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Home Jewelry Information Watches

Watch Terminology

Adjusted A watch that has compensations for temperature, positions, and isochronism.
Analog display Shows time by rotating hands.
Automatic movement A movement that is "wound" by the motion of the wearer.
Bezel The rim that covers the edge of the dial and holds the crystal in place.
Bow The ring loop to which a chain or watch fob may be attached.
Chronograph A stopwatch feature on a regular watch. It can be started and stopped and returned to zero the measure short intervals of time.
Chronometer A movement certified by maintaining precise time under rigorous testing.
Complication A feature in addition to telling time, such as a calendar, moon phases, equinoxes, up and down dial, repeater, musical chimes, alarms, etc.
Counters Auxiliary dials on a chronograph that can mark seconds, tenths of seconds, half-hours, etc.
Crown A winding knob.
Crystal The covering that protects the dial, usually made of mineral glass, synthetic sapphire or plastic.
Dial The fact of the watch. Sometimes enameled and hand-painted, and sometimes have gold markers or diamonds for numbers.
Digital display Shows the time with a liquid crystal display.
Hunter case A pocket watch case with a cover that must be opened to read the dial.
Isochronism Occurring at equal intervals of time. The balance should not vary in its swing causing the watch to run any faster just after winding than it will a day later. From "Isos", meaning equal and "chronos", meaning time.
Jewel A bearing of ruby or sapphire used for their durability.
Mechanical watch "Energy is stored in a coiled mainspring and released by an "escapement". It has at least 130 parts. Power is supplied either by hand-winding or the motion of the wearer moving an oscillating weight.
Minute repeater A watch that strikes or sounds the hours, quarter hours and/or minutes on demand by moving a slide.
Movement The works of a watch exclusive of the case and dial.
Pendant The "neck" of a pocket watch, to which are attached the bow and the crown.
Perpetual calendar A calendar that automatically adjusts for different lengths of months and leap year.
Quartz movement Tells time with precision using an integrated circuit, a miniature battery and a quartz oscillator that vibrates at a high frequency.
Sweep second hand Second hand mounted at the center of the dial on a mechanical watch, as opposed to an auxiliary dial or counter.
Tachymeter A feature allowing the wearer to measure speed by using elapsed time against a distance scale built into the watch.
Telemeter A chronograph scale allowing the measurement of distance. For example, the wearer can figure the distance of a lightning strike by pressing a button when the lightning is seen, and again when the thunder is heard, to determine the storm’s distance.
Tourbillon A watch with a revolving carriage that rotates once a minute, changing the center of gravity in order to negate the effects of the watch being in various positions.
Turn-o-gram A moving bezel to help keep track of elapsed time, as on a diver’s watch.
Up and down dial A dial that shows how much of the mainspring is spent and how far ‘up’ or ‘down’ it is.