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Hand-Wound or Automatic

Posted on June 22 2018

Hand-Wound or Automatic

For all those who may be slightly thrown off by the title, I’d like to state for the record that H2 Hub did not just diversify into the automobile engine business. Rather, today we explore the subtleties of both self-winding and automatic movements in wristwatches.

The first difference between the two boils down to sentimentality. Obviously, the automatic movement is now the de facto choice due to convenience and technological superiority. However, many long-time watch purists still have a fondness for hand-wound movements, which is still admiringly referred to as the most original of all the movements available.

Practically speaking, the automatic watch is preferred due to its self-winding function, so that if worn daily, it does not have to be manually adjusted. In any case, storing it in a watch winder will also suffice, as it keeps the mainspring wound around the clock. More than that, it often makes for a great conversation piece for visiting guests. For this reason alone, one may avoid buying a hand-wound watch, as it requires manual winding every so often and take precious time away from the many tasks we have in our increasingly busy daily lives.

When it comes to aesthetics on the other hand, the hand-wound watch may have the edge. Without a rotor, they can be designed to a much thinner profile, and provide greater understated elegance for formal occasions. Also, this allows a detailed view of the mechanical heart and gears. The drawback to hand-winding is the overall wear of the crown seal, which may compromise water resistance – hence the need for regular maintenance and replacement.

All things considered, both kinds of mechanical watches offer their benefits, and true collectors would do well to own at least one of each type.