Should Automatic Watches Rattle? (or Should You Worry?)

by Emma Watson

Should Automatic Watches Rattle? (or Should You Worry?)

An automatic watch, often known as a self-winding watch or just automatic, is a mechanical watch that uses the wearer’s natural motion to wind the mainspring, eliminating the need for manual winding.

It differs from a manual watch in that a manual watch, like a manual watch, must be wound by hand at regular intervals due to the lack of an internal battery.

Automatic Watches: A Brief History

Despite Barrington’s advancements in watch winders, the first automatic watch was introduced in 1776. The first self-winding watch was invented by Abram Louys Perrelet, a Swiss church elder from Le Locle.

The watch’s construction was deemed too expensive and difficult because it used a barrel “remontoir” (a spring that runs the timekeeping mechanism). However, it was a first, and it began an automatic watch revolution.

Automatics in Hardwood

In 1922, an English watchmaker named John Harwood set out to eliminate the current (at the time) issues with hand-wound watches on the Isle of Man, more than a thousand years later.

Many watch enthusiasts in the early twentieth century were concerned about dust and moisture issues in the winding gears.

Hardwood noticed the movement of children playing on a see-saw might be used as an influence in his watch-making process after exploring for solutions to solve the problem and build a new winding mechanism. Using kinetic energy to power a watch was initially thought to be a strange and novel concept.

Hardwood imagined that the watch would use kinetic energy to build tension in the spring, which would then release to allow the hands to move.

Manufacturing on a large scale

FORTIS exhibited a global first for a mass-produced automatic wristwatch, the HARWOOD Automatic, at the Basel Trade Fair in 1926, with a successful and operational self-winding watch in play.

The ‘wristwatch’ was designed for males at first, but it rapidly became clear that the new timekeeper was a valuable time saving for women.

The newly created Harwood Self-Winding Watch Co. raised the HARDWOOD Automatics to an international level with a plant in Grenchen in 1928, as the popularity of automatic watches grew.

Should Automatic Watches Rattle?

When you start hearing noises that you don’t normally hear, there’s a good cause to be concerned about. Most new automatic watch owners will notice their watch generating strange noises.

Quartz watches have a single tick every second, which most people are used to. Some noises, on the other hand, are quite acceptable, while others should be avoided.

The bearing connecting to the rotor and winding mechanism produces a rattling noise in automatic watches. The rotor is free to move because it is attached to the bearing, which makes a scraping sound like metal.

A rattling is usually nothing to be concerned about. While the automatic watch’s rotor is a perfectly normal metallic sound, other sounds suggest that the watch is damaged.

Some noises indicate that you should see a watchmaker, while others are simply the sounds of automatic timepieces.

When you Shake Your Watch, Should It Make a Noise?

You get a new watch and notice noise when you shake your wrist, or you go to put on your beloved watch in the morning and hear a slight rattling.

It may be a common occurrence, but why does it occur? Is it necessary to rush to get your watch fixed or replaced, or is it good as is? We’ll look at some of the possible causes and what you should do about it to assist you in determining what’s going on.

1). Very common sound:

The Most Common Noise Watches operate in the same way as any other device, whether automated or mechanical and create noise while doing so. This does not just refer to the tick-tock that we all expect from a clock, but also to the sound of gears turning and rattling.

These noises are simply the clock’s mechanisms in action and are not to be concerned about; but, when shaken, they can generate a lot of noise.

This isn’t something that can be completely corrected, but it can be quieted. The casings of more expensive watches are thicker, muffling the sounds of the watch running.

If you have a cheaper watch, though, it is more probable that it will be noisy. This is due to the fact that cheaper materials result in thinner watch casings, which are less effective at isolating noises.

2). Issues with the Rotor Axle:

This is a more sinister option that could be causing your watch to make noise. The minute, second, and hour hands all spin on the rotor axle. When you shake the watch, it may make a clicking noise, which indicates that this part is damaged or broken.

However, the damage can swiftly spread throughout the watch, posing a serious threat to the watch’s inner workings and reducing the watch’s lifespan significantly.

This is due to the chance that the rotor axle is rubbing against other metal pieces in places where it shouldn’t be.

As a result, the rotor may be scraped and scratched, causing metal dust to accumulate inside the watch. Because there is nowhere for the dust to escape, these metal fragments frequently become entangled in other gears, cutting and scratching them.

If nothing is done, the entire inside of the watch will be destroyed. However, you might have your watch serviced by a watchmaker or somewhere else.

3). Check the Sound’s Location:

A sound may come from your watch or the bracelet when you jiggle it. There have been instances where the clicking sounds individuals thought were coming from the watch were not only innocuous but also not emanating from the clock mechanism.

The parts of the bracelet may click together, resulting in this sound. While this isn’t a typical blunder, it’s important to know the difference so you don’t end up paying to have your watch serviced when it doesn’t require it.

4). Damage Has Been Done to the Watch:

Another common scenario to be aware of is if your watch has recently been dropped or has suffered comparable damage. This may result in a number of issues.

If your watch survived the original fall, listen for rattling or excessive clicking sounds when you wear it or shake it. A loose or broken part inside the watch can cause this. Dropping a watch can result in the rotor axle problem we discussed earlier, so be cautious.

Can Automatic Watch be Over-Winded?

Can Automatic Watch be Over-Winded

An automatic watch’s winding mechanism is less durable than a hand-wound watch’s. As a result, over-winding an automatic watch can be harmful. Make sure you don’t go overboard.

1). It’s also possible that not winding is beneficial:

Because the jewels, pallets, and hairspring are in a ‘resting’ position, an unwound automatic watch can be excellent for the mechanism.

If you don’t wear an automatic watch very often or if the movement has ceased working due to inactivity, keep this in mind. If your watch isn’t used frequently, though, investing in a nice watch winder can be a good option.

2). If the movement ceases, don’t be upset:

For some automatic watch owners, the opposite of winding their watch too much is not winding it enough or forgetting to wind it at all. Take solace in the fact that a movement isn’t harmed simply because it has come to a halt.

It’s just been put to rest. Set the time correctly and wind the crown in the proper manner and amount of times, and your automatic watch should function normally.

What is the life expectance of automatic watches?

Your automatic watch should theoretically last forever—or at the very least for a long time. As long as you take care of it, that is. As a result, a good sub-question is: how can I make my automatic watch last as long as possible?

Here are a few helpful hints for extending the life of your automatic watch.

1). Thumbling general rule

The more intricacies your watch has, the more love and attention it will require in its upkeep. The rationale is straightforward the more complications a watch has, the more moving parts it contains, the majority of which are small and intricate.

  1. Way to set: Depending on how you set up an automatic watch, it can be a little difficult. Here are several examples:
  2. Choosing a time: Setting the time forward rather than backward is a piece of helpful advice, as the latter can damage the mainspring.
  3. Always be cautious: This is true of any movement caused by a complication that has been adjusted wrongly. Again, the more complexity a watch has, the more attention to detail one should pay to particular settings.
  4. Maintain a comfortable temperature: Your automatic watch might be damaged by excessive heat or extreme cold. Heat is particularly dangerous because it can dry out or coagulate the lubrication required for effective gear operation. Going from one extreme to the other can cause sections of the watch to expand or contract, which can be problematic. It is always ideal to have the temperature in the room.

Final thoughts:

A self-winding automatic watch isn’t your typical wristwatch. It is surrounded by some sort of aura. Perhaps it’s because of the intricate timekeeping mechanism, which is undisturbed by recent technology advances while still delivering a glimpse of modernity through automation? Maybe.

Emma Watson

A Professional blogger, Since 2017, I have worked on 100+ different blogs, Now i am a CEO of Also, I am a watch Enthusiast.