There’s nothing worse than starting a conversation, and then realising you don’t know half the terms being thrown around. To save you from potential embarrassment, STYLE has compiled a quick infographic and glossary to help you navigate the world of watch lovers.
This one is simple, but important. A bezel holds the dial-side crystal in place. It is either screwed onto or snapped onto the case. Some bezels rotate in order to record elapsed time.
If you want to show off your watch knowledge, don’t forget to mention this. Invented by A. L. Breguet, this complication eliminates errors in pocket watches which were often kept in a vertical position. It is a complication marvelled by connoisseurs due to the technical know-how required to create it. For those looking for something even more spectacular, a flying tourbillon is connected from one angle only, making it appear to be flying in space.
Whether in gold, steel or leather, the strap or bracelet keeps the watch on your wrist.
The parts which connect the watch strap or bracelet to the case. They are also known as “horns”.
The knob on the outside of the case. It is used to set the hands on a watch, and, where applicable, the day and date. It is also used for winding the mainspring of a mechanical watch.
Here are some other terms you should know:
Magnets are not a timepiece’s friend. We won’t go into details here, but magnets can affect the accuracy of a timepiece. Watchmakers have since created antimagnetic watches which are unaffected by magnetic fields.
CALENDAR (ANNUAL AND PERPETUAL)
There are various types of calendars a timepiece may have. An annual calendar displays the hour, day, date and month, with the first of the month automatically adjusted following months of 30 or 31 days.
A perpetual calendar takes into account not only the short months, but also leap years, all without manual adjustment. Technically, this means you can pass the timepiece down for generations without having to adjust the date – ever.
Also known as the movement of the timepiece, a calibre is encased in the heart of the timepiece. It is the mechanism of the watch and essentially what makes the watch unique.
A chronograph is a timepiece with a stopwatch function. It can measure both conventional time and elapsed time.
The day/night indication, sometimes known as an AM/PM indicator, does exactly what its name suggests. Before you criticise it for being seemingly useless (yes, looking out the window also indicates this), bare in mind it is often used in conjunction with dual time or world time displays, so users can see whether it’s day or night in another time zone.
EQUATION OF TIME
Simply put, an equation of time display links the watch to the cycle of the sun. It is perhaps one of the rarest and most mysterious complications in the watch-making world.
A watch which has several complications is known as a grand complication. These timepieces are extremely difficult to craft. It must contain at least three complications, including at least one from a timing complication (e.g. a chronograph), an astrological complication (e.g. a calendar, moon phase or equation of time) and a striking complication (e.g. an alarm or minute repeater).
Too busy to look at your watch? A minute repeater is a mechanical device for chiming out the hours, quarter hours and minutes on gongs made of a piece of tuned wire inside the watch case. Variations include decimal repeaters that chime the hours, tens of minutes and minutes, as well as cathedral repeaters which have larger gongs to provide a richer note.
No one really cares about what phase the moon is in, but this complication often adds an intricate and beautiful design on the dial. As its name suggests, it indicates the position of the moon in its current lunar phase.
POWER RESERVE INDICATOR
A mechanical watch only contains a certain amount of power reserve to power the functions of the watch before it stops. This is the power reserve. The power reserve indicator lets the wearer know how much power the watch still has in the mainspring and the amount of time the movement can continue to run without rewinding.
This article was adapted from a previous article on STYLE