Automatic Watches – Brief History and Things to Know

An automatic watch is known for its self-winding function. This is a mechanical solution in which the motion of the arm enables the watch to be wound automatically in order to provide you with longer usage and rendering the necessity of manual winding mute. On the other hand, a watch which doesn’t have these properties is usually referred to as manual watch. However, the majority of the solutions which are being manufactured in the recent years are automatic watches as they have been proven to be incredibly effective, self-sustaining solution capable of providing you with incredibly prolonged usage, making the investment well worth it.

Brief History of the Automatic Watch

The first automatic watch didn’t appear until the First World War when the hand watches began incredibly and overly popular because of their functionality and convenience. The first automatic watch was invented back in 1923 by John Harwood, who was a repairer of watches from Bolton. He managed to obtain a patent for the invention on the 7th of July 1923 and got a corresponding Swiss patent back on the 16th of October 1923. The system which was implemented by Harwood used a pivoting weight that used to swing as the wearer moved his hand and that’s what provided energy to the mainspring. The ratchet mechanism, however, would wind the mainspring only when the hand of the wearer was moving in one particular direction because the weight didn’t rotate the full 360 degrees but rather half – 180 degrees. When the watch was fully wound it would run for 12 autonomous hours which was pretty impressive.

The First Automatic Watch

The invention of Harwood was first produced with the help of a manufacturer in Switzerland – Fortis, and they went on to be sold back in 1928. An approximate amount of 30,000 of these automatic watches were produced, but the company collapsed in 1931 as a result of the Great Depression. Later on, the Rolex Company would go on to improve the design back in 1930 and used the basis for the first Rolex Oyster Perpetual. This was the first automatic watch to be able to rotate the pivoting weight the full 360 degrees which meant that the watch would be winding up through the entire movement of the arm which was quite an improvement.

In any case, it’s safe to say that the automatic watch has gone quite the improvement over the course of the years, with the modern watches being a result of thorough and detail production process capable of serving a wide range of purposes.