Differentiating Manual Wind Watches and Automatic Watches

Each watch in a single collection is quite different from the next, and it’s even truer when you observe these timepieces on a bigger scale. Some variations may be a little more subtle and personalised, such as the hands of the watch or the crystal covering of the jewellery. However, others are a little more obvious. 

Self-winding watches that require manual winding have a certain charm to them, but so do hand-wound watches that are automatic in their function. Both have their own personal pros and cons, but the question of which is better between them still gets thrown around.

Before you decide to buy a manual wind watch or an automatic, here are the main differences that you should take note of when adding to your collection:

Inner Workings

Unlike other watch parts that may focus up on sprucing the appearance of the watch, the inner workings of it that are relevant to the manual and automatic winding focuses more on function. Particularly, the mainspring holds and releases tension to get the other mechanics and gears of the watch working. Next to the mainspring is the rotor, which wounds up the pressure.

Automatic watches have a self-winding function, which essentially makes the mainspring of the watch tense and release on its own without having to toggle it. Manual wind watches, which used to be the norm in the past, are a bit more intricate. These models would have to be wound by hand or with a special tool when used since there wasn’t a rotor on them.


It could be a matter of personal preference, but more people like the idea of just slipping on their watch without having to spend any time winding it back. There’s less requirement with using automatic watches, making them more convenient for daily use. 

However, if convenience isn’t a troubling factor for you, getting a hand-wound watch for you to manually move can provide a pleasant experience. Some people enjoy the routine of having to turn their watches to calibrate the mainspring themselves.

Watch Movement

For people with watches that have a transparent case where they can see the inner workings of their timepiece, it may be slightly more entertaining to watch manual winding. There’s a certain joy to seeing your personal involvement in how the system moves when you wind things up.

At the same time, though, there are people who don’t pay any mind to the micro details of a watch. Especially without a transparent case, automatic watches that can wind themselves would still serve their purpose of telling time.

Watch Weight

Rotors add quite a bit of weight to the watch, which is why self-winding watches are typically thicker and heavier than their hand-wound counterparts. Some like this thicker material of the watch since it adds to the overall quality of it.

However, weight is another thing that needs to be considered. It’s ideal to wear something on your wrist that’s as light-weight as possible, which is why manual wind watches can be rather appealing as well.


One kind of watch isn’t necessarily better than the other, but that’s the beauty of having your own collection. You can have your customised timepieces to have a little bit of everything at your disposal, including both manual wind and automatic watches.

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