The 15 Best Automatic Watches for Men in 2023

You may become interested in watches through history, movies, or the horological competition that takes place in NBA tunnels across the country, but no matter how you became interested in timepieces, you’re bound to wonder what exactly makes them tick. The answer, nine times out of ten (at least in the case of luxury watches), is an automatic movement.

While the precise composition of a watch’s tiny gears, springs, and myriad other components quickly descends into advanced levels of nerdery (we’ll save the discussion on escapement design and guilloché finishing for another day), you don’t need an MIT degree to understand the fundamental principles behind automatic watches. And, while you don’t have to understand how your watch works to appreciate wearing it, there is some really amazing stuff going on within. Here’s the lowdown, as well as Teeanime’s best selections for men’s automatic watches in every price range, ranging from slick dress watches and Swiss-made chronographs to retro dive watches and stainless steel classics.

What is an automatic movement?

Mechanical watch movements are classified into two types: hand-wound and automatic. All watches were hand-wound before the invention of automatic wristwatches in the 1920s (and much before the invention of battery-powered quartz movements in the 1960s). That meant you had to wind up your watch manually every day to keep it operating. An automatic watch (also known as a self-winding watch) does not require this because it winds automatically with your movement while wearing it.

How does that work exactly?

Most automatic watches wind themselves through a weighted rotor, which you can see if your watch has a see-through case back (it’s the half moon-shaped piece on top). The rotor winds a spring when you wear and move your watch, which spins the hands, date wheel, and other watch parts. Automatic movements collect excess energy and slowly release it over hours or days when the rotor is motionless to keep your watch from stopping when you’re sitting still (or at night). This is called a “power reserve” and can last up to a week. They’re beneficial if you don’t wear a watch every day and don’t want to reset the date and time every time you put it on, especially with yearly or perpetual calendar models.

Is there a downside to automatic watches?

It’s not necessarily a disadvantage, but they do necessitate some maintenance. Unlike a quartz watch, which just needs a new battery every few years, a mechanical watch is a carefully tuned machine made up of many tiny, precisely calibrated pieces. Although watchmakers have made significant breakthroughs in shock and waterproofing over the years, mechanical movements can only withstand so much damage. And here’s the thing: repairing automatic watches may be costly.

What’s the best way to keep my automatic in good shape?

If you follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule (an overhaul and lubricant every 4 to 10 years, depending on the type and model) and don’t wear it in the sauna, you should be good. Whether it’s a $200 Amazon deal or a $200,000 grand complication, automatic watches are made to be worn, therefore the best approach to care for your watch is to wear it as much as possible.

1. Orient Bambino watch

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Look no further than this under-the-radar Japanese manufacturer for automatic on a budget. The functionality and accessibility are just unrivaled.

$109 at Amazon

2. Seiko 5 watch

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The ideal entry-level automatic watch does not exist. Oh, never mind, we discovered it.

3. Timex Navi XL automatic black dial men’s watch

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This archival Timex is the ideal move for 2022, thanks to a smoked-out color scheme and a brand-new 21-jewel automatic movement.

4. Bulova Oceanographer watch

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With this revived 1970s grail, you can borrow some nautical swagger from the yacht rock period.

5. Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart watch

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This office-ready watch not only looks slick, but offers a front-row seat to a little mechanical ballet.

6. Tissot Le Locle Petit Seconde watch

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Most watches this refined (engraved dial, automatic Chronometer movement) would cost an additional zero. Purchase this item and feel like a king.

7. Junghans Max Bill watch

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Max Bill, a Swiss industrial designer, brings Bauhaus to your home.

8. Zodiac Super Sea Wolf watch

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We’ve got your watch if your outfit consists of a tropical shirt and aviators.

9. Raymond Weil Maestro watch

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This Maestro, like its namesake, is an expert at keeping time.

10. Shinola Runwell watch

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This is one of the best outfits to come out of Detroit since the days of Motown Records, from its Swiss automatic movement to its high-quality leather strap strap.

11. Longines Spirit watch

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Certain automatic movements are more precise than others. How can you determine which is which? Look for the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) stamp or the term “Chronometer” on the dial.

12. Omega Speedmaster Moon Watch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer watch

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The first moon watch was hand-wound, so this version is a significant upgrade, replete with Omega’s latest Master Chronometer movement, which is a step above COSC certification.

13. IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” watch


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The perpetual calendar automatic movement, replete with moon phases for the northern and southern hemispheres and a 7-day power reserve, is as cool as its sand-colored ceramic casing.

14. Laurent Ferrier Square watch

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The perpetual calendar automatic movement, replete with moon phases for the northern and southern hemispheres and a 7-day power reserve, is as cool as its sand-colored ceramic casing.

15. Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon

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$131,000 at Mr Porter

The tourbillon (the small gizmo at six o’clock) sits at the top of the automatic watch pyramid, an exceedingly sophisticated device that revolves ceaselessly to resist the pull of gravity on a watch movement. It’s debatable if it genuinely enhances a watch’s accuracy, but it sure looks cool.