Updated July 26, 2020 by Daniel Imperiale

The 10 Best Automatic Watches

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This wiki has been updated 7 times since it was first published in February of 2019. Despite the ubiquity of phones with built-in clocks, a timepiece on the wrist can do all kinds of things for an outfit, and these automatic watches offer you the opportunity to either make a bold statement or add a subtle and elegant touch to your look. Each of these self-winding models keeps impeccable time, and we've ranked them by their accuracy, water resistance, power reserves, and style. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.

1. Rolex GMT Master II

2. Grand Seiko White Snowflake SBGA211

3. Cartier Santos

Editor's Notes

July 23, 2020:

In creating a list of automatic watches, it's impossible not to notice that the models that combine the best build quality, features, and design language are often also the most expensive offerings out there. In curating their brands, many of the companies that make these watches also create a degree of scarcity — artificially at times — in an effort to drive allure and demand. With that in mind, and considering we already have a list dedicated to luxury watches, it made more sense to create a balance here between some attainable if expensive high-horology pieces and a few more accessible offerings from trusted and respected manufacturers.

To that end, we kept the Rolex GMT Master II in the black and blue "Batman" colorway, but updated it to the jubilee bracelet in steel, as opposed to the oyster bracelet that's now only available in white gold. And speaking of white gold Rolexes, I want to take a minute to defend the choice of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Ceramic over something like the Rolex Yachtmaster 42. Honestly, I think the Yachtmaster has the edge in appearance, but with a lighter and more durable case material, better water resistance, a helium escape valve for saturation diving, and a price tag that's less than a third of what Rolex is asking, it becomes a no brainer to reach for the Omega.

Among more attainable watches, we got rid of the Orient and Tissot models from our last ranking and replaced them with the Tudor Black Bay 58 and the Seiko Presage SRPD37J1. That Tudor has largely supplanted the Rolex Submariner for anyone without new car money to spend on a watch, with near identical specs other than the thickness. And like the spring drive Grand Seiko White Snowflake SBGA211, the Presage is made from components produced entirely in-house.

February 13, 2019:

With so many incredibly expensive options in this category, all of which could have been included on a list like this, the most important thing for me was to go with models that not only boasted top-tier specs, but that have been time-tested by the marketplace. That's why the Rolex GMT and the Omega Speedmaster take top spots. Even among the less expensive listings, you'll find brands and models that have shown themselves to be true contenders from companies with long, rich horological histories. One exception is Orient, a newer company who couldn't be denied given the accuracy and style they've recently brought to market, and the wildly competitive price point for the caliber of their products.

Special Honors

Undone Basecamp Classic Not only do the timepieces from this company come with high-quality Seiko movements, you can also customize almost everything about them, from the hands and dial to the case color. You can even add one to three initials in a variety of locations. This particular model is based on classic dive watches and can be purchased on several different straps, though no bracelet option is available. undone.com

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape With its dive-worthy brushed ceramic case and its sailcloth-coated rubber strap, this selection might be seen on paper as an ideal tool watch, but its subtle markings and deep black burst dial would look just as good on your wrist at a black tie event. It can be tough to find alternate straps for it though, as the space between its lugs measures an unusual 23 millimeters. blancpain.com

Yema Superman Heritage This offering, produced by one of the premier manufacturers in France, is exceedingly legible, with a fully hashed elapsed time bezel that features an optional safety lock and long, thick hands that are well lumed. Square hour markers add a bit of playfulness, and 30 bars of water resistance make it a true dive model. Its only drawback is its underwhelming Sellita movement. yema.com

4. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Ceramic

5. Tudor Black Bay 58

6. Tag Heuer Monaco Swiss

7. Junghans Chronoscope

8. Marathon Military Issue

9. Hamilton Khaki King

10. Seiko Presage SRPD37J1

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated on July 26, 2020 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

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