Today, it’s safe to say that most of the general popular is either sporting a smartwatch or a battery-operated timepiece. Both, of course, have their merit. But if you’re looking to elevate your watch game, might I consider an automatic watch?
If you are unfamiliar, an automatic watch is a watch that uses internal mechanics to stay in motion versus using a battery. An automatic watch also differs from its grown-up sibling, the mechanical watch, as it does not require winding. Instead, it utilizes the accumulated energy from the wearer’s everyday movements to keep the rotor in motion. In a way, it’s a perfect graduation to beginning to know, understand, and appreciate your watch.
The main reason to purchase an automatic watch is if you want to learn and expand your knowledge of timekeeping. An automatic watch gives you a foundational understanding of how watches have evolved over the years. It’s amazing to see how, within a century, the self-winding mechanism went from being the latest craze to being outperformed by later battery-operated models.
Another reason that many watch-lovers prefer an automatic watch is that it can, in theory, last indefinitely with regular maintenance and care. Most automatic watches are so self-contained that they require very little in terms of intervention when properly worn and cared for. Not only that, but one doesn’t have to rely upon changing a battery every few months with regular use. Instead, having a relationship with a jeweler and wearing it regularly (to keep a store of energy within the rotor) will be enough to keep a watch in working order for years.
Which brings us to the next point. An automatic watch, like a fountain pen or other artifacts of a bygone era, tend to hold some weight to them. And with that comes a deeper appreciation for the item itself. Within a few years, your automatic watch becomes something you care for more deeply and, in the long run, becomes an heirloom.
Top Automatic Watches
Seiko 5 Sport
If you’re looking for an entry-level automatic watch, you can’t do any better than Seiko. The Seiko 5 Sport model is a classic option for anyone who is looking for a watch that’s easily versatile and runs smoothly. Coming in a variety of colors and band options, you’re not stuck with a one-size-fits-all at this price point either, making it a perfect option for testing out and trying what best fits your personality.
Another great option at an affordable price, the Timex Marlin is your answer to “What would Don Draper wear?” It’s classic, masculine, and has that Mad Men era vibe that hasn’t left our collective conscious for the last decade or so. The Marlin’s leather band contrasts nicely against the silver, allowing you to dress this watch up easily or wear it for the weekend while you’re out and about.
Moving into more serious territory is Omega. While the Speedmaster gets a lot of attention, the Prestige is a respectable alternative that comes in a variety of designs at a respectable price point. Its design definitely leans more classic – and classy – but the simple face and overall appearance makes it a great option for anyone looking to step up their watch game pronto.
Farer has been making some gorgeous watches lately, and we’ve been paying attention. The Roché is no different. Inspired by Anthony de la Roché, an English merchant and explorer, one can see this inspiration in the explorational elements in the overall design of the watch. The mechanics of Farer are also worth highlighting, which is driven by an increasingly rare ETA 2893-1 Elaboré movement with up to 48 hours of power reserve.
Santos De Cartier
If you want to make an impression when you walk into a room, go with the Santos. One of the most popular watches from the French design house, it remains a subtly elegant option for anyone who wants to invest in a timepiece that will never go out of style. With its signature “SmartLink” steel bracelet and squared case, it’ll be instantly recognized – and appreciated – by those with good taste.