A B C
D E F
G H I J
K L M
N O P Q
R S T
U V W X
12-hour (24-hour) recorder (or register): A sub-dial on a chronograph (see chronograph) that
can time periods of up to 12 or 24 hours.
30-minute recorder (or register): A sub-dial on a chronograph
(see "chronograph") that can time periods of up to 30
alarm: The watch alerts you with beeps at a pre-set time.
analog - digital display: A watch that shows the time
by means of hour and minute hands (analog display) as well as
by numbers (a digital display).
analog: A watch that shows the time using hour and minute
anti-magnetic: The movement of a mechanical watch can
be thrown off balance if it comes in contact with a strong magnetic
field; Magnetism is common in loudspeakers, televisions, refrigerators,
cars, etc. etc. and these days most watches claim to be anti-magnetic.
This is achieved by using alloys for certain parts, among them
the balance wheel and escape wheel. Electronic watches are not
susceptible to magnetism.
automatic winding: (or self-winding) This term refers to a watch with a mechanical movement
(as opposed to a quartz or electrical movement). The watch is
wound by the motion of the wearer's arm rather than through turning
the winding stem. A rotor that turns in response to motion winds
the watch's mainspring. If an automatic watch is not worn for
a day or two, it will wind down and need to be wound by hand to
get it started again.
balance: This is essentially and oscillator which regulates
the speed of the movement of a mechanical watch.
battery reserve indicator
(or end of battery indicator):
Some battery operated watches have a feature that indicates when
the battery is approaching the end of its life. This is often
indicated by the second hand moving in two second intervals instead
of each second.
bezel: The ring which surrounds the watch dial (or face).
The bezel is usually made of gold, gold plate or stainless steel.
bi-directional rotating bezel: A bezel that can be rotated either clockwise
or counterclockwise. These are used for mathematical calculations
such as average speed or distance (see "slide rule")
or for keeping track of elapsed time(see "elapsed time rotating
built-in illumination: Lighting on a watch dial that allows the wearer
to read the time in the dark. Check out Seiko's Lumi-brite technology.
calendar: A feature that shows the date, and often the day
of the week. There are several types of calendar watches. Most
calendar watches show the information digitally through an aperture
on the watch face. Some chronograph watches shoe the information
on sub-dials on the watch face.
cases: The case of a watch must not only protect the mechanism
and hold all the parts together but it must also look good -sometimes
to the extent of making a timepiece into a piece of jewellery.
A watch case is generally in 3 parts -the bezel, which holds
the crystal, -the band or centrepart, which contains the movement,
-and the back, either snapped or screwed on, in to which, sometimes,
is fitted a crystal so that an intricate mechanical movement
case materials: Materials range from inexpensive cast
metal through moulded plastic to solid chunks of steel or gold
from which the case is machined. In Great Britain, gold cases
are usually 18k, but less expensive watches are 9k. In most other
countries, 14k is preferred. Caratage indicates the gold content
of metal, stated as the number of parts of gold in every 24 parts,
i.e. 18k gold is 18 parts of gold alloyed with six parts of metal.
Platinum is becoming increasingly popular, as is titanium for
its lightness. Ceramic cases and bracelets -a scratch resistant
space age material formed under great pressure and heat from
powder -are used by some manufacturers. It does not bear any
resemblance to the ceramics used in pottery. Some watches in
the middle price ranges are gold plated over brass -9k or 18k
plating usually. Vermeil is the term used to describe silver
which has been gold plated.
centre seconds: Seconds indicated by a hand at the centre
of the dial, along with the hour and minute hands.
chapter ring: The ring on the watch dial bearing figures
and minute marks. The hour figures are sometimes called chapters.
chronograph: A watch that includes a built in stopwatch
function - 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 sub-dials to time elapsed hours, minutes
and seconds. Still others show elapsed time on a digital display
on the watch face. Some chronographs can be used as a lap timer
(see "flyback hand" and "split seconds hand").
The accuracy of the stopwatch function will commonly vary from
1/5th second to 1/100th second depending on the chronograph.
Some chronographs will measure elapsed time up to 24 hours. Watches
that include the chronograph function are themselves called "chronographs."
When a chronograph is used in conjunction with specialized scales
on the watch face it can perform many different functions, such
as determining speed or distance (see "tachymeter"
and "telemeter") Do not confuse the term "chronograph"
with "chronometer." The latter refers to a timepiece,
which may or may not have a chronograph function, that has met
certain high standards of accuracy set by an official watch institute
chronometer: Technically speaking, all watches are
chronometers. But for a Swiss made watch to be called a chronometer,
it must meet certain very high standards set by the Swiss Official
Chronometer Control (C.O.S.C.). If you have a Swiss watch labeled
as a chronometer, you can be certain that it has a mechanical
movement of the very highest quality.
complications: One or more features added to a watch
in addition to its usual time-telling functions, which normally
not only include the hours, minutes and seconds but also date
and often the day of the week as well. Complications such as;
perpetual calendars, moonphase displays, alarms, repeating mechanisms,
quarter strikes as well as stop/start chronograph functions.
Power reserve indicators are also usually regarded as 'complications'
cosmograph: The cosmograph differs to the chronograph
in that the tachymeter is on the bezel rather than on the outer
rim of the dial. This was invented by Rolex to create a more
modern look to the watch.
countdown timer: A function that lets the wearer keep
track of how much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed. Some
countdown timers sound a warning signal a few seconds before
the time runs out. These are useful in events such as yacht races,
where the sailor must maneuver the boat into position before
the start of a race.
crown: Also called a stem or pin, a crown is the button
on the outside of the watch case that is used to set the time
and date. In a mechanical watch the crown also winds the mainspring.
In this case it is also called a "winding stem". A
screw in (or screw down) crown is used to make a watch more water
resistant. The crown actually screws into the case, dramatically
increasing the water-tightness of the watch.
crystal: The transparent cover on a watch face made of glass
crystal, synthetic sapphire or plastic. Better watches often have
a sapphire crystal which is highly resistant to scratching or
depth alarm: An alarm on a divers' watch that sounds
when the wearer exceeds a pre-set depth.
depth sensor/depth meter: A device on a divers' watch that determines
the wearer's depth by measuring water pressure. It shows the
depth either by analog hands and a scale on the watch face or
through a digital display.
dial: The watch face.
digital watch: A watch that shows the time through digits rather
than through a dial and hands (analog) display.
elapsed time rotating bezel: A graduated rotating bezel (see rotating
bezel") used to keep track of elapsed time. The bezel can
be turned so the wearer can align the zero on the bezel with
the watch's seconds or minutes hand. After a period of time passes,
you can read the elapsed time off the bezel. This saves you having
to perform the subtraction that would be necessary if you used
the watch's regular dial.
electronic (quartz) watch:
A watch, usually battery-powered,
which uses an electric current to cause a quartz oscillator to
vibrate, normally 32,768 Hz per second but sometimes at much
higher frequencies. These vibrations are processed by an integrated
circuit which transforms the current into impulses. These are
fed into a stepping motor which drives a train of gears to move
the hands. Some quartz watches have solar cells which take light
from any soul, natural or artificial, and transform them into
electrical energy. Another form is the Seiko Kinetic (See Kinetic).
escapement: Device in a mechanical movement that controls the
rotation of the wheels and thus the motion of the hands.
flyback hand: A seconds hand on a chronograph that can be used
to time laps or to determine finishing times for several competitors
in a race. Start the chronograph, putting both the flyback hand
and the regular chronograph seconds hand in motion. To record
a lap time or finishing time, stop the flyback hand. After recording
the time, push a button and the hand will "fly back"
to catch up with the constantly moving elapsed-time hand. Repeat
the process to record as many lap times or finishing times as
gear train: The system of gears which transmits
power from the mainspring to the escapement.
gold plated: A layer of gold electroplated to a base
grande complications: The most complex of mechanical watches featuring
an abundance of complications. The term is normally restricted
to mechanical watches. Quartz watches with additional features
are usually described as 'multi-functional'.
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. The jewels reduce friction to
make the watch more accurate and longer lasting.
jumping hours: A digital display where the time in hours is shown
in the dial as a number, usually visible through an aperture.
The number changes, or jumps, precisely on every hour.
Kinetic: Refers to the Seiko line of Kinetic watches. This
innovative technology has a quartz movement that does not use
a battery. Movement of your wrist charges a very efficient capacitor
which powers the quartz movement. Once the capacitor is fully
charged, mens models will store energy for 724 days without being
worn. Ladies models store energy for 3-7 days. Of course, if the
watch is worn every day the capacitor is continually recharged.
The watch alerts you to a low capacitor charge when the seconds
hand starts to move in two second intervals. For more information,
click to go to Seiko's Internet Site.
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
liquid-crystal display (LCD): A digital watch display that shows the
time electronically by means of a liquid held in a thin layer
between two transparent plates. All LCD watches have quartz movements.
lugs: Projections on a watch face to which the watch
band or bracelet is attached
luminescence: Luminous dials first appeared during the Great War
when soldiers needed to tell the time in the dark. Early forms
used Zinc Sulphide compound agitated by a radioactive salt. It
was painted on hands and was potentially dangerous to those applying
it. Its use was banned in the 50's, since Tritium, a substance
with a low radio activity, replaced it. Other methods have been
devised. Timex's 'Indiglo' uses electronic luminescence; a button
on the side of the case causes a tiny current from the battery
to the electrodes and gives off energy in the form of light. Seiko
uses fluorescent material on the dial, activated by any exposure
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 powered by a mainspring,
working in conjunction with a balance wheel. Most watches today
have electronically controlled quartz movements and are powered
by a battery. However, mechanical watches are currently enjoying
a resurgence in popularity.
minute repeater: A watch which can additionally tell the
time, at the push of a button or move of a small slide on the
side of the case, by striking the hours, quarter hours and minutes
since the last quarter hour on small goings inside the watch.
Such complex watches are never inexpensive.
moonphase display: A graphic display by means of a specially
shaped aperture in the dial to indicate the phase of the moon,
i.e. full, new or somewhere in between. Very popular in the 90's
but losing favour in the second half of the century.
movement: The inner mechanism of a watch that keeps time and
moves the watch's hands, calendar, etc. Movements are either mechanical
power reserve indicator: A feature that shows when the watch
will soon need a new battery or winding. A battery reserve indicator
on a quartz watch informs the wearer when the battery is low.
Often this is indicated by the seconds hand moving at two or
three-second intervals. Seiko's Kinetic watches are quartz watches
that do not have a battery (see Kinetic). When a Seiko Kinetic
needs to be wound, the seconds hand will also move in two second
pushers or push pieces: Push buttons are on the case of the chronographs
and some complicated watches. Most are used to stop and start
a stopwatch but sometimes serve other functions.
PVD -physical vapour deposition:
A coating of titanium nitrate
applied in a vacuum and then covered by a coating of 22k gold
to obtain a gold coloured finish.
quartz movement: A movement powered by a quartz crystal to. Quartz
crystals are very accurate. They can be mass produced which makes
them less expensive than most mechanical movements which require
a higher degree craftsmanship.
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 (see
elapsed time rotating bezel," "unidirectional rotating
bezel," "bi-directional rotating bezel" and "slide
rotor: The part of an automatic (or self-winding) mechanical 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 made of synthetic sapphire,
a transparent, shatter-resistant, scratch-resistant substance.
screw-lock 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 watch: A watch with no dial and only a chapter
ring. As much metal is removed as possible and all the remaining
parts are decorated with elaborate engravings.
sliderule: A device, consisting of logarithmic
or other scales on the outer edge of the watch face, that can
be used to do mathematical calculations. One of the scales is
marked on a rotating bezel, which can be slid against the stationary
scale to make the calculations. Some watches have slide rules
that allow specific calculations, such as for fuel consumption
by an airplane or fuel weight.
solar powered: A watch that uses solar energy (from
any light source) to power the quartz movement. The Citizen >Solar-Tech<
models use this technology and provide a 180 day power reserve,
so they are able to run continuously. For more information, click
here to go to Citizens Internet Site.
spring bars (or pins) : Spring-loaded bars between the lugs
on the case, used to attach a strap or metal bracelet to the
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 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.
sub-dial: A small dial on a watch face used for
any of several purposes, such as keeping track of elapsed minutes
or hours on a chronograph or indicating the date.
swiss made: As a part of a move towards greater consumer protection
and in order to combat fakes in the Far East that claim to be
swiss made, the Swiss federal council in 1993 laid down the rule
that a watch has to satisfy before it could be described as swiss
made. The movement must be of Swiss origin, and must contain at
least 50% swiss parts. The watch must be cased in Switzerland
and pass its final inspection in that country.
tachymeter: ("tack IM eh ter") A feature
found on some chronograph watches, a tachymeter (also called
a "tachometer") measures the speed at which the wearer
has traveled over a measured distance.
tank watch: A rectangular watch designed by Louis
Cartier. The bars along the sides of the watch were inspired
by the tracks of tanks used in World War 1.
telemeter: ("tel EH meh ter"): A telemeter determines
the distance of an object from the observer by measuring how long
it takes sound to travel that distance. Like a tachymeter (see
"tachymeter"), it consists of a stopwatch, or chronograph,
and a special scale, usually on the outermost edge of the watch
titanium: A metal that is used for some watch
cases and bracelets. Titanium is much stronger and lighter than
stainless steel. Titanium is also hypo-allergenic.
tonneau watch: A watch shaped like a barrel, with two
tourbillon: A device, invented by Breguet in 1801, in which the
escapement is mounted in a small revolving cage as a means of
overcoming the effects of gravity on the precision on a mechanical
uni-directional rotating bezel:
An elapsed time rotating bezel (see "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 err only on the side
of safety when timing his dive. Many divers' watches are ratcheted,
so that they lock into place for greater safety.
water resistance: The ability to withstand splashes of
water. Terms such as "water resistant to 50 meters"
or "water resistant to 200 meters" indicate that the
watch can be worn underwater to various depths.
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. The minutes are read as normal. Watches with this
feature are called "world timers."
yacht timer: A countdown timer (see "countdown
timer") that sounds warning signals during the countdown
to a boat race