Watch Glossary

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Watch Glossary

Post by koimaster » September 10th 2018, 12:39pm

Confused about watch terminology? Here's a complete list of common watch-related terms and their definitions.

    12-hour recorder: A sub-dial on a chronograph that can time periods of up to 12 hours.

    30-minute recorder: A sub-dial on a chronograph that can time periods of up to 30 minutes.

    Alarm: A device that sounds a signal at a pre-set time.

    Altimeter: A device that determines altitude by responding to changes in barometric pressure.

    Analog display: A display that shows the time by means of hands and a dial.

    Arabic Numerals: Numbers on a watch dial that are written the way we typically write numbers.

    ATM (atmosphere): One atmosphere equals 33 feet. 1 ATM = 33 feet or 10 meters. 3.3 feet = 1

    Auto repeat countdown timer: A countdown timer that resets itself as soon as the pre-set time has elapsed and starts the countdown again. It repeats the countdown continuously until the wearer pushes the stop button.

    Automatic winding: (Also called "self-winding") Winding that occurs through the motion of the wearer's arm rather than through turning the winding stem. It works by means of a rotor that turns in response to motion, thereby winding up the watch's mainspring. An automatic watch that is not worn for a day or two will wind down and will need to be wound by hand to get it started again.

    Balance spring: A very fine spring (also called a "hair spring") in a mechanical watch that returns the balance wheel back to a neutral position.

    Balance wheel: The part of a mechanical watch movement that oscillates, dividing time into equal segments.

    Baton markers: Commonly referred to as stick markers, any straight-line marker used in place of numbers on a watch.

    Battery: The power source of a quartz movement. A typical battery will last 12 to 18 months.

    Battery reserve indicator: (also called end-of-life battery indicator) On a quartz watch it informs the wearer when the battery is low. Often this is indicated by the seconds hand moving at two or three-second intervals.

    Beat: One complete oscillation of the balance wheel. Measured in beats per hour, the higher the frequency, the more accurate.

    Bezel: The ring, usually made of gold, gold plate or steel that surrounds the watch face.

    Bracelet: A type of watchband made of elements that resemble links.

    Breguet hands: A type of modified sword hand identified by a circle near the point.

    Breguet numerals: A modified type of Arabic numeral.

    Built-in illumination: Lighting on a watch dial that allows the wearer to read the time in the dark.

    Calendar: A feature that shows the day of the month and often the day of the week and the year. There are several types of calendar watches. Some show the date and day of the week with sub-dials and analog hands.

    Caliber: A watch movement.

    Cambered: Often used in referring to a curved or arched dial or bezel.

    Case: The metal housing of a watch's parts. Stainless steel is the most typical metal used but titanium, gold, silver and platinum can also be used.

    Chronograph: A multifunction sport watch with a stopwatch function. Most have two or three sub-dials or mini-dials, for measuring minutes and hours.

    Chronometer: A timepiece that has met certain high standards of accuracy set by an official watch institute in Switzerland.

    Complication: Additional mechanism such as strike train, chronograph and calendar, which can be made by only a few specialists.

    Countdown timer: A function that lets the wearer keep track of how much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed.

    Crown: Button on the outside of the watch case that is used to set the time and the calendar and in a mechanical watch, to wind the mainspring. In the latter instance, it is also called a "winding stem."

    Crystal: The transparent cover on a watch face made of glass, crystal, synthetic sapphire or plastic.

    Day/night indicator: A colored or shaded band on a world time dial that shows which time zones are in daylight and which in darkness.

    Deployant Buckle: Type of hinged watch buckle that may be used on a leather strap or bracelet.

    Depth Alarm: An alarm on divers' watch that sounds when the wearer exceeds a pre-set depth. In most watches, it stops sounding when the diver ascends above that depth.

    Dial: The face of a watch where the time is read.

    Digital watch: A watch that shows the time through digits rather than through a dial and hands (analog) display.

    Ebauche movement: A rare watch movement without jewels, escapement, plating or engraving.

    Elapsed time rotating bezel: A graduated rotating bezel used to keep track of periods of time. The bezel can be turned so the wearer can align the zero on the bezel with the watch's seconds or minutes hand. The wearer can then read the elapsed time off the bezel.

    Engine turning: Decorative engraving, usually on a watch face or parts.

    Escapement: Device in a mechanical movement that controls the rotation of the wheels and thus the motion of the hands.

    Etablisseur: A company which buys the major components and puts them together.

    Exhibition watch: Any watch that allows the wearer to view the movement. Usually the back only, but occasionally both front and back are visible.

    Face: The visible side of the watch where the dial is contained. Most are printed with Arabic or roman numerals. Note: Traditionally IIII, rather than IV, is used to indicate the 4 o'clock position.

    Fluted bezel: A type of grooved, high polish bezel.

    Fly-back hand: A second's hand on a chronograph that is used to determine lap or finishing times for several competitors. To operate, put both the flyback and the regular second hand in motion; then to record a lap or finish time, the flyback hand can be stopped. After taking the results, push a button and the flyback hand will catch up to the constantly moving second hand.

    GMT: (Greenwich Mean Time) A watch that keeps track of two or more time zones, usually with an extra hour hand that travels once around the dial every 24 hours, and is read on the bezel rather than the dial.

    Galbee: The formal name of a watch with a curved case and movement. Sometimes called curvex.

    Gear train: The system of gears, which transmits power from the mainspring to the escapement.

    Geneva Seal: A seal guaranteeing that the mechanical movement runs on components manufactured and assembled in Switzerland to the highest standards. A hallmark engraved with the official state seal on the most visible part of the movement. Anyone who owns a Geneva Seal watch can trace its origins, because each hallmarked movement has an individual number.

    Grande sonnerie: A type of repeater that sounds the hours and quarter hours when the wearer pushes a button.

    Guilloche: A type of engraving, in which thin lines are interwoven, creating a patterned surface. It is often used on dials.

    Hands: The parts of any analog watch that point to the hour, minute or seconds markers. The most common types of hands are sword, baton, dauphine and brueget.

    Horology: The science of time measurement, including the art of designing and construction timepieces.

    Index: The hour indicator on an analog watch, used instead of numerals. (Also referred to as markers.)

    Integrated bracelet: A watch bracelet that is incorporated into the design of the case.

    Jewels: Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears in a mechanical watch, reducing friction. A quality hand-wound or automatic mechanical timepiece contains at least 17 jewels.

    Jump hour indicator: A jump hour indicator takes the place of an hour hand. It shows the hour by means of a numeral in a window on the watch face.

    Lap memory: The ability, in some quartz sport watches, to preserve in the watch's memory the times of laps in a race that have been determined by the lap timer. The wearer can recall these times on a digital display by pushing a button.

    Lap timer: A chronograph function that lets the wearer time segments of a race. At the end of a lap, he stops the timer, which then returns to zero to begin timing the next lap.

    Leap Year indicator: Usually in perpetual calendar watches, this tells the wearer when it is leap year. The most common execution of this complication is to show the Roman numeral I, II, III or IV in a window with IV representing the leap year.

    Liquid-crystal display: (LCD) A digital watch display that shows the time electronically by means of liquid held in a thin layer between two transparent plates. All LCD watches have quartz movements.

    Lugs: Extensions on either side of the bezel where the bracelet or strap is attached.

    Mainspring: The power source of a mechanical watch. A long strip of metal that drives the movement with the energy of its uncoiling.

    Manual Wind: The simplest type of mechanical movement. The wearer manually rewinding the crown maintains the mainspring tension. It is best for the watch to be wound at the same time each day.

    Manufacturer: A company that designs and makes entire watches.

    Mechanical movement: A movement powered by a mainspring, working in conjunction with a balance wheel (as opposed to a battery and quartz crystal).

    Mineral crystal: A heat or chemical treated type of glass crystal. Generally, these cannot be polished.

    Minute repeater: A complication on a watch that can strike the time in hours, quarters, or seconds by means of a push piece. The first complication invented, before electricity, was in 1687 by Daniel Quare to enable the wearer to tell time in the dark.

    Moon phase: A window in a watch face that shows which phase the moon is in. A disk beneath the window, painted with two pictures of a moon, rotates as the month progresses, revealing gradually larger or smaller segments of the picture.

    Movement: The inner mechanism of a watch that keeps time and moves the watch's hands, calendar, etc. Movements are either mechanical or quartz.

    Pedometer: A device that counts the number of strides taken by the wearer by responding to the impact of the wearer's steps.

    Perpetual calendar: A calendar that automatically adjusts for the months' varying lengths and for leap years.

    Plastic crystal: The least expensive type of watch crystal, these are easily scratched, but also easily polished.

    Plate: A watch has a front and back plate or a top and bottom plate, with the works found in between.

    Power reserve indicator: A feature of a mechanical watch that shows how much longer the watch will operate before it must be wound.

    Pulsimeter: A scale on a chronograph watch for measuring the pulse rate.

    Quartz crystal: A tiny piece of synthetic quartz that oscillates at the rate of 32,768 times a second, dividing time into equal segments.

    Quartz movement: A movement powered by a vibrating quartz crystal.

    Rattrapante: A mechanical split second chronograph with a lap function.

    Rally function: A chronograph feature, which allows for continuous measurement of net times.

    Repeater: A striking watch in which the train can be actuated at will by the wearer to sound off the hours in some, also the quarters, minutes or half-quarters.

    Reserve: Running time of a watch after it has been fully wound.

    Retrograde Calendar: A scale on the outer rim of the watch face, numbered from 1 to 31. A hand then points to the date.

    Reveil: A mechanical alarm watch.

    Rotating bezel: A bezel (the ring surrounding the watch face) that can be turned. Different types of rotating bezels perform different timekeeping and mathematical functions (elapsed time bezel, uni-directional, bi-directional and slide rule).

    Rotor: The part of an automatic, or self-winding, watch that winds the movement's mainspring. It is a flat piece of metal, usually shaped like a semicircle that swivels on a pivot with the motion of the wearer's arm.

    Sapphire crystal: A crystal (the cover that protects the watch face) made of synthetic sapphire, a transparent, shatter-resistant, scratch-resistant substance. It is nine on the hardness scale. Because it is so hard, it is brittle and in some instances may shatter.

    Screw-down crown: A crown that can be screwed into the case to make the watch watertight.

    Second time-zone indicator: An additional dial that can be set to the time in another time zone. It lets the wearer keep track of local time and the time in another country simultaneously.

    Shock resistance: As defined by U.S. government regulation, a watch's ability to withstand an impact equal to that of being dropped onto a wood floor from a height of 3 feet.

    Skeleton case: A case with a transparent front or back that allows the wearer to view the watch's movement.

    Slide rule: A device, consisting of logarithmic or other scales on the outer edge of the watch face that can be used to do mathematical calculations.

    Solar compass: A compass that lets the wearer determine the geographical poles by means of a rotating bezel. The wearer places the watch so that the hour hand faces the sun. He then takes half the distance between that position and 12 o'clock, and turns the bezel until its "south" marker is at the halfway point.

    Split function: Used to time a single event and all of its parts (going from point A to point C, this would allow you to time A and B, B and C, as well as A and B and C).

    Split seconds hand: Actually 2 hands, one a flyback hand, the other a regular chronograph hand. When the wearer starts the chronograph, both hands move together. To time laps or different finishing times, the wearer can stop the flyback hand independently while the regular chronograph hand keeps moving, in effect splitting the hands in two.

    Stepping motor: The part of a quartz movement that moves the gear train, which in turn moves the watch's hands.

    Stopwatch: A watch with a second hand that measures intervals of time. When a stopwatch is incorporated into a standard watch, both the stop watch function and the timepiece are referred to as a chronograph.

    Sub-dial: A small dial on a watch face used for several different purposes, such as keeping track of elapsed minutes or hours on a chronograph, or indicating the date.

    Sweep seconds-hand: A seconds-hand that is mounted in the center of the watch dial.

    Swiss Made: A watch is considered Swiss if its movement was assembled, started, adjusted and controlled by the manufacturer in Switzerland.

    Tachymeter: Probably the most common additional feature on a chronograph watch. A tachymeter (also called a tachometer) measures the speed at which the wearer has traveled over a measured distance.

    Totalizer: A mechanism that keeps track of elapsed time and displays it, usually on one sub-dial or several sub-dials on the watch face. Same as a "recorder" or "register" The term totalizer can be used more generally to refer to any counter on a watch, such as a stroke counter on a golf watch.

    Tourbillon: A device in a mechanical watch that eliminates timekeeping errors caused by the slight difference in the rates at which a watch runs in the horizontal and vertical positions. The tourbillon consists of a round carriage, or cage, holding the escapement and the balance. As it rotates continuously at the rate of once per minute. It was invented in 1801 by Abraham Brequet. In simple terms, it nullifies gravity's effect on the watch.

    Uni-directional rotating bezel: An elapsed time rotating bezel often found on divers' watches that moves only in a counterclockwise direction. It is designed to prevent a diver who has unknowingly knocked the bezel off its original position from over estimating his remaining air supply. Because the bezel moves in only one direction, the diver can err only on the side of safety when timing his dive.

    Water proof: An illegal and misused term. No watch is fully 100% waterproof.

    Water resistance: A watch bearing the inscription "water-resistant" on its caseback can handle light moisture, such as a rainstorm or sink splashes, but should not be worn swimming or diving. If the watch can be submerged in water, it must state at what depth it maintains water-resistance.

    Winding stem: The button on the right side of the watch case used to wind the mainspring. Also called a crown.

    World time dial: A dial, usually on the outer edge of the watch face that tells the time in up to 24 time zones around the world. The time zones are represented by the names of cities printed on the bezel or dial. The wearer reads the hour in a particular time zone by looking at the scale next to the city that the hour hand is pointing to.

    Yacht timer: A countdown timer that sounds warning signals during the countdown to a boat race.


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Re: Watch Glossary

Post by koimaster » March 17th 2020, 10:55am

Here is a list of terms used in the horology, or “watch collecting” hobby.

Automatic High Precision – our latest movement. A swinging rotor drives a mini-generator. Its electric power is stored in a capacitor, which supplies energy to the quartz-controlled integrated circuit.

Servo-controlled motor drive. The system, integrated in the circuit, lengthens the duration of motor impulse when the mechanism meets resistance (during date-change for example) and reverts to the normal duration when the resistance ends. The technique increases battery life by 30%.

A watch feature that sounds an alarm at pre-set time or at regular intervals.

A function that provides altitude by responding to changes in barometric pressure, commonly found in pilot watches. Note that inside a pressurized airplane cabin, the altimeter will register as if on land.

Analog Digital
A watch that has both a digital display and hands of a conventional watch. Usually featured on sport watch styles.

Analog quartz
The most commonly-used term in referring to any analog timepiece that operates on a battery or on solar power and is regulated by a quartz crystal.

Analog Watch
A watch with a dial, hands, and numbers or markers that present a total display of a 12-hour time span.

Atmosphere (Atm)

Unit of pressure used in watch making to indicate water-resistance.

Atomic time standard
Provided by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Time and Frequency Division, Boulder, Colorado, atomic time is measured through vibrations of atoms in a metal isotope that resembles mercury. The result is extremely accurate time that can be measured on instruments. Radio waves transmit this exact time throughout North America and some “atomic” watches can receive them and correct to the exact time. To synchronize your watch with atomic standard time, call (303) 499-7111.

Auto repeat timer
A feature that allows for continuous operation of a countdown timer. If timer function is set at one hour and started, it will countdown to zero, beep with a warning signal and immediately return to the preset time and start the countdown again. This would continue until stop button is pushed.

Automatic movement
A movement that is all mechanical and requires no winding because the rotor, part of the automatic mechanism, winds the mainspring every time you move your hand. When fully wound and left to sit, most automatics will have up to 36 hours of reserve power. Mechanical movements are accurate within one minute each day.


Ladies style watch with a thin, elongated face; usually rectangular in shape but may be oval.

The regulating organ of the watch, vibrating on a spiral hairspring. Lengthening or shortening the balance-spring makes the balance-wheel go faster or slower to advance or retard the watch.

A small rod with a sprung pivot at either end to fix the strap (band) to the case.

Base metal
Any non-precious metal.

Device that converts chemical energy into electricity. Most watch batteries are silver oxide type delivering 1.5 volts. Much longer-lasting lithium batteries are 3 volt.

Battery Life
The minimum period of time that a battery will continue to provide power to run the watch. Life begins at the point of manufacture when the factory initially installs the battery.

The surface ring on the watch that surrounds and holds the crystal in place. A rotating ratchet bezel moves in some sport watches as part of the timing device. If rotating bezels are bi-directional, able to move clockwise or counter clockwise, they can assist in calculations for elapsed times.

Flexible metal band consisting of assembled links, usually in the same style as the case. detachable links change the length of the bracelet.

Copper and zinc alloy used to make the main plate and bridge wheels in the movement.

Usually matching the case, it attaches the two parts of the leather strap around the wrist.

Push piece controls, usually at 2 o’clock and/or 4 o’clock on the dial to control special functions such as the chronograph or the alarm.


Cabochon crown
A rounded semi-precious stone or synthetic material usually black, fitted into the watch crown as an ornament.

A watch feature that shows the date and sometimes the day of the week and the month. It can be displayed through a cut-out window in the dial, as a sud-dial with small hands indicating the day/date feature or by digital readout.
The dimensions of the watch. Caliber describes the size and configuration of the movement and can now indicate the shape, origin and constructor as well.
Often Used in referring to a curved or arched dial or bezel.
Carat (Karat)
Unit of gold fineness (and gemstone weight). Pure gold is 24k. 18k gold is 75% pure.
The metal housing of a watch’s parts. Stainless steel is the most typical metal used but also titanium, gold, silver, and platinum can be used. Less expensive watches are usually made of brass and plated with gold or silver.
A multifunction sport watch with a stopwatch function. Most have two or three sub dials, or minidials, for measuring minutes and hours.
A precision watch that is set in various temperatures and positions, thus meeting the accuracy standards set by an official watch institute in Switzerland. Most watch companies either provide this certificate with a purchase or it can be mailed to you.
The attachment used to connect the two ends of the watch bracelet or strap around the wrist.
Deployment Buckle
A three-folding enclosure, which secures the two ends of the bracelet and allows enough room for placing the watch on the wrist when fully deployed. When closed, the buckle covers the two-piece folding mechanism Fold-Over Buckle—See Deployment buckle Hook Lock—Two separate units each fitting on either end of the bracelet which allows the watch to be laid out. One end of the closure hooks onto the other to secure the two ends of the bracelet.
Jeweler’s Clasp
A closure that is generally used on better bracelets. Also allows it to lie flat.
Sliding Clasp
Also a hook type method but allows for easy sizing of the bracelet by sliding up.
Twist Lock
A closure similar to Jeweler’s Clasp used on ladies jewelry bracelets.
A watch with other functions besides time keeping. For example, a chronograph is a watch complication. other complications coveted by watch collectors include: minute repeater, tourbillion, perpetual calendar, or split second chronograph.
System to set the watch indicators (the hour, minute or day) by means of the crown.
Countdown timer
Measures remaining time from preset period of time. (Example: Can be used to countdown time of a basketball game.)
Nodule extending from the case that is used to set the time, date, etc. Most pull out to set the time. In water resistant styles, the crowns should screw down.
The clean cover over the watch face. Three types of crystals are commonly found in watches. Acrylic crystal, a plastic, is inexpensive and shallow scratches can be buffed out. Mineral crystal is comprised of several elements that are heat treated to create unusual hardness that aids in resisting scratches. Sapphire crystal is the most expensive and durable, approximately three times harder than mineral crystals and 20 time harder than acrylic crystals. A nonreflective coating on some sport styles prevents glare.
Day/date watch
A watch that indicates not only the date but the day of the week.
The watch face. The numerals, indices, or surface design are usually applied; others have been printed on.
A liquid-crystal display (LCD) enabling a color to appear or vanish on the surface.
Any watch that shows the time in numbers instead of hands on the dial. the numbers appear in LCD (liquid crystal diode) which shows a continuous reading or in LED (light-emitting diode) which shows time at the push of a button.
Digital Watch
A mechanical or solid state watch in which the time shows through changes of digits, rather than positions of hands on the dial.
Directional compass
Can be displayed by rotating a bezel or digital readout on the face of the watch. It is used to determine a geographical direction using the location of the sun.
Divers Watches
Diver’s watches are designed and manufactured especially for divers whose lives depend on the reliability of their watch in the water.
Seiko and Pulsar diver’s watches meet ISO (International Standardization Organization) regulations. diver’s watches must meet various standards regarding water resistancy, pressure resistancy, readability in the water, time presetting function (rotating elapsed time bezel), anti-magnetic ability, anti-shock, rust resistancy in salt water, manageability in water, ability to withstand sudden temperature changes, etc.
Seiko and Pulsar diver’s watches also have features such as:
Rotating Bezel will only rotate counter clockwise. this is so in case rotated accidentally the bezel will not show an extended diving duration.
For accurate setting, bezel also has a one minute interval click.
Inscribed on the case back is the battery replacement month to prevent the watch from stopping during a dive.
Straps feature extra large buckles for easy fastening and longer length to allow it to be worn over a diving suit.
Bezel is set higher than the surface of the crystal to help protect it.
Large luminous hands and markers are designed for clear readability.
Please refer to the Instruction Booklet for “Periodical Check,””Pre-Diving Check,” and “Battery Change Instructions.”
Dual timer
A watch that measures current local time as well as at least one other time zone. The additional time element may come from a twin dial, extra hand, subdials, or other means._
End of Life. In quartz movement the end of battery life is indicated by the seconds hand which starts to jump every four seconds. The battery should be changed immediately.
End of Energy. System used with the AHP alerts the wearer of accumulator discharge by causing the seconds hand to jump every four seconds instead of every second. The accumulator can the be recharged by turning the crown.
Electroplating process
Process of covering metal articles with a film of other metals. The article is immersed in a chemical solution; electric current (D.C.) flows through the solution from a piece of metal (anode) to the article (cathode), depositing metal thereon by electrolysis. metals which can be used for plating are: 1) gold—a precious metal generally yellow in color; 2) chrome—can be white or black; 3) palladium—a precious metal, generally white; 4) ruthenium—also a precious metal but usually gray.
The visible side of the watch where the dial is contained, most are printed with Arabic or Roman numerals. Note: traditionally IIII, rather than IV, is used to indicate the 4 o’clock position.
Flyback hand
A seconds hand on a chronograph that is used to determine lap or finishing times for several competitors. To operate, put both the flyback and the regular second hand in motion, then to record a lap or finishing time, the flyback hand can be stopped. After taking the results, push a button and the flyback hand will catch up to the constantly moving second hand.
The number of vibrations a second, in hertz (Hz).
Yellow precious metal which is stainless and very malleable. Used in alloys to make jewelry, bracelets and watches. The portion of gold in the alloy is indicated in carats (k).
A style of intricate engraving that is popular on watch dials, usually very thin lines interwoven to create a surface texture.
The pointing device anchored at the center and circling around the dial indicating hours, minutes, seconds and any other special features of the watch.
 Alpha Hands A slightly tapered hand.
 Baton Hands A narrow hand sometimes referred to as a stick hand.
 Dauphine Hands A wide, tapered hand with a facet at the center running the length of the hand.
 Luminous Hands Hands made of skeleton form with the opening filled by a luminous material.
 Skeleton Hands Cut-out hands showing only the frame.
Hard metal
A scratch-resistant metal comprised of binding several materials, including titanium and tungsten-carbide, which are then pressed into an extremely hard metal and polished with diamond powder to add brilliance.
High-tech ceramic
Used as a protective shield for spacecraft reentering the earth’s atmosphere, high tech ceramic is polished with diamond dust to create a highly polished finish. Because the ceramic can be injection molded, pieces can be contoured. It has a very smooth surface, usually found in black, but can be produced in a spectrum of colors.
The science of time measurement, including the art of designing and constructing timepieces.
Hourly time signal
Single beep/chime which rings on the hour, every hour when it is engaged.
Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears of a mechanical watch. A quality hand wound or automatic mechanical watch contains at least 17 jewels.
Based on a revolutionary technology, Seiko Kinetic?watches run entirely on sell generated energy from natural movement of your wrist. It never needs a battery.
Liquid-crystal display. This digital time display is used by longines to give additional chronograph indications.
Lighted dials
Several types of lighted dials are used so that you can tell time in the dark. Recently, a patented night-lite process, called electro-luminesce, lights the entire dial with a uniform light that makes for easy reading in nighttime situations. A side button activates the light. This technology often appears under a name brand such as Timex’ Indiglo or Seiko’s LumiBrite.
Extensions on either side of the bezel where the bracelet or strap is attached.
environmentally safe illumination technology that will glow brightly for hours without pushing a button or drawing energy from a battery.
self illuminating paint used on hands and markers.
A hand-wound mechanical watch.
Describes a movement with a balance wheel.
Mechanical movement
A movement based on a mainspring which is wound by hand; when wound, it slowly unwinds the spring in an even motion. An automatic mechanical requires no winding because of the rotor, which winds the mainspring every time you move your body.
Military or 24-hour time
When time is measured in 24-hour segments. To convert 12-hour time into 24-hour time, simply add 12 to any p.m. time. To convert 24-hour time into 12-hour time, subtract 12 from any time from 13 to 24.
Mineral glass
Watch glass that has been tempered to increase its scratch resistance.
Minute repeater
A complication on a watch that can strike the time in hours, quarters, or seconds by means of a push piece.
Moon phase
An indicator that keeps track of the phases of the moon. A regular rotation of the moon is once around the earth every 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes. once set, the moon phase indicator accurately displays the phase of the moon.
Iridescent, milky interior shell of the fresh water mollusk that is sliced thin and used on watch dials. While most have a milky white luster, mother-of-pearl also comes in other colors such as silvery gray, gray blue, pink, and salmon.
The inner workings or assembly that make up the main timekeeping mechanism. movements are either quartz or mechanical. This is the engine of the watch.
The travel of the balance wheel from one extreme to the other and back again. See Vibration.
A type of calendar that automatically adjusts for months of different lengths and indicates February 29 in each leap year.
Coating a metal base with another metal. In watch making a stainless steel base is coated with gold seven to 20 microns thick.
One of the rarest precious metals, platinum is also one of the strongest and heaviest, making it a popular choice for setting gemstone jewelry and watches. It has a rich, white luster, and an understated look. Platinum is hypoallergenic and tarnish resistant. Platinum used in jewelry and watches is at least 85 to 95 percent pure. Many platinum watches are produced in limited editions due to the expense and rarity of the metal.
Brilliant metal surface obtained on the watch-case with fine abrasive.
Power reserve
The time the watch will run with a fully charged power supply. For mechanical watches it is usually 44 hours. For quartz watches it can vary from 18 moths to 10 years.
Physical Vapor Deposition. Method of coating thin watch cases by integrating titanium particles and then depositing gold for color.
A natural or commercially synthesized silicon dioxide crystal. used in “quartz analog” or solid state digital watches. when activated by a battery or solar power, the thin sliver of crystal very predictably vibrates at an extremely high frequency (32,768 times per second) thus providing very accurate timekeeping. The main components are: an Electric Circuit Block (Quartz Oscillator and CMOS-IC) and the Mechanical Block (step motor, gear train, hands) and a battery.
Quartz crystal movement
A movement which allows a watch to be worn without being wound. This technology employs the vibrations of a tiny crystal to maintain accuracy of time. A digital quartz has no mechanical parts but is powered by a battery. The cell battery must be replaced about every 1.5 years. Numbers and letters are on a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Most quartz movements are made in Hong Kong. Japan, or Switzerland.
Ratchet bezel ring
A bezel ring which can either turn one way (counter clockwise) or both ways and generally clicks into place.
Rose (or pink) gold
A softly hued gold that contains the same materials as yellow gold but with a higher concentration of copper in the alloy. A popular color in Europe, rose gold in watches is often seen in retro styling or in tricolor gold versions. Some 18k red gold watches achieve their color from additional copper in the alloy.
Creating a granular metal finish by using a high-pressure jet of sand.
Sapphire Crystal
Synthetic corundum crystal with a hardness second only to diamond. Transparent sapphire is used for scratch-proof watch glasses.
Sapplex Crystal
Combination of sapphire and hardlex crystals.
Screw down locking crown
A crown which aids water resistance by sealing the crown against the case. The seal is achieved by the matching of a threaded pipe on the case with the crown’s internal threads and gasketing while twisting the crown to lock it into place.
Synthetic gaskets that seal the joints between parts of the case and keep out the wet.
Spring devices in balance-wheel bearings that divert shocks away from the fragile pivot (usually 12/100mm diameter) to the sturdier parts of the balance staff. The springs allow the balance-wheel to return to its original position after shocks.
Shock resistance
If shock resistance is specified on a watch case, a watch can withstand normal wear and tear, even during strenuous sport activities.
A satin finish obtained by using tiny glass pellets, one or two microns in diameter.
Skeleton case
A transparent front or back that permits viewing into the inner workings of the watch.
Slide rule bezel
A rotating bezel that is printed with a logarithmic scale and assorted other scales and is used in conjunction with fixed rules of mathematics to perform general mathematical calculations or navigational computations.
A type of quartz movement where the batteries are recharged via solar panels on the watch face. They have a power reserve so they can run even in the dark.
Solid State
A timepiece with no moving parts. All digital watches are 100% solid state. Analog watches combine solid state circuits with moving parts.
A second chronograph that runs concurrently with the first but can be stopped independently to record an intermediate time. It the catches up to run with the first hand again.
Split time measurement
Measures the elapsed time of a certain moment of an event.
If you want to know the elapsed time at a certain point during a track meet, you can tell exact time by using this.
The chronograph keeps running while split time is being displayed. Therefore, when split time is released the display returns to original measurement of total elapsed time.
Stainless steel
An extremely durable metal alloy (chromium is a main ingredient) that is virtually immune to rust, discoloration, and corrosion; it can be highly polished, thus resembling a precious metal. Because of its strength, stainless steel is often used even on case backs on watches made of other metals.
Sterling Silver
A white and highly reflective precious metal. Sterling refers to silver that is 92.5 percent pure, which should be stamped on the metal, sometimes accompanied by the initials of the designer or country of origin as a hallmark. Although less durable than stainless steel and other precious metals, sterling silver is often employed in watches that coordinate or look like sterling jewelry. A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnish.
A watch band made of leather, plastic or fabric.
A small dial used for any of several purposes, such as keeping track of elapsed minutes or hours on a chronograph or indicating the date.
Sun/moon indicator
A wheel on a watch partially visible through a cut-out window indicating a sun and moon on a 24-hour basis.
Super accurate
A watch that is accurate to ?0 seconds per year. a science that starts with quartz crystal oscillators working with a patented integrated circuit technology, assuring their accuracy up to 20 times more accurate than conventional quartz watches.
Sweep seconds-hand
A seconds-hand mounted in the center of the dial instead of a subdial.
Tachymeter (also tachometer)
A watch function that measures the speed at which the wearer traveled by means of a numeric scale on the watch bezel of a chronograph. Frequently used to determine a speed of a car over a measured distance.
Tank watch
A rectangular watch with heavier bars on either side of the dial, inspired by the tank tracks of World War I and first created by Louis Cartier
A watch function that finds the distance of an object from the wearer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance. Like a tachymeter, a telemeter consists of a stopwatch function and a special scale on the dial of a chronograph.
The “space age” metal, often with a silvery-gray appearance. Because it is 30 percent stronger and nearly 50 percent lighter than steel it has been increasingly used in watch making, especially sport watch styles. Its resistance to salt water corrosion makes it particularly useful in diver’s watches. Since it can be scratched fairly easily, some manufacturers use a patented-coating to resist scratching.
Tonneau watch
A watch with a barrel-shaped case with two convex sides.
A device in some mechanical watches that eliminates timekeeping errors caused by slight variations due to shifts in gravity when a watch changes position during use. The round carriage or “cage” of the tourbillon holds the mechanisms that rotate the wheels, and thus the hands of the watch, in a continuous rate of once per minute.
Very High Precision. A quartz movement with a temperature sensor to keep rate variations to within extremely narrow margins. The movement corrects itself to a precision of ?0 seconds a year.
A swing of the balance. A watch vibrating 18,000 times an hour beats five time a second. See Oscillation.
An illegal and misused term: No watch is fully 100 percent waterproof. (need more international details)
Water resistant
A watch bearing the inscription “water-resistant” on its case back can handle light moisture, such as a rainstorm or sink splashes, but should not be worn swimming or diving. If the watch can be submerged in water, it must state at what depth it maintains water-resistance, i.e. 50 meters (165 feet) or more on most sport watches. Below 200 meters, the watch may be used for skin diving and even scuba diving depending upon the indicated depths. Sometimes water-resistance is measured in atmospheres (ATM), which is equal to 10 meters of water pressure. (Some European-made watches use the term “bar” instead). Straps other than metal bracelets may not be water-resistant. New water-resistant versions of nylon, rubber, and other synthetics are a trend in sport watches.
Watches come in different water resistant depths and diver’s depths:
 Water resistant Will withstand splashes of water or rain but should not be worn while swimming or diving.
 Water tested to 50 meters (165 feet) Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water.
 Water tested to 100 meters (330 feet) Suitable for swimming or snorkeling.
 Water tested to 150 meters (500 feet) Suitable for snorkeling.
 Water tested to 200 meters (660 feet) Suitable for skin diving.
 Diver’s to 150 meters Meets ISO Standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
 Diver’s to 200 meters Meets ISO Standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
White Gold
Created from yellow gold by incorporating either nickel or palladium to the alloy to achieve a white color. Most watches made of white gold will be 18k.
White On
An analog watch that is able to display digital functions at the touch of a button. An easily legible white numeric display appears on the inside surface of the crystal when any digital function is activated.
Watch Idiot Savant – a name used by the online watch community referring to themselves. Meaning they have a attuned understanding of horology. ~ Ron Gallant
World timers
A watch with a dial that indicates up to 24 time zones around the world, usually found on the outer edge of the face or sometimes on the bezel. Time zones around the world are indicated by major cities.
Yellow gold
The traditionally popular gold used in all gold or gold and stainless steel or other precious metal combinations. Yellow gold watches may be found in 14k or, as found from most European manufacturers, 18k


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