|alarm: The watch alerts you with beeps at
analog - digital display: A watch that shows the time
by means of hour and minute hands (analog display) as well as by numbers (a digital
analog: A watch that shows the time using hour and minute hands.
automatic winding (or self-winding): This term refers to a watch with
a mechanical movement (as opposed to a quartz or electrical movement). The watch is wound
by the motion of the wearer's arm rather than through turning the winding stem. A rotor
that turns in response to motion winds the watch's mainspring. If an automatic watch is
not worn for a day or two, it will wind down and need to be wound by hand to get it
battery reserve indicator (or end of battery indicator): Some
battery-operated watches have a feature that indicates when the battery is approaching the
end of its life. This is often indicated by the second hand moving in two seconds
intervals instead of each second.
bezel: The ring that surrounds the watch dial (or face). The bezel is
usually made of gold, gold plate or stainless steel.
bi-directional rotating bezel: A bezel that can be rotated either
clockwise or counterclockwise. These are used for mathematical calculations such as
average speed or distance (see "slide rule") or for keeping track of elapsed
time (see "elapsed time rotating bezel").
built-in illumination: Lighting on a watch dial that allows the wearer
to read the time in the dark. Check out Seiko's Lumi-brite technology.
calendar: A feature that shows the date, and often the day of the
week. There are several types of calendar watches. Most calendar watches show the
information digitally through an aperture on the watch face. Some chronograph watches shoe
the information on sub-dials on the watch face.
chronograph: A watch that includes a built in stopwatch function -
i.e., a timer that can be started and stopped to time an event. There are many variations
on the chronograph. Some operate with a center seconds hand which keeps time on the
watch's main dial. Others use sub-dials to time elapsed hours, minutes and seconds. Still
others show elapsed time on a digital display on the watch face. Some chronographs can be
used as a lap timer (see "flyback hand" and "split seconds hand"). The
accuracy of the stopwatch function will commonly vary from 1/5th second to 1/100th second
depending on the chronograph. Some chronographs will measure elapsed time up to 24 hours.
Watches that include the chronograph function are themselves called
"chronographs." When a chronograph is used in conjunction with specialized
scales on the watch face it can perform many different functions, such as determining
speed or distance (see "tachymeter" and "telemeter") Do not confuse
the term "chronograph" with "chronometer." The latter refers to a
timepiece, which may or may not have a chronograph function, that has met certain high
standards of accuracy set by an official watch institute in Switzerland.
chronometer: Technically speaking, all watches are chronometers. But
for a Swiss made watch to be called a chronometer, it must meet certain very high
standards set by the Swiss Official Chronometer Control (C.O.S.C.). If you have a Swiss
watch labeled as a chronometer, you can be certain that it has a mechanical movement of
the very highest quality.
countdown timer: A function that lets the wearer keep track of how
much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed. Some countdown timers sound a warning signal
a few seconds before the time runs out. These are useful in events such as yacht races,
where the sailor must maneuver the boat into position before the start of a race.
crown: Also called a stem or pin, a crown is the button on the outside
of the watch case that is used to set the time and date. In a mechanical watch the crown
also winds the mainspring. In this case it is also called a "winding stem". A
screw in (or screw down) crown is used to make a watch more water resistant. The crown
actually screws into the case, dramatically increasing the water-tightness of the watch.
crystal: The transparent cover on a watch face made of glass crystal,
synthetic sapphire or plastic. Better watches often have a sapphire crystal which is
highly resistant to scratching or shattering.
depth alarm: An alarm on a divers' watch that sounds when the wearer
exceeds a pre-set depth.
depth sensor/depth meter: A device on a divers' watch that determines
the wearer's depth by measuring water pressure. It shows the depth either by analog hands
and a scale on the watch face or through a digital display.
dial: The watch face
digital watch: A watch that shows the time through digits rather than
through a dial and hands (analog) display
diving watch: A watch that is water resistant to 200M. Has a one way
rotating bezel and a screw-on crown and back. Has a metal or rubber strap (not leather).
Has a sapphire crystal and possibly, a wet-suit extension.
elapsed time rotating bezel: A graduated rotating bezel (see rotating
bezel") used to keep track of elapsed time. The bezel can be turned so the wearer can
align the zero on the bezel with the watch's seconds or minutes hand. After a period of
time passes, you can read the elapsed time off the bezel. This saves you having to perform
the subtraction that would be necessary if you used the watch's regular dial.
escapement: Device in a mechanical movement that controls the rotation
of the wheels and thus the motion of the hands.
flyback hand: A seconds hand on a chronograph that can be used to time
laps or to determine finishing times for several competitors in a race. Start the
chronograph, putting both the flyback hand and the regular chronograph seconds hand in
motion. To record a lap time or finishing time, stop the flyback hand. After recording the
time, push a button and the hand will "fly back" to catch up with the constantly
moving elapsed-time hand. Repeat the process to record as many lap times or finishing
times as needed.
gear train: The system of gears which transmits power from the
mainspring to the escapement.
gold plated: A layer of gold electroplated to a base metal.
Kinetic: Refers to the Seiko line of Kinetic watches. This innovative
technology has a quartz movement that does not use a battery. Movement of your wrist
charges a very efficient capacitor which powers the quartz movement. Once the capacitor is
fully charged, mens models will store energy for 7-14 days without being worn. Ladies
models store energy for 3-7 days. Of course, if the watch is worn every day the capacitor
is continually recharged. The watch alerts you to a low capacitor charge when the seconds
hand starts to move in two second intervals. For more information, click to go to Seiko's
integrated bracelet: A watch bracelet that is incorporated into the
design of the case.
jewels: Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears
in a mechanical watch. The jewels reduce friction to make the watch more accurate and
lap timer: A chronograph function that lets the wearer time segments
of a race. At the end of a lap, he stops the timer, which then returns to zero to begin
timing the next lap.
liquid-crystal display (LCD): A digital watch display that shows the
time electronically by means of a liquid held in a thin layer between two transparent
plates. All LCD watches have quartz movements.
lugs: Projections on a watch face to which the watch band or bracelet
measurement conversion: A feature, usually consisting of a graduated
scale on the watch's bezel, that lets the wearer translate one type of measurement into
another-miles into kilometers, for instance, or pounds into kilograms
mechanical movement: A movement powered by a mainspring, working in
conjunction with a balance wheel. Most watches today have electronically controlled quartz
movements and are powered by a battery. However, mechanical watches are currently enjoying
a resurgence in popularity.
movement: The inner mechanism of a watch that keeps time and moves the
watch's hands, calendar, etc. Movements are either mechanical or quartz.
power reserve indicator: A feature that shows when the watch will soon
need a new battery or winding. A battery reserve indicator on a quartz watch informs the
wearer when the battery is low. Often this is indicated by the seconds hand moving at two
or three-second intervals. Seiko's Kinetic watches are quartz watches that do not have a
battery (see Kinetic). When a Seiko Kinetic needs to be wound, the seconds hand will also
move in two second intervals.
quartz movement: A movement powered by a quartz crystal to. Quartz
crystals are very accurate. They can be mass produced which makes them less expensive than
most mechanical movements which require a higher degree craftsmanship.
rotating bezel: A bezel (the ring surrounding the watch face) that can
be turned. Different types of rotating bezels perform different timekeeping and
mathematical functions (see elapsed time rotating bezel," "unidirectional
rotating bezel," "bi-directional rotating bezel" and "slide
rotor: The part of an automatic (or self-winding) mechanical watch
that winds the movement's mainspring. It is a flat piece of metal, usually shaped like a
semicircle, that swivels on a pivot with the motion of the wearer's arm.
sapphire crystal: A crystal made of synthetic sapphire, a transparent,
shatter-resistant, scratch-resistant substance.
screw-lock crown: A crown that can be screwed into the case to make
the watch watertight.
second time-zone indicator: An additional dial that can be set to the
time in another time zone. It lets the wearer keep track of local time and the time in
another country simultaneously.
shock resistance: As defined by U.S. government regulation, a watch's
ability to withstand an impact equal to that of being dropped onto a wood floor from a
height of 3 feet.
slide rule: A device, consisting of logarithmic or other scales on the
outer edge of the watch face, that can be used to do mathematical calculations. One of the
scales is marked on a rotating bezel, which can be slid against the stationary scale to
make the calculations. Some watches have slide rules that allow specific calculations,
such as for fuel consumption by an airplane or fuel weight.
solar powered: A watch that uses solar energy (from any light source)
to power the quartz movement. The Citizen >Solar-Tech< models use this technology
and provide a 180 day power reserve, so they are able to run continuously. For more
information, click here to go to Citizens Internet Site.
stepping motor: The part of a quartz movement that moves the gear
train, which in turn moves the watch's hands.
stopwatch: A watch with a seconds hand that measures intervals of
time. When a stopwatch is incorporated into a standard watch, both the stopwatch function
and the timepiece are referred to as a chronograph.
sub-dial: A small dial on a watch face used for any of several
purposes, such as keeping track of elapsed minutes or hours on a chronograph or indicating
tachymeter: ("tack IM eh ter") A feature found on some
chronograph watches, a tachymeter (also called a "tachometer") measures the
speed at which the wearer has traveled over a measured distance.
tank watch: A rectangular watch designed by Louis Cartier. The bars
along the sides of the watch were inspired by the tracks of tanks used in World War 1.
telemeter: ("tel EH meh ter"): A telemeter determines the
distance of an object from the observer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel
that distance. Like a tachymeter (see "tachymeter"), it consists of a stopwatch,
or chronograph, and a special scale, usually on the outermost edge of the watch face.
30-minute recorder (or register): A sub-dial on a chronograph (see
"chronograph") that can time periods of up to 30 minutes.
titanium: A metal that is used for some watch cases and bracelets.
Titanium is much stronger and lighter than stainless steel. Titanium is also
tonneau watch: A watch shaped like a barrel, with two convex sides.
12-hour (24-hour) recorder (or register): A sub-dial on a chronograph
(see chronograph) that can time periods of up to 12 or 24 hours.
unidirectional rotating bezel: An elapsed time rotating bezel (see
"elapsed time rotating bezel"), often found on divers' watches, that moves only
in a counterclockwise direction. It is designed to prevent a diver who has unwittingly
knocked the bezel off its original position from overestimating his remaining air supply.
Because the bezel moves in only one direction, the diver can err only on the side of
safety when timing his dive. Many divers' watches are ratcheted, so that they lock into
place for greater safety.
water resistance: The ability to withstand splashes of water. Terms
such as "water resistant to 50 meters" or "water resistant to 200
meters" indicate that the watch can be worn underwater to various depths.
winding stem: The button on the right side of the watch case used to
wind the mainspring. Also called a "crown."
world time dial: A dial, usually on the outer edge of the watch face,
that tells the time in up to 24 time zones around the world. The time zones are
represented by the names of cities printed on the bezel or dial. The wearer reads the hour
in a particular time zone by looking at the scale next to the city that the hour hand is
pointing to. The minutes are read as normal. Watches with this feature are called