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Watches Explained

Introduction

At Fraser Hart, we’re proud to be official stockists of many of the world’s leading luxury, designer and sports watch brands, and are delighted to combine our expertise and experience to bring you this useful watch buyer’s guide. From discovering the different watch movements that are available to unravelling the complications of functions, it will help you choose the watch that’s just right for you.

Watch movements

A watch movement (or calibre in watchspeak) is the engine of a watch. The internal mechanism that drives the hands around and powers any additional functions such as chronograph or date. There are different types of movements from battery operated to solar. Here is a detailed guide on the different movements to help you choose the right watch for you or your loved one. When choosing a watch movement consider accuracy, battery replacement and general maintenance when you’re thinking about your watch’s movement.

Hand-wound mechanical movement

The original watch movement, the hand-wound mechanical consists of a coiled spring that, when wound through turning the crown, stores energy that is released through a series of gears in a regulated manner to keep time. Hand-wound mechanical watches are revered and extremely collectable.

Automatic mechanical movement
The automatic winds itself automatically through the movement of the wearer’s wrist. An oscillating weight, called the rotor, is connected to a gear train that keeps the mainspring wound while the watch is being worn regularly. However, if you don’t wear an automatic watch for several days, it will need to be hand-wound to get it started again. As with hand-wound mechanical timepieces, automatic watches frequently have a transparent case back through which the often highly-decorated movement can be admired. Automatic watches from brands such as Longines ,  TAG Heuer, Rado and Omega are incredibly sought-after.

diamond jewellery

Hand-wound and mechanical watches require servicing once every 3 to 5 years in order to maintain reliability. Full service details will usually be provided in the manual that accompanies your mechanical watch.

Quartz movement
Developed in the 1970s by Seiko, quartz watches revolutionised the horological world, offering a watch movement that was low-cost but accurate. An electronic movement, quartz movement is the most common watch technology and features frequently in ranges by luxury and designer brands worldwide – from Gucci and Emporio Armani to Michael Kors and Hugo Boss. In a quartz movement, the springs and gear train are replaced by a quartz crystal and a battery. When an electric charge is applied to the crystal it vibrates at a specifically frequency to regulate the watch’s timekeeping.

Quartz watches will require battery replacements and we recommend that you don’t replace the battery yourself; it should always be done by a specialist who may have to re-seal your watch to retain its water resistance. Full details will be provided in the manual that accompanies your quartz watch.

Solar power
Solar power watches are electronic watches that are powered by light. A photovoltaic cell on the watch dial converts light to electricity which is used to charge a rechargeable battery. The movement of the watch draws the power from the battery. As long as it is regularly exposed to fairly strong light, a solar-powered watch will never need a battery replacement. An increasingly popular environmentally-friendly watch movement, solar power watches are produced by a large range of watch brands including Casio, Seiko and Citizen.
Branded movements

Some of the world’s leading watch brands have developed their own watch movements. Pioneers in watchmaking, these brands produce watches that are prized for their craftsmanship and technological innovation.

Breitling SuperQuartz™
Breitling stands out in the field of electronics with the development of the thermocompensated SuperQuartz™ movement that is ten times more accurate than standard quartz.
 
Citizen Eco-Drive
Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology harnesses the power of any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium cell. It recharges in any kind of light to run forever. An award winning movement, Eco-Drive watches never need battery and are therefore incredibly environmentally friendly.
 
Seiko Kinetic
Always at the forefront of technological watch innovation, Seiko unveiled its first kinetic movement in 1986. Kinetic watches convert kinetic movement into electrical energy so are literally powered by the movement of the wearer’s wrist. As the wrist moves, a rotating weight turns which causes a tiny generator to charge a rechargeable battery that runs the timepiece. Over the last 20 years, Seiko has created a whole suite of Kinetic watches, and has made kinetic synonymous with environmental friendliness, high-performance and long-lasting convenience.

 

Watch functions

When you’re choosing your watch, it’s easy to get bogged down with functions and features and, with technology constantly on the move, there’s an increasing array from which to choose. To help you choose the ones you need, here’s a handy guide to some of the most commonly found functions.

Altimeter
Altimeters in watches measure altitude and is a useful function for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing and climbing. An altimeter will frequently feature alongside other complications, for example, compasses and barometers, in multi-functional watches from brands such as Casio.
 
Chronograph
One of the most recognisable complications to be seen on a timepiece since the 1960s, a chronograph is one of the most handy watch functions and is really just a fancy word for a stopwatch or timer. Chronograph watches display counters, or sub-dials, found on the main dial, and these can record hours, minutes and seconds. Some models have a special flyback function which allows the chronograph to be re-set at any time. While originally the domain of sports watches and perfect for those who train or run regularly, chronographs are increasingly used in fashion watches as a design feature by such brands as Michael Kors and Emporio Armani.
 
Compass
A compass watch will guide you home wherever you are. Ideal for hikers and adventurers, the compass is usually found on the watches’ rim or bezel.
 
Dual time
Dual time functionality in watches helps people who are continuously changing time zones to keep track. Dual time watches have a local-time display and another display that allows the wearer to keep track of a time in a second time zone.
 
GMT
Developed mostly for aviation purposes, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) is a watch function that enables the wearer to see the local and GMT time. Most GMT watches have two hands to display the time in a 12-hour format and an independently adjustable 24-hour hand. Luxury watch brands such as Breitling, TAG Heuer and Omega are renowned for their precision GMT timepieces.
 
GPS
GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a satellite navigation system that provides accurate time and location data wherever you are. Often used as a navigation tool, GPS-enabled watches also have training uses, providing accurate performance data to runners.
 
Moon phase
A moon phase watch is one that displays the current phase of the moon as you see it in the sky. It is shown graphically on the dial with an intricately detailed image of the moon displayed in an aperture. A whimsical, rather than practical function, a moon phase is often seen alongside a perpetual calendar in watches that are distinct in their elegance. Demanding top watch-making skills, both these functions can command premium prices and are beautifully showcased by brands such as Longines and IWC.
 
Perpetual Calendar
A perpetual calendar is a mechanism that correctly displays the day, date and month for 100 years, taking into account the different lengths of the months and leap days. This means you only have to adjust perpetual calendar watches once a century.
 
Power Reserve Indicator
Originally called Réserve de Marche, the power reserve indicator is a function on automatic mechanical watches which is designed to show the amount of remaining store energy.
 
Tachymeter
A tachymeter is the scale inscribed around a bezel or outer dial of some watches and can be used to compute average speed or distance travelled. Watches with tachymeter scales are often sold with the imagery of pilots and motor racers in mind but the tachymeter can actually measure the average amount of time you can do anything per hour. Using a simple formula to calculate, the spacings between the marks on the tachymeter are proportional to 1/t where t is the elapsed time.
 
Smart Access
Casio is at the forefront of Smart Access watch technology. The Smart Access system enable fast, intuitive access to all the key functions of the watch via an electronic crown which can be switched between individual modes and operates various functions.
 
World timer
A world timer watch displays the time in multiple time zones – usually 24. They are handy useful for the frequent traveller and essential for the international business executive who wants to avoid calling a colleague in a different country in the middle of the night. From luxury brands

Breitling and Longines to sports brands Casio and Citizen, today there’s a world-timer watch for every budget.

Watch Crystal

All watches have a transparent covering that’s there to protect the dial. This is called the watch crystal. There is a range of different watch crystals available.
 
Sapphire crystal: A sapphire crystal isn’t constructed from sapphire; instead it is synthetically produced with a similar construction to its gemstone counterpart. Three times harder than mineral glass and more expensive to produce, it is incredibly durable, scratch-resistant and shatterproof. A sapphire crystal is usually the watch covering of choice for luxury watch brands such as Gucci, Omega and Raymond Weil.
 
Mineral glass: Mineral glass is composed of several elements that aid in resisting scratches. While not as durable as a sapphire crystal, it is still hardwearing and more affordable. It is therefore a popular choice for a large range of watch brands.
 
Acrylic crystal: Acrylic crystal is a type of transparent plastic. It is the cheapest of all watch crystals but is not particularly scratch-resistant and it reflects light more than other types of crystals. However, scratches can be easily buffed out of acrylic crystal. Today, acrylic crystal is rarely used in watchmaking.
 
Hardlex glass: Hardlex glass is a toughened mineral crystal glass developed by Seiko. It’s highly resistant to knocks and scratching.

Water Resistance of your Watch

Before you wear your watch when you go scuba diving, it’s vital to understand the concept of water resistance in watches if you want to ensure your treasured timepiece will withstand the adventure.

Water resistance is the ability of a watch to withstand splashes of water. It is not the same thing as being waterproof and most water resistant watches are not designed for prolonged active use in water. It simply indicates how well a watch is sealed against the ingress of water. Water resistance is measured either in depth (metres) or pressure (ATM/atmosphere or BAR) and is the result of a static pressure test undertaken in a laboratory. Even though water resistant is often measured in metres, it is a measure of pressure and not depth. A 3ATM/BAR watch will withstand pressures equivalent to 30 metres.

Water resistance is displayed on watches as a mark either on the back of a case or on the dial. You can find the water resistance of watches that are purchasable on line on the product specification section of each product. If a watch is shown simply as water resistant, it is designed for accidental splashes, such as rain, only.

The chart below will help you choose a watch with the right level of water resistance for you.

Water Resistancy Chart

Many watch brands manufacture watches up to 100m which are suitable for snorkelling and swimming. However, for activities such as high impact water sports, scuba diving and saturation diving, we would advice that you purchase a professional sports watch. Brands such as Oris, TAG Heuer, Breitling and Omega offer a stunning range of professional watches with high levels of water resistance.

Watches should be tested for water resistance every two years and gaskets and seals replaced as necessary. See watch care and servicing for more information on looking after a water resistant watch.

Luxury watches

It’s everyone’s dream to own a luxury timepiece from a premium watch brand but why do they come with such a high price tag?

Firstly, you are paying for heritage, experience and prestige. Luxury watch brands such as Oris and IWC have over a hundred years of watchmaking tradition behind them and have a history steeped in the home of watchmaking, Switzerland.

Luxury watch brands invest heavily in technology and development to offer the most innovative and cutting-edge of timepieces – in terms of design, functionality and performance. Luxury watches are fitted with precision Swiss-made movements; many will have a painstakingly crafted automatic mechanical movement which comes at a higher price than your everyday quartz movement. Some prestige watch brands have developed their own ultra-precise in house movements. For example, Breitling has pioneered SuperQuartz movement, a movement that is ten times more accurate than standard quartz. Omega watches feature the revolutionary Omega Co-Axial calibres, the best series-produced mechanical watch movements in the world.

Finally, luxury watches are literally designed to last a lifetime. Unlike fashion watches, they tend to have timeless yet unique aesthetics that withstand fleeting trends. You can wear a luxury watch forever and it will never look outdated.

At Fraser Hart, we’re proud to be official stockists of some of the world’s leading luxury watch brands so here’s an overview of some of the most sought-after brands.

Breitling

Breitling has a very special place among luxury watch brands, a pioneer of Swiss-made technical watches, mainly chronographs. A longstanding partner of aviation, an area where precision and reliability are vital, Breitling has always devoted utmost importance to the quality of its men’s and ladies’ watches which are designed to withstand intensive use in the most trying of conditions. Breitling is the one of the few brands to equip all its timepieces with chronometer-certified movements, the ultimate in precision time-keeping. Iconic Breitling watch collections include the Avenger, Colt, Chronomat and Navitimer.

Gucci

Combining quality Italian design and Swiss watchmaking, Gucci watches are desired by lovers of luxurious timekeeping style worldwide. The brand is renowned for its use of distinct iconic symbols such as the horsebit and G logo which are incorporated beautifully into their collection of men’s and ladies’ watches. A more accessible brand of luxury watches, Gucci timepieces make a serious style statement.

Longines

Renowned for its devotion to sport, Longines sponsors some of the world’s most prestigious events including Royal Ascot and the Dubai World Cup. The brand brings a long-standing tradition of impeccable Swiss-made craftsmanship to its collection of men’s and ladies’ watches, combining the highest quality materials with exquisite design that’s always distinctly Longines. From the Saint-Imier Collection, a tribute to the village where the brand was born, to the sporty Longines Conquest Collection, watches always remain faithful to the brand’s deep-rooted values of tradition, elegance, quality and accuracy.

Omega

As makers of premium Swiss-made men’s and ladies’ watches since 1848, Omega is synonymous with innovation. Indeed, the brand’s pioneering spirit has taken them to the moon and back: when astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon in 1969, he was sporting a Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, a timepiece now known as The Moonwatch and the first watch to be worn on the moon. Omega has conquered the depths of the ocean with and has kept time at some of the world’s most important sports events. From the legendary Speedmaster to the beautiful Constellation, owning an Omega watch is like owning a piece of history.

TAG Heuer

Founded in 1860 in Saint Immier, TAG Heuer is a legend in luxury watchmaking and has a relentless quest for performance and innovation. The brand has created some of the most accurate and desirable precision men’s and ladies’ watches in the world. With a commitment to the sports world, TAG Heuer’s constantly-evolving watch ranges include the Aquaracer, Carrera, Formula 1 and Link.

Breitling, Gucci, Longines, Omega and TAG Heuer watches are available to buy online and in selected Fraser Hart stores.

Fashion watches

At Fraser Hart, we’re delighted to be official stockists of many of the world’s most popular fashion watch brands so here’s a quick overview of some of our favourites.

DKNY

DKNY watches are New York City born and bred. Full of colour, energy and attitude, the brand’s collections are inspired by eclectic areas and landmarks of this vibrant city. From the sleek DKNY Soho to the luxurious Stanhope, DKNY fashion watches are for the confident woman who covets timepieces that are fresh, modern and street.

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani blends exceptional quality, design and elegance to create fashion watches that are classically sophisticated. Men’s models with masculine styling; ladies’ models that exude feminine detailing . Luxurious yet accessible, Emporio Armani watches are a must-have for those with discerning sense of style.

Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss watches offers a sophisticated range of men’s and ladies’ fashion timepieces. Combining classic design with modern finishing touches, Hugo Boss uses only the highest quality materials and Swiss-made movements to ensure reliability and precision. More than just a timepiece, a watch by Hugo Boss is guaranteed to add a distinctive flair to its wearer’s style.

Marc Jacobs

Distinct in their aesthetic, Marc Jacobs fashion watches combine humour and quality to create a collection of timepieces that range from the vintage-inspired to the modern. The collection features an assortment of jewel-bright colours, glamorous material and inspired reinventions of classic styles. Vibrant, fresh and full of style, Marc by Marc Jacobs fashion watches are for those men and women who desire a unique timepiece.

Michael Kors

Leading American sportswear designer Michael Kors has brought the polished, sleek style for which they’re renowned into the brand’s collection of fashion watches. Combining luxury, quality and performance, Michael Kors watches have become a timekeeping essential for fashion-forward women and men. Always right on trend, there’s a Michael Kors watch for every style and every occasion.

DKNY, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors and Marc by Marc Jacobs fashion watches are available to buy online or in selected Fraser Hart stores.

 

Swiss made watches

“Swiss made” is one of the most frequently used phrases and sought-after designations in the world of horology but how many people really know what it truly means?

Contrary to popular belief, a Swiss made watch doesn’t mean that the entire timepiece – case, bracelet/strap, dial and movement, etc. – has been constructed in Switzerland. For a watch to be labelled Swiss-made it has to meet the following criteria: 

  • It is powered by a Swiss movement that was originally made by a Swiss manufacturer. The movement has been cased up in Switzerland.
  • The manufacturer has carried out the final inspection of watches in Switzerland.

As long as these criteria are met, a manufacturer can use a watch strap made of Italian leather and a case built in China. The watch will still be considered Swiss made.

The origin of Swiss-made watches can be traced back as early as the 15th century, starting with the well-esteemed watchmakers in Geneva. Desirable luxury watch brands such as Longines and IWC were founded in Switzerland well over a hundred years ago. The country has a rich heritage in watchmaking that just can’t be surpassed and, with this, comes a certain caché.

While luxury watch brands such as Omega, TAG Heuer, Cartier, Breitling and Gucci are renowned for their precision Swiss made timepieces, more accessible brands such as Rotary and Hugo Boss offer quality Swiss made watches.

 
Swiss made watch brands at Fraser Hart

Bell & Ross, Breitling, Cartier, Chopard, Ebel, Frederique Constant, GucciHublot, Hugo Boss, IWC, Jean Pierre, Longines, Montblanc, NOMOS Glaschütte, Omega, Oris, Rado, Raymond Weil, Rolex, Rotary, TAG Heuer, Tissot, Tudor, Zenith.

 

Watch care and servicing

Periodically, your watch will require maintenance work to keep it in perfect working order, regardless of whether it is quartz (battery operated) or mechanical ( hand-wound or self-winding). Typically, this will be every other year for a battery change for a quartz watch, or approximately once every five years for a mechanical watch. During a service the following will take place:

  1. Complete disassembly of the watch
  2. Cleaning of all internal components
  3. Replacement of any worn or damaged components (additional charges may apply)
  4. Ultrasonic clean of case and metal bracelet
  5. Replacement of battery (for quartz watches only)
  6. Replacement of all gaskets
  7. Reassembly of the watch
  8. Water pressure test
  9. Timekeeping check
  10. Visual inspection and final quality control check

 

Some watch brands will also offer a full polish of the case and bracelet as part of their service, bringing your timepiece watch back in as close to new condition as possible. Fraser Hart can arrange to send your watch directly to the manufacturer, and we also offer servicing by our own highly-trained, skilled watch technicians. For quartz watches, we offer a battery and reseal service, which will involve replacing the battery and changing all the gaskets on the watch.

Caring for your watch
There are a number of ways you can care for your watch, ensuring that you can keep it in top condition. Here are some of our favourite tips for keeping your watch looking and performing at its best:
 
Water
Most modern watches offer a degree of water resistance. Some will be capable of dealing with an accidental splash, whilst others can be taken thousands of metres below the surface. Make sure you choose a watch suitable for any activities you may want to engage in.

Before submerging your watch in water, make sure your winding crown is pushed all the way in and screwed down (if your watch operates in this way). Ensure any additional pushers are secured and refrain from using any stopwatch functions while submerged. Note that certain diving chronographs have a magnetic pusher construction to allow you to use the stopwatch functionality while underwater – please consult a Fraser Hart watch specialist if in doubt.

If you wear your watch in seawater, ensure it is thoroughly washed after use as salt is heavily corrosive and can damage your watch if exposed to it over extended periods of time.

Even if your watch is water resistant, we would advise against taking it into the shower. The combination of the water pressure from the shower head and high temperature can be enough to overcome the watch’s seals in certain cases.

Leather straps
While a smart-looking option, leather straps do wear over time. To ensure it keeps looking at its best, avoid exposing your strap to water or perfume as these can damage the finish of the strap and alter the colour

Metal bracelets
To get the most life out of a metal bracelet, firstly ensure the watch is properly fitted to your wrist. The watch should be comfortable but not moving freely up and down your wrist; if it is too loose, it will put premature wear on the bracelet and reduce its life span. Dirt build-up in between links can also wear out bracelets. Our tip is to use warm soapy water and a children’s toothbrush – this works like a charm!

Timekeeping (for mechanical watches only)
Mechanical watches are powered by a spring which holds energy. This will be wound from the movement of the wearer’s wrist, or (in the case of hand-wound watches) through turning the crown. A watch will always keep its best time when it is fully wound; for automatic watch wearers, we would recommend manually winding the watch 40 times once per month. For watches with a screw-down crown, you can do this once the crown is unscrewed – for watches with a simple push button crown, you can wind it when it is fully pushed in. Watches can speed up when at the bottom of their power reserve; therefore; it is important to be active with your watch.

If a watch’s timekeeping becomes erratic it can mean a number of things. It could simply need a service through wear and tear, it could have taken an impact or it could have been magnetised. In any of these cases, Fraser Hart can ensure the watch is looked at by the right people and we can get it performing within its tolerances again. We are happy to help with any queries, please contact a store directly or email our Customer Service Team.

Glossary of terms

Become your very own watch expert. We help you get to grips with some of the most frequently used watch jargon in our glossary of terms.

A

Acrylic crystal – A transparent, protective covering for the dial of a watch composed from a type of plastic. It is not as scratch-resistant as mineral glass or a sapphire crystal but is cheaper to produce.

Adjustable bracelet – A watch bracelet can be adjusted immediately by the wearer or a trusted jeweller by removing some of the links.

Alarm - A function which is available in digital, analogue and duo-display watches. An alarm gives an audible signal when a pre-set time has been reached.

Alpha-numeric - A watch display method that uses both letters and numbers for indicating time, day, date and other types of information.

Altimeter – a watch function that measures altitude.

Analogue - A timepiece with dial, hands and numbers or markers indicating the 12 hour time span.

Analogue quartz – An analogue watch that is regulated by a quartz crystal

Arabic numerals – The numbers written as 1,2,3,4,5, etc. used to indicate hour makers on the dial of a watch.

Auto repeat timer - A feature that allows for the continuous operation of a countdown timer. If timer function is set at one hour and started, it will countdown to zero, beep with a warning signal and immediately return to the preset time and start the countdown again. This will continue until the stop button is pushed.

Automatic - A mechanical watch movement in which the mainspring is wound as a result of the wearer's arm motion.

 

B

Back light - A light used to highlight the display on digital watches to allow the display to be read in the dark.

Band - An attachment (strap or bracelet) fitted to the watch case, allowing it be worn on the wrist.

Baton markers – Slender, rectangular hour markers on the dial of a watch.

Battery life - The minimum period of time that a battery will continue to provide power to run the watch. Battery life starts at the point of manufacture when the battery is installed.

Bezel - The ring around the dial of a watch which holds the crystal in place.

Bracelet - A metal band that holds the watch to the wearer's wrist.

Buckle - A fastening mechanism used to secure a watch strap to the wearer's wrist.

 

C

Cabochon crown – A watch crown (winding stem) set with a small cabochon to decorate its tip. The cabochon is either a rounded semi-precious stone or synthetic material that’s usually black.

Calendar – A watch feature that shows the date and sometimes the day of the week and the month. It can be displayed through a cut-out window in the dial, as a sub-dial with small hands indicating the date or by digital readout. In an analogue watch this will normally be shown in a window at either the 3 o'clock or 6 o’clock position.

Calibre – Also known as a movement, the calibre of a watch is the mechanism which powers its timekeeping and functions. Calibres have different names or numbers to differentiate the particular movement.

Case – The body of the watch to which the strap or bracelet is attached, designed as a protective covering to surround a watch movement.

Case back - The back of the watch’s case.

Chronograph - A watch with two independent systems: one provides the time and one that measures intervals of time against an action such as running. It is really a fancy word for a stopwatch.

Chronometer - A chronometer is an automatic mechanical watch whose movement has obtained an official rate certificate from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) after passing rigorous precision tests in different positions and temperatures over a 15 day period. Displaying the highest standards of precision and accuracy at all times, chronometer watches therefore carry a premium price over non-chronometers.

Clasp - A fastening mechanism attached to a watch’s bracelet and, sometimes strap, to connect the two ends.

Countdown timer – A watch function that measures remaining time from a preset period of time.

Complication – Another word for a watch function, such as chronograph and tachymeter.

Crown - A small knob situated on the outside of an analogue watch case, normally positioned at 3 o'clock. The crown is used to set the hands and the day/date window if the watch has one. In a mechanical watch the crown is called a "winder".

Crystal – The transparent glass-like mineral or synthetic covering over the watch dial to protect the dial, hands and movement.

 

D

Day/Date – A function on a watch showing the day of the week and date of the month.

Deployment clasp/buckle - The portion of the watch band designed to fasten and unfasten a buckle watch. Also known as a hidden clasp.

Dial - The face of the watch.

Digital - A timepiece that shows the time in numbers, rather than by hands on a dial.

Diver's watch – A watch designed and manufactured to meet ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) regulations to ensure reliability.

Dual time – The display of time in two different time zones.

Duo display - A watch with duo-display has analogue hands and a digital display which can be used to show the chronograph and alarm functions and a different time zone.

 

E

Eco-Drive – An award-winning eco-friendly movement developed by Citizen that harnesses the power of any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy which is stored in a permanently rechargeable lithium cell. Eco-Drive watches therefore never need a battery.

Electro luminescent display  - A bright blue-green panel lit by the current from the battery at the press of a button which stays illuminated for three seconds to provide easy reading of the watch underwater or in dark conditions.

Expander/expanding bracelet - A bracelet that can be stretched over the wearer's hand and then fit comfortably on the wrist

 

F

Face – Another word for dial that is more commonly used to describe the dial of a clock than the dial of a watch.

Frequency - The measurement of oscillations per second. The oscillation rate of the quartz crystal depends on the shape and the way it is cut.

Function – This refers to the features of the watch other than the telling of time, such as chronograph and tachymeter. Also known as a complication.

 

G

Generating rotor - A permanent rotating magnet capable of achieving an instantaneous speed equivalent to 100,000 revolutions per minute.

Glass – The transparent crystal over the watch dial to protect the dial, hands and movement.

H

Hands – An analogue watch has an hour and a minute hand. Some may also have a seconds hand and hands in sub-dials, indicating a different function such as a stopwatch.

Hardlex crystal/glass – A toughened mineral crystal glass developed by Seiko as a protective, transparent covering for a watch dial.

I

Integrated circuit  - A miniature electronic contained within a silicon chip that converts the regular oscillations of the quartz into timekeeping units. These are then passed on to the hands of an analogue watch or through the step motor to the display panel of a digital watch.

 

K

Kinetic – A movement developed by Seiko that uses the motion of the wearer’s wrist to create electricity to run the watch. The energy is stored in a rechargeable battery.

 

L

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) – A type of display used in digital watches, showing dark digits on a light background. The numbers either appear in LCD (liquid crystal display) which shows a continuous reading or in LED (light emitting diode) which shows time at the push of a button.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) – A type of liquid crystal display used in digital watches.

Logo - The trade name identifying the manufacturer of a brand of a watch, usually found on the watch’s dial.

Lumibrite – Developed by Seiko, this is a luminous, non radioactive substance used on watch dials, hour markers and hands to allow reading in the dark.

Luminous – Self-illuminating paint used on a watch’s hands and markers to enable them to be read in the dark.

 

M

Mainspring - A spiral torsion spring of metal ribbon used as a power source in mechanical watches.

Mechanical – A type of watch movement that consists of a coiled spring (a mainspring) that, when wound, stores energy that is released through a series of gears in a regulated manner to keep time. A mechanical movement can be hand-wound or automatic.

Mineral glass – A type of transparent, protective covering for a watch dial composed of several elements that aid in resisting scratches. Although it’s not as durable as a sapphire crystal, it’s extremely hardwearing and more affordable.

Mode - The switch or button of a watch which controls or selects the function to be used.

Moon phase - A wheel on a watch partially showing through a cut-out window indicating the lunar (moon) phases.

Movement – The inner working of a watch that powers its timekeeping mechanism and functions, the engine of a watch. Movements are either quartz or mechanical.

O

Oscillator - A counter weight used to generate power in a mechanical or Kinetic watch.

Perpetual calendar – A watch function that automatically adjust for months of different lengths and leap years for 100 years so the wearer never has to reset the date..

Power cell  - A small coin-sized metal container found in watches with metal salts and chemicals inside which react with each other which generates a voltage. This furnishes the electrical power to run the watch.

Power reserve indicator – A function found in some watches that is designed to indicate the amount of remaining energy stored.

Pressure test - A method of testing the water resistance of watch cases by air/water pressure.

Push button release- The buttons which are situated on either side of the bracelet clasp of a watch which, when pressed, opens the clasp.

 

Q

Quartz movement – A movement used in electric watches. When activated by a battery of solar power, a quartz crystal vibrates at an extremely high frequency, providing very accurate timekeeping.

 

R

Rotor - A permanent rotating magnet that makes up one of the pieces of a watch’s step motor.

 

S

Sapphire crystal – A type of transparent, protective covering for a watch dial that’s also sometimes used to cover transparent case backs. The most durable type of watch crystal, it is a synthetic glass with a similar construction to the sapphire gemstone that’s highly resistant to knocks and scratches.

Screw down crown - A crown which is sealed around the case to aid water resistance.

Seals - Rubber or plastic gaskets used to protect a watch’s movement against the entry of moisture or foreign material into the case.

Shock- resistant - A level of resistance to damage from shock that is equal to being dropped from a height of one metre onto a hardwood surface

Solar-powered – A movement within an electronic watch that is powered solely by light with no battery change required. Solar watches convert light energy into electronic energy.

Split time measurement – A feature of a chronograph that measures the elapsed time of a certain moment during an event.

Stainless steel - An alloy of iron, chromium and other metals which make a product highly resistant to rust and corrosion. Often used for the case, bezel, bracelet and clasp/buckle of a watch.

Stem - A thin round metal pin or rod located inside a watch movement and threaded outside of the case into the crown. It is used to wind mechanical watches, or pulled out and rotated to set the time or other functions on a non-mechanical watch.

Step motor - The combination of a coil, rotor and stator used to create movement through the gear train to the watch hands to form the impulse signal given out of the integrated circuit.

Stopwatch - A watch used specifically to record elapsed time. Also known as a chronograph.

Strap - A watch band made of leather, plastic or fabric.

SuperQuartz ™ - A quartz movement developed by Breitling that’s ten times more accurate than a standard quartz movement.

 

T

Tachymeter - A tachymeter is a watch function that’s used in conjunction with a stopwatch to measure speed between two given points. A tachymeter scale is usually found on a watch’s bezel or on the inside of a dial.

Three-fold clasp – A fastening mechanism on watch bracelets with three sections that fold together and are secured by pushing the clasp.

Titanium – A white metal that is stronger and lighter than steel. It is nickel-free, non-allergenic, extremely resistant to salt water and other forms of corrosion, and able to withstand extreme temperatures. Used for watch bracelets, cases, bezels, clasps and buckles.

 

W

Water resistance – The ability of a watch to withstand splashes of water. Water resistance is measured in ATM (atmospheres) or metres.