Watch Glossary by WELOW

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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.

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

Assembling: Process of fitting together the components of a movement.

Automatic Movement: A mechanical movement that requires no winding because the rotor, part of the automatic mechanism, winds the mainspring every time you move your hand. Mechanical movements are accurate within one minute each day.

Bezel: The top ring that surrounds the watch face.

Bi-directional Rotating Bezel: A bezel that can be moved either clockwise or counterclockwise used for mathematical calculations or for keeping track of elapsed time.

Bracelet: A type of watch band made of metal links.

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.

Caliber: A term often used by watchmakers to denote a particular model type, size and shape; such as Caliber 36 meaning model 36.

Case: The metal housing of the watch holding the movement.

Caseback: The reverse side of a watch case that lies against the wrist. Often engraved with manufacturers/brand name, water resistance level and serial number.

Chronograph: A stopwatch, i.e., a timer that can be started and stopped to time an event. There are many variations on the chronograph. Some operate with a center seconds hand which keeps time on the watch's main dial. Others use subdials to elapsed hours, minutes and seconds.

Chronometer: This term refers to a precision watch that is tested in various temperatures and positions, thus meeting the accuracy standards set by an official institute in Switzerland.

Complication: A watch with other functions besides timekeeping. For example, a chronograph is a watch complication. Other complications coveted by watch collectors include: minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, or split second chronograph.

COSC: The official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute that puts every chronometer watch through a rigorous, 15-day testing procedure to verify the watch's precision.

Crown: Button on the outside of the case that is used to set the time and the calendar, and, in the mechanical watches, to wind the spring.

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

Day/Date Watch: A watch that indicates not only the date but also the day of the week.

Deployment Buckle: A type of buckle that pops open and fastens using hinged, often adjustable, extenders.

Dial: The watch face. In high-end watches the numerals, indices and surface designs are applied as separate elements. In less expensive watches, they may be simply printed on the dial.

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.

Flyback hand: A seconds hand on the chronograph that can be used to time laps or to determine finishing times for several competitors in race.

Gasket: Most water resistant watches are equipped with gaskets to seal the case back, crystal, and crown to protect against water infiltration during normal wear. It is important to have the gaskets checked every two years to maintain the water resistance of the watch.

Guilloche: A style of intricate engraving that is popular on watch dials, usually very thin lines interwoven to create a surface texture.

Index: An hour indicator on an analog watch dial, used instead of numerals.

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

Jewels: Synthetic sapphires or rubies that acts as bearings for gears in the mechanical watch, reducing friction.

K1 Mineral Crystal: K1 is a treated glass which has a higher scratch resistance than mineral glass.

Limited Editions: A watch style manufactured in a specific amount, often numbered, and available in limited quantities, often highly prized by collectors.

Lugs: Projection on the watch face to which the watch band/bracelet is attached.

Measurement Conversion: A feature, usually consisting of a graduated scale on the watch's bezel, that lets the wearer translate one type of measurement into another -- miles into kilometers, for instance, or pounds into kilograms.

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 wrist.

Mineral Crystal: Mineral glass has some scratch resistance but does not fully protect the watch glass from damage.

Moon-phase: A window in a watch face that shows which phase the moon is.

Mother-of-Pearl: Iridescent milky interior shell of the freshwater 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 grey, grey blue, pink and salmon.

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

Perpetual Calendar: A calendar that automatically adjusts for the months' varying length and for leap year.

Power Reserve: The amount of energy reserve stored up to keep a watch running until it stops. The remaining power is sometimes indicated by a small gauge on the dial.

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

Pusher: Button that is pressed to work a mechanism. Example the push-pieces on chronographs, striking watches, alarms, etc.

Quartz Movement: A movement which allows a watch to keep time without being wound. This technology employs the vibrations of a tiny crystal to maintain timing accuracy. The power comes from a battery that must be replaced about every 1.5-3 years.

Rose Gold and Gold: Case and metal bands are often available in Rose Gold and Gold finishes. The technique used is called ION plating (“IP”) which is very durable compared to traditional techniques. Experimentation has shown that this new method can be five to eight times more durable. This makes ion plated (“IP”) watches a rugged option for daily wear.

Rotor: The part of an automatic watch that winds the movement's main spring.

Sapphire Crystal: A crystal made of synthetic sapphire, a transparent shatter- and scratch-resistant substance.

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

Second Time-Zone Indicator: An additional dial or hand 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.

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

Stainless Steel: An extremely durable metal that is virtually immune to rust, discoloration and corrosion; it can be highly polished, thus representing a precious metal.

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

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

Tachymeter: A device on the chronograph watch that measure the speed at which the wearer has traveled over a measured distance.

Telemeter: A telemeter determines the distance of an object from the observer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance.

Tonneau Watch: A watch shapped like a barrel, with two convex sides.

Tourbillon: A device in a mechanical watch that eliminates timekeeping errors cause by the slight difference in the rates at which a watch runs in the horizontal and vertical positions.

Tritium: An isotope of hydrogen that is used to activate the luminous dots or indices on a watch dial. The radioactivity released in this process is too slight to pose a health risk.

Two-Tone: A watch that combines two metals, usually yellow gold and stainless steel.

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 unwittingly knocked the bezel off its original position from overestimating his remaining air supply. Because the bezel moves in only one direction, the diver can error only on the side of safety when timing his dive.

Vibration: Movement of a pendulum or other oscillating element, limited by two consecutive extreme positions. The balance of a mechanical watch generally makes five or six vibrations per second (i.e. 18,000 or 21,600 per hour).

Waterproof: An illegal and misused term. No watch is fully 100 percent waterproof.

Water Resistance: A water resistant watch can handle light moisture, such as a rain 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 (5 ATM) or more on most sport watches.

Winding: Operation consisting in tightening the mainspring of a watch. This can be done by hand (by means of the crown) or automatically (by means of a rotor, which is caused to swing by the movements of the wearer's arm).

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 up to 24 time zones around the world. The time zones are sometimes represented by the names of cities printed on the bezel or dial.

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