Handwinding versus Automatic
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  1. #1
    Member Buramu's Avatar
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    Handwinding versus Automatic

    I understand the emotional aspects of handwinding a watch. It gives you some moments of quality interaction with the piece and it makes for a nice morning ritual while picking your weapon of choice for the day.

    But subjective preferences aside, please explain to a noob: are there any other advantages/disadvantages of a handwound movement over an automatic (which can usually also be handwound)? Is one more reliable than the other, or does one need less maintenance than the other? And is it true that handwinding an automatic isn't recommended, or is that a myth?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    Both are equally reliable. Some of the most expensive watches are hand-winding. It is a preference thing. No harm in winding a self winding automatic movement if you do it gently.
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  3. #3
    Member Buramu's Avatar
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    That's good to know. And given a decent movement, can it be 'overwound'?
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  5. #4
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    You always know when a handwound watch has full power reserve - by winding it fully. With an auto (without a power reserve indicator), you're never sure.

    Also, slimmer, and better view of the movement, all other things equal.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    For automatic watches, when fully wound, there will be some resistance in continuous manual winding, but the rotor will continue to wind due to movement. In the case of manual watches, the movement will prevent the watch from being wound further.

  7. #6
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    Can't the rotor make noise?

  8. #7
    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    You can wind an auto until you're blue in the face without over winding it but a hand cranker will tell you when it's full. I suppose a very stong fool could over wind one but they would need to be very strong and very foolish.
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  9. #8
    Member EnderW's Avatar
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    Hand-wound - can be broken if over wound (although one has to be crazy to do it - resistance is easily felt), need to remember to wind daily, fun way to connect w the watch, slimmer movement allows for thinner case\watch (due to absence of rotor), if display caseback - can see movement. Personally, I vastly prefer for decorated movement watches to be handwound - column wheel chronos in particular

    Automatic - hand-winding can cause wear (but not usually the case with most decent movements), few extra parts mean more things can break (again - not a real concern since plenty of other parts can wear before), easier daily use as no hand-winding needed, usually can't be over-wound as they have winding limiters and system will decouple from mainspring once fully wound, some actually like the look of rotor and it can cover up undecorated movements well.
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  10. #9
    Member mpalmer's Avatar
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    I prefer hand winding watches for watches that I do not plan to get wet (then i prefer automatics with screw down crowns). The reason I prefer manual winding watches are: they are more aesthetically pleasing (potentially much more so), they are thinner than the automatic alternative, they are easier to be kept running if one wears watches in a rotation (by winding daily), and I enjoy the interaction of winding my watches. In theory, manual winding watches are less likely to experience problems and less expensive to service due to having less moving parts...
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  11. #10
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Handwinding versus Automatic

    Crown and tube repairs are naturally more common with hand wound watches.
    Although I have both I prefer rotor wound automatics because they are so efficient. The act of handwinding a watch is not particularly exciting. I get much more enjoyment from wearing and looking at a watch on my wrist.
    Last edited by John MS; December 26th, 2015 at 18:47.
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