25 Best Manual Wind Watches at European Watch Company

In a market that is dominated by self-winding timepieces, it’s often hard to imagine that just 50-60 years ago, the vast majority of wristwatches were manually wound. While you may argue that a manually-wound piece is a relic of the past, plenty of collectors worldwide still enjoy the experience of winding their watches each morning. The industry is all about nostalgia, history, tradition, and emotion, so it’s no surprise that manually-wound watches remain a popular alternative to more common (and some might say advanced!) automatic watches. If you’ve never owned a manually-wound piece, you are missing out! Luckily for you, today we are taking a look at 25 of our favorite manually-wound pieces to help you find the right watch for your tastes and preferences. Let’s get into it!

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Ref. 3572.50.00

If you are looking for the most iconic hand-wound watch ever made, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Ref. 3572.50.00 just might be it. Besides being one of the first manually-wound watches many collectors interact with, it is the the connection between the watch and NASA that is the real appeal. The ref. 3572.50.00 is the modern version of the first watch worn on the moon by Apollo XI astronauts in 1969. Manually-wound chronographs make for extremely intricate and attractive movements, and unlike many Speedmaster references, the 3572.50.00 puts its movement on full display. The reason this particular variant is so popular is that Omega uses a hesalite crystal (just like the original Moonwatch) on the dial side, but unlike the original, uses a sapphire caseback so that you can see the movement. In many ways, this watch provides the best of both worlds. 

F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu

The F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu has quickly become one of the most popular manually-wound watches in the industry. Prized first and foremost for its beautiful blue dial and tantalum case (an extremely hard material to work with and finish), the watch also has a really interesting and unconventional movement layout. When you first look at the movement, you’ll notice the big open space between the barrels and the escapement. Unlike most manually-wound movements, Journe hid the gears that connect the power reserve to the escapement between the dial and the movement, rather than exposing them on the caseback side of the movement. The result is an escapement that appears to be floating in space, completely isolated from the rest of the movement. These are the types of design details that set F.P. Journe movements apart from the rest. It’s not something that you might notice immediately, but then again, that’s where F.P. Journe really shines. While this may be Journe’s “entry level” watch, it’s truly anything but. 

F.P. Journe Centigraphe lineSport

F.P. Journe has a number of impressive manual wind watches in its catalog, but the Centrigaphe lineSport might be the most undervalued collection. The Centigraphe was originally introduced to time motorsports down to 1/100th of a second (an extremely difficult feat for a mechanical movement) and it is still one of the most precise chronographs in the industry today. Shown here in titanium with a yellow dial, this watch is capable of timing objects moving at 360,000 km/h. Where else will you find a mechanical watch that can do that? 

A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Lumen Up/Down Ref. 435.034

A. Lange & Sohne is arguably best known for the Datograph (alongside the Lange 1 obviously). Released in 1999 as the first serially produced manually-wound chronograph with a fully in-house movement, the Datograph is not only a beautiful watch, it’s also a significant piece in the history of the industry. The watch launched a new push for in-house watchmaking that has persisted to today. The reference 435.034 seen here is one of the most collectible variants of the Datograph ever produced. Made in a limited edition of only 200 examples, this Datograph is part of Lange’s legendary Lumen collection. These pieces feature smoked sapphire dials, illuminated displays, and a more modern aesthetic than their standard counterparts. 

A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split Ref. 424.037F

While the A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split has one of the most aesthetically pleasing movements in the industry, the watch is also an extremely important achievement for Lange. After upsetting the Swiss watch industry with the Datograph and its in-house movement, Lange pushed even further with the development of the Double Split. Unlike most split-seconds chronographs, the Double Split was the first watch that was able to split the minutes as well. Then, before any other brand could even match the Double Split, Lange released the Triple Split, which is able to split seconds, minutes, and hours. The achievement underscores just how hard Lange pushes its development team in its quest to create the most innovative and impressive pieces on the market. The competitive drive is intense, even when it is only competing with itself! The ref. 424.037F Triple Split is the physical manifestation of Lange’s philosophy. 

A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Honey Gold Lumen Ref. 142.055

A. Lange and Söhne Zeitwerk 142.055 Honey Gold Lumen

For a slightly different take on the Lumen collection from Lange, consider the Zeitwerk Honey Gold ref. 142.055. Honey Gold is Lange’s proprietary alloy with a coloring somewhere between rose gold and white gold and a hardness that surpasses even platinum. Just like the Datograph Lumen, this watch also features a smoked sapphire dial and illuminated display. At the heart of this exclusive 200 piece limited edition, the Zeitwerk is powered by a brilliant manually wound movement. The substantial amount of torque required to rotate the large hour and minute discs used to display the time would quickly overpower the delicate hairspring of the escapement, so Lange built a remontoir constant force system especially for the model. This very sophisticated movement paired with the Honey Gold case and Lumen dial make this Zeitwerk a truly brilliant work of engineering from the esteemed German brand. 

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6119

Moving from complicated to classic, the Patek Philippe Ref. 6119 is the culmination of a long history of manually-wound traditional dress watches. Sized for a modern customer at 39mm, this watch retains much of the DNA of it’s older, smaller relatives including a similar case profile to that of the original Calatrava, the reference 96, and a hobnail bezel that is reminiscent of the 3919 and 5119. In many ways, this piece is an amalgamation of successful Patek designs from over the years into a single contemporary offering. The watch also offers an impressive 65-hour power reserve from two separate mainspring barrels. Patek designed a new manually-wound movement specifically for this reference, demonstrating the brand’s continued commitment to the development of manually-wound movements. 

Patek Philippe Split Second Chronograph Ref. 5370P-011

The 5370P is one of the Patek’s most impressive modern Grand Complications. Much like the humble 6119, Patek incorporated a number of heritage details into its design of this modern piece. Executed in platinum, the 5370 has a stunning black enamel dial, applied Breguet numerals, and a chronograph layout reminiscent of early Patek chronographs. At the same time, this watch clocks in at a contemporary 41mm in diameter and features an in-house manually wound split-seconds chronograph caliber. The combination of these traditional details with modern refinements and blue alligator leather strap has made this one of the most beloved modern grand comps for Patek collectors. 

Patek Philippe Grande and Petite Sonnerie Ref. 6301P-001

If you’re looking for the ultimate manual-wind watch that showcases Patek’s full mechanical prowess, you’d be hard pressed to find a more compelling option than the reference 6301P-001 Grande and Petite Sonnerie. Over 700 individually hand-finished components comprise this manually-wound movement, all in service of grande and petite sonneries as well as a minute repeater. A grande sonnerie features a quarter chime in addition to a repeater, while a petite sonnerie only chimes the quarter without hour repetition. The fact that this watch seamlessly incorporates so much into a 12mm thick case and subtle black dial is baffling. And since this watch does not have a rotor obscuring the caseback, you can easily watch the gongs in action. This watch is simply (or complicatedly) a mechanical triumph.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph Ref. Q389848J

The Reverso on its own is an extremely popular manually-wound watch, but the Reverso Tribute Chronograph is particularly interesting. This recent release from JLC looks like your typical Reverso on the front side, but flip the watch over and you’re met by a skeletonized chronograph. The combination is fantastic and allows the wearer to switch between a reserved, classic Reverso layout, and something far more modern. This is one of the few watches that has two entirely antithetical personalities incorporated into a single case. JLC took full advantage of the Reverso design language to provide something you simply can’t get elsewhere. 

Cartier Crash Ref. WGCH0006

Over the years, Cartier has produced more than its fair share of great manually-wound models, including icons such as the Tank and Santos. That said, no model is steeped in more mystique or has a more infamous legend than the Crash. The most elusive member of Cartier’s collection, the Crash has always been viewed as the ultimate collector’s Cartier. This reference WGCH0006 is one of the very few recent Crash editions to come to market. Released to celebrate the opening of Cartier’s New Bond Street boutique in London, just a single piece is delivered each month making for an extremely limited supply for VIP customers of the brand. The Crash has a beautiful and whimsical design and is one of the most distinguished manually wound watches on the market today. 

Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph Ref. W1525851

Cartier is generally known for its designs, not for its technical watchmaking, but the Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph Ref. W1525851 is a rare combination of the brand’s design acumen and an expertly developed, complicated hand-wound movement. The model features a monopusher chronograph developed in association with the THA, a movement production firm headed by F.P. Journe and several other independent watchmaking luminaries. The movement is a monopusher which lets the user control all functions (start, stop, and reset) of the chronograph from a single pusher. Beyond the technical sophistication of this watch, the dial has a beautiful guilloché decoration, subtle blue numerals, and Breguet hands that really set the watch apart from the rest. 

Romain Gauthier Logical One

The Romain Gauthier Logical One (and really all Romain Gauthier watches for that matter) is designed to appeal to the collector who appreciates the tiniest of details, both technical and aesthetic. The Logical One features an exposed fusee and chain mechanism that supplies constant force to the escapement, and an exceptionally finished movement front and back. The entire piece has received extensive hand mirror polishing, including heavily curved surfaces with sharp internal corners. This is the most intricate and difficult finishing a brand can produce and Romain Gauthier has executed it flawlessly. This is exactly what you come to expect from a brand that produces less than 100 watches a year. 

IWC FA Jones Ref. IW544201

The IWC FA Jones is a tribute to the brand’s founder, Florentine Ariosto Jones. A limited edition of 1000 pieces, the idea behind this watch was to pay homage to the brand’s vintage designs. The resulting piece features an enamel dial, traditional manually-wound movement (displayed through a sapphire caseback), and retro Breguet hands, small seconds, and Arabic numerals reminiscent of early IWC dress watches. The pairing of a classic manually-wound movement with vintage vibes works perfectly.

De Bethune DB28 Grand Bleu

In many ways, it doesn’t make much sense for the hyper-modern design of a De Bethune to be paired with a traditional manually-wound movement. Yet, this is precisely the type of intrigue that De Bethune strives for. The brand has a traditional approach to watchmaking, the resulting watches just happen to be extremely bold and futuristic. The De Bethune DB28 Grand Bleu is powered by a manually wound movement, yet is as un-traditional as you can get. The piece features De Bethune’s distinctive reciprocating case, open dial, blued hands, and a spaceship-style engraving on the surface of the movement (it kind of reminds us of the Star Trek seal). These details were intentionally incorporated by De Bethune to help create a modern watch that is still respectful of the history of watchmaking. Unlike many other modern brands, De Bethune pieces don’t feel rebellious next to classic watchmaking. Instead, they feel like a contemporary reimagination of what a watch should look like. 

Kari Voutilainen Retrograde Date “Night Sky” Unique Piece Ref. 217QRS

One of the most respected names in the independent watch space, Kari Voutilainen is known for his spectacular dials. The Retrograde Date “Night Sky” is one of an 8-piece limited edition of unique dials made for the 30th anniversary of Manfredi Jewels in Connecticut. The fully hand-finished piece features a retrograde date indicator. Unlike most retrograde dates which snap back to 1 at the end of the month, this piece was developed with a special complication that allows the hand to slowly glide back to 1 over the course of a second or two. This more delicate reset is characteristic of the type of mechanical solutions Voutilainen implements to distinguish his creations from mainstream brands. The hand engraved dial and beautifully sculpted case and lugs really needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate just how special it is. This is a gorgeous watch with an equally beautiful hand wound movement finished by hand to perfection. 

Breguet La Tradition Ref. 7047PT Grand Complication

Breguet’s Tradition collection, inspired by the brand’s own 19th century pocket watches, has emerged as one of its most popular collection of watches. The Ref. 7047PT, seen here, is extremely complicated, featuring a fusee and chain constant force mechanism and a tourbillon. Breguet might not have the name recognition of fellow heritage brands like Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet, but references such as the 7047PT showcase its utter mastery of complicated watchmaking and makes an argument that the brand deserves to be considered alongside other giants of the industry. If you are a collector of this type of piece, getting a Breguet presents a tremendous value for one of the highest quality products in the market segment. 

Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio Ref. PAM00791

Panerai is one of the few sporty brands left that still make a number of manually wound watches. The Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio Ref. PAM00791 is a 500 piece limited edition with manually wound movement and retro-inspired dial. Featuring a large 47mm cushion case (extremely characteristic of the brand), an eggshell colored dial, and blacked-out hands, the heritage aesthetic is well suited for the manually-wound movement. All in all, the PAM791 has a nostalgic feel that reminds us of the brand’s origins in the Italian Navy. 

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Titanium

MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual Ref. 03.WL.B

At the exact opposite end of the spectrum from the reserved Panerai is the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual. This modern piece, which is one of the brand’s most popular and visually interesting, features a perpetual calendar and a completely openworked movement that gives an unobstructed look at the hand wind caliber that powers this watch. Interestingly (and relatively uniquely for MB&F), when you flip the watch over, the caseback side of the movement looks extremely traditional. For this watch, MB&F clearly decided that the main attraction was dial-side, which really helps the Legacy Machine Perpetual stand out from the crowd as an extremely unique offering. 

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar Ref. 6812-1200

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar Ref. 6812-1200

This H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar Ref. 6812-1200 has to be the most discreet perpetual calendar on the market. Released in 2021, the model looks like just about any other watch with a date display. In actuality, however, this manually-wound piece is a perpetual calendar. A small fourth hand at the center of the dial points to the hour indexes that serve double duty as the months of the year (12 months = 12 hours). There is also a leap year indicator visible through the sapphire caseback and with just a few small indicators, Moser has made a brilliant perpetual calendar. Clean, uncluttered, and simple – Moser continues to do things in their own way.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT Ref. 26589IO.OO.D002CA.01

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT 26589IO.OO.D002CA.01

If you are looking for something complicated, sporty, avant-garde, and really, really special, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon GMT is just the watch. This futuristic piece is made from sandblasted titanium and is equipped with a contrasting black ceramic bezel. These aesthetic choices are designed to create a stealthy vibe that contrasts with the watch’s large size, flying tourbillon and GMT complication. The combination works really well, and the Concept line has become quite popular, especially after it was spotted on the wrists of a number of notable athletes and celebrities. 

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Ref. 1100S/00R-B430

It’s always exciting to see watches like the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 that have an unusual design or a bit of added character. Based on a vintage piece from— you guessed it — 1921, this beautiful model was originally intended for drivers. The idea was that even when a driver’s hands were on the wheel, the off-kilter dial would read straight. With a beautiful cushion case, the 36.5mm piece wears a bit larger than the number might suggest, allowing for an extremely comfortable experience. For a dress offering that really steps out on its own with extra character and backstory, the unique Historiques American 1921 is the perfect conversation starter.

Richard Mille RM002

Richard Mille RM002 Tourbillon

Offered in rose and white gold, the RM002 tourbillon was one of Richard Mille’s earliest watches, a modified version of the original RM001 tourbillon. This watch played a significant role in solidifying RM’s identity in the watch industry. Utilizing modern materials for strength and durability, the RM002 has a titanium movement network for increased shock resistance, and carbon fiber dial details chosen for its lightweight characteristics and texture. It’s easy for purists to dismiss RM as a flashy new-money toy, but in truth, the brand produces extremely high quality mechanical watches made from advanced materials that almost no one else uses. A hand-wound tourbillon is about as classic as it gets, even if the movement is cased up for a contemporary clientele. 

Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Blue Ref. LCF036.T1.CG

Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Blue Ref. LCF036.T1.CG

Moreso than others, Laurent Ferrier is an independent brand that has embraced manually-wound pieces. A celebrated watch designer who was involved in the development of the famed Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 prior to starting his own brand, today, Laurent Ferrier produces a small number of minimalist pieces every year with beautiful details. This Classic Origin Blue features a striking blue ombre dial which has an interesting three-dimensional texture. The piece is extremely eye-catching and makes for a versatile everyday piece that could easily work in more dressy occasions as well. 

Gronefeld 1941 Remontoire

The final watch on our list is a timepiece that looks far simpler than it truly is. The Gronefeld 1941 Remontoire is a time-only watch that features a remontoire constant force system. And what makes this particular example so extraordinary is the dial. The dial is made by master watchmarker Kari Voutilainen, and only 188 of these bespoke dial 1941’s were made. When you flip this watch over, you are met with a GORGEOUSLY decorated stainless steel movement. With much of the bridge structure stripped away to provide a better view of the inner workings, the calibre G-05 is a sight to behold. Many manually-wound movements are nothing special to look at purely because of the traditional layout of a manually wound movement with large bridges. Gronefeld has reworked the layout of the movement, though, in an effort to change this. I think it’s pretty clear that they succeeded!

Join 75,000+ Other Watch Enthusiasts

Get our new arrivals first.