Mechanical vs Automatic Watches: A Complete Guide for Watch Manufacturers

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As a leading China-based watch manufacturer, Romlicen specializes in providing top-quality OEM and ODM services for watch brands globally. With years of expertise crafting both mechanical and automatic timepieces, we empower companies to outsource watch production with ease. This article will serve as a guide to the key differences between mechanical and automatic watches, and demonstrate Romlicen’s capabilities in manufacturing both varieties.

Our aim with this article is to clearly break down the distinguishing features between mechanical and automatic watches. By outlining the unique inner workings and exterior attributes of each, brands can better grasp how Romlicen’s production capabilities can meet their specific needs – whether that is crafting affordable, high-quality automatic collections or more intricate, luxury mechanical timepieces. We will also spotlight the tailored solutions and the added value we provide for brands wanting to craft new watch designs in a flexible, cost-effective manner.

Mechanical Watches: The Traditional Timekeeping Choice

Mechanical watches represent traditional watchmaking artistry where power is delivered via manual winding. A knob known as the “crown” allows the user to wind a mainspring inside the watch, enabling potential energy to unwind the gears in a controlled manner slowly. This powers the internal mechanisms to turn the hands around the watch face.

As the most classic style of the watch, mechanical timepieces trace their origins back to the early 16th century. Today, the intricate craftsmanship and heritage appeal associated with mechanical movements continues to attract watch collectors and enthusiasts alike. Brands like Rolex, Omega, and Cartier proudly use mechanical winding in their most iconic luxury models.

There are no batteries inside a mechanical watch. Instead, fine-tuned gears and springs regulate the energy discharge from the wound mainspring. Sapphire crystal case backs provide a “skeleton” view showcasing these inner workings in motion. The sweeping second hand and subtle ticking sounds add satisfying sensory appeal.

While automatic winding has grown popular for convenience, mechanical purists appreciate the ritual interaction of hand winding their timepiece. Properly maintained, mechanical watches promise longevity passing through generations over a lifetime. Romlicen has unmatched expertise producing custom mechanical watches built to client specifications with quality and precision.


  • Craftsmanship: Mechanical watches feature numerous tiny components, such as the mainspring, crown, escapement, and oscillator, skillfully hand-assembled by expert watchmakers.
  • Longevity: A mechanical watch can be passed down through generations with regular maintenance. They don’t rely on batteries, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them.
  • Smooth movement: The second hand on a mechanical watch moves smoothly, displaying a subtle, elegant sweep, as opposed to the ticking motion of quartz watches.


  • Accuracy: Watches with a mechanical movement are generally less accurate than their quartz counterparts. They can gain or lose a few seconds a day due to environmental influences and the variability of their manual assembly. This can add up over time if not regularly adjusted.
  • Maintenance: Mechanical watches require regular cleaning, lubrication, and servicing by a professional watchmaker. This can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Price: Due to their intricate craftsmanship and the labor required to produce mechanical timepieces, they often carry a higher price tag than quartz or automatic watches.
Structure and parts of Mechanical Wrist Watch
Structure and parts of Mechanical Wrist Watch

Automatic Watches: The Self-Winding Convenient Choice

Automatic watches take the mechanical watch concept one step further by harnessing kinetic energy from the wearer’s wrist movements to self-wind the mainspring. A spinning rotor, seen through a clear caseback, rotates from natural motions to wind the mainspring automatically. This eliminates the need to manually wind the watch crown regularly.

The first self-winding watch was created in 1770. Today, automatic watches dominate the market, embraced for their ease of use. Without thinking, the watch perpetually winds itself as long as it’s being worn actively. Once fully wound, the mainspring can typically sustain a power reserve up to 36 hours if inactive.

Brands like Seiko, Hamilton, and Tissot are well-known for automatic watch options spanning various styles and price points. Additionally, Swiss watchmakers often reserve their most innovative accomplishments for high-end automatic movements. Self-winding mechanisms allow more freedom incorporating complications like chronographs, moon phase indicators, and perpetual calendars.


  • Self-Winding: Harnesses the wearer’s natural wrist movement to wind itself, eliminating the need for daily manual winding.
  • Convenience: Ideal for daily wear as they stay wound and operational when worn regularly.
  • Craftsmanship and Aesthetics: Often features highly intricate and visually appealing designs, showcasing traditional watchmaking artistry.


  • Maintenance Requirements: Needs regular servicing to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
  • Sensitivity to Activity: Performance can be affected by the wearer’s level of physical activity; it may require manual winding if not worn regularly.
  • Vulnerability to External Factors: Sensitive to extreme temperatures, shocks, and magnetic fields, which can affect their functioning.

At Romlicen, our experts can engineer custom automatic watch designs specifically tailored to client interests incorporating trending features or classic style cues. With diligent quality control and exacting standards, we create automatic timepieces built to perform reliably for years on end.

Romlicen's Watch Manufacturing Capabilities

With over 10 years of watchmaking expertise, Romlicen provides end-to-end manufacturing services helping brands realize custom mechanical and automatic timepiece designs. Our comprehensive solutions enable clients to outsource the entire watch creation process without hassles.

Leveraging our state-of-the-art Chinese production factory, we handle everything from initial concept sketches to prototyping, piloting samples, and final mass production. Every watch component, including cases, dials, hands, crystals, and straps are crafted in-house to stringent specifications.

Romlicen’s engineering mastery stretches across a spectrum of mechanical and automatic movements. Our skilled watchmakers can preserve the integrity of vintage-inspired designs or push boundaries developing contemporary pieces with cutting-edge features.

We pride ourselves on being a flexible, budget-friendly manufacturing partner to brands globally. Our OEM/ODM approach offers an economical avenue for producing small batches or large runs of customized mechanical and automatic watches – all backed by our warranty.

Mechanical and Automatic Watches
Mechanical and Automatic Watches

Choosing Between Mechanical vs Automatic Watches

In comparing mechanical and automatic watches, both deliver craftsmanship and heritage appeal. Key deciding factors come down to aesthetics, functionality and personal preference.

Mechanical watches represent traditional watchmaking – the origins of horology mastered by pioneers of the craft. Winding a mechanical watch daily provides satisfying engagement and a sense of continuity with past generations. Mechanical movements enable thinner cases too.

Meanwhile, automatic watches offer convenient self-winding suited to on-the-go lifestyles. Their modern complexity incorporates useful complications without the winding obligation. And as automatic technology progresses, accuracy continues to reach new heights.

Romlicen possesses specialized expertise developing both watch types across diverse brands worldwide. With custom engineering capabilities and commitment to quality assurance, we handle every production detail from A-Z for seamless OEM/ODM projects. Our 10-year track record confirms capabilities creating watches from idea to retail.

For watch brands weighing options, discuss your vision with our team to determine the ideal type of movement tailored to your goals and identity. Romlicen delivers insight, transparency and reliable products as your end-to-end manufacturing partner no matter which direction you take.

FeaturesMechanical WatchAutomatic Watch
HistoryOriginated after the 15th century.Developed and patented in 1780 as an upgrade to the mechanical watch design.
Function & AccuracyMechanical watches require regular winding to function and can lose time over the years.Automatic watches maintain accuracy as long as worn or stored in a watch winder.
Movement & PowerPowered by a wound spring, the mechanical watch movement relies on gears and an escapement.A rotor powers the watch by harnessing energy from the natural motion of your wrist.
Practical ConsiderationsNeeds regular winding and may require more maintenance than an automatic watch.Requires less regular intervention, but it may still need occasional winding if not worn for an extended period.
Mechanical vs Automatic Watches Movements
Mechanical vs Automatic Watches Movements


When navigating between mechanical and automatic watches, brands now have a reliable compass guiding decisions. By outlining the background, capacities and distinguishing merits of both mechanical and self-winding timepieces, this guide dispels myths for companies seeking a production partner.

Romlicen’s expertise bridges the divide, masterfully crafting coveted mechanical and automatic wristwatches for esteemed partners across the globe. Our commitment provides an economical, trusted solution allowing clients to maintain focus innovating. With any custom project, our consistent quality and supportive role translates imagination seamlessly from conception to market.

Still unsure which watch movement best aligns with your identity? Let’s talk. Romlicen delivers clarity helping brands determine the optimal direction – whether automatic or manual mechanical – suited to budget, goals and target lifestyle. Through transparent consultation, brands can feel empowered designing reminded of capabilities supporting ambitions each step ahead. The future remains wide open.

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