The 5TH’s glossary of watch terms
It is time to demystify the terminology that accompanies the myriad of watch features. Our simple glossary will help cut the confusion - consider this your reference point.
A small opening in the dial that displays certain information such as date, day, month.
A ring on your finger, or a group who plays music. When referring to watches, it refers to a bracelet or strap; not as a band.
The ring around the crystal lens on the top portion of a watch. It is usually made of metals such as gold, gold-plate, or stainless steel. It holds the glass or crystal lens in place.
The container that protects the watch movement. It also gives the watch an attractive appearance. Cases can come in many shapes.
The underside of a watch that lies against the skin. Some casebacks are made of crystal allowing you to view the watch movement. View our Automatic watches, which have an open caseback for more.
A time that can be started and stopped to time and event. This can be found on all of our London collection watches.
A button, often fluted, on the outside of the watch case used to set the time, when pulled out, and for setting a watch calendar. A screw-down crown is used to make the watch more water resistant and to help keep out dust.
A transparent cover that protects the watch dial. Crystals are made of glass, plastic or sapphire. Non-reflective coatings on some crystals prevents glare.
Heat hardened glass about ten times harder than plastic. Extremely scratch resistant but must be replaced if they do scratch.
Plastic crystals are soft and flexible so they resist small impacts, enabling surface scratches to be buffed out. Non of our watches have plastic crystals.
Sapphire crystals are 2-3 times harder than mineral glass and virtually scratch-proof. They are the second toughest mineral to diamonds and that is why they're scratch proof; however, they can be more brittle. All of our Automatic watches and Geneva collection have a Sapphire crystal lens.
A plate, with a metal base and visible through a crystal, that carries certain indication, such as the hours, minutes and sometimes seconds.
An electro deposited layer of gold with the thickness is measured in microns. “GP, HGE, GE” or any fraction after a number are stamps indicating gold plate.
The indicator that moves over the dial to point at the hour, minute or second. Watches generally have three hands to show the hours, minutes and seconds.
The science of the measurement of time.
Arabic numerals, Roman numerals or symbols placed around the dial to mark the hours.
Sometimes referred to as horns, lugs are projections on the watch case. There is a spring bar between the the lugs that is used to fix the strap or bracelet to the case. The lugs on our Geneva collection are integrated into the bracelet via a custom designed end piece.
Luminescence refers to emitting rays of light. A luminescent material is deposited on numbers and hands in order to read the time in the dark.
The inner mechanism of a watch that keeps time and powers the watch’s functions.
Physical vapor deposition is a thin coating applied to a case to add colour for aesthetic purposes. This additional process, ads a lot of time in manufacturing and is generally why gold, rose-gold, and black watches are more expensive.
A tonque, or tang, is a movable metal piece in a buckle which penetrates the holes in a leather strap.
The ability of a watch to withstand (resist) splashes of water on the timepiece. This will indicate the depth that a watch can be worn underwater. ATM in this context refers to the atmospheric pressure the watch can withstand. For a watch with 10 ATM it can withstand 100M of atmospheric pressure under water.
The back of the case has a thread so that it can be screwed into the case.
SMALL SECONDS DIAL
The seconds are displayed by a hand in a small subsidiary dial and not from the center of the timepiece.
A spring loaded metal bar mounted between the case lugs (horns) used to attach a strap or bracelet. All of our leather straps have a spring bar mechanism.
A strip or band of leather or rubber that holds the watch to the wrist. It must be non-metal to be considered a strap; a metal version is referred to as a bracelet.
A small dial placed inside the main dial on a watch’s dial. Watches can have as many as four sub-dials (auxiliary dials). They give information not provided by the main watch dial such as chronographs, alarm, dual time zone, and calendar.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOVEMENT
SWISS 26 JEWEL AUTOMATIC
AUTOMATIC WINDING: This referred to winding that occurs through motion on the wearer’s wrist, rather than through winding the watch manually. An automatic watch that isn’t worn for a couple days will need to be wound again to get started again.
BALANCE: The heart of a mechanical watch movement. The mainspring provides the energy and the balance (coupled with the hairspring) swings to divide time into equal parts.
BALANCE SPRING: A very small spring in a mechanical watch that returns the balance wheel back to its neutral position.
BALANCE WHEEL: A part of a mechanical watch that oscillates and divides time into equal portions.
CALIBER: Also known as calibre, the caliber is the size or style of a watch movement.
JEWELS: Sapphire or Rubies that reduce friction by acting as bearings for gears in a mechanical watch.
MECHANICAL MOVEMENT: A mechanical movement is powered by a main-spring and works with the balance wheel.
ROTOR: Part of an automatic watch that winds the mainspring by constantly rotating.
STEM: The shaft that connects to the movement’s winding mechanism. The crown is fitted on the opposite end.
WHEEL: Also referred to as a pinion, the wheel is a circular part that revolves around an axis to transmit power.
WINDING: Winding is the action of tightening the mainspring of a watch. This is done by hand (turning the crown) or automatically (by the motion of the rotor).
MIYOTA JAPANESE QUARTZ
A movement that is powered by a quartz crystal. The crystal oscillates to power the timepiece. Considered the most accurate time holders due to the frequency of quartz crystal oscillating 60 times a minute, which helps keep the time of the watch. All of our collections (besides the Automatic watches have a quartz movement.
BIENFACTURE: A Swiss word that refers to the high quality of a piece of work or an object. In French, it means “to make well”.
COTES DE GENEVE: A regular wave pattern obtained by engine-turning and polishing. This pattern is displayed on the rotor of our Automatic watch.
SWISS MADE: A watch can only be considered to be Swiss made if, (1) its movement is Swiss; (2) its movement is cased up in Switzerland and (3) the manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland. If the watch displays ‘Swiss Made’ on the dial, that means that a certain percentage of the watch is made in Switzerland. Our Geneva collection are Swiss and our Automatic watches are Swiss Made, which can be seen on the dial.