Watch Glossary


The anchor of a wristwatch movement connects the movement to the balance wheel. It is a two-armed lever shaped like the anchor of a ship.

Anchor Wheel

The anchor wheel and anchor form the suspension. It is the last wheel of a watch’s movement within a watch.

Antimagnetic Watch

These watches should rather be called “hardly magnetizable watches”. Due to currently used metal alloys, watches are commonly protected from the influence of magnetic fields (e.g. electronic devices).


Wristwatches are combinable with various types of wristbands. The width of a wristband depends on the width of the lug ends (e.g. 20 mm). There is a wide range of bands to choose from: leather straps, Milanese bracelets, nylon straps (Nato strap), massive straps (steel wristband), and silicone wristbands.

Wristband Alarm

Some watches are equipped with an alarm function. Wristband alarm watches are available as quartz and mechanic watches.

Winding Stem

It is a shaft, that is attached to the end of the crown. It is the link to the movement. It allows usage of various functions, such as winding, setting the hands, date display, etc.


Meist kurz auch Automatik genannt. Diese mechanischen Uhren ziehen sich durch Bewegung selbstständig auf. Hierbei wird z.B. eine Schwungmasse (Rotor) in Drehung versetzt. Eine Wechselvorrichtung sorgt dafür, dass sich das Aufzugsgetriebe immer in gleicher Richtung dreht und die Zugfeder spannt. Die Uhr „zieht sich auf“. Eine Rutschkupplung sorgt dafür, dass sich die Zugfeder nicht überspannt. Wird die Uhr nicht bewegt, bleibt die Uhr nach Ablauf des Aufzugs stehen.

Lug Ends

This describes the furcate ends of the wristwatch. They are usually linked to a sprung cotter, which is held by small wholes in the lug ends. The cotter serves to attach both, leather and metal wristbands. The space between the lug ends defines the width of the wristband.

Battery-Operated Watches

Battery-operated watches were first produced in 1959. Since then the process of miniaturization has been progressing incredibly. Thereby the economical production of fully automated watches with great accuracy was made possible. The production of new electro-chemical systems lead to a wide range of watch batteries. These are currently available for various kinds of watch systems.The batteries are usually used to operate ‘synthetic quartz’.

Big Date

Watches that have a big date display.

Blue Annealing

Blue annealing of steel hands or screws serves as decoration and as protection from rust and oxidation.

Bronze (body)

Bronze is an alloy consisting of copper and other metals (mostly zinc). Bodies made of bronze usually develop a patina over time. This is an effect of aging caused by humidity and warmth which also protects from it from any further decay.


A cabochon is a round cut rhinestone that is sometimes used to decorate the end of the winding crown or push pieces.


Caliber is commonly used among watchmakers to describe a certain movement, e.g. ETA, Cal 2412.


This term was derived from the greek expressions ‘chronos’, which means time and ‘graphô’, which means ‘i am writing’. Today the term describes wristwatches that have an integrated stop watch, that can be used to measure allocated times.


Chronometers are extremely accurate watches (high precision meter). Their accuracy is certified by the Institute for Chronometer examination (e.g. ISO NORM 3159).

Lady’s watch

Lady’s watches commonly differ from in the size of their case. Usually they are smaller than men’s watches, but all the different kinds of technologies available for men are also available for lady’s watches. Furthermore, Lady’s watches are more often subject to fashion trends. They usually serve as accessory which is mirrored in the material, design, decoration and equipment used.

Date Display

The date display shows the date, weekday, month, and year on the dial of a watch. Mechanical watches usually toggle to driving disks. Weekday or date are displayed in an excerpt of the dial.

Sealing Ring

At least one sealing ring is commonly placed on the case cover, the glass or the crown in order to waterproof a watch.

Digital Watch

A digital watch displays the time digitally as digits instead of hands. Nowadays, either electroluminescent diodes or liquid crystals.

Two-Sided Watch

This term is used to describe a watch that has a dial on both, the front as well as as the backside of the body.

Pressure Resistance

The water resistance of a watch is described in DIN and gives information on the amount pressure the watch can resist (e.g. 10 atm). This is of special significance for diver’s watches.

Push Pieces

The push pieces are attached to the case of the watch, and serve to operate the additional functions. On chronographs they are usually attached to both sides of the crown.

Stainless Steel (Body)

Nowadays most watches are made of stainless steel. It can be an alloy of either nickel and chrome or molybdenum and wolfram.


It serves to avoid reflexions caused by incidence of light. A thin coat of the glass breaks the light which causes the anti-glare effect. Even better results are achieved by multiple coating.

Eternal Calendar

It is a complicated, additional feature of mechanical watches that enables display of date, weekday, month, year, and moon phase, in consideration of leap years.

Fine Adjustment

Describes both, the work process for enabling specially accurate adjustment, as well as the part of a watch that serves fine adjustment of the gait deviation.

Pilot Watch

Pilot Watches were developed specially for pilots in the thirties. They are characterized by there mechanical movements. They have an excellent readability, even in the dark due to luminescent digits. They are usually equipped with a tachymeter, a pilot bezel, allocated time measurement and a slide rule lunette.

Radio controlled watch

A radio controlled watch is a quartz watch, that is operated by radio. A decoder links the quartz-movement to the receiver. The radio is transferred via long wave.


The reserve is the time it takes for a fully wound up watch until the mainspring is completely relaxed.

Accuracy and Deviation

No watch is exactly accurate. The accuracy describes the deviation from a certain norm. Quartz watches are more precise than mechanical watches. The accuracy is about 30 sec a day. An ‘atomic watch’ has the highest accuracy.


The case is a protective and decorative body of the movement. According to the producer both, the shape, as well as the decoration is manufactured by case-designers.


Synthetic glass is among the various kinds of glasses used for wristwatches. It is reasonably priced, yet resistant to scratching and hard to break. Mineral/crystal glasses in comparison break a lot more easily. The use of sapphire glass is becoming more common among watchmakers. Sapphire glass is both, extremely scratch proof and very hard to break.


Abbreviation for ‘Greenwich Meant Time’. The zero meridian runs through the city Greenwich. It is the astronomically defined local time, which has been determined as the universal time. Earth has 24 timezones. Accordingly, Sidney is in timezone GMT+8.

Manual winder

The manual winder is a feature the serves to wind-up the watch. With the help of the winding crown the watch spring is tensioned which sets a reserve of about 40 hours.


The escapement is the part of a mechanical movement that blocks an uncontrolled unwinding of the clockwork periodically. It allows the clockwork to unwind evenly. Commonly, a ‘Suisse Anchor Escapement’ is used in wristwatches.

Sub Dial

It is an additional, smaller dial on top of the main dial. It serves to display minutes and seconds. To learn about typical arrangements of additional information, please check ‘chronographs’.

Hydro Watch

Hydro Watches are watches, that are filled with suitable liquids, such as silicone oil. These watches are very well suited for diving, as they can be used to dive to almost any reachable depth.


Is the most commonly used shock protection system for wristwatches.

Calendar Watch

A watch that includes a date display. They are commonly called astronomical watches. In addition to date, week and month, they also display the year. They are very valuable.


It is a technical term for additional functions of a watch, such as a striking mechanism, an alarm mechanism, a chronograph and a calendar. Mechanical watches like that are only manufactured by specialists and are therefore accordingly expensive.


The crown serves to set the position of the hands, and to correct the date display. On waterproof watches the crown is tightly screwed onto the body for protection. The crowns structure is usually grooved for easy handling. Crowns can be shaped differently, e.g. pilot crown, onion crown, etc.)

Quern Stones

These are stones, that are used to avoid friction within the movement. Synthetically cerated rubies are usually integrated into watches.

LED display

The abbreviation for ‘light emitting diode’ describing a diode that emits light. It is a technical term for an electro-optical display.

Leather strap

Most wristwatches are factory equipped with a leather wristband. A wide range of variations are available, e.g. alligator/crocodiles, ostrich, lizard, shark, undulate ray, buffalo and cow skin. The most important thing is that the used exotic leather is obtained in accordance with the Washington Species Protection agreement. These bands are marked with a ‘species protection flag’. Every leather surface can either be smooth, pebbled or imprinted. For closure of a wristwatch either a pin buckle or a folding buckle is used. The color of the buckle corresponds to the color of the watches body (e.g. silver, gold, rose-gold, etc.)


The lunette is a decorative ring that is attached to the top of a watch. It is a ring shaped part of the body made of either synthetic material or metal. It can be either fixed or rotatable (e.g. rotating lunette on diving watches). Lunettes can be decorated, for example by fluting. It frequently serves to indicate certain figures, such as compass direction, a second timezone, speed, etc.)


Watchmakers have to at least create their own ‘ebauche’, i.e. the basic components of a watch in order to call themselves a manufacturer.

Massive Wristband (Steel band)

A massive wristband is a band made of metal. Upon demand, many manufacturers offer metal wristbands made of stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum. Massive stainless steel wristbands are a lot more resilient and therefore usually more expensive. Stainless steel wristbands can be made of either folded or of massive elements and are available in gold-colored, gold-plated, or two-colored. Dependent on their bodies coating there are also back metal bands available. Titanium wristbands are incredibly light, rarely cause allergies and are very solid. They are usually more expensive because of this. The with of the lug ends of a watch determines the width of the wristband.

Mechanical Watches

Mechanical watches are watches that are operated by a main spring. The oscillation system runs mechanically only and not on batteries, like quartz watches. They can either be wound automatically (self winding) or manually.

Moon Phase

The moon phase indicator displays the shapes of the moon throughout its cycle in the form of either a picture or a number counting the days (1-29,5) of the cycle. A dark blue dial is disk that is operated by the motion work underneath the dial. Through a semi-circle shaped excerpt the shape of the crescent- and waxing moon.

Nautical Watch

Nautical watches are also commonly called ship chronometers. These watches serve to determine longitude, but also for checking see maps. They feature a separate second hand. Nowadays, these watches are known for maritime purposes. They are usually either chronographs with additional functions, such as a tide table, a diving watch with and without underwater alarm, or watches with longitude scale and regatta timer. A compass function is frequently integrated as well. All these watches are water resistant up to a depth of 100 m. Most of the current nautical watches are suitable for all kinds of water sports. The watch-loving buyer can determine which functions he needs.


In the year 2000 the European-Norm 1811 was established in order to avoid nickel allergies. It regulates the nickel release, which is the amount of nickel released to the skin. By choosing high-quality steel for both, the wristband and the body, the nickel release can be reduced to less than 2%.

Countdown Timer

A Countdown timer is a reversed stop watch. Upon reaching the target Time (0 minutes and 0 seconds) an alarm will sound off.


Als Nullstellung wir das Zurückschalten von Zeigern eines Chronographen nach Beendigung der Zeitmessung beschrieben.

Orientation Hand

The orientation is a 24 hour hand that is shaped like a directional arrow that serves to determine the compass direction.


A metal plate (basic plate), which carries the bridges, the cocks and all other elements of the movement. Inside the plate there are threaded drill holes for both the screws and the bearing of the movement.

Pulsometer Scale

The Pulsometer Scale can be used to determine pulse beats per minute by stopping the time of 15 pulse beats.

Quartz Watch

In contrast to the mechanical watches, quartz watches are battery operated. Synthetic quartz is stimulated by electronic AC voltage and divided into constant swings of 1 Hz. Due to being set to this very precise frequency quartz, watches are incredibly accurate.

Rally Watch

This watch is an athletic timepiece, that features functions suitable for either rally-sports, racing or Formula 1. They are available as both mechanical, as well as quartz watches. In addition to the time display, most of these watches are also equipped with an integrated chronograph (i.e.stop watch. The body usually features a rotating lunette and a tachymeter scale.
Rally watches are often available at car retailers. The variety of models and prices is countless. A special version of a rally watch are the clocks that are on board of race cars. These are frequently available as a combination of an on-board stop watch and an on-board timer. They are usually attached to a metal plate and exclusively designed to be integrated into rally cars and old timers.


Defines a chronograph with a double hand, that is fixed in the center. It serves to take the breakpoint time without a need to stop the second hand of the chronograph. In addition to the two push pieces of the chronograph, there is a third one attached to the body.

Slide Rule Scale

The slide rule scale works according to the principles of logarithmical scaling. It can be used to divide and multiply, for example for calculating fuel consumption.


These are measures taken to achieve the highest possible accuracy.

Repetitive Striking Mechanism

A striking mechanism that has the possibility to repeat by repeating the last hour strike using the striking mechanism.


Automatic watches are self-winding. It rotates in two directions and tensions the main spring.

Sapphire Glass

Valuable, synthetically produced glass that is extremely hard and resilient to scratches.

Satin Coating

Cross-laminated, brushed coat that is applied to the body and wristband.

Striking Mechanism Watch

A watch operated by a striking mechanism has at least to movements. A main movement and a separate striking mechanism. The latter serves the acoustic time indication by bell or sound helix.

Drag Pointer

The drag pointer is another term for rattrapante. It is the second hand on the seconds wave.

Silicone strap

Silicone is located between organic and anti-organic connections. Therefore it offers a huge range of characteristics that are not available in other synthetic products. These bands are not only very resilient and resistant to all kinds of weather, but they are also hypo-allergenic. Silicone wristbands are also very well suited for scuba-diving.


In order to make a watch look more delicate dials are omitted to create a artistic ornament. This is very often the case with chronographs.

Solar Watches

Solar cells are operated by the sunlight. They appear from underneath the dial and feed the quartz movement.

Spiral Spring

This is a spiral shaped, flat wire that forms the swiveling system of the balance wheel of a mechanical watch.

Stop Second

When the winding crown of a watch is pulled out the watch is stopped. It can serve to set the time exactly to the second.

Shock Resistance

Watches, that are marked as shock resistant, have to fulfill the requirements according to DIN 8308. For instance, it is necessary that they weather a fall from a hight of 1 meter.

Tachymeter Scale

The Tachymeter Scale is a scale that measures the average speed within a section of 1 km. The measurement is done by taking the time between two points with a chronograph.

Diving Watches

These watches are usually waterproof and pressure resistant up to at least 200 m of depth.(pressure of 200 bar/20 atm). They are also grant perfect readability of time and underwater time from a distance of 25 cm. In most cases they are equipped with a lunette that rotates in one direction. It serves to fix the diving time. High-quality diving watches are also examined in accordance to DIN 8306). They are also available as chronographs. Push pieces and crown are screwable.

Titan Body

The titan body is a very light, and anti-magnetic metal alloy. This high-quality material benefits the comfort of wearing this watch. It is also hypo allergenic.


The tourbillon serves to avoid errors in the center of gravity of the swivel system of a mechanical watch. It was invented by Brequet. Within the tourbillon (whirlwind) both the complete swivel, as well as the escapement are arranged to form of a small ‘cage’. This serves to even out errors in accuracy that result from gravity.

Balance Wheel

The balance wheel regulates the gear of a mechanical watch. In combination with the spiral spring it forms the swivel system. The active length of the balance wheel spiral and the moment of inertia determine the swivel duration.


Die Druckfestigkeit einer wasserdichten Uhr bezieht sich stets auf den Außendruck. Bei der Unterdrucksicherheit geht es um reduzierte Außendrücke, z.B. in großer Höhe. Dies ist insbesondere für die Glasbefestigung von hoher Bedeutung.


A watch that is marked as waterproof has to fulfill the requirements of the DIN 8310 norm.

3bar ≈ 3 atm (≈ 30 m)
This watch tolerates a pressure of three 3 bar for a certain amount of time (equal to to 30 m water head, i.e. 3 atmospheres).

5 bar ≈ 5 atm (≈ 50 m)
The watch is waterproof up to 5 bar, which is would equal to a water head of 50 m. It is therefore suitable for daily use, e.g. bathing, showers, or washing hands.

10 bar ≈ 10 atm (100 m)
This watch is waterproof up to 10 bar, which would equal a water head of 100 m. It is therefore well suited for frequent swimming and snorkeling.

20 bar ≈ 20 atm (200 m)
This watch is waterproof up to 10 bar, which would equal a water head of 100 m. It is therefore well suited for swimming and equipment free diving.

Alarm Watch

This is a watch that features an additional mechanism that generates a sound, at a set time, regulated by the movement. These watches can be either mechanical or quartz.

World Time Watch

A watch that has either sub dials or a scale to display the time in different timezones.

Weekday Display

The weekday display is an additional display the shows the weekday, only in combination with a date display.


Yacht timers are sports watches with different features that are absolutely necessary for sailors, e.g. an integrated yacht countdown that can be set to a period of up to 10 minutes. An alarm signals the time left until the race starts.

Motion Work

The motion work serves to directly operate the hand. It is operated by the movement and consists of 3 wheels: minute wheel, hour wheel and the change gear.

Time Zones

There are altogether 24 timezones that comprise 15 longitudes and that star at the Greenwich meridian.


The dial is frequently described as the ‘face’ of a watch. It shapes the look and design of a watch. It is always a flat plate, that can be made from almost any kind of material.

Main Spring

Long, elastic, and spiral shaped strip of special steel. Its rolled up inside the barrel. The Main Spring is ‘energy storage’ of a mechanical watch.

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