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 Zitura: Laverton Round Men's Gold with Crocodile Strap - Ref# 30G1.Y
Zitura: Laverton Round Men's Gold with Crocodile Strap - Ref# 30G1.Y
$3,000
$990
Watch Glossary  HEADING_TITLE
 
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Accuracy

The frequencies of oscillations (number of one-way movements of the regulating organ per hour) used in mechanical watches range from 21,600 A/H (3 Hz) to 28,800 A/H (4Hz), allowing a variation of less than 10 seconds a day.

Quartz watches are extremely accurate due to their high frequency of vibrations (32 kHz). Their daily variation is equivalent to much less than a second per day. Mechanical watches are slightly less accurate than the extremely accurate of an electronic watch. Automatics are accurate enough for daily timekeeping, with an accuracy rate within +30/-5 seconds a day, depending on the quality of the movement.

 

Adjustment

Process to tune the balance as close to accurate time as possible in five different dial positions, heat and cold and at low amplitudes.

 

Age of the Moon

The time elapsed since the new moon. On some watches, the 29 1/2 days of the lunar month are indicated on a lunar dial.

 

A/H

Vibrations of the balance per hour. These vibrations make the familiar ticking sound of the mechanical watch, known as oscillation.

 

Alarm

A device that makes a sound at a pre-set time and is found in both quartz and mechanical alarm watches.

 

Altimeter

A device that determines altitude by responding to changes in barometric pressure.

 

Amplitude

Maximum angle of oscillation of the balance wheel by which a balance swings from its position of rest.

 

Analog

A watch with a dial, hands, and numbers or markers that shows the time using hour and minute hands. Analog digital refers to a watch that has both a digital display and hands of a conventional watch.

 

Anadigi Display

A display that shows the time with hour and minute hands on an analog display or digital numbers on a digital display.

 

Anchor

Movement component in a mechanical watch that assists in the final part of the mechanical process to divide the seconds and provide accurate timekeeping. Moving side to side, the anchor allows the final wheel (escape wheel) to rotate one cog at a time. This process produces the ticking sound of a mechanical watch.

See "Lever Escapement"

 

Annual Calendar

A watch that shows the day, date, month and 24 hours, adjusting automatically for short and long months. The calendar needs setting only once a year - from the end of February to the 1st of March.

 

Anti-Reflective Crystal

"Anti-reflective" or "glare-resistant" crystals have been coated on one or both sides with a substance to reduce reflections and glare on the watch face. Anti-reflective crystals can be made of either mineral glass or synthetic sapphire. These are often used on sport style watches to prevent glare.

 

Aperture/Montres a Guichet

Small opening. The dials of some watches have apertures in which indications are given (the date, hour, etc.).

 

Applique/Applied Chapters

Numerals or symbols cut out of a sheet metal and stuck or riveted to a dial.

 

Arabic Numerals

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

 

Assembling

Process of fitting together the components of a movement. Usually the operations are automated while inspection and testing are still done by hand.

 

Assortiment

French term for the parts used in making an escapement.

 

Asthometer Scale

Graduations on the dial of a chronograph for measuring the respiration rate.

 

ATM or Bar

"Atmosphere" = 10 meters of water pressure and is used to determine water resistance. Another word for "atmosphere" is "bar," which is often used in Europe.

See "Water Resistance"

 

Auto Repeat Countdown Timer

A timer that resets itself when the preset time has elapsed and then begins the countdown again. The timer repeats the countdown continuously until the stop button is pushed.

 

Automatic Watch

The most popular complication in a wristwatch. The slightest action of the wearer's wrist causes the rotor, a metal weight attached to a winding mechanism, to pivot freely on its staff in the center of the movement. The rotor's movement winds the mainspring, a flat coiled spring that powers mechanical watches.

A fully wound automatic movement will run 36 to 48 hours. It is best to fully wind a watch if it will not be worn for an extended period in order to keep the oils in the movement lubricated and distributed.

See "Winding"

 

Automatic Winding/Self Winding/Perpetual

Winding that occurs due to the motion of the wearer rather than due to turning the winding stem. The slightest action of the wearer's wrist causes the rotor, a metal weight attached to a winding mechanism, to pivot freely on its staff in the center of the movement. The rotor's movement winds the mainspring, a flat coiled spring that powers mechanical watches.

A fully wound automatic movement will run 36 to 48 hours. It is best to fully wind a watch if it will not be worn for an extended period in order to keep the oils in the movement lubricated and distributed.

 

B

Baguette

A rectangular table-cut for diamonds with a length at least three times the width.

 

Balance

The running regulator of the mechanical wristwatch where the balance wheel has the role of a swinging weight and the hairspring brings the balance back to its resting position. The swinging weight and the returning power of the hairspring are set against each other so that the desired number of swings is attained. The classic frequency is five beats per second. To improve accuracy, the balances of modern wristwatches beat faster, up to ten beats per second. The balance is mounted in synthetic ruby bearings, with every bearing using a hole jewel and a cap jewel. The pivots of the balance arbor are very thin (about 0.1 mm) to minimize friction. The balance and its arbor are mounted on two rubies.

 

Balance Spring

A very fine spring in a mechanical watch that returns the balance wheel back to a neutral position. The hairspring and the balance form the oscillating system.

 

Balance Wheel

Part of the escapement of a mechanical watch movement that oscillates to divide time into equal segments, controlling the rate of the watch. The regular vibration of the balance-wheel is usually six or eight times a second.

 

Bar, Lug/Spring

A thin metal rod fixed between the lugs or horns in wristwatch cases for attaching the watch strap or bracelet.

 

Barrel

Thin cylindrical metal box containing the wound-up mainspring, storing the energy of the watch. The toothed rim of the barrel drives the train.

 

Battery Life

A silver oxide battery will last two to five years. Lithium batteries will last 10 years or more.

 

Battery Reserve Indicator (End of Battery Indicator)

A feature that indicates when the battery is approaching the end of its life, often shown when the second hand moves in two second intervals instead of one second intervals.

 

Beryllium Balance

A balance made of a beryllium-based alloy, which gives balances extreme hardness and firmness, a golden yellow shine and they rarely oxidize.

 

Bezel

Usually made of gold, gold plate or stainless steel, the bezel is the ring that surrounds the dial with the watch crystal pressed into it and then the bezel itself is sprung against the middle of the watch case.

 

Bi-Directional Rotating Bezel

A bezel that can be moved either clockwise or counterclockwise and are used for mathematical calculations or for keeping track of elapsed time.

 

Bimetallic Balance/Compensating Balance

A two-metal balance ring made of brass outside and steel inside, which prevent temperature variations from affecting the running of the watch. With rising temperatures, the brass expands faster than the steel, the ring ends bend inward, and the inertia of the ring decreases. Because the hairspring also becomes weaker with the rising temperature, the running of the watch remains the same. Today's watches also use hairsprings that do not weaken in order to prevent the effects from variations of temperature.

See "Self-Compensating Hairspring"

 

Bi-Sextile

Leap year.

 

Bracelet

A type of watchband made of elements that resemble links, usually made of steel, silver or gold. Metal bracelets can range from inexpensive base metals to precious metals, such as specially developed tungsten carbide or titanium. Bracelets can influence watch prices considerably.

 

Breguet Hairspring

An overcoil hairspring that prevents the hairspring from swinging farther to one side (eccentric swinging). The last loop of these springs is raised up and bent into a precisely defined curve. Breguet hairsprings were used in precision pocket watches and can be found in good wristwatches.

 

Bridge

Complementary plates fixed on the main plate in a watch caliber holding the main bearings of oscillating system or the wheels. Bridges are screwed to the plate and their position is secured by setting bars. The other parts are mounted inside the frame (part of the "ébauche").

 

Built-In Illumination

Lighting on a watch dial that allowing the wearer to read time in the dark.

 

C

Cabochon

Decorative stone carved into a round shape.

 

Calendar

A feature that shows the date and often the day of the week. There are several types of calendar watches with most showing the information digitally through an aperture on the watch face. Some chronograph watches show the information on subdials on the watch face.

See "Gregorian Calendar,""Perpetual Calendar"

 

Calibre

Calibre designation indicates the manufacturer, reference number, size and complications (if any).

 

Cambered

Refers to a curved or arched dial or bezel, or the domed shape of a watch crystal.

 

Cannon Pinion

The turnable tube fitting on the center-wheel pivot that drives the minute wheel. The hour hand is mounted on the hour pipe. The hour wheel pipe is mounted over the cannon pinion and is driven by the minute wheel pinion.

 

Cap Jewel

A jewel that reduces the friction of the balance bearing and limits arbor play. Cap jewels are sometimes used in the wheel train and other bearings, such as in the second wheel, third wheel.

 

Carat (K)

Term to denote metal alliage: 1 Carat = 1/24 fine gold of a gold alloy. Pure gold is very soft; gold is made in several carats ("K"), or 1/24th proportions of gold, to make it harder and able to stand up to daily wear. An 18 carat gold alloy contains 18/24 fine gold = 75% fine gold content. The term 18K refers to solid gold (it is considered pure gold after reaching 75% fine gold content).

  • 9K = 9/24 purity of gold = 37.5% purity (sometimes seen in vintage and/or UK market watch cases, along with 10K gold)
  • 14K = 14/24 purity of gold = 58.3% (sometimes marked 583 or 585 in gold hallmarks)
  • 18K = 18/24 purity of gold = 75% (sometimes marked 750 in gold hallmarks)
  • 24K = 24/24 purity of gold = 99.999%, which is seldomly used in watch cases because it is so soft and easily scratched.

All Swiss watches are made of 18 karat gold, or 75% pure gold.

 

Case

The metal housing of a watch's parts that protects the movement from dust, damp and shocks. Cases can be made of many different materials, including plastic, resins, stainless steel, base metal (usually brass), gold-plated base metals, gold-filled and more expensive metals, such as titanium, gold, silver, and platinum. Plastic and resin composites generally are the least costly and are found primarily in fashion and sport watches. Stainless steel is a robust metal and is commonly used in sport watches. The back of the watch case or the documents accompanying the watch will indicate the metallic content.

 

Casing (up)

The process of inserting and fixing a watch movement into the case.

 

Chablon

French term for a watch movement which all or part of the components are not assembled, not including the dial and hands.

 

Center-of-Gravity Error

A very small imbalance disturbs the running of the watch so that the balance is not balanced and the watch runs differently in different positions.

 

Center Seconds/Sweep Seconds-Hand

A second-hand that is mounted in the center post of the watch dial instead of a subdial.

 

Champleve

Enameling done by cutting grooves in the metal, into which the ground enamel is melted and the surface is then ground and polished.

 

Chasing

Cutting ornaments or figures out of smooth surfaces for decoration purposes.

 

Chime

The bell-like sound made when a clock strikes on the hour, half-hour, etc.

 

Chronograph

A mechanical watch with hour and minute hands and a center sweep-second hand, which can be controlled by one or more buttons, in the side of the case or with the crown. The sweep-second hand may be started, stopped and returned to zero without interfering with the timekeeping of the watch.

There are many variations of the chronograph with some operating with a center second hand to keep time on the watch's main dial while others use subdials to show elapsed hours, minutes and seconds. Some chronographs show elapsed time on a digital display on the watch face, and some chronographs can even time more than one event simultaneously. Used in conjunction with specialized scales on the watch face, a chronograph can perform many different functions, such as determining speed or distance.

 

Chronometer

A highly precisioned timepiece that has met the high standards of accuracy set by the Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometeres, the official testing agency in Switzerland. Testing of the watch's movement is conducted for 15 days and nights. The movement's accuracy is checked in five different positions and at various temperatures, which simulate conditions under which the watch might be worn. The term "chronometer" is copyrighted for mechanical watches.

 

Cleaning

Because even small traces of old oil can cause disturbances and friction, cleaning often involves overhauling a watch so that the old, used and usually hardened oil is removed. The watch is dismantled and rinsed several times with liquid-fat solvents in an ultrasonic cleaning machine. The watch is also lubricated with oils for the wheels, and fats or pressure-resistant oils for the springs. Watch oil must stay in its place and should not harden if it is to remain fully effective. Only very small drops of oil are used on the bearings.

 

Cloisonné Enamel

A type of enamel work, whereby thin strips of metal are soldered to the base to form the outlines of a design and colored enamel is then placed into each section.

 

Compensating Balance/Bimetallic Balance

A two-metal balance ring made of brass outside and steel inside, which prevent temperature variations from affecting the running of the watch. With rising temperatures, the brass expands faster than the steel, the ring ends bend inward, and the inertia of the ring decreases. Because the hairspring also becomes weaker with the rising temperature, the running of the watch remains the same. Today's watches also use hairsprings that do not weaken in order to prevent the effects from variations of temperature.

 

Complication

A watch with other functions besides timekeeping, including chronographs, minute repeaters, tourbillons, and perpetual calendars.

 

Convertible Case

A watch case built into a sliding frame that allows the dial side to be protected by turning it over to face the wrist.

 

Countdown Timer

A function that keeps 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, which can be very useful in some sporting events.

 

Crown/Stem/Pin

The grooved circular button on the outside of the watch case used to set the time and calendar, and, in mechanical watches, to wind the mainspring. In this case it is also called a "winding stem." A screw in (or screw down) crown screws into the case to greatly increase the water-tightness of the watch.

 

Crystal

The transparent cover on a watch face, which can be made of plexiglass (a clear, lightweight type of plastic), mineral glass (hardened by a tempering process), or synthetic sapphire (approximately three times harder than mineral and 20 times harder than acrylic crystals). Some crystals are made of both mineral and sapphire glass.

Plexiglass is the least expensive, least likely to shatter and the most likely to become scratched but permits shallow scratches to be buffed out. Mineral glass is more scratch-resistant than plexiglass. Synthetic sapphire is the most expensive crystal and the most scratch resistant but it is also the hardest and most brittle so it shatters more easily than other materials.

Watch crystals come in many shapes. Some French words used to describe the shape of a crystal are: "lunette," meaning round and "bombé," "chevé" and "boule," which all mean concave, or dome-shaped. A "raised" crystal is flat on top but raised up from the case. "Shaped crystals" are those that are not circular, such as rectangles, square and ovals. "Cocktail" shapes are the more extreme examples of shaped crystals, including elongated baguette and octahedral (eight-sided) crystals.

"Anti-reflective" or "glare-resistant" crystals have been coated on one or both sides with a substance to reduce reflections and glare on the watch face. Anti-reflective crystals can be made of either mineral glass or synthetic sapphire. These are often used on sport style watches to prevent glare.

See "Sapphire Crystal"

 

Curvex

A case with a slightly curved back to better fit the wrist (patented by Gruen).

 

Cushion

A square shaped case with rounded edges.

 

Cylinder Watch

A small hollow cylinder about 1 mm in diameter and with walls around 0.1 mm thick used as its escapement, with about half of its effective part removed. The cylinder directly bears the weight of the balance and it is very sensitive to shock. Watches with cylinder escapement were still built after World War II but repair of cylinder watches is almost impossible since spare parts are rare.

 

D

Daily Rate

A term used to denote the difference of time adjustment after 24 hours, with differences of up to several seconds per day attributable to the quality of the watch and wearing conditions.

 

Date

Ordinal number referring to a day of the month. A date watch (also called a calendar watch or calendar) indicates the date, month and sometimes the year and the phases of the moon.

 

Dayglow (Luminous)

Luminous paints containing traces of radioactive substances, which make the phosphorescent material (zinc sulfide) glow. Today, a beta radiator (tritium) is used.

See "T Swiss Made T" or "Swiss T 25"

 

Day/Night Indicator

A colored or shaded band on a world time clock, showing which time zones are in daylight and which are in darkness.

 

Decoration

The finishing and engraving of the movement. For example the Côtes de Genève pattern, a regular wave pattern obtained by engine-turning and polishing.

 

Deployment Buckle

A buckle that opens and fastens using hinged, often adjustable, extenders, making it easier to put the watch on and remove and is usually more comfortable.

 

Depth Alarm

An alarm on a diver's watch that sounds when the diver exceeds a pre-set depth and, in most watches, stops when the diver ascends above that depth.

 

Deviation

Daily deviation is the discrepancy from the real time within a 24 hour period, stated in seconds per day. Mechanical watches usually have a deviation of only a few seconds per day while precise quartz watches deviate only a few seconds per month.

 

Dial

The watch "face" - a plate of metal or other material, which bears various markings to show the hour, minutes and seconds. The indications are given by means of numerals, divisions or symbols of various types.

 

Dial Train

The train of wheels under the dial that moves the hands, comprised of the cannon pinion hour wheel, minute wheel and pinion.

 

Digital Watch

A watch that shows the time through digits rather than through a dial and hands (analog) display. Mechanical watches with digital indication became more common with the introduction of microelectronics in time measurement during the 1970's and 1980's.

 

Direct-Drive

A seconds-hand that moves forwards in little jerks. Trotteuse is a French term for a direct-drive seconds-hand, especially a center seconds-hand.

 

Display

Indication of time or other data, either by hands moving over a dial (analog display) or by numerals appearing in one or more windows (digital or numerical display).

 

Diving Watch

A watch that is water resistant to 200 meters (660 feet) with a uni-directional ratcheted rotating bezel and a screw-locked crown and back. Usually has a metal bracelet or rubber strap, sapphire crystal, and sometimes comes with a wet-suit extension so that the bracelet can be expanded to be worn over a wet suit.

 

Double-Roller Escapement

A lever escapement in which a separate roller is used for the safety action.

 

Dual Timer

A watch that measures the local time and at least one other time zone, through a twin dial, extra hand, subdial, or other means.

 

Duo-Dial

A watch with separate hour and seconds dials. Also known as a "doctor's watch" because these watches were used by physicians in the 1930's and 1940's.

 

Duplex Escapement

An escapement where the escape wheel has two sets of teeth. One set locks the wheel by pressing on the balance staff and the other set gives impulse to the balance. The balance receives impulse at every other vibration.

 

E

ébauche

French term meaning the raw incomplete watch movement, which is sold as a set of loose parts, comprising the main plate, bridges, train, winding and setting mechanism and/or the regulator. The timing system, the escapement and the mainspring, however, are not parts of the "ébauche." Unlike manufacturers, many finishers buy raw movements in various grades of preparation from ébauche producers in Switzerland.

 

Elapsed Time Rotating Bezel

A graduated rotating bezel used to keep track of periods of time. The bezel is turned to align the zero on the bezel with the watch's current second or minute hands. Later, the time can be directly read off the bezel, so that the wearer can quickly tell how much time has elapsed.

 

Electric Wristwatch

A watch in which the balance closes an electronic circuit over a contact for a small magnetic pulse that gives the balance an impulse. Only electric components such as contacts, coils, condensers or resistors are used in electric watches.

 

Electro-Erosion

A process used to remove material from a piece of hard or relatively inflexible metal or material.

 

Electronic Wristwatches

Watches, including quartz watches, which have semiconductor elements such as transistors or integrating switching. Not to be confused with electric wristwatches, which operate on a very different principle.

 

Enamel

Two kinds of enamels are used in watchmaking: Soft enamel is a soluble paint used in dials while hard enamel is an acid-resistant and durable porcelain-like paint used as an ornamental coating.

 

Engine Turning

Decorative engraving usually done on the watch face.

 

Engraved

Process of cutting into material by hand or machine to form a pattern or design.

 

Escapement

A part consisting of the escape wheel and lever that regulates the running of the movement, keeps the wheel train turning in time with the balance, and transmits power to the balance.

 

ETA

ETA SA Fabriques d'Ebauches is the world’s largest producer of fine Swiss watch movements, with 30 families of movements.

 

Etablisseur

French term for a watch factory engaged in only assembling watches, without producing any of the components, which it must purchase from specialist suppliers.

 

F

Face

The visible side of the watch where the dial is contained, usually printed with Arabic or Roman numerals.

 

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. In analog chronographs, an additional center second hand remains superposed on the other one as it moves, and can be stopped independently and then made to "fly back" so as to catch up with the other hand, or it can be stopped and reset to zero together with the other hand. Chronographs with numerical display have a function with the same effect.

To operate the flyback, 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 needed.

 

Finisher/Etablisseur

A type of manufacturer that offers "in-house movements," using purchased parts (raw movements, escapement and swinging systems, bearing jewels) to make finished movements, which are then set in cases and marketed as finished watches.

 

Flat Hairspring

A flat hairspring has spirals that develop on a flat surface, as opposed to the overcoil (Breguet) hairspring.

 

Formed Movement

Watch movements that are not round, such as rectangular, baguette or oval movements.

 

Four-Year Calendar

Unlike the true perpetual calendar, a four-year calendar does not give the correct date from one leap year to the next so that it must be manually corrected on February 29th of each leap year.

 

Frequency

Number of vibrations per hour. For example, 28,800 vibrations per hour = 4 hz.

 

G

Gasket

Found in most water resistant watches, gaskets are used to seal the case back, crystal, and crown to protect against water infiltration during normal wear. Gaskets should be checked every two years to maintain the water resistance of the watch.

 

Gears

Wheels that are raised for watches in a process called rolling. Gears with 20 to 100 teeth are made of brass while wheels with fewer teeth (6 to 12) are called pinions and are made of steel and hardened.

 

Gear Train

The system of gears that transmits power from the mainspring to the escapement.

 

Geneve Seal

The hallmark on a watch movement certifying that it conforms to the highest official standard of Geneva watchmaking.

 

Geneve Stripes

Côtes de Genève pattern, a regular wave pattern obtained by engine-turning and polishing.

 

Gilding

The process of painting a mixture of mercury and gold to coat the surface of metal with gold and then heating it to evaporate the mercury.

 

Glucydur

A copper alloy with 2 to 3% beryllium added used to balances and mainsprings

 

Gold - Carat (K)

Term to denote metal alliage: 1 Carat = 1/24 fine gold of a gold alloy. Pure gold is very soft; gold is made in several carats ("K"), or 1/24th proportions of gold, to make it harder and able to stand up to daily wear. An 18 carat gold alloy contains 18/24 fine gold = 75% fine gold content. The term 18K refers to solid gold (it is considered pure gold after reaching 75% fine gold content).

  • 9K = 9/24 purity of gold = 37.5% purity (sometimes seen in vintage and/or UK market watch cases, along with 10K gold)
  • 14K = 14/24 purity of gold = 58.3% (sometimes marked 583 or 585 in gold hallmarks)
  • 18K = 18/24 purity of gold = 75% (sometimes marked 750 in gold hallmarks)
  • 24K = 24/24 purity of gold = 99.999%, which is seldomly used in watch cases because it is so soft and easily scratched.

All Swiss watches are made of at least 18 karat gold, or 75% pure gold.

 

Gold Plating

A layer of gold that has been electro-deposited onto a metal and its thickness is measured in microns. Different methods can be used: Physical Vapor Deposition is a method of plating gold or other substances to a thickness of several microns (1/1000ths of a millimeter) over a base metal surface, other methods include Chemical Vapor Deposition and Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition. Gold plating allows the watch to look like a gold watch, but it only lasts for a few years. When the base metal finally shows through, the gold plating cannot be repaired.

Prices of gold-plated watches are influenced by the thickness of the plating, which can range from 2-micron thickness to more than 30-microns.

 

Gregorian Calendar

A type of calendar introduced in 1582 that sets the length of the year at 365.2425 mean sun days. The introduction of the Gregorian calendar largely eliminated astronomical irregularities of former time systems, and the calendar matched the actual movements of the heavens. But even this system does not eliminate all errors, which will add up to one day in the course of 3,300 years.

 

Grande Sonnerie

A type of striking where the first hour struck is repeated at each quarter. Also called a "quarter hour repeater." Today, the term grande sonnerie can also apply to watches where to the quarter hour can be made to strike at will.

 

Guilloche

Type of engraving that creates a patterned surface by interweaving thin lines.

 

H

Hack

A military term referring to watches that stop the second hand to allow for more accurate synchronization between two watches.Usually the crown is pulled out to the time-setting position, a lever is moved that contacts the rim of the balance, which causes the movement to stop.

 

Hand

An indicator, usually made of a thin, light piece of metal, which moves over a graduated dial or scale. Watches usually have three hands showing the hours, minutes and seconds.

 

Hand Decorated Movement

Generally found in high quality see-through watches, hand-decorated movements require a high degree of detailed manual craftsmanship, for example to create Geneve Stripes or blued screws.

 

Hard Metal

A scratch resistant alloy similar to that used for steel-and-stoneworking tools comprised of binding several materials, including titanium and tungsten carbide, which are pressed into an extremely hard metal and polished with diamond powder to add brilliance.

 

High-Tech Ceramic

A material with a very smooth surface, high-tech ceramic can be injection molded and the pieces contoured and polished with diamond dust to create a highly polished finish.

 

High Frequency Vibrations

Watch movements which make a minimum of 28,800 vibrations.

 

Hole Jewel (Bearing Jewel)

The bearing jewels are made of synthetic ruby and drilled with fast-turning copper or bronze tools bearing diamond cutters. The holes for the bearing pivots are bored mechanically or with lasers. Today, hole jewels are pressed into place and deviations in making hole jewels sometimes amount to only .0025 mm.

 

Horology

The science of time measurement, including the art of designing and constructing timepieces.

 

H/M/S/D

Stands for: Hour/Minute/Seconds/Date. Some watches also have "DD," which stands for Day/Date - the day of the week; "M," meaning Month; "Y," meaning Year.

 

I

Incabloc

Shock absorbation system commonly used in watch movements.

 

Index

Used instead of a numeral, an index is the hour indicator on an analog watch dial.

 

Integrated Bracelet

A watch bracelet that is incorporated into the design of the case.

 

Isochronism

A watch's ability to keep equal periods of time by maintaining its rate during the normal unwinding of the mainspring, usually a well-formed overcoil hairspring. In modern movements, balances swing isochronically, which means that the swing duration is independent of the swing distance and the swings are all equal.

 

J

Jewels

Synthetic sapphires or rubies which have been drilled, champfered and polished to act as bearings for gears in a mechanical watch decrease friction in the most important bearings, pallets and rollers of precision watches. The jewels reduce friction to make the watch more accurate and longer lasting. Only the pieces of the movement between the mainspring and the escape wheel that experience the stronger forces or relatively high speeds of the mainspring or escapement have jewelling.

There are different kinds of jewels: Bearing jewels, hole jewels, cap jewels, pallet and roller jewels. The number of jewels used in a watch does not always indicate special quality or value and the jewels themselves are of no intrinsic value. A hand-wound precision watch usually has at least 15 functioning jewels: Ten hole jewels, two cap jewels, two pallet jewels and one roller jewel. More complex watches, such as those with automatic winding, chronograph or repetition striking, have high numbers of jewels.

A simple mechanical watch (hours, minutes and seconds hands) has at least 15 jewels. Most hand-wound movements have 17 jewels as a full complement. Automatic winding movements will add about 4 to 8 jewels to help more efficiently transfer the relatively small rotor forces into winding the mainspring. Some ultra-thin movements or high-grade movements, such chronograph and perpetual calendars, add a few jewels to further protect against any wear, amounting to a total of 21 to 23 jewels.

See "17 Jewels," "Sapphire Crystal"

 

Jump Hour Indicator

A jump hour indicator takes the place of an hour hand. The hour hand is removed and replaced by an aperture in the dial, where the drive to the hour hand causes a disc to revolve once every 12 hours. This disc has the numbers 1 to 12 printed on it and as the minute hand approaches the 60-minute position the disc "jumps" to the next hour reading.
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Watches with jump indicators have never been made in large quantities and are thus quite rare.

 

K

Kinetic

Innovative Seiko technology for a quartz movement that does not use a battery. Movement of the wearer's wrist charges a capacitor, which then powers the quartz movement.

 

L

Lap Memory

Found in some quartz sport watches, the lap memory can recall the times of laps in a race that have been measured by the lap timer. The information is seen on a digital display when the wearer pushes a button.

 

Lap Timer

A chronograph function that can time segments of a race.

 

Lever Escapement

Used in high-quality mechanical wristwatches, the anchor bears two stones (pallets) and the third stone, the roller jewel, is set in the balance and works with the fork of the anchor. Also called "club-tooth," "Swiss anchor," or "free anchor escapement."

 

Life Expectancy

For mechanical watches, life expectancy can be almost infinite because their finely crafted parts can be repaired, replaced and even remade by a skilled watchmaker.

Because quartz watches contain electronic components, their parts often cannot be repaired and must instead be replaced. The life expectancy of a quartz watch can be limited by the availability of such parts.

 

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

Used for digital indication, the diode lights up when tension is applied. LEDs are not used in modern digital watches due to their high power consumption.

 

Ligne

Traditional measure of length for sizes of movements. 1 ligne = approximately 2.256 mm or .089 inches. The most commonly used sizes for watches are between 5.5 and 13 lignes. Also called "lines."

See "Sizes of Watches"

 

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

A digital watch display often used in quartz watches to show the time electronically by means of the liquid held in a thin layer between two transparent plates. Liquid crystals show a crystalline structure despite the condition of the liquid so that if an electrical impulse is applied, the liquid crystal changes its optical qualities, and dark symbols become visible on a light background. LCDs use very little power and the battery can power a watch for a few years.

 

Lubrication

The watch is lubricated with oils for the wheels, and fats or pressure-resistant oils for the springs. Watch oil must stay in its place and should not harden if it is to remain fully effective. Only very small drops of oil are used on the bearings.

 

Lugs/Horns

Projections on the watchcase to which the watch band/bracelet is attached.

 

M

Main Plate

Base plate on which all the other parts of a watch movement are mounted (part of the "ébauche").

 

Mainspring

The driving spring of a watch or clock contained in the barrel, which is wound up manually by means of the crown in a handwinding watch or through the movement of the oscillating weight (rotor) in an automatic watch.

 

Maintenance

Mechanical (manual and automatic) watches should be cleaned and serviced every three years or according to the manufacturer's recommendations. For quartz (battery operated) watches, the watch should be serviced when the battery is replaced.

Fine Swiss watches are sophisticated pieces of craftsmanship. To insure maximum enjoyment from a watch, the owner should follow these simple maintenance tips:

  • Make sure that all the components are securely attached by doing a quick check on a regular basis.Have your mechanical watch checked regularly by an authorized jeweler and serviced according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Wind your watch in a clockwise direction and remove the watch from your wrist so as not to place undue pressure on the stem.
  • Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately. Even a hairline crack can let dust or moisture into the mechanism, threatening its accuracy or damaging the movement.
  • Oils from your skin can build up on a watch. If it is water-resistant, give it an occasional cleaning with a mixture of warm water and a mild soap.
  • Replace the battery in a quartz watch immediately. Dead batteries left in a watch can leak or corrode, ruining the timepiece.

 

Manufacture d'horlogerie

French term for a watch factory that produces the components (particularly the "ébauches") needed for the manufacture of its watches.

See "Manufacturer"

 

Manufacturer

A manufacturer is a watch producer who is an ébauche maker and finisher, with both raw movement production and finishing taking place within the same factory. The finished movements are called manufacturers' calibres.

The Swiss watch industry uses the term manufacture as distinct from an "atelier de terminage," which is involved only with assembling, timing, fitting the hands and casing.

 

Measurement Conversion

A feature, usually a graduated scale on the bezel, that lets the wearer translate one type of measurement into another, for example, metric into standard.

 

Mechanism

An apparatus added to complex watches, such as a minute repeater or perpetual calendar.

 

Mechanical Movement

A movement powered by a mainspring, working in conjunction with a balance wheel. A mechanical watch uses the energy from a wound spring and keeps time through the highly regulated release of that energy through a set of gears (the wheel train) and an escapement.

 

Megaquartz

A high frequency quartz that gives extreme precision, with the quartz swinging at 4.19 megahertz (4,194,304 swings per second). Since the high frequency needs many dividing steps, a megaquartz has high power consumption.

 

Micron

Unit of measure of the thickness of the gold-plating. 1 micron = 1/1000 mm.

 

Middle (of watch-case)

Middle part of the case in which the movement is fitted.

 

Minute Recording

Usually placed by the third hour marker, the small offset minute recorder dial advances one minute with each revolution made by the second hand. There are three types of minute recorders: 1) continuous; 2) semi-instantaneous; and 3) instantaneous.

 

Module

In electronic watches, a module is the bottom plate with all of its electronic components.

 

Moonphase

A watch with a subdial, usually at the "6" position, where an additional disc with a picture of the moon shows the number of days since the last new moon. The watch uses a 59-tooth wheel that turns once in two lunations. In a synodic month, one lunation (the time from one new moon to the next) equals 29 days, 12 hours and 44 minutes. Depending on their construction, watches with moon-age indication have a yearly error of one minute to about eight hours.

 

Mother-of-Pearl

Iridescent interior shell of a freshwater mollusk that is sliced thin and used on watch dials. Mother-of-pearl comes in many colors such as milky white (the most popular), silvery gray, gray blue, pink, and salmon.

 

Movement

The inner mechanism of a watch, not including the case or dial itself, which is responsible for keeping time and moves the watch's hands, calendar, etc. Movements are either mechanical or quartz.

 

N

Nivarox

As hard and elastic as steel, non-rusting and non-magnetic, Nivarox is an iron-nickel alloy with added chromium, beryllium and other metals for hairsprings. Nivarox hairsprings are not influenced by temperature changes so that the old compensated balance is made superfluous.

See "Self-Compensating Hairspring"

 

P

Palladium

A soft, ductile, steel-white, tarnish-resistant, metallic element occurring naturally with platinum. Alloyed for use in jewelry and surgical instruments.

 

Perpetual Calendar

Calendar which automatically includes the different month lengths in normal and leap years and usually indicate date, day and month. Perpetuality applies to the nature of the Gregorian calendar. The actual duration of a year is 365.2422 days. The perpetual calendar counts the year as having 365.25 days, in contrast to the simple calendar, which counts 372 days (12 x 31), making it necessary to remove 6 or 7 days every year.

Perpetual calendars are usually self winding and are one of the most popular complications. some models also have a leap-year indication.

See "Calendar"

 

Pillar Movement

Used in less expensive watches, a wheel train runs between two plates with the distance between them fixed by pillars. In better watches, only one plate is used, to which blocks and bridges are screwed to hold the bearings.

 

Pin Pallet

Used in non-jeweled watches, pin pallets are found in the lever escapement where the pallet has upright pins instead of horizontally set jewels.

 

Plaque

Electroplated material, typically gold, used for inexpensive watch cases.

 

Plate

The movement plate of a watch holds bearings for the wheels, while the second bearings are in blocks or bridges.

 

Platinum

One of the rarest, strongest and heaviest of the precious metals, platinum has a rich, white luster and is hypoallergenic and tarnish resistant. Platinum used in watches must be at least 85% to 95% ("950 platinum") pure, the remaining is iridium or palladium alloy.

Soaking platinum in a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush is usually all that is required to maintain the metal's luster. Many platinum watches are produced in limited editions due to the expense and rarity of the metal.

 

Position Timing

Adjusting a watch to keep precise time when the watch is placed in a given position. Adjustment to three, four, five or six positions can often be found engraved on the movements of high-end watches.

 

Power Reserve Indicator/ Reserve de Marche/ Up and Down Indicator

A battery reserve indicator on a quartz watch informing the wearer when the battery is low or, on a mechanical watch, that the watch needs a winding. Often this is indicated by the seconds hand moving at two or three-second intervals.

On a mechanical watch, the semi-circular indicator hand or window indicator tells how much the mainspring has been unwound and thus indicates when the spring should be wound.

 

Pulsimeter

A scale on a chronograph watch for measuring the pulse rate of the wearer.

 

Purse Watch

Folding, covered or otherwise protected watch for carrying in the purse or pocket.

 

Push-Piece

A button that is pressed to work a mechanism, such as chronographs, striking watches, alarms, etc.

 

Q

Quarter Second Stop

An auxiliary second hand that turns around on its axis in four or five springs per second.

 

Quartz Crystal

Mineral, chemically SiO2, hardness 7, quartz is the purest form of rock crystal. Quartz shows the piezoelectric effect and can be made to oscillate by electronic switching, keeping its frequency very constant.

 

Quartz Movement

A movement powered by a quartz crystal to vibrate. Today, oscillators are made of synthetic quartz crystals that oscillate at the rate of 32.768 times a second, dividing time into equal segments. Due to their high frequency of vibrations (32 kHz), quartz watches are extremely accurate with daily variations of less than a second per day.

 

Quick Train

A watch movement beating five times per second, or 18,000 beats per hour.

 

R

Rattrapante

A chronograph with an added second hand that allows to allows lap times in a multi-lap event to be read off without stopping the chronograph.

 

Regulating Elements

Set of parts comprising the regulating system (sprung balance) and the escapement (escape wheel, lever and roller).

 

Regulation

Regulating mechanical watches consists of keeping the number of swings of the balance or hairspring as constant as possible despite disturbance from external influences such as temperature and position changes. Errors result when the frequency changes.

Regulating a watch consists of observing its daily deviation in various positions and temperatures and adjusting them accordingly. Various regulating procedures are used. The usual regulation of a good quality watch consists of testing in dial-up (lying) and crown-up (hanging) positions. The deviations between these positions are usually 30 seconds a day at most. In officially prescribed precision regulation, watches are tested and adjusted in at least five positions and at two different temperatures. A requirement of effective regulation is an exactly balanced balance, since center-of-gravity error would otherwise occur. In most cases, correction of mechanical watches is done by carefully adjusting the regulator, which changes the effective length of the hairspring.

 

Regulator

Used to regulate watches with balances where the last part of the hairspring is led between two rods or angles. The effective length of the hairspring and the swing duration of the watch is changed by turning the regulator.

 

Remounting

Building the raw movement into a watch ready for use (with dial, hands, case and balance). The factory watchmaker is called a "remounter."

 

Repassage

The final testing of a watch before delivery.

 

Repeater (or Repeat Striking)

A device that chimes the time by means of a mechanism striking on coiled gongs operated by a slider or push button. There are various types of repeaters. Quarter-repeaters sound a low note for the hours and a "ding-dong" for each of the quarters; Five-minute repeaters strike the hours, quarters and five-minute periods after the quarter; Minute-repeaters strike the hours, quarters and minutes; Grande sonneries strike the hours and quarters automatically and repeat when a push-piece is pressed down; and Chiming repeaters strike the quarters with three or four gongs of different pitchs sound a low note for the hours and a "ding-dong" for each of the quarters; Five-minute repeaters strike the hours, quarters and five-minute periods after the quarter; Minute-repeaters strike the hours, quarters and minutes; Grande sonneries strike the hours and quarters automatically and repeat when a push-piece is pressed down; and Chiming repeaters strike the quarters with three or four gongs of different pitch.

 

Repousse

Decorating metal by hammering out a design behind or on the reverse side in order to create a design in relief.

 

Rolled Gold

A thin (a few hundredths of a millimeter) sheet of gold pressed onto a brass surface and rolled to attain the desired thickness.

 

Rose (or Pink) Gold

A softly hued gold made with 24 karat gold alloyed with copper to make 14 or 18 karat rose gold

 

Roskopf Watch

A simple watch usually without jewels and sometimes with a pin lever escapement. The hands are not on the pipes in the center of the movement, but on a bar in the plate. Such a movement is also called a flying-hand movement.

 

Rotating Bezel

A ring surrounding the watch face that can be turned. Different types of rotating bezels perform different timekeeping and mathematical functions.

 

Rotor

The flat piece of metal, usually shaped like a semicircle, which swivels on a pivot with the motion of the wearer's arm and acts as a rotating weight of an automatic wristwatch to wind the mainspring via a toothed-wheel drive. In high-end watches, the rotor is sometimes made of platinum or gold and is often elaborately decorated.

 

Ruby

A material for bearing jewels. Today, synthetic ruby is used and is made by melting the purest oxide with a gas flame while added chromium oxide gives the red ruby color.

 

S

Safety Buckle

A bracelet with a second latch, which folds over the main latch, thus providing extra security in case the first latch fails. Also called "divers' security clasp."

 

Sapphire Crystal

Sapphire (whether natural or synthetic) is one of the hardest substances on earth, measuring 9 on the Mohs scale, which is a system for rating the relative hardness of various materials. Synthetic sapphire is used in watchmaking and is a very hard, transparent material made by crystallizing aluminum oxide at extremely high temperatures. When it is heated, the synthetic sapphire forms round masses that are sliced into pieces with diamond-coated saws. These disks are then ground and polished into watch crystals. Sapphire crystals are relatively expensive partly because the tools required to make them are costly. Chemically, synthetic sapphire is the same as the natural sapphire used in jewelry, but without coloring agents.

Synthetic sapphire is the most expensive crystal and the most scratch resistant but it is also the hardest and most brittle so it shatters more easily than other materials.

 

Scratchproof Watch

A watch with a case made of hard metal and a watch crystal of synthetic sapphire.

 

Screw-In Case Back

A watertight case back that is either screwed together or pressed in with additional screws so that the case is made watertight (as compared to a case which is merely pressed together).

 

Screw-Lock Crown

A type of crown that can be screwed into the case to make the watch watertight.

 

Screws

The smallest screws used have a thread diameter of only .3 mm. Ten thousand of these screws weighs approximately one gram. Mostly see-through mechanical movements have "blued screws," which are manually oxidized until they turn a shiny dark blue color (this must be achieved within a very short window of time - a few seconds more and they would turn black, or a few seconds less, and they would turn a reddish color).

 

Second

Basic unit of time equal to one 86,000th of the mean solar day.

 

Second Time-Zone Indicator

An additional dial that lets the wearer simultaneously keep track of local time and the time in another time zone.

 

See-Through Case Back/Skeleton Case

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

 

Self-Compensating Hairspring

A hairspring that was made of special Nivarox alloy able to equalize temperature variations. Previously, balance springs were made of a spring steel that tended to change elasticity with fluctuating temperatures, affecting the precision of a watch. Until the 1930's, precision watches were made with bimetallic balances to counteract this physical tendency.

See "Nivarox," "Bimetallic Balance/Compensating Balance"

 

Setting Lever

The detent that fits into the slot of the stem and pushes down the clutch lever.

 

Setting the Time

Process of bringing the hands of a watch to a position corresponding to the exact time.

 

17 Jewels

Most hand-wound movements have 17 jewels as a full complement. Automatic winding movements will add about 4 to 8 jewels to help more efficiently transfer the relatively small rotor forces into winding the mainspring. The 17 jewels are:

  • 1:Impulse jewel (the part of the balance wheel assembly which receives power from the escape lever)
  • 2-5: Balance staff pivot bearings (two pairs - in combinations of one pivot jewel (hole jewel with a hole to receive the axle/pivot of the wheel) and one cap jewel (jewel without a hole outboard of the pivot jewel, to prevent excessive movement of the balance staff)
  • 6-7: Escape lever pallets (one pair)
  • 8-9: Escape lever pivot bearings (one pair)
  • 10-11: Escape wheel pivot bearings (one pair)
  • 12-13: Fourth wheel pivot bearings (one pair)
  • 14-15: Third wheel pivot bearings (one pair)
  • 16-17: Center wheel pivot bearings (one pair)

See "Jewels"

 

Shock Absorber

Resilient bearing that takes up the shocks received by the balance staff to protect its delicate pivots from damage.

 

Shock Resistance

A U.S. government regulation defines shock resistance as a watch's ability to withstand an impact equal to that of being dropped onto an oak floor from a height of three feet (one meter). Nearly all of today's mechanical watches have shock resistance, which protects the sensitive balance arbor and bearing of a watch from breaking under shock. Generally, the bearing jewels are sprung so that the jewel and balance arbor are not damaged.

The terms "shock resistant" and "shockproof" are copyrighted.

See "Sports and Wearing a Watch"

 

Silvered

Silver in color but not necessarily containing silver metal content.

 

Sizes of Watches

Watches are sized by their diameter, which is measured across the outside or largest part of the lower plate of the watch, right under the dial. In oval or other odd shaped movements, the size is measured across the smaller axis. American sizes are based on 30ths of an inch while the Europeans use the ligne that is equal to .089 inches or 2.255 millimeters.

See "Ligne"

 

Skeleton Watch

A watch with parts of its plate, blocks and bridges and barrel cut out, leaving only thin bars. Producing skeletonized watches requires the finest possible hand finishing because all parts are exposed so that they are usually expensive and produced in limited quantities.

 

Slide Rule

A device consisting of a logarithmic or other scale on the outer edge of the watch face used to do mathematical calculations.

 

Solar Compass

A compass that determines the geographical poles by means of a rotating bezel. The solar compass works by placing the watch so that the hour hand faces the sun, taking half the distance between the position and 12 o'clock, and then turning the bezel until its "south" marker is at that halfway point. Some quartz watches have solar compasses that show directions on an LCD display.

 

Split-Seconds Hand

Actually two hands, one a split-seconds hand, the other a regular chronograph seconds hand. When the wearer starts the chronograph, both hands move together. To time laps or different finishing times, the wearer can stop the split-seconds hand independently while the regular chronograph seconds hand keeps moving, in effect 'splitting' the hands in two.

See "Split-Second Chronograph"

 

Split-Second Chronograph

Chronograph with a split-seconds hand, independent of the main chronograph hand, that can be stopped, for example, to register time-outs at sporting events. At the end of the intermediate stop, the split-seconds hand springs back into line with the chronograph hand.

See "Split-Seconds Hand"

 

Sports and Wearing a Watch

Today, nearly all mechanical watches have anti-shock devices that protect the watch's delicate balance-staff pivots. These devices are usually effective enough to protect the watch from the shock it encounters when, for example, the wearer hits a tennis or golf ball. However, there is always a slight risk that an especially hard knock could damage not only the balance but also the rotor axle, where some automatic movements secure the rotor to the watch movement.

Although a quartz watch does not contain the delicate balance-staff pivots found in mechanical watches, other parts can become damaged, for example, the crystal can be shattered.

See "Shock Resistance"

 

Spring Winding

The mainspring gives its fullest power when fully wound. Modern watch mainsprings are 0.1 mm thick and 200 to 500 mm in length.

 

Staff/Balance Staff

A pivoted arbor or axle usually referred to the axle of the balance.

 

Stainless Steel

An extremely durable metal alloy that does not rust, discolor or corrode, stainless steel can be highly polished to look like a precious metal. Because of its strength, stainless steel is often used on case backs of watches made of other more precious metals.

 

Stave Movement

A movement where the wheels of the watch are mounted between thin plates in the form of rods so that the working of the watch is visible.

 

Stepping Motor

The part of a quartz movement that moves the gear train, which moves the watch hands.

 

Sterling

A white and highly reflective precious metal, sterling silver refers to silver that is 92.5% pure. The sterling designation is stamped on the metal, sometimes accompanied by the initials of the designer or the country of origin as a hallmark. Sterling silver is less durable than stainless steel but is often used in conjunction with other metals so that the watch looks like sterling silver jewelry. A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnish.

 

Stopwatch

Found in chronographs, a stopwatch is a second hand that measures intervals of time.

 

Stopwork

The mechanism on the barrel of a watch that permits only the central portion of the mainspring to be wound so that only the portion of the spring whose power is less erratic is used.

 

Striking-Work, Striking-Mechanism

An automatic or hand-operated mechanism that strikes the time or rings an alarm-bell.

 

Subdial

Also called subsidiary dials or auxiliary dials, a subdial is a small dial placed inside the main dial on a watch face to give information not found on the main dial.

Subdials are used for several different functions. Calendar watches often have subdials with pointers indicating the month, date and sometimes day of the week. Moon phase subdials show which phase the moon is in by using a painted two moon face disk rotating beneath a small aperture. As the day of the month pass, the painted moon either waxes or wanes in synchrony with the phase of the real moon. In a mechanical watch, a subdial can also be used as a power reserve indicator, often in the shape of "bras en l'air" (French for "arm in the air"), in which the hand moves through an arc rather than in a round subdial. Alarm watches use subdials to set the alarm.

Chronograph watches use multiple subdials: To keep track of seconds and of elapsed minutes and hours; tachymeter and telemeter scales (used for measuring speed and distance); show the fraction of a second; "counters," "registers," or "totalizers," which keep track of the minutes and hours that have elapsed since the wearer pushed the chronograph button; and some chronographs even use a subdial to show the current hours and minutes, while the large main dial is dedicated entirely to the chronograph function.

To set a subdial in a chronograph, the wearer pushes the chronograph button to start and stop recording time, or to start and stop the chronograph seconds hand. To reset all the dials to zero, another button is pushed. Other types of subdials, such as calendars and alarms, are set by using the watch crown or a separate button on the watch case.

If a subdial has a 60 at the top, it is likely a continuously running seconds hand although some subdials with a 60 at the top are actually 60-minute counters. If the subdial has a 30 at the top, it is a 30-minute counter. A 12 at the top means that it is a 12-hour counter unless the watch is a dual-time-zone model, then it is a second-time-zone indicator. If the subdial has a 10 at the top, it probably measures 1/10th of a second. Date subdials have a 31 at the top to illustrate the maximum number of days in a month.

 

Sunk Seconds

A small second dial which is depressed to avoid the second hand from interfering with the main hour and minute hands.

 

Super Complications

A watch which features two or more complications. These types of watches are rare and, accordingly, quite expensive.

 

Sweep Seconds/Center Seconds-Hand

A second-hand mounted in the center post of the watch dial instead of in a subdial.

 

Swiss Made

A watch whose movement was assembled, started, adjusted and controlled by the manufacturer in Switzerland.

See "Swiss A.O.S.C. (Certificate of Origin)"

 

Swiss A.O.S.C. (Certificate of Origin)

According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, a watch is considered Swiss Made when it has been assembled in Switzerland with components of Swiss origin and meets the following requirements:

A movement is Swiss if it has been assembled in Switzerland, inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland, and the components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 50% of the total value. If the movement fulfills these conditions, but the watch was not assembled in Switzerland, the "Swiss" indication may be affixed to one of the components of the movement. On the outside of the watch will appear the "mouvement suisse" or "Swiss movement" indication.

A watch as a whole is considered to be Swiss if its movement is Swiss, its movement is cased up in Switzerland, and the manufacturer carries out final inspection in Switzerland.

 

T

"T Swiss Made T" or "Swiss T 25"

In order for timepieces to be read in the dark, a radioluminescent (glowing) material is laid on the dial indexes and hands. Only the radionuclides tritium (an isotop of hydrogen 3H, marked as "T") or promethium (147Pm, marked as "Pm") may be used, emitting a radiation of low energy which is completely confined by the watch case and glass. Optional industry markings signify what levels of the radionuclides were used. This marking is usually found on both sides of the "Swiss Made" notice at the 6o'clock position.

The indication "T Swiss made T" means that the watch is Swiss and contains a certain quantity of tritium that emits less than 227 MBq (7,5 mCi). "Swiss T 25" means that the watch is Swiss and contains a certain quantity of tritium that emits less than 925 MBq (25 mCi). The "T<25" means that less than 25 milliCuries of radioactive material was used. "T 25" or Pm "0,5" signifies that the watch has the highest allowed levels, sometimes necessary for special purpose watches, such as for deep-sea diving, and have mandatory markings.

 

Tachymetre/Tachometer

A device on a chronograph watch, a tachometer is a graduated dial which measures the speed at which the wearer has traveled over a certain distance in kilometers per hour or some other unit.

 

Tank Case

Flat, square, conservative watch case (introduced by Cartier, patented by Gruen).

 

Tank Watch

A rectangular watch originally designed by Louis Cartier. The bars along the sides of the watch were inspired by the tracks of tanks used in World War I.

 

Telemeter

Usually found on a chronograph with a special scale on the outermost edge of a the face, a telemeter determines the distance of an object from the wearer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance.

 

Temperature Effect

Because quartz crystals are cut to perform optimally at room temperature, heat and cold affects the time-keeping ability of a quartz watch. For example, a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit will throw the timing off by about 1 second a day.

For mechanical watches, extreme temperatures also affect accuracy. Heat and cold influence the viscosity of the oil that lubricates the movement, thereby affecting the movement's accuracy.

 

Terminage

French term denoting the process of assembling watch parts for a producer.

 

Termination

Process of finishing a watch movement (finishing and mounting all parts) and completing the necessary regulation required to produce a functional watch.

 

Termineur

French term for an independent watchmaker engaged in assembling watches, either wholly or in part, for an "établisseur" or a "manufacture," which supply the necessary parts.

 

30-MinuteRecorder (or Register)

A subdial on a chronograph that measures time periods of up to 30 minutes.

 

Timer

Instrument used for registering intervals of time without indicating the time of day.

 

Timing

Regulating lever to accurately adjust the daily time.

 

Timing Machine

A measurement taken in various positions to regulate watches. The sound of the watch is picked up by a microphone and compared to the impulses of a quartz watch, with the scale showing the deviation of the watch in seconds per day.

 

Timing Screws/Mean-Time Screws

Screws used to bring a watch to time.

 

Titanium

A metal used for watch cases and bracelets, titanium is 30% stronger and nearly 50% lighter than stainless steel, hypo-allergenic, and resistant to salt water corrosion, making it a choice material for divers watches. Although titanium scratches easily, some manufacturers use a patented-coating to make it more scratch resistant.

 

Tonneau Watch

A watch with two convex sides and shaped like a barrel.

 

Totalizer

Usually on a subdial, a totalizer is a mechanism that keeps track of elapsed time.

 

Tourbillon (Turning Frame)

A device in a mechanical watch that eliminates timekeeping errors caused by the slight difference in the rates at which a watch runs in horizontal and vertical positions. The tourbillon consists of a mobile carriage or cage carrying all the parts of the escapement, with the balance in the center. The escape pinion turns about the fixed fourth wheel. The case usually makes one revolution per minute, thus annulling errors of rate in the vertical positions.

Over the generations since it was first invented in 1795 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, there have probably been fewer than 250 watchmakers able to execute such a masterpiece as the tourbillon.

 

Train

A combination of two or more wheels and pinions, geared together to transmit power from one part of a mechanism to another, usually from the power source (weight or spring) to the escapement.

 

Tritium

In order for timepieces to be read in the dark, a radioluminescent (glowing) material is laid on the dial indexes and hands. An isotop of hydrogen, tritium is one of the two radionuclides (3H, marked as "T") used, emitting a radiation of low energy which is completely confined by the watch case and glass.

See "T Swiss Made T" or "Swiss T 25"

 

Tuning-Fork

Oscillating 360 times per second by transistor switching with two small magnets, the tuning-fork regulates running. On a soft spring, it bears a ruby that moves a switching wheel with a diameter of only 2.4mm. Its circumference has 300 teeth, each 0.1 mm high and 0.03mm wide. Switching can only be adjusted under a microscope. When first introduced, tuning-fork watches provided a more accurate way of measuring time and such watches with visible movements were very popular in the 1960's. However, quartz watches, with their higher regulator frequency and greater precision so became more popular.

 

Tu-Tone

Two colors of metal in the case or dial.

 

12-Hour Recorder (or Register)

A subdial on a chronograph that records time periods of up to 12 hours.

 

U

Uni-Directional Rotating Bezel

Often found on divers watches, a uni-directional rotating bezel moves in a counterclockwise direction to measure elapsed time. The bezel is designed to move only in one direction in order to prevent a diver who has unwittingly knocked the bezel off its original position from overestimating his or her remaining air supply. Many divers watches have ratcheted bezels to lock into place for even greater safety.

 

Up and Down Indicator/Power Reserve Indicator

On a mechanical watch, the semi-circular indicator hand or window indicator tells how much the mainspring has been unwound and thus indicates when the spring should be wound.

 

V

Valjoux

A Swiss maker of high quality chronograph movements.

 

Vermeil

Gilded silver.

 

Vibrating Tool

A master balance of certified accuracy mounted in a box with glass top, the vibrating tool measures vibrations per hour. The box is swiveled to set the balance into its vibratory arcs and the balance to be compared or vibrated is suspended by its hairspring attached to a scaffold. When the box is twisted on its platform, both balances may be compared (in speed) with the master balance and its hairspring lengthened or shortened until both balances swing in unison.

 

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 (18,000 or 21,600 per hour) while a high-frequency watch may make seven, eight or ten vibrations per second (25,200, 28,800 or 36, 000 per hour).

 

W

Watchband

Strap or bracelet that hold the watch to the wearer's wrist. Straps can be made of plastic, rubber, leather and exotic skins, which can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Similarly, metal bracelets can range from inexpensive base metals to precious metals, such as specially developed tungsten carbide or titanium. The type of watchband can greatly influence the price of a watch.

 

Watch Material

Components either for producing or repairing watches. Components for repair are often called "spare parts" or "repair material."

 

Waterproof

The ability to completely exclude the possibility of water entering into any working portion of a watch. Although there are no absolutely waterproof watches, watches called "waterproof" must be able to withstand the water pressure of a one-meter depth for one hour. Divers' watches must be able withstand much higher water pressure at greater depths. In the U.S., no manufacturer may label their watches "waterproof" and instead may only be marked "water resistant."

See "Water Resistance"

 

Water Resistance

A watch's ability to resist damage caused by exposure to water. Water resistance is measured in number of feet, meters or atmospheres (atm). Terms of depth imply that a watch will remain water resistant at that depth in still conditions:

  • 3 atm (30 m or 100 ft): Rain, gentle splash. These watches are labeled "water-resistant."
  • 5 atm (50 m or 165 ft): Swimming, splashing in pool, but not heavy diving or jumping
  • 10 atm (100 m or 330 ft): Minimum for sport diving; snorkeling20 atm (200 m or 660 ft): Recreational SCUBA diving100 atm (1,000 m or 3,300 ft): Extreme SCUBA diving

Water resistance should be tested every time the case back is opened, including when the battery is changed, because this can dislodge the gaskets, or O rings, that are located inside the case at the joints where the case meets the case back, crown and crystal. If the watch is worn in the water or exposed to a lot of sweat, it should be checked at every two years and every year if it is frequently in the water.

Extreme temperatures such as in the hot tub or sauna can cause the gaskets to lose their shape and ability to keep out water. Likewise, some chemicals like heavily chlorinated water, spray-on perfumes and hairsprays can corrode the gaskets.

 

Water Resistant

Watch whose joints are made to prevent moisture from entering the case. Watches labeled "water-resistant" are tested for conditions at 3 atm, which is equivalent to pressure from rain or a gentle splash.

See "Water Resistance"

 

Wheel Train

A typical watch has five gear-pinion pairs: The barrel drives the minute pinion, the minute pinion, the minute gear drives the intermediate pinion, the intermediate gear drives the second pinion, and the second gear gives its power to the escape wheel pinion.

 

White Gold

24 karat yellow gold alloyed with nickel or palladium to make 14 or 18 karat white gold. All Swiss watches are made of at least 18 karat white gold, or 75% pure gold.

 

Winding

Operation consisting of tightening the mainspring of a watch by hand with the crown or automatically by a rotor, which is swings from the movements of the wearer. Mechanical watches can run for about 40 hours on one full winding of the mainspring, while a few models have up to 10 days of power reserve.

A fully wound automatic movement will run from 36 to 48 hours. If an automatic watch has not been worn in a while, it is best to wind the stopped watch before putting it on. Ten to 15 turns of the crown is usually enough to give full power to the mainspring. The barrel in an automatic movement does not have a hook so there will not be any resistance even when fully wound. An automatic watch cannot be overwound. An automatic not worn for an extended period of time should be periodically wound to keep the oils properly lubricated and distributed.

 

Winding Stem/Crown/Pin

The grooved circular button on the outside of the watch case used to set the time and calendar, and, in mechanical watches, to wind the mainspring. In this case it is also called a "winding stem." A screw in (or screw down) crown screws into the case to greatly increase the water-tightness of the watch.

 

World Time Dial

Usually on the outer edge of the watch face, a world time dial tells the time in up to 24 time zones, represented by the names of cities printed on the bezel or dial. To read the time in another time zone, the wearer reads the hour of that time zone by looking at the scale next to the city that the hour hand is pointing to and by reading the minutes as normal. Watches with this feature are called "world timers."

 

Y

Yacht Timer

A countdown timer that sounds warning signals during the countdown for a boat race.

 

Yellow Gold

The traditionally popular yellow colored gold used in all gold, gold and stainless steel combinations, or other precious metal watches. 1 Carat = 1/24 fine gold of a gold alloy. Pure gold is very soft; gold is made in several carats ("K"), or 1/24th proportions of gold, to make it harder and able to stand up to daily wear. An 18 carat gold alloy contains 18/24 fine gold = 75% fine gold content. The term 18K refers to solid gold (it is considered pure gold after reaching 75% fine gold content).

  • 9K = 9/24 purity of gold = 37.5% purity (sometimes seen in vintage and/or UK market watch cases, along with 10K gold)
  • 14K = 14/24 purity of gold = 58.3% (sometimes marked 583 or 585 in gold hallmarks)
  • 18K ==18/24 purity of gold = 75% (sometimes marked 750 in gold hallmarks)
  • 24K = 24/24 purity of gold = 99.999%, which is seldomly used in watch cases because it is so soft and easily scratched.

All Swiss watches are made of at least 18 karat gold, or 75% pure gold.

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