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Terminology Of Watches

Terminology Of Watches Blog

Watches use terminology almost as complex as the mechanisms, just as cars and computers do. However, a watch’s most minor component plays a vital role in keeping it working and able to function for many years to come. This glossary serves as a simple reference guide, encompassing many of the most basic terms related to the parts of a watch.

12 or 24 Hour Register

Often referred to as a “recorder,” the register is a subdial on the face of a timepiece. It can record periods up to 12 or 24 hours.

30 Minute Register

Like the hour register, the 30-minute register records time up to 30 minutes on a clock.


The alarm is an automatic device that sounds a signal at a specific time.

AM/PM Indicator

It is known as a day and night indicator on analog or digital watches, and it allows wearers to determine the time of day.


The term is used to describe clocks or watches having hour and minute hands in place of a liquid crystal display (LCD).

Automatic Watch

This type of watch is mechanical. The bracelet is wound by a small weight that rotates with the movement of the wearer’s wrist. Alternatively, he can manually turn an automatic watch’s crown to incorporate it.

Auxiliary Dial

An additional dial for information, also known as a subdial, shows different information based on the complications. Some watches have up to four auxiliary dials, typically found on chronographs, alarm clocks, or watches with dual time zones, but not limited to these styles.

Balance Wheel

An oscillating wheel acts as a motion generator, moving the watch’s gears and moving the hands forward (usually at a constant rate)

Balance Spring

Balance wheels oscillate at a specified rate with the help of delicate springs attached to the balance wheel (most commonly of metal, but occasionally of silicon). Balance springs are also known as hairsprings.


It houses the cylindrical container in which a mechanical watch’s mainspring. The size of the barrel corresponds directly to how much power it can store. Double barrels provide more leverage.


A metal (or ceramic) ring that houses the watch crystal. Many watches (usually dive watches) have rotating bezels with time scales; others are stationary or lack scales and purely decorative.


Here’s a complication that shows the month and date. Depending on the complexity of the movement, it may also indicate the day of the week and the year.


It refers to movements based on their architecture, origins, references, and makers. In addition, this component identifies the direction and size of the wheel train within a move.


Cases, also known as watch bodies, are containers designed to protect watch movements from dirt, moisture, and shock. Furthermore, the case makes the watch as attractive as possible and is made of different materials and precious metals depending on fashion and tastes.


Watches have a stopwatch function, in addition to the primary time. Timepieces are made of quartz or mechanical or activated by a set of pushers on the side.


Watches manufactured to exacting standards have been tested at various temperatures and positions and authorized by an official certificate. Testing is carried out by the official Swiss chronometer certification body (COSC) and takes place over 15 days.


The cloisonne is an enamel set between strips of metal and baked onto the dial.


Watches have additional functions, such as stopwatches (chronographs), calendars, moon phase indicators, and telling the time. In addition to requiring other parts, complications increase the cost and complexity of the watch.


Watches with this feature have a small knob on the side of the case used to adjust the watch’s time, date, and wind if it is not automatic.

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