All A B C D E F G H J K L M O P Q R S T U W Y
All
Term
Definition
AccuracyRefers to rate constancy of a watch, not only on whether it is showing the exact time. A watch that gains or looses exactly the same amount every day is considered accurate.
 
Acrylic CrystalSometimes referred to as Hesolite, an acrylic crystal is composed of a plastic composite that is generally less expensive and less durable than a sapphire or mineral crystal. Acrylic crystal flexes rather than shatters on impact, it produces little glare under bright light, and can be polished easily.
 
AlarmA feature that sounds an alarm at a pre-set time or at regular intervals. Alarms are available on both quartz and mechanical watches.
 
AltimeterCommonly found on pilot watches, an altimeter provides altitude by responding to changes in barometric pressure.
 
Analog DigitalA watch that displays time in both a digital format and with the hands of a conventional watch. Usually featured on sport watch styles.
 
Analog WatchDisplays the time with a dial, hands, and numbers or markers.
 
Annual CalendarA watch feature that shows the day, date, month and time, adjusting automatically for short and long months.
 
ApertureSome watch dials have small openings, called apertures, in which certain indications (such as the date, hour, etc.) are provided.
 
AtmosphereUnit of pressure used in watch making to indicate water resistance.
 
Automatic WatchAlso called “self-winding,” a watch with automatic movement needs no battery. The mechanism winds itself by the motion of the watch wearer’s arm. 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 wind down and need to be wound by hand to get it started again. Typically, an automatic watch is more expensive than a quartz watch.
 
BaguetteLadies style watch with a thin, elongated face; usually rectangular in shape but may be oval.
 
BandThe bracelet or strap that holds a watch on your wrist.
 
Battery LifeThe minimum period of time that a battery will continue to provide power to run a watch. Battery life begins when the factory initially installs the battery.
 
Battery Reserve Indicator or End of BattSome watches have a feature—often a movement of the second hand--that lets you know when the battery is approaching the end of its life.
 
Battery-less QuartzA modern hybrid watch technology that uses a quartz movement powered by a small electric current generator operated by a rotor. Like an automatic watch, these must be worn regularly to keep up their electrical power reserve. Also known under various marketing names, including Kinetic (Seiko), Omega-matic (Omega), and Auto quartz (Invicta).
 
BezelThe ring that surrounds the watch face and holds the crystal in place. A sports or divers watch could have a rotating bezel to be used as a timer.
 
Bidirectional Rotating BezelA bezel that can be used for mathematical calculations or keeping track of elapsed time through either a clockwise or counterclockwise movement.
 
BraceletA metal band consisting of assembled links that can be removed to adjust the fit of a watch. There are also one-piece expansion style bracelets that do not have a buckle.
 
CabochonA smooth round or oval convex-shaped, polished gemstone. In watch terminology, it describes a decorative stone set in the watch.
 
CalendarA watch feature that shows the date and sometimes the day of the week and the month.
 
CaseThe metal housing of a watch's parts. Stainless steel is the most common type, but titanium, gold, silver, and platinum are also used.
 
Case BackThe cover for the back of the watchcase that is removed to access the watch movement for service.
 
ChronographA multifunction sport watch with a stopwatch function. Most have two or three subdials, or minidials, for measuring minutes and hours.
 
ChronometerThe chronometer indicates that the watch is in perfect running condition with high degree of precision according to the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute standards.
 
ClaspThe attachment used to connect the two ends of the watch bracelet or strap around the wrist.
 
Countdown TimerLets the wearer keep track of the time remaining in a preset period. Particularly useful for sporting events.
 
CrownThe ridged winding knob on the right side of the case that is used to set the time (and date). On a manual watch the crown doubles as the winding mechanism to power the watch.
 
CrystalThe clear cover over the watch face or dial. Crystals can be made of mineral, synthetic sapphire, plastic, or acrylic material. The sapphire crystal is the most durable.
 
Crystal Skeleton CasebackA Caseback made of transparent material that reveals the intricate movement of the watch.
 
CyclopsA small window or lens in the crystal that is added to magnify the date 2 1/2 times.
 
Day / Date WatchA watch that indicates the date and day of the week.
 
Deployment ClaspA feature found on most quality watches with metal or gold bracelets use to tighten the bracelet to the wrist. The typical clasp has two pieces of steel that clip safely beneath one long elegant looking piece of steel. All manufacturers have slightly different versions and features.
 
Depth AlarmAn alarm on a diver's watch that sounds when the wearer exceeds a preset depth. In most watches it stops sounding when the diver ascends above that depth.
 
Depth MeterA device on a diver's watch that determines the wearer's depth by measuring water pressure. It shows the depth either by analog hands and a scale on the watch dial or through a digital display.
 
DialThe watch face.
 
Digital WatchA watch that shows the time through changes of digits rather than with hands on the dial.
 
Diver's WatchDesigned and manufactured especially for divers whose lives depend on the reliability of their watch in the water. Divers watches traditionally feature a graduated, rotating bezel, screw down winding crown, and must be water resistant to at least 200m or 660 feet.
 
Dual TimeA 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, subdial, or other means.
 
Elapsed Time Rotating BezelA graduated rotating bezel used to keep track of periods of time.
 
End of Battery Life Indicator (EOL)The EOL indicates when it is time to replace the existing battery.
 
Engine TurningDecorative engraving, usually on a watch dial.
 
FaceThe visible side of the watch where the dial is contained, most are printed with Arabic or Roman numerals.
 
FlybackAn additional hand on a chronograph which moves with the second hand but, can be stopped independently to measure an interval and can then "fly back" to catch up with the other hand. This is useful for capturing lap times without losing the ability to capture the finish time.
 
Foldover BuckleA three-folding enclosure that secures the two ends of the bracelet. When closed, the buckle covers the two-piece folding mechanism.
 
FunctionsThe term used to describe the different tasks each watch component performs.
 
GasketA rubber or plastic ring that seals the internal works of the watch against dust, moisture and water.
 
GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) TimezoneAlso known as Zulu Time, as set to the international clock in Greenwich, England, GMT reflects the world time on a 24-hour scale and is used by pilots worldwide.
 
GoldYellow precious metal, which is stainless and very malleable. Used in alloys to make jewelry, bracelets and watches. The portion of gold in the alloy is indicated in karats (k).
 
Gold PlatingAn application of gold over the surface of an item.
 
Hand WindingA watch with a manual mechanical movement that must be wound by the wearer using the crown.
 
HandsThe pointing device anchored at the center and circling around the dial indicating hours, minutes, seconds and any other special features of the watch.
 
Hourly Time SignalSingle beep/chime, which rings on the hour, every hour when it is engaged.
 
JewelsBearings that are usually made of synthetic sapphires or rubies in a mechanical watch. The jewels reduce friction and make the watch more accurate and longer lasting. These jewels do not add any monetary value to a watch.
 
Jump Hour IndicatorA jump hour indicator takes the place of an hour hand. It shows the hour by means of a numeral in a window on the dial of the watch. The minutes and seconds in a jump hour watch are read as normal from the analog hands and dial.
 
KeeperA small loop on the strap near the buckle. It holds the strap end in place after the buckle has been fastened.
 
KineticBased on a revolutionary technology, Seiko Kinetic® watches run entirely on energy generated from natural movement of the wearer’s wrist. It never needs a battery.
 
Lap MemoryThe 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.
 
Lap TimerA chronograph function that lets the wearer time segments of a race.
 
LCDLiquid-crystal display. Digital time display.
 
LEDLight emitting diodes. Displays the time in a red light. Found less frequently these days.
 
Lighted DialsSeveral types of lighted dials are used so that you can tell time in the dark. A side button activates the light.
 
LinksThe individual attached components that make up metal bracelets.
 
LugsThe metal holdings used to attach the bracelet or strap to the case with pushpins.
 
LuminousLuminous hands and/or hour markers are standard features on most watches that enable you to tell the time in insufficient light.
 
Manual WindingThe watch must be wound by turning the crown back and forth until resistance is met—usually every 24 hours.
 
Mechanical MovementA watch's mechanism that is powered by a manual activity such as being wound up by hand or by the movement of the watch.
 
Mineral CrystalWatch crystal made from what is essentially a form of glass. More scratch resistant than acrylic, a mineral crystal can scratch and is extremely difficult to polish.
 
Moon PhaseAn indicator that keeps track of the phases of the moon.
 
Mother of PearlIridescent, milky interior shell of the fresh water 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.
 
MovementThe inner workings or assembly that makes up the main timekeeping mechanism. Movements are either quartz or mechanical. This is the engine of the watch.
 
O-RingUsed to seal watch mechanisms to ensure water resistance.
 
PedometerA device that counts the number of strides taken by the wearer.
 
Perpetual CalendarA type of calendar that automatically adjusts for months of different lengths and indicates February 29 in each leap year.
 
PlatinumOne of the rarest precious metals, platinum is also one of the strongest and heaviest, making it a popular choice for setting gemstone jewelry and watches. It has a rich, white luster, and an understated look. Platinum is hypoallergenic and tarnish resistant. Platinum used in jewelry and watches is at least 85 to 95 percent pure. Many platinum watches are produced in limited editions due to the expense and rarity of the metal.
 
Power ReserveA measure of the amount of time a watch will run after being fully powered or wound, with no additional power input.
 
Power Reserve IndicatorA feature that shows when the watch will soon need a new battery or winding.
 
PulsimeterA feature on a chronograph watch that measures pulse rate.
 
Push PinsSpring action pins that attach the band to the case lugs.
 
Pushers/Push PiecesButton located on the case of multifunction watches used to operate the special functions.
 
Quartz MovementA watch with a mechanism powered by a "quartz crystal." The crystal vibrates when placed in an electronic field, thus powering the watch. Most affordable watches today have Quartz movements. Quartz watches are mostly battery operated.
 
Ratchet Bezel RingA bezel ring that can either turn one way (counter-clockwise) or both ways and generally clicks into place.
 
Rattrapante (Flyback) ChronographA chronograph with an additional hand that moves with the second hand but, can be stopped independently to measure an interval and can then fly back to catch up with the other hand. This is useful for capturing lap times without losing the ability to capture the finish time.
 
RegisterAnother name for a subdial; this is usually a dial within the main dial of a watch.
 
RepeaterA device that chimes the time when the wearer pushes a button.
 
RetrogradeUsed to describe a pointer hand on a watch dial, which returns to zero at the end of a prescribed period. For example a watch may have retrograde date - in this case the hand moves up a scale a day at a time, pointing to the current date - when it reaches 31 it will spring back to 1
 
Rhodium PlatedProtective coating of metal with a thin layer of rhodium--a hard, brittle metal which does not oxidize and is malleable only when red hot.
 
Rose (or Pink) GoldA softly hued gold that contains the same metals as yellow gold but with a higher concentration of copper in the alloy.
 
Rotating BezelA bezel that can be turned to perform various functions.
 
RotorThe part that rotates in automatic (self winding) movements and winds the main spring.
 
Sapphire CrystalHighest quality transparent that is scratch resistant under normal conditions.
 
Sapphlex Crystal (Seiko Watches)Highly scratch resistant crystal created by the fusion of sapphire and mineral glass crystal.
 
Screw-Down Locking CrownA crown that aids water resistance by sealing to the case of the watch.
 
Second Time Zone IndicatorAn 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.
 
Self-WindingThis term refers to a mechanically powered watch that is wound by the motion of the wearer's arm rather than through turning the winding stem.
 
Shock ResistanceSpecified on a watchcase, it means that a watch can withstand normal wear and tear, even during strenuous sport activities.
 
Slide Rule BezelA rotating bezel around the outside edge of the watch case that is printed with a logarithmic scale and assorted other scales and is used in conjunction with fixed rules of mathematics to perform general mathematical calculations or navigational computations.
 
Solar TechSolar powered quartz watch. This technology provides the accuracy of quartz, without the inconvenience and cost of regular battery changes.
 
Solar-PoweredA type of quartz movement where the batteries are recharged via solar panels on the watch face. They have a power reserve so they can run even in the dark.
 
Split SecondA feature on a chronograph that actually is two hands, one a flyback, the other a regular hand. To time laps or different finishing times, the wearer can stop the fly backhand independently while the regular hand keeps moving.
 
Stainless SteelAn extremely durable metal alloy that is virtually immune to rust, discoloration, and corrosion; it can be highly polished, thus resembling a precious metal. Because of its strength, stainless steel is often used even on case backs on watches made of other metals.
 
Sterling SilverA white and highly reflective precious metal. Sterling 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 country of origin 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 jewelry. A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnish.
 
StopwatchA watch with a second hand that measures intervals of time. When a stopwatch is incorporated into a standard watch, both the stopwatch function and the timepiece are referred to as a "chronograph."
 
StrapA watchband made of leather, plastic, fabric or other non-metal material.
 
SubdialA small dial used for any of several purposes, such as keeping track of elapsed minutes or hours on a chronograph or indicating the date.
 
Swiss A.O.S.C. (Certificate of Origin)A mark identifying a watch that is assembled in Switzerland with components of Swiss origin, primarily used in Bedat watches.
 
Tachometer /TachymeterCommon feature in chronograph watches. Measures the speed over a predefined distance.
 
Tank watchA rectangular watch with heavier bars on either side of the dial. Inspired by the tank tracks of World War I and first created by Louis Cartier.
 
TantalumA metal with a texture similar to titanium, but a color similar to gold. Used by Omega for the gold-like trim on certain titanium watches. Many of these watches are also available in titanium with real gold trim.
 
TelemeterA watch function that finds the distance of an object from the wearer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel the distance.
 
TitaniumThe "space age" metal, often with a silvery-gray appearance. Because it is 30 percent stronger and nearly 50 percent lighter than steel it has been increasingly used in watch making, especially sport watch styles. Its resistance to salt water corrosion makes it particularly useful in diver's watches. Since it can be scratched fairly easily, some manufacturers use a patented-coating to resist scratching.
 
Tonneau WatchA watch with a barrel-shaped watchcase and two convex sides.
 
Unidirectional Rotating Bezel/UnidirectiAn elapsed time rotating bezel, often found on divers watches, that moves only in a counterclockwise direction. It is designed to prevent a diver who has unwittingly knocked the bezel off its original position from overestimating his remaining air supply.
 
UTCUniversal Time Coordinated. A universal time based on the Greenwich Meridian used by the military and in aviation. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) can be considered approximately equivalent to Universal Time Coordinated (UTC). GMT as such is now obsolete however, being replaced by UTC. Using this timezone/standard avoids errors and problems associated with different time zones and summer times operational in different countries.
 
Watch WinderA watch winder is a mechanical devise used to maintain the winding on an Automatic Watch. Automatic watches require constant wearing or they need to be placed in a watch winder box to maintain the winding and settings of the automatic watch. A watch winder allows you to own more than one automatic watch and not have to worry about resetting the time on any of them.
 
Water ResistanceDescribes the level of protection a watch has from water damage. .A watch bearing the inscription "water-resistant" on its case back can handle light moisture, such as a rainstorm 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 (165 feet) 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.
 
White GoldCreated 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.
 
WindingOperation consisting of tightening the mainspring of a watch. This can be done by hand (by the crown) or automatically (by a rotor, which is caused to swing by the movements of the wearer's arm).
 
Winding StemThe button on the right side of the watchcase used to wind the mainspring. Also called a "crown."
 
World Time DialA dial, usually on the outer edge of the watch face, which tells the time in up to 24 time zones around the world.
 
Yacht TimerA countdown timer that sounds warning signals during the countdown for a boat race.
 
Yellow GoldThe traditionally popular gold. Yellow gold watches may be found in 14k or, as found from most European manufacturers, 18k.
 
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