Definitions and explanations
... a small guide with and through the watch


Acrylic glass synthetic, glasslike, thermoplastic plastic material
Sapphire glass Synthetic, sapphire crystal-plates are used for glazing of high-quality wristwatches.
In watchmaker-language they are called sapphire glass even though they have a crystalline and no glasslike structure.
Mineral glass Normal glass is distinguished from plastic glass, which is softer and lighter and from sapphire glass, which is harder.


what they are made of…

Gold is a chemical element. Gold belongs to the noble metals and is one of the few colored metals. Gold is to be distinguished in  yellow gold, red gold and white gold. In case of watches, gold is found in different alloys.
Gilding objects are coated with gold
Stainless steel is a type of steel with a special degree of purity. Rust-free and non-corrosive.
Platinum Platinum is a heavy, forgeable, elastic, grey-white transition metal, possesses high durability, high resistance to tarnishing and is very rare. It is considered the most valuable noble metal before gold.
Titanium metal, white-metallic brilliance, light, solid, elastic, resistant to corrosion and temperature, very durable
Ceramics Originating from ancient Greek, “Ceramics” describes clay minerals and their form consistent products.
Carbon synthetic fibers made of carbon, extremely resistant and solid, usually black


at the clock case…

Cabochon circular grinded ornament stone, found for example in the winding crown
Crown button-like operating element for adjusting the time and for manual winding of the power reserve
Spring bridge connects watch and bracelet
Trigger for setting off different functions
Diamond hardest, most natural substance, carbon in its purest form, given in carat, evaluation according to 4 “Cs” (color, cut, carat, clarity)
Brilliant cut type for gems, without additional terms only mentioned in connection with diamond, has 56-57 facets



Quartz Electromechanical or fully electronic, the impulse generator is an electronic quartz oscillator whose frequency is kept constant with the help of a piezoelectric crystal.
Manual winding mechanical with manual winding
Automatic mechanical, the feather is winded up automatically by a rotor in small steps through arm movements of the wearer


on the inside…

Anchor receives the force impulse from the anchor wheel and transmits it to the balance wheel
Baguette-type movement rectangular and particularly small work for women’s jewel watches. It involves a compact clockwork arranged on two levels.
Bimetallic-screw balance The bimetallic-screw balance partly used to compensatetemperature fluctuations that had a negative influence on the watch’s movement in the past.
Brequet-spiral A special type of balance wheels with the final curve bent up. It was considered a special characteristic of precision watches.
Bridge Part of the Rohwerk, which serves the mounting of wheels and is fixed with two screws. There is the winding-bridge and the clockwork bridge.
Bridgework A back-mounted plate that consists of several bridges (and pistons).
Chaton Ruby  bearings often set in gold used in the past for high-quality wristwatches, sometimes fixed with two or three screws on the circuit board.
Capstone A capstone should additionally reduce the friction of the bearings. Capstones are always used for the bearing of the balance wheel and occasionally for the bearing of the anchor wheel.
Fine adjustment The fine adjustment balances the differences in the watch movement. For this purpose, experienced experts configure the watches in different layers and at different temperatures. Such watches are usually equipped with a fine regulator, with which the regulator hand can be moved micrometer wise. Other watches are provided with tuning screws on the balance wheel.
Formwork Formworks are clockworks that differ from the layout of a circle. They proved the independent development of the wristwatch. With the introduction of automatic calibers the layout returned to a circular form. The measurements refer to the width of the caliber.
Escapement The escapement consists of anchor and anchor wheel and is located between the wheelwork and the balance wheel. The escapement inhibits unregulated movements of the clockwork by supplying the regulatory organ with energy and allowing the wheelwork to continue moving according to the beat of the balance wheel.
Jewels The number of jewels is given on the clockwork in English.
Caliber Abbreviation for „calibre", French for clockwork. Often with a mention of the manufacturer and a number for differentiation (for example ETA 2892A1), usually including size indications (for example: 13’’)
Clamp The clamp is part of the Rohwerk for mounting the balance wheel or another wheel. It is held by only one screw and one alignment pin.
Bearing jewels Bearing jewels are made of rubies and are nowadays produced synthetically. They reduce the wear and tear on the shaft ends (pivots) and reduce friction. They used to be set in chatons in the past. Nowadays they are pressed onto the circuit plate without casing. They are equipped with a deepening for absorbing lubricants.
Center wheel The center wheel is usually the gearwheel located in the middle of the clockwork, with the minute hand on top of it. Its drive uses the energy of the mainspring barrel and transfers it to the second wheel.
Circuit board In watchmaker terminology the circuit board is the bottom plate the clockwork is built upon. The second circuit board usually consists of bridges and clamps.
Reglage The Reglage serves the optimization of the clock movement. Through changes of the effective length of the spiral spring with the help of the regulator, the latter can be influenced and regulated. High-quality watches are to be regulated in two different layers (“2 ADJUSTMENTS”).
Control gear Chronograph-mechanisms are distinguished in two different constructions: one with and one without control wheel. The control wheel can be recognized easily by laypeople as well, because it is made of steel and has seven to nine strong pivot teeth. It controls start- and stop functions and prevents an accidental resetting of the chronograph-hand.
 Swan neckfine tuning  The swan neck-fine tuning regulator serves the fine adjustment of a watch. The regulator hand is under pressure due to a spring in the shape of a swan neck and a fine screw and cannot change its position.
 Coil spring  A coiled spring that is fixed on the inside end on the balance shaft and on its outside end on balance clamp (stud). It was initially made of steel and is nowadays produced of Nivarox. The spring together with the swinging body of the balance wheel produces the frequency.
 Shock protection  The shock protection primarily serves the sensitive pivots of the balance shaft. The Incabloc system has proved to be most effective.
 Balance wheel  The balance wheel is a clocking flywheel that allows the steady progressing of the hands on the wheelwork. It has to lead the spiral spring back to its initial position again and again. The desired frequency is achieved by coordinating balance wheel and spring. The balance wheel is held by ruby bearings. Disturbing influences like temperature fluctuations, and fluctuations of the spring force can nowadays be eliminated to a large extend by using certain materials.
 Balance wheel stop-function  for adjusting the watch to the second
 Tension spring  The tension spring stores energy and powers the wheelwork. They are unbreakable and non-corrosive in recent watches.


what other functions they have...

Chronograph Wristwatches with additional mechanisms to stop the time up to 30 or 45 minutes, later up to twelve hours.
Chronometer  high-quality, in different lengths and layers and at different temperature regulated watch, whose accuracy of movement is checked by an official institute and verified with a certificate.
 Digital display  digital display with numbers, without hands. LC-Displays are usually used nowadays
 Analog display  display with hands and clock face
 Perpetual calendar  Wristwatches equipped with the highly complicated perpetual calendar are only produced in small series. A mechanism switches the whole calendar automatically, starting with the different month lengths over weekday and month up to leap years. Usually they also include a lunar phase display.
 GMT  Abbreviation for Greenwich Mean Time, the mean solar time at the zero meridian in the London district Greenwich. GMT is the starting point for the classification of 24 time zones on earth.
 Lunar phase  Lunar phases describe the different shapes of the moon – full moon, decrescent moon, new moon, and waxing moon.
Rattrapante The double-pointer-chronograph, also called rattrapante, is equipped with two hands and is used for measuring intermediate times. Chronograph-hands with double- or drag pointers run one above the other launch. Pressing the button for reading off the intermediate times can momentarily halt the latter.
Retrograde display In case of retrograde displays, the indicator of the clock face are not arranged in a circular shape, thus the hour hand has to jump back to 0 at 12 o’clock and the minute hand has to jump back to its initial position after 60minutes.
Datequick shift Any date can easily be set with the quick shift and the crown. Before that, the clock hands had to be moved forward over 24 hours before the next date on the calendar appeared on the display.
Seconds display In case of mechanical wristwatches the second hand makes five steps per second, in the case of quartz wrist bands only one. For the stop-second, this means a second that can be halted, hands and balance wheel stop by pulling the crown and the watch can be adjusted to the second. For the mechanical jumping second only every fifth step is transferred to the hand. Chronograph-hands usually make 1/5-, rarely 1/10-second steps.
Center second The second hand for the central second is powered from the center of the clock face (like hour- and minute hand). The display of a small second is done via an auxiliary clock face that isintegrated in the watch.


and some more things…

Complication  Additional mechanism that can only be made by experts. That includes repetition, perpetual calendar but also chronographs. 
 Limited edition  Wristwatches produces in mini-series but also for special occasions are often serially numbered on the clock face or on the bottom of the clock case, for example with 50/1000 (= the 50th watch of a series of 1000 pieces).
 Rhodium plating  High-quality clockworks are provided with an electroplating for surface protection and embellishment. Rhodium gives the surface a shiny, silvery appearance. The coating process is called rhodium plating.

Source: Wikipedia