The History of the Automated Watch

The first self-winding watch was made in 1777 when the Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Perrelet invented the self-winding. The real revolution in self-winding watches began with the introduction of the various self-winding watches and movements that grew out of Abraham’s model. Here’s what you need to know about the history of self-winding and how its movements work.

One of the most popular brands with a well-made line of self-winding watches is Rolex, and you can see why they continue to attract the attention of the watch community. They have earned a respectable reputation, not only for their manual and automatic winding watches but also for the quality and reliability of their movements. The rest is done by consolidating its reputation as one of Europe’s most prestigious brands in the watchmaking sector. In fact, they produce both manual and manual And automatic – watches with winding at the same time, as well as in a variety of different styles and sizes.

As the popularity of automatic watches increased in 1928, HARDWOOD Automatics was brought to an international level by the newly founded Harwood Self – Winding Watch Co. in London, England. The original watch winder was a 12-watch winder, and some jewelry stores adopted the device to showcase the quality of the latest automatic watches. 

As other parts of the technology kept pace with the new favorite method of watchmaking, automatic watches became the standard for high-quality timepieces. When automatic chronograph movements became popular in the 1940s and 1950s, they were made in Japan. Seiko began to produce these watches at a reasonable price, which eventually led to the introduction of the first fully automatic watch, the Seiko Automatic Chronograph. 

We now know that Zenith was one of the first companies to start developing self-winding chronograph bracelets. Zenith started the project in 1962 and planned to launch the world’s first automatic chronographs to coincide with the company’s centenary in 1965. Shortly after the Seiko Automatic Chronograph was launched in 1966, Seikiko launched the world’s first quartz watch, the Seiko Quartz Astron 35sq.

This model behaved similarly to the Seiko Automatic Chronograph, but with a much more advanced design and a more powerful power reserve. 

Swiss automatic movement that supplies the watch with power, i.e. when the user wears it and uses a kinetic memory like a watch winder, it ticks on forever. It will be right at the right time and tick infinitely, and since it is a hand-winding watch, this is one of those times when watchmaking has evolved over many years. While Seiko has never stopped evolving, so has her kinetic clocks, where we have seen several subtypes throughout history. 

The difference is that automatic watches are operated independently, while manual watches have to be wound by hand daily. The key to the functioning of an automatic watch is a natural movement that winds the watch, and this is used as a “winder” that keeps a fully winded watch ticking when not in use. 

Automatic watches have a rotor that rotates with the movement of the wrist, meaning that the watch is wound manually every day. A rotor is attached to the movement to wind it up, so that when you move your wrist, the rotor rotates, and winds it up by tightening the spring. Hand-wound watches are not self-winding like automatic watches and therefore need to be wound by hand to operate their watch. 

The use of a watch winder is not recommended, as it rotates the watch 360 degrees. Manual winding (crown watches) has a hand-winding system in the crown of your watch, which allows the watch to run and stop at any time of the day or night without the need for a hand winding. 


The history of the watch winder goes back to 1776 when Barrington made great leaps with the watch winders. However, the first self-winding watch, which did not require a person to wind a watch, was invented in the 17th century. The first invention of a rotor was invented by Jean Perrelet, a famous watch inventor who invented the tourbillon, and a few years after Per relet produced his own version of an automatic watch. At that time, automatic clocks were called Perpetuum (French for perpetual motion), and each had a movement driven by a weight that swung a pair of springs.

The Rolex Watch Company improved Harwood’s design in the 1930s, using a centrally mounted semicircular weight that could rotate. Automatic watches replaced the process whereby the owner had to turn a button to wind the watch with the weight at a pivot point. Manual winding was not necessary, and the person wearing a watch supplied the power to operate its movement without a person having to wear it. 

The same efficiency can be observed throughout the day, and automatic watches usually last so well that, if you care for them, they can last a lifetime. Watches with automatic movements are still very popular today, as wearers do not have to worry about winding the watch daily to ensure constant operation.



Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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