Best Automatic Watches Under £10,000

Discover 6 automatic watches provided by the most iconic brands under £10,000

What makes an automatic watch so valuable and sought after? Well, Patek Philippe sums up the beauty of having an automatic watch with their slogan:

“You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

Unlike a battery-powered watch, an automatic, also known as a self-winding watch, has the ability to last generations and will never stop working – if it is looked after it properly! This long-lasting endurance of an automatic watch leads to many getting passed down through generations, acting as family heirlooms.

An automatic watch will usually appear to be heavier than a conventional quartz wristwatch. This is because there are hundreds of cogs, gears and jewels working inside the mechanism to give the watch the ability to harness kinetic energy and evenly it over time to allow the watch to maintain power.

When you conduct your own research on an automatic watch, you will notice that retailers will include a feature called power reserve, which is unique to automatic watches. This feature explains the amount of energy, the hairspring inside the watch, can hold before it will lose power. The more complex the mechanism the larger power reserve the wristwatch will have.

In order for an automatic watch to build up its power reserve again and maintain power is pretty simple, you have to keep wearing it. Inside the watch mechanism, there is a pendulum which rotates with the movement of your wrist, and as this moves, it will be changing the state of the hairspring.

The internals of a luxury automatic watch is a thing of elegance, and many luxury watch brands will release models of their watch which show off the movement with a clear case back.

Since the internal workings of an automatic watch are so complex, it takes a lot of time and precision to build the engine, which usually increases the pricing of this style of watch. However, an automatic watch can be built with varied complications, which usually correlates to more gears and cogs being used to make it even more accurate. But adding different features like a chronograph, moonphase, perpetual calendar functions also add to the complexity of the watch design.

When choosing to buy an automatic watch you are not just buying something that you will forget about in a few months, and then throw out when you stumble upon it years later. Purchasing a wristwatch is not like buying a car either, which instantly depreciates once you drive it out of the garage.

An automatic watch is like a piece of art, its value is not reflective of the price of the canvas but on the painting aesthetic, and the artists skill and popularity.

To find a high-quality luxury watch, it can be quite confusing, as the value and quality is less dependent on the material used and more focused on the Calibre (movement), heritage and durability.

We have created a short list of the best automatic watches under £10,000 that we could find which focus on the elements mentioned above.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition
Specifications
Movement  Swiss (Manual Winding)
Material Stainless Steel
Crystal Sapphire
Water Resistance 50m
Case Diameter 42mm
Power Reserve 50 hours
Smart, stylish and very special. The Chronometer Manufacture Edition has been inspired by a vintage prototype dial for the A386 which was made in 1969 (one of the first automatic chronographs) and was found in an attic of one of the company’s watchmakers along with plans and tools.

This special watch has been produced for the first time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of El Primero. Zenith has been a luxury watchmaker in Le Loche, in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel since 1865 and has always been known for its styling which is celebrated with this classic design.

The 38mm steel case of this watch mimics the prototype and has a white lacquered dial with three chronographs in three different shades of blue. The 30-minute counter is positioned at 3 o’clock, the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and the seconds counter at 9 o’clock. There is a date window at the 4 o’clock position and a tachymetric complication on the bezel. The hands are in white, with a red second hand.  The watch is powered by the El Primero column-wheel chronograph movement. This beautiful watch is complemented by a navy leather strap.

This watch is a special edition collection to the chronomaster original. This sits at a similar price bracket but has a longer power reserve and a slightly different colour variation on the subdails. This is something also worth looking at if you are struggling to source the Revival edition.

Santos De Cartier

Santos De Cartier
Specifications
Movement  Swiss (Automatic)
Material Stainless Steel and ADLC
Crystal Sapphire
Water Resistance 100m
Case Diameter 39.8mm
Power Reserve 42 hours

Timelessly elegant this smartwatch, the Cartier Santos, is probably the company’s best-selling watch. Its creation is a wonderful story as it was designed at the first Pilot’s watch in 1904 by Louis-François Cartier, the grandson of the founder of the French watchmaking company. He made it for his friend, Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted a wristwatch that was easy to read – this was at a time when men still wore pocket watches. Alberto wore it every time he flew, and it was much admired by his friends. The watch became so popular that by 1911 it was being mass-produced as the first wristwatch for men.

The watch we present here measures a 39.8mm case size, with steel material coated with Cartier’s ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon). This gives it a robust and smooth finish that prevents scratch and fingerprint markings.

The eye-catching square dial matches the rest of the dark theme, with pearl white Roman numeral markers – increasing the readability of the watch. Connected to an alligator strap to enhance a dangerous and mysterious image for the wearer.

Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Dan Henry 1972 Chrono Alarm
Specifications
Movement  Swiss (Automatic)
Material Stainless Steel
Crystal Sapphire
Water Resistance 100m
Case Diameter 42mm
Power Reserve 80 hours

This iconic chronograph is certainly very stylish and combines Swiss expertise with modern elegance.

The watch is made from brushed and polished stainless steel. The 42mm dial is in white with the indexes and central hands highlighted in 5N rose gold. There are three chronographs: the 30-minute counter at the 9 o’clock position, a 12-hour counter at the 3 o’clock position and the ¼ second counter and a date window at 6 o’clock.

The dial is protected by sapphire crystal. This beautiful watch is perfectly complemented by the hand-stitched brown leather watch strap and has been described as a watch of ‘an unprecedented level of luxury’.

TAG Heuer is a Swiss watch company, founded in 1860 and well known for its superb chronographs. The initials ‘TAG’ means ‘Technique d’Avant Garde’ – ‘cutting edge techniques’, which is very appropriate.

Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43

Breitling Navitimer B01 43
Specifications
Movement  Swiss (Quartz)
Material Stainless Steel & 18k Red Gold
Crystal Sapphire
Water Resistance 30m
Case Diameter 43mm
Power Reserve 70 hours

This chronograph has been a favourite with aeronautical enthusiasts since it was first made in 1952 and its iconic design is instantly recognisable, and it combines technical mastery with good looks. This self-winding watch has a 43mm black face with surrounding white tachymeter edge in red gold.

The dial is in black with intervals and hour and minute hands in red gold (with luminous stripes down each hand) with a red second hand. There are three chronographs: a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 30-minute counter at 6 o’clock and a ¼ second counter at the 9 o’clock position. There is also a date window at 4 o’clock and the dial is protected by an anti-reflective sapphire crystal.

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Chronograph

IWC Portugiser Chronograph
Specifications
Movement  Swiss (Quartz)
Material Stainless Steel
Crystal Sapphire
Water Resistance 30m
Case Diameter 41mm
Power Reserve 46 hours

This beautiful classically styled watch is perfect whatever you are wearing or doing. This watch is a self-winding automatic with a 41mm silver-plated dial with clear Roman numerals, hands and minute intervals in rose gold. There are two chronographs: a minute counter at the 12 o’clock position and a second counter at 6 o’clock and a barely noticeable tachymeter.

The face is protected by a non-reflective sapphire crystal and has a clear back which is also protected by sapphire. The watch is on an elegant black alligator leather strap.

The style of this watch is very much in keeping with the American pioneering spirit and entrepreneurship, displayed by the company’s founder, Florentine Aristo Jones, a watchmaker from Boston. To establish the company in 1868, he drew on the skills of some eminently qualified Swiss watchmakers, modern technology, and hydropower sourced from the nearby River Rhine to manufacture pocket watch movements of the highest possible quality. A few years later, IWC (International Watch Company) was taken over by the Rauschenbachs, an industrialist family from Schaffhausen, When Jones decided to return to the States.

The Portugieser is the oldest and favourite style in the IWC collection. It was originally launched in 1998 and was slightly restyled and re-launched in January 2020. The main difference being the clear face back.

Rolex Submariner No Date

Rolex Submariner No Date Ref 124060
Specifications
Movement  Swiss (Automatic)
Material Oystersteel
Crystal Sapphire
Water Resistance 300m
Case Diameter 41mm
Power Reserve 70 hours

When the Rolex Submariner was first launched in 1953 it marked a turning point for divers’ watches. This beautiful watch is styled in brushed oyster steel is corrosion resistant and earlier in 2020 the long-awaited updated model was unveiled. The latest Submariner at 41mm in diameter, has a slightly larger, black Cerachrom bezel (ceramic) and black dial with luminescent hour marks. The black dial makes the face far easier to read underwater.

The most important feature on this watch for divers, however, is its unidirectional rotational bezel marked in 60-minute scale so that a diver can clearly see and monitor the length of their dive and decompression stops. The dial is protected by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

This watch is fitted with the new calibre 3230 movement and self-winding module. The strap is also a classic style made from oyster steel (904L stainless steel).

As well as being the most prestigious and iconic diving watch ever, the Submariner is also regarded as a status symbol with a cult following as the name ‘Rolex’ has high-level brand prestige the world over. The company was originally founded in 1905 with the name ‘Wilsdorf and Davis’ by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis in London, England. The brand eventually became known as Rolex in 1908 and moved their headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland after the First World War.

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