THE 15 BEST AUTOMATIC WATCHES FOR MEN IN 2023
THE 15 BEST AUTOMATIC WATCHES FOR MEN IN 2023, TESTED BY STYLE EDITORS
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3 July 2023 at 8:00:00 AM
The 15 Best Automatic Watches for Men in 2023, Tested by Style Editors
By Brad Lanphear PUBLISHED: 10th May 2023
Article Link - MEN’S HEALTH
THE BEST automatic watches tell time accurately, yes, but they also offer much more style and charm than a typical smartwatch can. First, these-self winding timepieces tick more times per second than quartz watches, which create a beautiful sweeping motion that looks luxurious. And because automatic watches don't need a battery, they're easier to maintain than quartz watches that require a battery change once a year.
Simply put, an automatic watch is powered by the motion of your body (think: walking, standing up, etc) that turns a semi-circular weight, and winds up a spring. Think of an automatic watch like a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS next to a Tesla. The latter may be much more practical, but wouldn’t you have more fun with the Camaro? The only drawback to keep in mind is that automatic movements require routine maintenance by a trained professional. A tune up every couple of years, like you would do with a vintage car, will keep everything running smoothly.
How We Selected
Automatic watches are the standard of stylish timekeeping these days, so we rounded up the best options out there. Our editors have logged countless hours of field testing these tickers everywhere from the home office to cocktail parties, and everywhere in between. We’ve put these watches through diaper changes and deep sea dives, road trips and subway commutes, washing dishes and wedding dance floors. We made sure to test watches from every price point, and a variety of case and strap sizes.
What to Look for
Mechanical: Mechanical watches wind themselves with a weighted semi-circle that turns with any motion of your wrist and body. This action winds the central spring that powers the watch.
Hand Wound: Long before mechanical winding was invented, watches had to be hand wound to keep the internal spring moving. This movement style practically went extinct by the 2000s, but it has made a comeback recently as a more affordable automatic movement.
Power Reserve: When a watch spring is fully wound, the power reserve number indicates how long it will tick before running out of energy. This allows your watch to keep time when even when you're not wearing it. Most entry level watches have a 40 hour power reserve, while higher ends models feature 80 hours and up.
Case Size: There are two measurements to keep in mind here. First, the diameter of the case, which is measured left to right, not including any knobs that stick out. Second is the lug-to-lug length, which is how long the watch is from top to bottom where the strap attaches. These two measurements will tell you how the watch will fit on your wrist. Essentially, the bigger your wrist is, the bigger you want these measurements to be.
Lug Width: This is the width of the strap you can fit on the watch. It is important to know if you ever want to change the strap because a new strap—switching from a steel bracelet to a leather band for instance—can make your watch feel brand new again. Straps generally run from 18 to 22 mm.
Seiko Seiko 5 Sports
If you're diving into automatics on a budget, then the Seiko 5 Sports line is the best place to start. A ton of color options are available, you can go with or without a bezel, and there's a newly updated in-house movement under the hood. We've found this to be a perfect vacation watch, because it is water proof and durable but still dresses up well.
Orient RA-AK00Orient RA-AK00
There is no better bang for your buck in the automatic movement game than Orient. With roman numerals, inset dials, and elegant hands, this is the dress watch to impress at work and parties alike. The untrained eye will assume you dropped a dime on this ticker. We love this watch because it's a great looking watch that's still very affordable.
Vaer D5 Meridian Navy
Micro-watch brands can be tricky to navigate because you don't have the legacy built over generations by the big names. Remarkably, Vaer has managed to build a reputation for quality and style at an affordable price in a short period of time. The D5 Meridian dive watch is inspired by the classics, but makes a name for itself with its clean aesthetic. Our editors love how easily it transitions from work to play, it's truly a watch you never have to take off.
Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80
Finding a Swiss made watch with a stellar reputation for under a $1,000 is difficult ... but not impossible. Tissot is known for value as much as quality, summed up perfectly by the Gentleman Powermatic. This is your fundamental suiting watch. However, we found it styles just as well with a polo and shorts.
Shinola The Lake Ontario Monster Automatic 43mm
As an early pioneer of the micro watch brand movement, Shinola has earned a stylish reputation. The Detroit brand is new to automatic watches, however. So they really made a splash with the Monster Automatic dive watch line. Five color schemes are available, each taking their names from the Great Lakes. For our money, the Ontario model with a dark green face and black bezel is the way to go since it's a failsafe style that looks great on most business casual looks.
Marlin Marlin® Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Leather Strap Watch
The newest entry in Timex's marlin line adds a splash of color and an inset 24 hour dial to the retro style we've come to love. While pervious entries have leaned toward dress watches, the Sub-Dial has a sportier vibe that can still clock in for business casual. We found this one to be a great low-key, every day watch.
Marathon Watch Company Arctic Edition Medium Diver's Automatic
Featuring elements of both diver and field watches, the Arctic Edition from Marathon is a true adventure watch. The tritium glow on the hands and indices are easy to read in the dark, so you know it's ready for all nighters. With an oyster bracelet, classic diver bezel, and a compact size, we found this watch to be a perfect every day watch that can also hold up in the outdoors.
Bulova Devil Diver
Straight out of a 1960s spy thriller, this retro diver from Bulova complements a wetsuit as well as a linen suit. A bold orange face was designed for visibility under the water. Above ground, it adds a touch of color to any fit. We like this watch because it stands out in a classy way, like having something interesting to say without yelling it.
Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial
Omega is a name that needs no introduction in the watch world. They've been to the moon and dived deep into the ocean. While its tool watches are legendary, the De Ville is a tuxedo for your wrist. Unlike a real tuxedo, you can wear this one every day. We did and found that it automatically ungraded any outfit we wore with it.
Doxa Sub 200 WhitePearl
Monochromatic dive watches tend to come in all silver or all black. Doxa brightened things up a bit with a brilliant white face and bezel. By nature, dive watches feature bold dials to stick out so you can easily see them underwater, but this one blends in, making it a low-key every day ticker. Of course, if you do hit the water, you can rely on professional level performance. Our editors found this to be a never-leaving-my-wrist watch because it can handle everything.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
If the Rolex Submariner is the Michael Jordan of watches, think of the Tudor Black Bay as Kobe Bryant. The two are so similar and capable of all the same feats that it is really only reputation that separates them. One minute with this watch on your wrist reveals why dive watches are so popular. It isn't because of a massive rise in SCUBA trips, it's because they just look so damn cool.
Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53
Not all dive watches have to adhere to the same design formulas. Zodiac's Super Sea Wolf, originally released in the 1970s, features a refreshingly retro face. The glossy tonal blue color scheme and jubilee bracelet complement practically any outfit we've tested it with.
Hamilton American Classic Intra-matic
Hamilton was one of the two companies that invented the automatic chronograph movement in 1968. The American Classic is still one of the most beautiful chronos in the world. Unfortunately, none of our editors were able to test it for timing auto races, as it was originally intended. We did find it that it looked great doing everything else though.
Grand Seiko Heritage 'Kira-Zuri' Spring Drive
If accuracy is your primary concern, then a Grand Seiko Spring Drive is the watch for you. The Japanese horological power house lays claim to the most accurate movement in the world. With a 72 hour power reserve monitored with a discrete hand placed at the 8 o'clock marker. All that precision is wrapped up in a perfectly elegant case. The only disappointing thing we found when testing was taking it off.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport El Primero 3600
If aesthetics are your main concern, then we recommend the El Primero, which looks like a work of art. While the ability to time something down to 1/10 of a second wasn't the most useful feature, it felt pretty cool to have it on your wrist.