Should I buy an automatic or manual watch? It’s a very common question, especially for those who are investing in their first luxury timepiece or who are considering purchasing a luxury watch as a financial investment. The short answer is that it really depends on what you want out of your watch. Let’s dive into the differences between automatic and manual watches.

Manual Watches

Manual watches need to be wound, usually daily, in order to tell time. They have a rich history, with their mechanics dating back to as early as the 1800s (some say even earlier, but there’s no concrete evidence). Some watch collectors are passionate about manual watches for their charm and tradition. Here’s where manual watches really shine:

They tend to be lighter in weight and thinner than automatic watches, which have additional parts (but we’ll get into that later).

The winding can be a fun or even therapeutic routine for some. Others prefer the convenience of an automatic.

Manual watches can be more affordable, as they require less parts and less intricate craftsmanship than automatic watches.

Although you do need to wind your manual watch daily, some prefer this to having to wear their automatic watch daily. (In the next section, we’ll talk about why automatic watches are intended for daily use.)

Manual watches are becoming increasingly rare, which can translate into better value retention or even appreciation if you’re lucky.

Automatic Watches

Also referred to as self-winding watches, automatic watches are powered by its wearer’s movement. Inside the watch is a rotor, a rotating metallic weight that serves to wind the watch with movement. This is why automatic watches need to be worn daily. If not worn daily, they lose their accuracy. For those who have a luxury watch collection or those who enjoy changing watches, automatic watches may not be as convenient, although it’s possible to get around this by storing it in a special watch winding storage box. Here are some of the top reasons to choose an automatic watch:

Automatic watches tend to be slightly more accurate than manual watches in general.

They’re more popular, and therefore, you’ll have more design options.

Their popularity also can mean that they retain their value better, though that isn’t always the case, so you’ll want to do your research before investing.

Automatic watches are low maintenance and convenient. If you’re already doubting that you’re the type to want to wind your watch daily, the answer is most likely that you’re not going to enjoy it in the long run.

All things considered, neither type of watch is better, though there may be one that is better for you. We hope the points above help you decide whether you prefer a manual or an automatic watch, but if you’re still feeling torn, we suggest checking out our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Watch Collecting. You might not feel strongly one way or the other about your watch’s movements, but perhaps some other factors can help you narrow down what you’re looking for.

If you’re already a watch owner and are looking to sell or borrow against your luxury watch, Qollateral can help. We provide same-day cash payments quickly, easily, and discreetly. Book an appointment to get an estimate at our offices in the International Gem Tower in NYC’s diamond district. It’s completely confidential, and there’s zero pressure. It never hurts to get an appraisal, even if you’re not currently planning on selling or borrowing against your watch. Keeping tabs on your watch value periodically can help you track trends and get the most value of your watch if you ever do decide to sell.

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