On almost no topic do we receive as many questions as on the subject of automatic watches. Probably the most frequently asked question is: does only an automatic watch really run automatically? The answer is clearly no. An automatic watch runs as long as the so-called mainspring is tensioned. The mainspring is tensioned by either winding the watch by turning the crown or by the movement of the wearer moving the oscillating weight and thus winding the mainspring. If the mainspring is not tensioned, the automatic watch stops and must first be rewound or made to run again by movement. With a quartz watch, it runs as long as the battery supplies electrical energy to the watch. If the battery is empty, the watch stops and the battery must be replaced.
If the mainspring is tense (automatic watch) or the battery is full (quartz watch), then both watches run automatically, whereby automatic in this context means that you don't have to do anything special to make the watch run.
In a narrower sense, an automatic watch is a subform of a mechanical watch. Mechanical means that no electrical energy source is necessary for the watch to run. With mechanical watches, a basic distinction is made between models with manual winding and automatic watches.
In models with manual winding, the mainspring can only be tensioned by winding the watch via the crown. In automatic watches, the kinetic energy is used to continuously tension the mainspring. You can imagine it like this: you get up in the morning, put your automatic watch on your wrist and march off first to the bakery to get fresh rolls. As you walk, your arms move and so does the so-called oscillating weight in your automatic watch. The kinetic energy of the oscillating weight is used to automatically tension the mainspring. Hence the term automatic watch.