GLOSSARY OF WATCH TERMS
The following glossary features a list of terms relating to the parts or functions of a watch.
12 or 24 Hour register
The register, also known as a recorder, is a sub-dial on the face of a chronograph that can record periods of time up to 12 or 24 hours.
30-Minute recorder / register
A subdial on a chronograph that can time periods of up to 30 minutes.
A device that sounds a signal at a pre-set time.
Also referred to as a day and night indicator, it allows the wearer to determine the time of day on a 12 hour analog or digital watch.
A watch with a dial, hands, and numbers or markers that present a total display of 12-hour time span. Analog digital refers to a watch that has both a digital display and hands of a conventional watch.
Is an accurate yearly calendar that must be adjusted at the end of February (29). The watch will display the day, date and month, typically including the year. There are different types of calendar complications.
Is a watch that uses certain alloys in parts of the watch including the escape and balance wheel. This allows the watch to be unaffected by a magnetic field and not lose time. Simple items such as a TV or a cell phone can cause enough magnetism to counteract the balance, preventing the watch to keep time accurately.
Anti reflex coating
AR (Anti Reflective) Coating is a superficial glass treatment assuring the dispersion of reflected light. Anti Reflective coating is designed to reduce light reflection by optical interference. An Anti Reflective coating bends incoming light wavelengths and eventually one wavelength cancels out another. Also, reflection is reduced to < .5% per side and transmission is increased to over + 98% depending on the substrate and its thickness.
Small opening. The dials of some watches have apertures that is either carved or cut into the dial to display certain indications like the date or the hour, etc.
Process of fitting together the components of a movement.
A unit of pressure for the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. One atmosphere is the pressure of 1kg/cm2 and corresponds to 10 meters of depth. An ATM is displayed as a value such as 5ATM.
Automatic Movement / Watch
A mechanical movement that requires no winding because the rotor, part of the automatic mechanism, winds the mainspring every time you move your hand. Most automatics have up to 36 hours of reserve power. Mechanical movements are accurate within one minute each day. If an automatic watch is not worn for a day or two, it will wind down and stopped working. Automatic watches can also be manually wound by turning the crown.
An extra dial for information, also referred to as a subdial, different information is displayed depending on the complication. Watches can have as many as four auxiliary dials, typically found on chronographs, alarm watches or dual time zones but not restricted to these style watches.
Energy source in which electrical energy is generated through direct
transformation of chemical energy.
The ring which surrounds the watch dial (or face).
Bi-directional rotating Bezel
A bezel that can be turned either clockwise or counter clockwise. Rotating bezels can be used to measure elapsed times, or read second or third time zones.
A type of watch band made of elements that resemble links.
A feature that shows the date. Day, month, and moon-phases are often
shown additionally. There are several types of calendar watches. Most
calendar watches show the information digitally through an aperture on the watch face and some watches show the information on subdials.
Synonym for size and form of the movement. The term is used to indicate the movement’s shape, layout, or size.
A watch case has generally 3 parts. The bezel (which holds the crystal),
the case middle part (which contains the movement and fitted the
strap/bracelet) and the case back which is either snapped or screwed on. Stainless steel is the most typical metal used but titanium, gold, silver, and platinum can also be used. Less expensive watches are usually made of brass and plated with gold or silver.
The back side of a watch case that lies against the skin. May be transparent to allow viewing of the inner workings of the watch or be solid. You can engrave case backs with your name, company logo, numbering, water-resistance, case metal content and other details.
A chronograph is a mechanism for measuring short time periods
independently of the normal timekeeping function.
Swiss-made movements which meet very high standards set by the Swiss Official Chronometer Control. A chronometer is a mechanical movement of the very highest quality. Movements are usually tested in various positions and at various temperatures. COSC = Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute).
The company was originally founded as Shokosha Watch Research Institute in 1918 and is currently known as the manufacturer of Cincom precision lathe machine tools as well as Citizen watches. The trade name originated from a pocket watch Citizen sold in 1924. It is one of the world’s largest producers of watches and movements.
Chronograph counter. Mechanism that shows, on a dial, the number of
revolutions of the chronograph-hand, i.e. 1/10th or 1/100th seconds,
minutes, and hours.
A function that lets the wearer keep track of how much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed. Some countdown timers sound a warning signal a few seconds before time runs out. These are useful in events such as yacht races, where the sailor must maneuver the boat into position before the start of a race.
The crown is used for winding up a mechanical watch or for setting the
hands to the correct time. Also you can use setting the date in the case of calendar equipped watches.
The crystal is the transparent cover over the dial. There are various
materials used like plastic, mineral glass or sapphire.
Watches made according to the specifications of the buyer. Design your own brand name watch from scratch.
The date is showing through an aperture in the dial. Typically at the 3
o’clock or 6 o’clock position.
Apertures which display both the date of the month and the day of the
A type of buckle that pops open and fastens using hinged, often adjustable, extenders. A deployment buckle is easier to put on and remove and is more comfortable on the wrist.
The face of a watch showing the time, your company logo or brand name and other functions that may be displayed by hands, markers, discs, or through windows. In high-end watches the numerals, indices and surface designs are applied as separate elements. In less expensive watches, they may be simply printed on the dial.
A watch that shows the time by numbers on an LCD or LED display.
A watch that measures current local time as well as at least one other time zone. The additional time element may come from a twin dial, extra hand, subdials, or other means.
Having a moulded or carved company logo, your brand name, design or text on the surface so that it is raised above the surface in low relief.
(End of Life) Some battery operated watches have a feature that indicates when the battery is approaching the end of its life. This is indicated by the second hand jumping every 4 seconds, or in a digital watch, by a flashing display.
One of the leading manufacturers of watch movements based in Switzerland. ETA movements are used by many major Swiss watch brands like IWC, Tag Heuer, Breitling, etc.
Carve or cut a design, letters or your company logo onto a metal surface.
The visible side of the watch where the dial is contained. Most faces are marked with Arabic or Roman numerals to indicate the hours.
A seconds hand on the chronograph that can be used to time laps or to determine finishing times for several competitors in race.
Number of oscillations per second, expressed in hertz (Hz). A watch with a count of 36’000 vibrations per hour (18’000 oscillations), in 1 hour (3’600 seconds), has a frequency of 5 Hz. Thus a watch beating at an frequency of 36’600 per hour ticks 10 times per second.
Most water-resistant watches are equipped with gaskets to seal the case back, crystal, and crown to protect against water infiltration during normal wear. It is important to have the gaskets checked every two years to maintain the water resistance of the watch.
A GMT watch has a second hour hand (or a disc) which completes one full rotation in 24 hours. On the dial or bezel is a 24-hour index (or an arrow for the disc) to read the second time zone.
A layer of gold electroplated to a base metal.
Indicator, usually made of a thin, light piece of metal which moves over a dial. Very variable in form.
A scratch resistant metal comprised of binding several materials, including titanium and tungsten carbide, which are then pressed into an extremely hard metal and polished with diamond powder to add brilliance.
Unit of frequency. The frequency of the quartz resonator is 32’768 Hz.
Used as a protective shield for spacecraft reentering the earth’s atmosphere, high-tech ceramic is polished with diamond dust to create a highly polished finish. Because the ceramic can be injection molded, pieces can be contoured. It has a very smooth surface and is usually found in black, but can be produced in a spectrum of colors.
The science of time measurement, including the art of designing and constructing the timepieces.
An indicator on a watch dial used instead of numerals.
A watch bracelet that is incorporated into the design of the case.
Synthetic sapphires or rubies that acts as bearings for gears in the mechanical watch, reducing friction.
Jump Hour Indicator
A jump hour indicator takes the place of an hour hand. It usually shows the hours by means of a numeral in a window.
The ability, in some quartz sport watches, to preserve in the watch’s memory the times of laps in a race that have been determined by the lap timer. The wearer can recall these times on a digital display by pushing a button.
A chronograph function that lets the wearer time segments of a race. At the end of a lap, he/she stops the timer, which then returns to zero to begin timing the next lap.
Stands for marking case backs, case sides or buckles with a laser beam.
A watch style manufactured in a specific amount, often numbered, and available in limited quantities. Limited editions are popular collectors items.
Projection on the watch face to which the watch band/bracelet is attached.
The distance between the two lugs.
The principal spring in a mechanical device, especially a watch or clock, that drives the mechanism by uncoiling.
A manual wind watch must be wound every day by the crown in order to run.
A movement which has only mechanical parts and is powered by a mainspring and working in conjunction with a balance wheel. The mainspring must be wound manually
Unit of measurement of the thickness of the gold-coating. 1 micron = 1/1000mm.
A function which showing the phases of the moon through an aperture in the dial. One lunar cycle has four phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter.
Mother of Pearl
Iridescent milky interior shell of the freshwater mollusk that is sliced thin and used on watch dials. While most have a milky white luster, mother-of-pearl also comes in other colors such as silvery gray, gray blue, pink and salmon.
The inner mechanism of the watch that keeps time and moves the watch’s hand, calendar, etc. Movements are either mechanical or quartz.
Pad printing (also called tampography)
A printing process that can transfer your 2-D company logo or your brand name onto a 3-D object. This is accomplished using an indirect offset printing process that involves an image being transferred from the cliché via a silicone pad onto a substrate. Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise difficult to print on products in many industries including medical, automotive, promotional, watch industry, apparel and electronic objects.
A calendar that automatically adjusts for the months’ varying length and for leap year. Perpetual calendars, which can be powered by quartz or mechanical movements, are programmed to be accurate until the year 2100.
Turning a watch into a brand watch by customizing it with a company logo, company brand name and/or other personalized text and designs.
Power Reserve Indicator
A feature of a mechanical watch that shows how much longer the watch will operate before it must be wound again.
Private label watches
Private label watches are watches manufactured or provided by one company for offer under another company name.
More words related to private label watches
Incentives or promotional watches,
Push buttons are on the case of the chronographs and some complicated watches. They are used to operate the complication.
PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition)
A technique for coating metal. This is a special treatment for hardens the surface. (Usually comes in black color)
A movement which allows a watch to keep time without being wound. it uses an electric current to cause a quartz oscillator to vibrate, normally 32’768 Hz per second. The power comes from a battery that must be replaced about every 1.5 years. For our private label watches we only use the best quartz movements made in Japan or Switzerland.
Ronda, the second largest Swiss movement manufacturer (after ETA) produces about 32 million movements a year. Many companies, considereded “medium to high end” use their calibers (Maurice Lacroix, Raymond Weil, Swiss Army,Wenger etc.) There has been a consistent effort from Ronda to become alternatives to ETA when supplying complicated quartz movements. The finish of Ronda STARTECH calibers is on par with the best of ETA.
A softly hued gold that contains the same metals as yellow gold but with a higher concentration of copper in the alloy. A popular color in Europe, rose gold in watches is often seen in retro styling or in tricolor gold versions.
Rotating Bezel (turning bezel)
A bezel (the ring surrounding the watch face) that can be turned. Different types of rotating bezels perform different timekeeping and mathematical functions.
In an automatically winding wristwatch, the rotor is winding the mainspring by the movements of the wrist. It is a segment made of heavy metal, which turns freely in both directions.
In watchmaking, jewels made of synthetic ruby. They are used in sensitive parts of the machinery to reduce friction. They helping the watch stay accurate and last longer.
A crystal made of synthetic sapphire. It possesses the characters of high hardness, scratch resistant and light transmittance performance.
A crown that can be screwed into the tube of the case to make the watch highly water resistant.
Second Time-Zone Indicator
An additional dial that can be set to the time in another time zone. It lets the wearer keep track of local time and the time in another country simultaneously.
Sellita, is an independent Swiss company specialized in assembling “Swiss Made” mechanical automatic watch movements. They are a successful leader in the watch industry with a considerable volume of production. Sellita combines the watchmakers’ craftsmanship with rigid quality standards. This has been the key idea of their work and it is the reason for their dynamic development. Over the years, this philosophy has enabled Sellita to provide mechanical movements to the mid-range as well as top-of-the-end markets and watch brands. It is predicted that Sellita will step in ETA’s shoes and start providing movements on a mass scale in the next few years.
Small second hand
A hand which showing the seconds on a sub-dial.
Split Seconds Hand
Actually two hands, one a flyback hand the other a regular chronograph hand. When the wearer starts the chronograph, both hands move together. To time laps or different finishing times, the wearer can stop the flyback hand independently while the regular chronograph hand keeps moving.
Stainless Steel 316L
An extremely durable metal alloy that is virtually immune to rust, discoloration and corrosion. Stainless steel is used for jewelry and watches with 316L being the type commonly used for such applications. It can be re-finished by any jeweler and will not oxidize or turn black.
Stainless steel finishes
The following finish can then applied to achieve the desired aesthetic appearance.
1. Brushed finish
2. Satin finish
3. Matte finish (brushed but smoother than No.1)
5. Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) This is a special treatment for hardens the surface. (Usually comes in black color)
The strap fixed the watch on the wrist. Can be made of leather, rubber,
textile or metal.
A white and highly reflective precious metal. Sterling silver refers to silver that is 92.5 percent pure, which should be stamped on the metal, sometimes accompanied by the initials of the designer or the country of orgin as a hallmark. Although less durable than stainless steel and other precious metals, sterling silver is often employed in watches that coordinate or look like sterling silver jewelry. A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnishing.
Sweep seconds hand
A seconds hand that is mounted in the center of the watch dial.
Throughout the world the reputation of Swiss made watches is unrivalled. Know-how, impeccable quality, aesthetic prowess, technical innovation: the indication Swiss made reflects all this, and much more.
You can find a tachymeter on some chronograph watches. This is a
feature used to measuring speed per hour on a scale on the dial or on the bezel. The distance based on 1000 meters.
The “space age” metal, often used with a silver-gray appearance. Because it is 30 percent stronger and nearly 50 percent lighter than steel it has been increasingly used in watchmaking, especially sport watch styles. Its resistance to salt water corrosion makes it particularly
useful in diver’s watches. Since it can be scratched fairly easy, some manufacturers use a patented-coating to resist scratching. Hypoallergenic.
A watch shapped like a barrel, with two convex sides.
A device in a mechanical watch that eliminates timekeeping errors cause by the slight difference in the rates at which a watch runs in the horizontal and vertical positions. The tourbillon consist of round carriage, or cage, holding the escapement and the balance. It rotates continously at the rate of once per minute.
An isotope of hydrogen that is used to activate the luminous dots or indices on a watch dial. The radioactivity released in this process is too slight to pose a health risk.
A watch that combines two metals, usually yellow gold and stainless steel in the case of fine watches.
Uni-directional rotating bezel
A bezel that turns only one way – counterclockwise. Particularly useful for divers, because the bezel cannot accidentally rotate it in the wrong
direction and the diver is on the side of safety.
Movement of a pendulum or other oscillating element, limited by two consecutive extreme positions. The balance of a mechanical watch generally makes five or six vibrations per second (i.e. 18,000 or 21,600 per hour), but that of a high-frequency watch may make seven, eight or even ten vibrations per second (i.e. 25,200, 28,800 or 36, 000 per hour).
Describes the level of protection a watch has from water damage.
A water resistant watch can handle light moisture, such as a rain or sink splashes, but should not be worn swimming or diving. If the watch can be submerged in water, it must state at what depth it maintains water resistance, i.e. 50 meters or more on most sport watches. Below 200 meters, the watch may be used for skin diving and even scuba diving depending upon the indicated depths.
Created from yellow gold by incorporating either nickel or palladium to the alloy to achieve a white color. Most watches made of white gold will be 18k.
A countdown timer that sounds warning signals during the countdown to a boat race.
The traditionally popular gold used in all gold, gold and stainless steel, or other precious metal combinations. Yellow gold watches may be found in 14k or, as found from most European manufacturers, 18k.