Watch Anatomy

Watch Parts

Watch Parts

— Movement —

This in simple words is the powerhouse that operates the watch.

— Crown —

The set of features or apparatus that is required for altering basic functions of the watch according to one’s requirements. These include date, time or any included sensor. In order to improve water resistance of the watch, developers use the crown as a screw to stop unwanted moisture from getting within the movement.

— Pusher —

This is for modifying variables like the date or chronograph.

— Lugs —

These are the extensions on the watch where the strap or bracelet may be attached.

— Rotor —

This is an eccentric weight attached to a winding mechanism that is triggered by normal movements of the wearer’s arm.

— Strap —

Made out of either rubber or leather, the attachment holds the watch to your wrist. A watch may either have a strap or a bracelet as the securing mechanism. A bracelet is different from a strap in the sense that it’s made out of gold or stainless steel.

— Exhibition Caseback —

These are fitted with crystals like sapphire to make the finishing movement visible.

— Hour Marker —

A simple indicator that marks hours on the dial.

— Case —

This is the overall protection apparatus that holds the movement. A case may be made out of plastic or metal and can be designed in various shapes.


Out of the hundreds of case shapes, the most prominent ones are:


— Round —


— Tank —


— Rectangle —


— Square —


— Oval —


— Tonneau —


— Carre —


— Carrage —


— Asymmetrical —


Normally, cases are made out of the following materials:

— Platinum —

  • An established, tough and aesthetic metal
  • Difficult to set up
  • Labelled as 950
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 4.5

— Ceramic —

  • Synthetic and lightweight
  • Can only be scratched with a diamond
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 8 – 8.5

— 18K Gold —

  • K represents the weight in karat
  • 18K has 75% purity while 24K is the most malleable and softest
  • Available in yellow, white and rose shades
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 2.5 – 3

— Tantalum —

  • Dense and dark colored
  • Excellent in terms of corrosion resistance
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 6.5

— 14K Gold —

  • An uncommon sight in Swiss made watches
  • Contains 585 parts Gold
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 3 – 3.5

— Tungsten Carbide —

  • Dense, has similar properties to metal
  • Tough and high strength
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 7.5

— Stainless Steel —

  • Famous for its physical strength
  • Is more scratch resistant than Gold
  • Refinishing brings it back to its original form
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 5.5 – 6

— PVD —

  • This is the technique through which a base metal is plated by a layer of material.
  • The process is carried out to improve the physical properties of the base metal like hardness and water resistance

— Gold Plate —

  • Also very uncommon in Swiss watches
  • Worn off easily
  • Gold is plated over a base of metal

— Diamond-like Carbon —

  • Fused to watch’s base metal
  • Almost similar to diamond in terms of hardness
  • Slicker compared to Teflon

— Titanium —

  • A modern space-age material
  • Resilient and incredibly lightweight
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Score on Mohs Scale: 6.0


The “slice of glass” covering the face of a watch shielding the inside from dirt, water and other external elements is known as Crystal. There are 3 major classifications of crystals that are fabricated and used within the watchmaking business.

Synthetic Sapphire

— Synthetic Sapphire —

This is a synthetically developed element, transparent in appearance used as an alternative to naturally occurring sapphire because of its cost effectiveness. Sapphire is second to diamond in terms of hardness, which is the main reason as to why this element is used in watches. Inclusion of sapphire makes the crystal scratch resistant; however, it can break away or shatter in case of an impact. If such an event takes place, then bits of sapphire can make their way into the watch’s movement leading to scrapes and thus internal damage. Despite of all this, sapphire is the costliest of all crystals and any damage leads to a stingy repair bill that can go top off to hundreds of dollars. Sapphire crystals can be found in most of Switzerland’s imported watches.



— Mineral —

These crystals are made out of glass and have a rich history behind them. Watchmakers have been using these crystals for hundreds of years. Mineral crystals are much easier to scratch compared to sapphire ones and once they are damaged, the mark cannot be buffed out. But, compared to sapphire crystals, their cost is minute. Mineral crystals can be replaced for less than a hundred dollars in case they are damaged.



— Acrylic —

The king of affordability in the world of watch crystals, Acrylic is similar to plastic. The price may be low but so is the ability to resist scratches and the crystal is most prone to crack on impact. Minor scratches can be treated through a buff while the crystals can be given exquisite shapes, a characteristic that both sapphire and mineral crystals lack.


The dial may be marked in one of many styles and patterns. The most popular styles used to mark the face of the watch are:

Arabic & Stick

— Arabic & Stick —

Such a dial is marked with both numerals as well as stick indicators.


— Arabic —

Marked only with numerals.


— Stick —

Marked with sticks or dots; has no numerals.

Roman & Stick

— Roman & Stick —

Such a dial has both stick markers as well as Roman numerals indicators.


— Roman —

Marked with Roman numerals only.


— California —

This is a very unique design and includes half Roman indicators, half Arabic indicators and half sticks.


A number of watches are being released with “glow in the dark” hands and markers for assistance during low light conditions. Over the years, the watchmaking industry has made several breakthroughs in the material used for producing the glow.



A number of watches are being released with “glow in the dark” hands and markers for assistance during low light conditions. Over the years, the watchmaking industry has made several breakthroughs in the material used for producing the glow. During the 1950s, Radium was used in watches for this function but rejected once its radioactivity was determined. It was replaced by Tritium which housed lower radiotoxicity. Nowadays, tritium is more common than radium. You can tell if a watch has Radium or Tritium by their symbols on the dial: Radium is indicated by an R while Tritium by a T. The T or R is followed by the country in which the watch was developed, e.g. T-Swiss or R Swiss. Breakthroughs have given watchmakers a new substance, Super LumiNova ®. This material has no radioactive characteristics and is 3x more bright compared to Tritium. It has a uniform color and holds it out unlike Tritium that suffers from discoloration with the passage of time.


A number of watches are being released with “glow in the dark” hands and markers for assistance during low light conditions. Over the years, the watchmaking industry has made several breakthroughs in the material used for producing the glow.



Various designs are used for a watch’s hands. Blued steel hands are those that are dark navy in color. They are fabricated by super heating steel until there is a permanent color change. The technique was first employed in the 19th century by watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet.


Ardilon Buckle

— Ardilon Buckle —

This is a classic buckle in which a pin is used to secure the fit while the strap makes its way through the buckle.

Deployment Buckle

— Deployment Buckle —

Safer than an Ardilon Buckle, the Deployment Buckle has a leather strap joined to the metal buckle so even if the buckle opens, the watch remains attached to the wrist. The deployment buckle was invented by Louis Carter during the 20th century.


The ring that secures the crystal around the case is known as bezel. Bezels may be installed for purely aesthetic reasons like diamond bezel or may be used for functionality.

Diving Bezel

— Diving Bezel —

Diving bezels are commonly used in watches to keep the diver posted about his/her air supply with the help of a rotating bezel labelled from 0 – 60. The bezel usually has minute marks and rotates only in CC direction to rule out confusion underwater.
The diver sets.

Timing Bezel

— Timing Bezel —

This is similar in function to a diving bezel, but as opposed to CC motion, rotates in both directions.
The bezel is also common in parking meters, cooking appliances, etc.

Water Resistance

This isn’t a phrase or feature that’s limited to watches, however having sound knowledge about this term can help you make selections in the future. Before starting, know that the term “waterproof” has been restricted by the Federal Trade Commission in the US. The logic behind this is the simple fact that at some point, i.e. at a certain pressure or volume, any gadget or appliance will leak. Other than the US, the term is used all over the world.

A watch falls under the “water resistant” criteria if it’s able to withstand pressure at 30 meters depth. Sometimes the water resistance is measured in ATM or atmospheres. 1 ATM amounts for almost 33 feet, thus a watch that is labelled water resistant at 5 ATMs can hold out at a depth of 165 feet.

— Bar —

This is another unit used to measure pressure. It is numerically equivalent to ATM so a pressure at 3 Bars is equal to 5 ATMs or 99 feet.

Helium Escape Valve

When the pressure inside the watch is too great compared to the outside, the watch is at a risk of losing functionality. Many professional grade watches come with a “Helium Escape Valve” that opens up when the pressure imbalance takes place. This allows the watch to free itself from the extreme pressure of the sea.

Shock Resistance

Shock Resistance is a property that is sometimes more vital for a watch compared to water resistance. A wristwatch may be underwater for a short period of time but experiences jerks and abrupt movements very frequently. If a watch is not shock resistant and is faced with a head on collision, then it can get damaged or broken very easily. To make the movements shock resistant, many methods are employed, one of which is the Incabloc system.

Introduced in 1933 by Universal Escapements Ltd. of Switzerland, the Incabloc system makes the most sensitive parts of the watch to move in sideways or lateral direction when under shock and the return back to the original position when the stress is removed. Small springs in the watch are responsible for bringing the components back to their real position.
Systems other than the Incabloc system work upon similar concepts, either using a spring mechanism or a string of shock absorbers.