build your own watch!

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