Glossary

Glossary

A

Acrylic Crystal

Crystals that’s made out of a cheap plastic material, whose scratches may be removed using a buff.

Alarm

A complication or function of a watch that makes it run an alarm at, either a user defined time or at regular intervals.

Analog Display

A watch having 12 hour markers, displaying hours and minutes on a dial.

Ardillon Buckle

A simple buckle used for attaching a leather strap, e.g. the buckle on a wearing belt.

Atmosphere

ATM or atmosphere is one of the few units used to measure water resistance of a watch. 1 ATM pressure is equivalent to 33 feet or 10 meters.

Automatic Movement

A mechanical watch that has an automatic movement is primarily powered by the movement from the wearer’s wrist. An oscillating motor spins the mainspring and the rotor then winds the watch.

B

Balance Wheel

This is the center point of the movement that gets energy from the escapement. This part of the watch beats in a circular motion that ranges anywhere between 5 – 10 times a second.

Base Metal

Any metal that is coated with a precious metal.

Battery

This is a device that powers a quartz watch by converting chemical energy into electric energy. A battery may be of lithium ion type of silver oxide type, each providing 3 volts and 1.5 volts, respectively.

Bezel

A watch is surrounded by a surface ring in order to keep the crystal in place; this is the bezel. A rotating bezel isn’t used just for keeping the crystal in place but also used as a timing device in sports watches. A bidirectional bezel can help evaluate different time zones and calculate elapsed times.

Bracelet

A flexible band of metal that serves as an alternative to a strap. A bracelet usually has a detachable link that may be used to alter the length of the bracelet.

C

Cabochon Crown

A crow set that has been chipped with either a precious stone like diamond or sapphire or a semiprecious stone like spinnel.

Calendar

An added complication that functions as keeping and displaying the date.

Caliber

This may be thought of as a market used to establish a difference between various movements made by the same watchmaker.

Cambered

The curved bezel or dial.

Carat

This is a unit of measurement that indicates the fineness of gold. 18K means 75% purity while 24K means 100% purity. Usually gold is mixed with another metal when its used in a watch.

Case

The body in which the movement and the dial are enclosed.

Chronograph

Another name for a stopwatch that has been added to the watch’s movement.

Chronometer

This is an elite movement type that’s certified by an independent organization called COSC or Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres. The movement retains its 99% accuracy for 15 days, irrespective of external conditions like temperature and pressure.

Clasp

A leather strap or metal bracelet is attached to the watch with a metal buckle. This buckle is known as clasp.

Complication

Any added feature other than timekeeping is a complication.

Countdown Timer

Usually found in quartz watches, the feature allows the wearer to set a specific time in hours or minutes, after which an alarm would ring.

Crown

In mechanical watches, this knob is used to wind the movement and used as a source of energy. Other than powering the watch, the knob is used to set the date and time of the watch.

Crystal

The cover over the watch’s face. These are the 3 types:

  • Acrylic: the crystal is made out of plastic and any shallow marks on it can be buffed out.
  • Mineral: a combination of numerous elements that are treated with heat in order to create a certain level of hardness.
  • Sapphire: this is the most expensive type of crystal and has the properties to match the price including resistance in the face of impact and scratches.

D

Day-Date

This is a complication that shows the day and date on a watch.

Deployment Buckle

A 20th century invention, this is a more secure mechanism compared to the Ardillon buckle and uses a folded metal buckle attached to a leather strap.

Dial

This is the face of the watch on which indices, surface design or numerals are printed or applied on.

Digital Display

This may be the oversized numerals display on a mechanical watch or an LCD display on a quartz watch.

Diver’s Watch

A watch made specifically with waterproofing and water resistance in mind. A diver’s watch can absorb much greater impact compared to a normal watch and has a unidirectional bezel for remembering the dive time. In addition, diver watches are also fitted with a helium escape valve and extension bracelet.

E

End of Life Indicator

EOL or End of Life Indicator is a feature in quartz watches that purposefully makes the second hand pace by five seconds instead of one when the battery is almost exhausted. The EOL is a reminder for the wearer to replace the battery as soon as possible.

F

Face

The side of watch that displays time or contains the dial. The numerals are typically Roman, Arabic or a combination of both.

Flyback

This is a complication that resets the chronograph hand to zero and can be started again with a single push. The feature is particularly useful for pilots.

Frequency

Measured in Hertz, this is number of oscillations or vibrations.

G

GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

This is a complication that displays two different time zones with an additional hour clock.

Gold

A precious metal, yellow in color, extremely stainless and malleable in its original form. It is used in various gadgets to add to their beauty and value. The purity of gold used in a watch is indicated by the unit carats (K).

Guilloche

Special engravings or design added to a watch’s dial to give it a texture.

H

Hands

This is the pointing device or “arrows” that show the seconds, minutes and hour on a watch. They are bound at the center of the watch and rotate accordingly.

High-tech Ceramic

This is a modern, high-tech material used in space crafts as a protective shield against electromagnetic rays. If high-tech ceramic is polished by diamond dust, a very high quality material is formed which can be injected into the watch. The ceramic has an extremely smooth surface and has a variety of shades and colors.

Horology

The name given to the field of time measurement that includes the designing and construction phase.

J

Jewels

These are artificially made rubies or sapphires that are used as bearings in a mechanical watch. At least 17 jewels are used in a manual or automatic watch.

K

Karat (Carat)

This is the unit for fineness of gold. 24K means 100% while 18K means 75%.

L

Lugs

These are extensions made on both sides of the bezel at the point where the strap or bracelet make contact.

Luminous

This is special type of paint that glows in the dark. Hands or markers are coated with it.

M

Manual

The type of mechanical that must be wound by hand in order to power it.

Mechanical Movement

A movement that relies on the mainspring to power it through. The mainspring is wound by hand which unwinds the spring in a uniform motion. A mechanical watch of automatic type doesn’t require such winding as it can be powered by your wrist.

Military Time

Military time or 24-hour time is the second major time measuring system that uses 24 hour markers. The conversion between 12 and 24-hour time is very easy. Add 12 to PM time to make it 24-hour or subtract 12 from 24-hour time ranging 13 – 24.

Mineral Crystal

Watch glass whose properties have been altered in order to increase its hardness or resistance.

Minute Repeater

A complication that uses a push piece to stroke the time in seconds, quarters or hours.

Moonphase

A complication that keeps track of the moon and its phases. Moon makes a complete rotation around the earth’s center in 29 days, 12 hours and 44 minutes. Once set, the moonphase function indicates the phase of the moon very accurately.

Mother of Pearl

Fresh water mollusks have a milky interior shell. This is thinly sliced and used within watch dials to add to their attractiveness. Most mother of pearls have milky color while there are some that are gray, pink and salmon in color.

Movement

A movement, either mechanical or quartz based is the engine of a watch.

O

Oscillation

A complete movement that occurs when the balance wheel makes a complete rotation along its starting point.

P

Perpetual Calendar

This is a complication added with the calendar feature of the watch that makes automatic adjustment with regards to discrepancies in the length of months. This means you get 29th February on every leap year.

Pink Gold

Pink gold, also known as rose gold is a hued variant of gold that has greater concentrations of copper in it compared to other types. This is a popular shade in Europe and is seen in tricolor versions. 18K red gold watches achieve the rose gold color by adding more copper into it.

Plating

When a metal is coated with another metal, the process is called plating. A stainless steel base may be plated with gold that is 7 – 20 microns thick.

Platinum

This is one of the heaviest and strongest naturally occurring element, but at the same time extremely rare as well. Its rarity combined with its elegant visual quality makes it a great choice for us in jewelry and watches. Platinum has white luster-y visual appearance and hypoallergenic. At the same time its resistant to scratches and can achieve 95% purity when used in watches. Platinum watches are very expensive and thus made as limited edition, featured products.

Power Reserve

This is the time when the watch will run on a full charge. Mechanical watches can work for up to 44 hours whereas electrically powered watches can go without replacement for 18 months.

Q

Quartz

This is the most precise type of timepiece available and uses an electric cell as its source of energy.

Q

Quartz

This is the most precise type of timepiece available and uses an electric cell as its source of energy.

R

Ratchet Bezel

This is a ring that can turn both clockwise and anti-clockwise, clicking into place after use.

Rettrepante

This is a second chronograph that runs simultaneously with the first one but gives the user the power to stop it to record an intermediate time. When you let go of its control, then it catches up to the first hand again. It is also known as a split-second chronograph.

Retour en Vol

Also called a Flyback, this function is very much useful for pilots and others in the aviation field as it allows them to instantly reset the chronograph and start it back up again with a single press.

Rose Gold

Rose gold, also known as pink gold is a hued variant of gold that has greater concentrations of copper in it compared to other types. This is a popular shade in Europe and is seen in tricolor versions. 18K red gold watches achieve the rose gold color by adding more copper into it.

S

Sapphire Crystal

This is a synthetic corundum crystal that has resistance to scratches next to diamond. Its transparent variant is used in scratch-resistant crystals.

Screw Down Crown

This seals the crown against the case and thus prevents water from getting in.

Seal

These are artificially made gaskets that act as closure points between openings, keeping moisture out of the watch.

Shock Resistance

This is the watch’s ability to absorb impact during intense physical activities.

Skeleton Movement

A watch that has no dial and therefore an exposed movement.

Slide Rule Bezel

A bezel that has a logarithmic table printed on it along with other fixed mathematical quantities.

Split-Second Chronograph

This is a second chronograph that runs simultaneously with the first one but gives the user the power to stop it to record an intermediate time. When you let go of its control, then it catches up to the first hand again. It is also known as a split-second chronograph.

Stainless Steel

A metallic alloy of chromium that is immune to rust & corrosion, and is very durable. Stainless steel has become the benchmark in several watches because of its high quality look as well as super-smooth feel.

Sterling Silver

A very reflective metal, which is white in color, Sterling Silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver along with other precious metals. The purity of silver should be stamped on the block of silver the watchmaking company is purchasing. Silver may be less famous than gold but it does make a watch look very attractive and stylish. In addition, a coating of sterling silver prevents the watch from tarnish.

Strap

This is a watch band fabricated using plastic, leather or fabric.

Subdial

A secondary, small sized dial used to keep track of elapsed minutes & hours on a chronograph.

Sun/Moon Indicator

A complication added as a wheel on a watch that shows the position of the sun/moon during the day.

T

Tachometer

Also known as a tachymeter, the instrument measures the speed at which the user is moving.

Tang

Called an Ardillon buckle by some, this is the most classic belt buckle.

Tank Watch

A rectangular shaped watch that has its design inspired by tank tracks of World War 1. It has heavier bars on both sides of the dial.

Telemeter

The function in a watch that finds the distance of an object from the user by calculating time taken by sound to travel the distance and back. Just like a tachometer, a telemeter comes with a special scale on the dial and has a stopwatch function.

Titanium

This is a “space age” metal, silvery grey in color. It is 50% lighter than steel yet 30% stronger than it. It is used in sport watches due to these properties. It is specifically resistant to corrosion from salt water and can absorb a lot of shock during impact. However, it isn’t scratch resistant, which is why a metallic coating is applied to it.

Tourbillon

A feature in mechanical watches, added to eliminate any timekeeping errors that are caused by changes in gravity. The change in gravity may come and go as you shift from higher locations to lower ones. The mechanism is kept in round carriage that rotate the wheels and keeps the watch turning at a constant rate.

V

Vibration

A swing on the balance is called vibration. A watch that vibrates at a rate of 18000 times per hour, beats 5 times per second.

W

Waterproof

A misused and misunderstood term. There is no watch that can prevent the entry of moisture or water.

Water Resistant

A water resistant watch comes with a “water resistant” tag on its back. This means it can withstand entry by light moisture like rain or random splashes but can’t hold out in swimming conditions. There are several standards regarding water resistance.

  • Water resistant: a watch that can stand in the face of splashes and rain.
  • Water resistant to 50 m: such a watch can withstand light swimming activites.
  • Water resistant to 100m: the watch can be used while swimming or snorkeling.
  • Water resistant to 150 m: For underwater diving at a low depth.
  • Water resistant to 200m: For scuba diving.
  • Water resistant to 1000m: For professional sea divers.

White Gold

A variant of gold created with nickel or palladium for its white color. Watches made with white gold are usually 18K in purity.

World Timer

A watch that has a dial that can be set to any of the 24 time zones around the world. The dial is found on the outer edge of the face or the bezel and indicates time zones of major cities around the world.

Y

Yellow Gold

The most popular and classic variety of gold used in stainless steel or other precious metal alloys. Yellow gold watches range in purity from 14K to 18K depending on the watchmaking standard of the area.