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The Best Automatic Watches To Keep You on Time, in Style

A man wearing a fossil watch.

There is a lot to be said about wearing a watch these days, so let’s start with the obvious: It’s an essential accessory that you do, in fact, need. It looks cooler and more stylish than constantly checking your smartphone, after all, and the best automatic watches offer a crisp finishing touch to any look. Whether you want to dress with a purpose for the office or add some flair to a date night outfit, an automatic watch is one way to add some functional design and a sharp look to any ensemble.

What is an automatic watch, and why do you need one? Allow us. An automatic is so named for the movement inside the watch, which can be quite intricate, or straightforward, in terms of moving parts (literally). Automatic watches are also known as self-winding watches since the movement of the wearer’s wrist helps power the inner workings of the device. The point is, this style of timepiece is an easy way to add some useful design and a sense of care to plenty of looks especially with the sleeves of your Oxford shirt rolled up as you head to a meeting. There are options at every price point, so start with a few of our favorites.

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Best Overall Automatic Watch: Shinola Runwell Automatic Watch

Shinola Runwell Automatic Watch on a white background.

With Shinola, you get the best of both worlds in terms of durability and standout watch design. The Runwell Automatic is a bit of an investment, but one that’ll pay off. It can function as both a dress watch and a watch to be worn with rugged style staples, and the handsome leather strap and contrasting blue dial are refined moves in their own right. Wear it to the office and out on a date, for starters.

Best Luxury Automatic Watch: Junghans Max Bill Automatic Watch

Close up view of Junghans Max Bill Automatic Watch.

Automatic watches are usually on the more affordable or accessible end of the spectrum, but you’ll also find carefully crafted luxury automatic timepieces up for grabs, too. This watch is sleek and minimal, and perfectly ready to wear with a sweater polo, a merino cardigan, or your finest suit.

Best Sport Automatic Watch: Tissot T-Sport Automatic Leather Strap Watch

Tissot T-Sport Automatic Leather Strap Watch on a white background.

Some watches with an automatic movement are best designed for show and style, rather than for sporting activities. Tissot, however, has solved this problem quite nicely with this durable, sleek design with motorbike inspiration and an oversized dial, all the better for legibility on the open road.

Best Heirloom Automatic Watch: Longines Jazzmaster Automatic Leather Watch

Longines Jazzmaster Automatic Leather Watch on a white background.

When you really consider the benchmarks of building out a watch collection, longevity should be top of mind. Longines has been making incredibly high-quality, timeless watches (no pun intended) for years. This handsome leather watch, as it turns out, is one you’ll have for years, too.

Best Affordable Automatic Watch: SEIKO Automatic Canvas Strap Watch

SEIKO Automatic Canvas Strap Watch on a white background.

For under $100, you’re getting a simple yet highly functional timepiece from a brand that knows all about delivering quality on a budget. This canvas strap watch is one you can absolutely wear with your favorite henley and denim for a casual night out on the town, and that’s just for starters.

Best Stainless Steel Automatic Watch: Timex Navi XL Stainless Steel Watch

Timex Navi XL Stainless Steel Watch on a white background.

There are all sorts of automatic timepieces out there, including ones made for diving and ones made for more elegant style scenarios. This one is made for dressy situations of all sorts, finished off with a sleek stainless steel mesh band. The price is highly agreeable, too.

Other Automatic Watches We Love

Fossil Townsman Automatic Leather Watch

Fossil Townsman Automatic Leather Watch on a white background.

Fossil pulls out all the stops here with this dependable, visually striking leather watch. It gives you an inside look into what really makes it tick, and that’s some design innovation we can appreciate. Wear it with everything from a suit to a pocket t-shirt and jeans.

Tissot PRS 516 Powermatic Leather Watch

Tissot PRS 516 Powermatic Leather Watch on a white background.

Channel the spirit of the open road with this fast and sporty leather watch, the kind you should wear on road trips aplenty this season. The durable carbon fiber bezel and the clean design of this timepiece make it a bold, distinct styling choice on your wrist.

Mido Ocean Star Tribute Automatic Watch

MIDO Ocean Star Tribute Automatic Watch on a white background.

Mido is celebrating 75 years of fine watchmaking and turning back the clock in the process with a model that pays homage to watches from the 1960s. The green canvas strap and matching green dial give it a rugged outdoorsy vibe for seasonal, coastal adventures.

Orient Kamasu Stainless Steel Automatic Diving Watch

Orient Kamasu Stainless Steel Watch on a white background.

Get a timepiece that’s as functional and well-built as they come, with a hit of bright, sport-inspired color. This watch is water-resistant to 660 feet, with all kinds of durability delivered on your wrist for professional watersports.

Editors' Recommendations

Beau Hayhoe
Beau Hayhoe is a freelance men's style writer, consultant and PR pro based in Brooklyn. Beau's menswear and gear writing has…
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