WristReview’s Top 5 Most Beautiful Automatic Watch Rotors

By Harlan Chapman-Green

So this is one of those articles where I talk about things I like and it’s not looking at one particular watch, I like the concept of these as you can share your own thoughts, connect emotionally with the audience and maybe even show something they haven’t seen.

The rules for my selection are quite simple. The watch doesn’t have to be within a certain price bracket. We’re looking at watches that I’d want to own. They can be simple or complex, skeletonised rotors are fine too as it’s only the rotor we’re looking at. The other thing is that the rotor has to be clearly visible through the caseback so solid backed watches with the case removed with don’t count, which pretty much counts Rolex out. Watches with an openable dust door are fine too. These are the watches you’d want to wear upside down so you can see the rotor spin lazily on your arm all day long.

5. Blancpain Villeret Chronographe Pulsomètre


What is it about that honeycombed gold that I find so appealing? It’s one of those things that I’ll never understand let alone explain. But something about the way it’s done is just amazing. It’s like piping the icing onto a cake almost, very slow and laborious but it’s worth it all the way as it puts most others to shame. A spectacular way to kick off this article, the beautiful rotor on this watch is a real stunner. blancpain.com

4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Equation of Time


Wow. Would you look at that? It’s a stunning skeletal rotor. Solid gold and amazing to sum it up. The openwork on the rotor is subtly styled so it looks both natural and has the AP logo in it. It’s also mounted on 4 jewels so it winds beautifully and will wind in both directions. A marvellous piece truly fitting to this list. audemarspiguet.com

3. MB&F HM5 Carbonmacrolon


The MB&F Carbonmacrolon is a nutty watch that I really like and the rotor is another great feature. Although I have raised questions in the past about how effectively it would wind the watch, it still looks great. The double ‘axe blade’ look really gives this sharp (sorry about that) dressed watch the cherry on top that it thoroughly deserves. mbandf.com

2. A.Lange & Söhne Saxonia Langematik Perpetual


The only German made piece on this list, and the only one featuring a micro-rotor. Indeed, while the dial itself is lovely, it’s that hand engraved rotor that entices me to this watch. It’s smaller than the others, but packs as much heart, soul and probably more skill too because it’s scaled down. The 5 blued screws contrast perfectly with the 21k gold on the rotor and the platinum actually creates a nice soft medium to the German silver of the movement. alange-soehne.com

1. Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Openworked


Another skeletonised rotor and another perpetual calendar. This is a stunning piece and it’s Vacheron doing what it does best, mixing Haute Horlogerie and art. It’s really worked here as the platinum is cut into a beautiful flowing shape. Vacheron Constantin’s logo, the Maltese Cross, is cut into the rotor too and the platinum has been engraved so it takes on a diamond encrusted appearance. The band of gold around the edge allows this watch to steal the whole biscuit tin too. vacheron-constantin.com

Well there we go, I wish I could have watches that literally only have the rotors in so I could watch them but they’d serve no purpose and they’d cost more than I could afford.


Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor

First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.