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uk's Guide to Watch Terms
Alarm: A device that makes an alerting sound at a preset time. Alarm watches can be either quartz or mechanical. Altimeter: A function, commonly found in pilot watches or inside a pressurized airplane cabin, that shows altitude by responding to changes in barometric pressure. Analog Watch: A watch that has a dial, hands, numbers, or other types of markers that present a total display of 12 hours. Analog-Digital Display Watch: A watch that shows the time by means of hands (analog display) as well as numbers (digital display). This is most often found in sport watches. The analog display has a traditional dial with hour, minute, and sometimes seconds hands. The digital display shows the time in Arabic numerals with a liquid crystal display. Annual Calendar Watch: A watch showing the day, date, month, and 24 hours, adjusting automatically for short and long months. The calendar needs setting only once a year between the end of February and the first of March. Aperture: Small openings carved into the watch that display certain indications, such as the date or hour. Some apertures may only be visible when the watch dials are in certain positions. Atmosphere (ATM): Measures the normal pressure of the air at sea level. It is used in watchmaking to indicate waterresistance. ATM is short for atmosphere and is roughly the equivalent of ten metres in depth, i.e., a watch with a rating of 1 ATM is safe under ten metres of water, 5 ATM rating means 50 metres. Automatic Movement (Automatic Winding, or Self-Winding): A watch mechanically powered by the motion of the wearer's arm rather than by manually turning the winding stem. In response to this motion, a rotor turns and winds the watch's mainspring so that it keeps accurate time. Most automatic watches have up to 36 hours of power reserve. If an automatic watch is not worn for a day or two, it will need to be wound by hand to restart again. Band Width:
Case Thickness: The thickness of the watch. Case Diameter: An approximate watch measurement from one end of the watch to the other that does not include the crown. as a bracelet or strap can have tapering widths. the bezel may show calibrated markings and have the ability to rotate in one or two directions.C. C. band width may not necessarily be the exact width of the watch band. silver. Therefore.Measures the distance between the case lugs (the point that the strap is fixed to the watch case).O. and an additional certification number provided by the institute. measured from the highest point of the crystal to the base of the watch case. the institute responsible for certifying the accuracy and precision of wrist watches in the country of Switzerland. Bezel: Generically. gold. usually used for mathematical calculations or keeping track of elapsed time. Most have two or three sub-dials or mini-dials for measuring intervals of time in minutes and hours. When swapping watch bands or purchasing replacement bands. the upper part of the watch body.S. Case (Watch Case): Refers to the metal housing that contains the internal parts of a watch. for instance. it usually refers to a ring that goes around the outside of the crystal.: The acronym for the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute). and platinum are also used.C. Most modern version have two . On jewellery-style watches. Specifically. Bi-directional Rotating Bezel: A bezel that can be moved either clockwise or counterclockwise.O. the band width of the new band must match the distance between the case lugs. certified timepiece can be identified by a serial number that is engraved in the movement. Chronograph: A multifunction watch with a stopwatch function. These watches have two independent time systems. To become certified as chronometer a watch must pass stringent internationally agreed tests relating to accuracy.S. but titanium. Most cases are made up of stainless steel. the bezel may contain a ring of diamonds. On sports watches. One tells the time of day while the other functions like a stopwatch. A C.
On diving or sport models. and chronographs do not necessarily label a watch as complicated.C. Daily Alarm: Sounds each day at preset time. and setting the date in calendar-equipped watches. Chronometer: This term refers to a precision watch that is tested in various temperatures and positions. A watch that is complicated usually consists of more parts and. Many kids' watches. and continues to add on new and helpful features. Since then. digital watch technology has vastly improved. Acrylic crystal. sometimes referred to as Hesolite. As a result. and seconds on a wrist watch are known as complications. greater than a thousand parts. Its flexible.pushers: One starts and stops the timing while the other resets the hands to zero when timing has stopped. Crown: Often referred to as the winding crown or winder. malleable make-up means it will not shatter on impact. Additional features beyond the simple display of hours. approximately three times harder than mineral crystals and 20 times harder than acrylic crystals. thus meeting the accuracy standards set by C. feature digital-displays. produces fewer glares under bright lights and allows shallow scratches to be buffed out. mineral. functions in digital watches work by push-buttons. features such as day-date displays. minutes. Complications: Basic watches simply tell the time. These watches are provided with a chronometer certificate detailing specific test results. and sapphire are three types of crystals commonly used in watches. a knob used for winding a manual watch. Acrylic. wrist watches with complications have a greater number of functions. or on the surface of the watch itself. However. setting the hands to the correct time. Sapphire is the most expensive and durable crystal. as well as sports watches. Mineral crystal is composed of several elements that are heat-treated to create an unusual hardness that helps resist scratches.O. Digital: A type of display that first appeared in the 1970s on wrist watches. In general. Crystal: The covering of the watch dial. which protrudes from the watch case to better ensure superior water-resistance. is a plastic that is generally less expensive and less durable than a sapphire or a mineral crystal. . quite possibly. in Switzerland.S. the crown may screw down onto a threaded tube. automatic movements. either on the side of the watch case.
Flyback Hand: A flyback hand is an additional hand on a chronograph watch that moves with the seconds hand. Through an additional hour hand. which then releases its energy to power the watch. a watch can reflect the world time on a 24-hour scale and is often used by pilots across the globe. GMT Time zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is set to the international clock in Greenwich. It can then "fly back" to catch up with the seconds hand. Elapsed Time: Elapsed time refers to the actual amount of time it takes for an object to travel over a specified distance. with a manual mechanical movement. but can be stopped independently to measure a preset interval of time. an exhibition caseback provides a clear view of the intricate movements and parts of the inside of a watch. Elapsed Time Rotating Bezel: A graduated rotating bezel (see "rotating bezel") is used to keep track of designated periods of time. and a caseback. needs to be wound regularly by the wearer. Dual Time: The term dual time refers to a watch that measures current local time as well as at least one other time zone. or other means. extra hand. England.Diver's Watch: Divers' watches traditionally feature a graduated rotating bezel. This style of mechanical watch is wound using the winding crown. such watches must be water resistant to at least 200 metres (660 feet). a screw-down winding crown. a mineral or sapphire crystal replaces the base of the watch and allows for easy viewing. The bezel can be turned so the wearer can align the zero with the watch's seconds or minutes hand. The wearer can then read the elapsed time off the bezel instead of having to calculate the elapsed time. This feature is useful for capturing lap times as well as finish times. . The additional time element may come from a twin dial. Hand winding (Manual Mechanical): In order to keep accurate time a hand winding watch. Exhibition Caseback: Usually found in higher priced automatic or mechanical hand wind watches. This motion winds the mainspring. Rather than metal sitting on your wrist. sub dial.
A manual mechanical watch needs to be wound on a consistent basis. If more than 10. This process is used to deposit hard coatings of compound materials in wrist watches. dark-grey to black compound to the surface of the steel. 10 are stored. Band width measurements on all wrist watches are measured between the lugs. With a watch with 10 lap memories. the wearer stops the timer. allowing a break from the traditional silver-tone stainless steel color. Lug: The extensions on the top and bottom of a wrist watch. Allow you to store lap/split times into memory. by coating a darker. where the bracelet. Lap Memory: Some Quartz sport watches are built with a lap memory which enables the watch to store the times of laps in a race determined by the lap timer (see "lap timer"). At the end of a lap. This motion winds the mainspring up which then releases its energy to power the watch. The wearer can recall these times on a digital display by pushing a button. the first 9 and last are stored. Mechanical Movement: A watch’s mechanical movement is based on a mainspring which slowly unwinds in a steady motion to provide accurate timekeeping. while an automatic mechanical watch requires no winding because its rotor winds the mainspring when the wearer moves their wrist. Movement of the wearer’s wrist charges a very efficient capacitor that powers the Quartz movement. which then returns to zero in order to begin timing the next lap.Ionic Plating: A physical vapor deposition (PVD) process that is often applied to stainless steel watch cases and bracelets. Manual Winding: Manual winding refers to a watch with a manual mechanical movement. Kinetic: Referring to the Seiko line of Kinetic watches. strap or band is attached to the watch dial. Lap Timer: A lap timer is a chronograph function that lets the wearer time segments of a race. LCD Display (Liquid Crystal Display): An LCD display shows the time electronically by means of a liquid held in a thin layer between two transparent plates. . which needs to be wound by the winding crown. this technology has a Quartz movement that does not use a battery.
simply add 12 to any p.m.or three-second intervals. Once set. Many modern mechanical watches have a power reserve of 40 hours. Power Reserve Indicator: A power reserve indicator is a feature that shows when the watch will need a new battery or winding. Perpetual Calendar: A perpetual calendar adjusts automatically to account for different lengths of months (30 or 31 days) and leap years. a mechanical watch that is fully wound or a Quartz watch with a new battery has a full power reserve. a watch with mechanical movement uses a spinning balance wheel powered by a tightly wound spring.Military or 24 Hour Time: When time is measured in 24-hour segments it is called military time. To convert 12-hour time to 24hour time. To convert 24-hour time to 12-hour time. 12 hours. subtract 12 from 13 to 24. Power Reserve: A power reserve measures the amount of time a watch will run after being fully powered or wound. the moon phase indicator accurately displays the phase of the moon. scratch and is difficult to polish. however. Quartz: . which may have power reserves from 40 hours to 6 months. time. are usually programmed to be accurate until the year 2100. Normally. a mineral crystal will. For example. and 44 minutes. On battery-operated Quartz watches. More scratch resistant than acrylic. which can be powered by Quartz or mechanical movements. Power reserve also applies to battery-less Quartz watches. A battery reserve indicator on a Quartz watch informs the wearer when the battery is low. Mineral Crystal: Mineral crystal is made from what is essentially a form of glass. Perpetual calendars. Moon Phase: The moon phase is an indicator that keeps track of the phases of the moon. A regular rotation of the moon is once around the earth every 29 days. Movement: Movement refers to the means by which a watch keeps time and often includes the power source. with no additional power input. the term power reserve is sometimes used to refer to the expected battery life which is typically from 1 to 3 years. Often this is indicated by the second’s hand moving at two. A watch with Quartz movement measures the vibrations in a piece of Quartz and often is powered by a battery.
It makes possible the measurement of split-second times or timing simultaneous events of unequal duration. An example is a chronograph where there are registers for the chronograph minutes and hours. and five minute periods while "minute repeaters" sound the hours. new Quartz technology enables the watch to recharge itself without battery replacement. Rhodium Plated: Rhodium plated is the protective coating of metal with a thin layer of rhodium. called "quarter repeaters" sound the hours and the quarter hours by means of two different pitched tones. Register: The register is another name for a sub dial that is usually found within the watch’s main dial. Retrograde: Retrograde is used to describe a pointer-hand on a watch dial (often called a sub dial). quarters.A Quartz is a caliber that uses the vibrations of a tiny crystal to maintain timing accuracy. This power is generated via movement similar to an automatic mechanical watch. which returns to zero at the end of a set period. In recent years. Some repeaters. a watch may have retrograde date where the hand moves up a scale. which swivels on a pivot with the motion of the wearer's arm. quarters. It is a hard. Rattrapante Chronograph: The addition of a fly back hand (rattrapante) significantly increases the potential uses for chronographs. Others called "five minute repeaters" sound the hours. pointing to the current date . Rotating Bezel: A rotating bezel (the ring surrounding the watch dial) that can be turned in order to perform different timekeeping and mathematical functions. Sapphire Crystal: . Repeater: A repeater is a device that chimes the time when the wearer pushes a button. The power comes from a battery that must be replaced typically every 1 to 3 years. Some watches have registers with pointers showing the day and date. or powered by light through a solar cell (Kinetic & solar-tech). For example. Rotor: A rotor is the part of an automatic (or self-winding) mechanical watch that uses movement to wind the mainspring. usually shaped like a semicircle.when it reaches 31 it will spring back to 1. and minutes. brittle metal that does not oxidize and is malleable only when red hot. It is a flat piece of metal.
the wearer can stop the fly back hand independently while the regular hand keeps moving. In order to time laps or different finishing times. Skeleton Caseback: A caseback made of transparent material. Stainless steel is often used on the backs of watchcases that are made of other metals. and corrosion. A metal . Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is an extremely durable metal alloy (chromium is a main ingredient) that is virtually immune to rust. In response to this motion. Solar Powered: Solar powered refers to a type of Quartz movement where the batteries are recharged via solar panels on the watch dial. Screw-Down Crown: A screw-down crown aids water-resistance by sealing the crown to the case of the watch. thus resembling a precious metal. Second Time Zone Indicator: The second time zone indicator is an additional dial that can be set to another time zone. It lets the wearer keep track of local time and the time in another country simultaneously. Shock Resistance: Shock resistance is a watch's ability to withstand an impact equal to that of being dropped onto a wooden floor from a height of three feet. that reveals the intricate mechanical movements of the watch.Synthetically formed. Self-Winding: Self-winding refers to a mechanically powered watch that is wound by the motion of the wearer's arm rather than by turning the winding stem (manual mechanical). a rotor turns and winds the watch's mainspring. Most automatic watches have up to 40 hours of power reserve. it will need to be wound by hand to get started again. such as hardened mineral or sapphire crystal. discoloration. Split Second: A split second is a feature on a chronograph that is two hands: one is a fly back and the other is a regular hand. A seal is achieved when the case locks with the crown's internal threads and gaskets fastening the crown into its place. It can be highly polished. the sapphire crystal of a watch is extremely scratch resistant and is the material of choice for many watch collectors. They have a power reserve so they can run in the dark. The downsides are that the sapphire can chip at the edges if it protrudes and it can shatter. If an automatic watch is not worn for a day or two.
minus the cost of assembling the movement.5 percent pure. stainless steel is used to make high quality watchcases and bracelets. and the components of Swiss parts make up at least 50 percent of the total value. In watch making. . A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnishing. By current Swiss law. The silver fineness should be stamped on the metal." Sub dial: A sub dial is a small dial used for several purposes. or to indicate the date. a watch is considered completely Swiss-made if it contains a movement that is Swiss. Swiss-Made: A label used to indicate that a wrist watch is made in Switzerland. Timer: A timer is an instrument used for registering intervals of time without displaying the time of day. often having a silver-gray appearance. a telemeter consists of a stopwatch function and a special indication on the dial of a chronograph. Tachometer (Tachymeter): A tachometer is an instrument for measuring speed or units. It is also hypoallergenic because it doesn't contain nickel. Swiss Movement: The movement of a watch with Swiss movement has been assembled in Switzerland. the Quality Control check is completed in Switzerland. Telemeter: A telemeter is a watch function that finds the distance of an object from the wearer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance. a precious metal. Stopwatch: A stopwatch with a second hand measures intervals of time. both the stopwatch function and the timepiece are referred to as a "chronograph. Because it is 30 percent stronger and nearly 50 percent lighter than steel. if the movement itself is encased in Switzerland. refers to silver that is 92. and if any final quality control by the manufacturer occurs in Switzerland. a timer or chronograph with a graduated dial shows speed in kilometres per hour or some other unit.of choice. sometimes accompanied by the initials of a designer or the country of origin as a hallmark. Like a tachometer. such as keeping track of elapsed minutes or hours on a chronograph. When a stopwatch is incorporated into a standard watch. Titanium: Titanium is a "space age" metal. it has been increasingly used in watch making. Sterling Silver: Sterling silver.
Waterproof means the ability to completely exclude the possibility of water entering into any working portion of a watch. a watch winder makes this process much easier. or a moving weight to wind itself when worn on the wrist. If the watch can be submerged in water. i. In general. It is designed to prevent divers from overestimating their remaining air supply. 50 meters (165 feet) or more on most sport watches. or an elapsed time rotating bezel. Because the bezel only moves in one direction. automatic watches employ the use of a rotor. Tonneau: A tonneau watch has a barrel-shaped watch case and two convex sides. some manufacturers use a patented. Below 200 meters. Totalizer: A totalizer is a mechanism that keeps track of elapsed time and displays it usually on the watch’s sub dial. moves only in a counterclockwise direction and is often found on divers’ watches. According to the Federal Trade Commission. A watch bearing the inscription "water-resistant" on its caseback can handle light moisture. there is no way to receive any additional power and the watch will eventually run out of its power reserve. safer for wristwatches. the watch may be used for skin diving and even scuba diving depending upon the indicated depths. If the watch is not worn. but should not be worn swimming or diving. Waterproof: Waterproof: An illegal and misused term: No watch is fully 100% waterproof. such as a rainstorm or sink splashes. Since it can be scratched easily. no watch is fully 100 percent waterproof and no . It is sometimes called a "recorder" or "register. While most automatic watches can be manually wound.especially sport watch styles. Unidirectional Rotating Bezel: The unidirectional rotating bezel. as there is no need to manually handle the watch. Its resistance to salt water corrosion makes it particularly useful in divers’ watches. Many such bezels are ratcheted. and overall. more convenient. scratchresistant coating. Titanium is also hypoallergenic. the diver can err only on the side of safety when timing the dive. it must state at what depth it maintains water-resistance. so that they lock into place for greater safety. Water-Resistance: Water-resistance describes the level of protection a watch has from water damage.e. Watch Winder (Watch Rotator): A device used to allow the continuous running of automatic (self-winding) wrist watches when not in use." The term "totalizer" can be used more generally to refer to any counter on a watch.
manufacturer that sells watches in the U. tells the time in up to 24 time zones around the world.S." Winding: Winding refers to the tightening of the watch’s mainspring. World Time Dial: A world time dial. may label any of their watches as "waterproof. The time zones are represented by the names of cities printed on the bezel or dial. Watches with this feature are called "world timers. The hour hand points to a city along a set scale enabling the wearer to determine the time zone." Winding Stem: The winding stem button resides on the right side of the watchcase and is used to wind the mainspring. This can be done by hand (by the crown) or automatically (by a rotor." . which swings due to movements from the wearer's arm). it is also called a "crown. usually found on the outer edge of the watch face." The FTC stipulates that watches be referred to as "water resistant.