Watch Glossary

Watch Glossary

NOTE: This glossary is not meant to be an exhaustive technical reference, but instead a general reference for new watch buyers.

watch automatic movement

Mechanical Watches

A mechanical watch is one that does not use electricity, i.e., a battery for power. Mechanical watches are sometimes wound by hand with the crown, sometimes wound by the crown and an automatic mechanism, and sometimes by automatic mechanism only. Mechanical watches are durable, and accurate for normal use but also have certain advantages over electric watches. For example, the movements of mechanical watches are often highlighted in the design of the watch and can be like jewelry in and of themselves.

watch automatic movement rotor
Automatic Watches

 Automatic Watches are mechanical watches that use a pendulum based mechanism to wind the movement with the motion of the wearer. When automatic watches are unworn for a few days, they will stop. To counteract this, winding boxes are recommended by many automatic watch manufacturers and wearers.

rolex daytona chronograph

Chronograph generally means a very precise and acurate mechanical watch, although you may hear people refer to any stopwatch as a chronograph. This is because a device that can measure small segments of time such as fractions of a second meets the definition.

chronometer closeup

Chronometer generally means a highly accurate timepiece, esp. wristwatches. Swiss chronometers that meet the highest standards are given COSC certification. The tests for the highest ratings in the watch industry are done in different temperatures and positions to determine overall accuracy.

watch jewel bearing

Mechanical watches often contain synthetic jewels used as bearings on the contact points of gears for greater durability.

picture of watch crown


The crown of a watch is the part used to wind the mechanism or set the time. On many sport watches, the crown has threads and must be unscrewed prior to pulling the crown out. After unscrewing and pulling out the crown, the winding and setting functions can be done. Watches with date functions usually have multiple positions the crown can be pulled to to control independently.


A pusher is a button on a multi function watch that allows control of functions like Chronograph or calendar functions. Some watch pushers have screw down construction for added water resistance.

watch dial

The dial is the “face” of the watch.

watch bezel picture

The ring around the dial of the watch. In this picture, a rotating bezel is featured. Rotating bezels are used to track the passage of time or to use different time zones.

automatic watch movement

The movement is the “engine” or mechanism inside the watch that keeps the time. Movements can be mechanical or Electrical (Quartz, generally)

Spring Bar, Bar

The pins or rods used to hold the strap or bracelet on the watch.

small bracelet highlights


A metal band for holding the watch on the wrist of the wearer. See Band


A Leather, Plastic, Silicone or other flexible material for holding a watch on the wrist of the wearer. See Bracelet


The transparent glass or plastic guard in front of the dial of the watch. Some watches have “Exhibition” casebacks to allow the movement to be seen from the back of the watch utilizing a crystal. Crystals can be made of plexiglass, mineral crystal, or synthetic sapphire crystal. Other crystals are laminated or fused combinations of mineral and sapphire to get the benefit of both materials.


The device on the outside of an automatic watch movement that winds the watch from the wearer’s movement. Sometimes Rotors are decorated with engravings and machining.


A watch in which the case and various parts of the movement are cast or machined to reduce material, enabling the main internal parts of the watch to be seen.

Water Resistance

Degree to which a watch will resist the intrusion of water into the case. Often expressed in terms of depth under the surface of water for diving or in Atmospheres. While no watch is 100% impervious to water intrusion at all depths, some watches are made to resist water as deep as 1000 meters or more.





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