Ever since the sundial was replaced with the mechanical watch, man has been trying to produce watches that don’t need constant winding. The first attempt at an automatic movement was in 1770s when Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet claimed that he had invented a mechanical device for pocket watches which would only require winding once a week providing the watch was worn every day. A rival design was published in the late 1770s by Frenchman Hubert Sarton who claimed that Perrlet’s invention was based on his work. In 1780, the famous watch maker Abraham-Louis Breguet marketed the “automatic watch” based on the Perrelet patents and it is Breguet who has been credited with supplying the first type of automatic watch. Alas it was not a long lived exercise as the mechanism was too delicate and production stopped in the early 1800s after many consumer complaints. The next attempt was in the early 1900s in Switzerland and is called the 8 day watch. This pocket watch had a main spring which could be wound that kept eth watch ticking for 8 days before needing rewinding. A feature of these watches was that the fly wheel is visible through the front dial. The first true automatic watch to be successfully marketed was with the transition of watch from the pocket to the wrist. The movement of an arm was far more constant than the movement of the waist. The breakthrough came in 131 when Emile Borer, the technical head of Montres Rolex Watch Co invented the self winding rotor. The rotor was the industry standard until the invention of the electronic watch.
- Ronnie Bauer