Watch Glossary - Watch Terms Defined


Bezel: The ring surrounding the watch dial (or face). The bezel is usually made of gold, gold plate or stainless steel. Originally, the bezel was the glass ring in the case that was snapped with the pressed-in crystal onto the center part of the watch case. Decorative and rotating rings are often called "bezels" today.

Case: The protective cover on a watch. Cases are available in a variety of types and materials and come in many shapes (round, square, oval, rectangular, barrel-shaped or pillow-shaped).

Complication: An additional mechanism in mechanical wristwatches that can be made only by specialists. The most important complications for mechanical watches include chronographs, calendars, retrograde indicators, striking works and alarms.

Crown: Also called a stem or pin, a crown is the button on the outside of the watch case that is used to set the time and date. In a mechanical watch the crown also winds the mainspring. In this case it is also called a "winding stem."

Crystal: The transparent cover on a watch face made of glass crystal, synthetic sapphire or plastic. Better watches often have a sapphire crystal, which is highly resistant to scratching or shattering.

Quartz movement: Quartz crystals are very accurate and can be mass-produced, which makes them less expensive than most mechanical movements requiring a higher degree of craftsmanship.

Mechanical watch: A timepiece driven by a spring or weight and which has a balance or pendulum as a timekeeping element.

Self-winding mechanism: An additional mechanism using the wearer's arm movements to tighten the mainspring of a mechanical watch. As the spring r~leases, it powers the watch.

Water resistance: Terms such as "water-resistant to 50 meters" or "water-resistant to 200 meters" indicate that the watch can be worn underwater to various depths.


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