Brathwait Watches: What Is an Automatic Watch?

What Is an Automatic Watch?

Shopping for a watch can feel daunting if you’re not familiar with industry terminology. In many cases, what starts as a simple mission to find a slim watch turns into a full-fledged research session so that you can understand what you’re purchasing!

Brathwait is committed to simplifying everything involved in finding the perfect watch. In this post, we’ll take a brief look at the history of watchmaking as we explain what automatic watches are and why you should want one on your wrist.

We take pride in designing luxury automatic watches that cut out the unnecessary steps in the production process and provide you with an exceptional timepiece at an affordable price. Browse our ultra-thin automatic watches when you’ve finished reading this post!

A Brief History of Watch Movements

A watch movement is the mechanism that allows your watch to keep ticking. It’s probably what comes to mind when you think about the interior of your watch — watch movements are made up of gears, springs, and other finely tuned mechanical components that all work together to keep your watch running.

Prior to the 18th century, watches had to be manually wound in order to keep them ticking. Many people didn’t mind having to manually wind a watch, but many watchmakers attempted to find innovative ways to make watches more reliable and convenient to carry.

In 1923, an English watch repairman named John Harwood patented a new kind of wrist watch that didn’t have to be manually wound in order to keep it ticking. His invention was a revolutionary step in the evolution of watchmaking and used the wearer’s movements to wind the internal mechanism. As long as the wearer wore the watch every day, the watch would never have to be manually wound. In other words, Harwood had developed a self-winding watch that was accurate, durable, and destined to become one of the most popular movements used in watches across the world.

The automatic watch was born.

The Benefits of Automatic Watches

Now that we’ve discussed what automatic watches are and how they were developed, let’s discuss a few of the main benefits of contemporary automatic watches that have refined and built upon the success of Harwood’s 20th century invention.

No Battery Necessary

Whether it’s a phone, remote, or another battery-powered device, it’s incredibly inconvenient when a battery suddenly dies. Automatic watches eliminate the need for batteries and, as noted above, require only the movement of the wearer’s wrist to keep them ticking. (Note that if you don’t wear an automatic watch for several days, you will need to manually wind it once.)


Automatic watches feature exceptional craftsmanship inside and out. The versatility of the movement means that they can be used in minimalist watches and more complex designs!


Automatic watches are among the most accurate available on the market. The Miyota Cal. 9015 self-winding movement featured in many Brathwait watches is accurate to -10~+30 seconds per day!

Ready to invest in an ultra-thin automatic watch for your collection? Head over to the Brathwait catalog and look through our men’s and women’s collections!