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A glossary of watch terminology.
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alarm: The watch alerts you with beeps at preset time(s).
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 display).
analog: A watch that shows the time using hour and minute hands.
A mechanical watch whose mainspring is wound by the
movements of the wearer's arm. Unlike the quartz watch,
it requires no battery. The system was invented in
Switzerland by Abraham-Louis Perrelet in the 18th
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 started again.
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 second 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").
Fold out security clasp - The S/EL Leather Series and the
6000 Series have fold out security clasps so that they may
be slipped over the wrist without stretching the leather.
The security clasp ensures that the watch will not fall off if
it opens accidentally.
Double security clasp - All metal bracelets have a double
safety clasp that prevents unintentional opening.
Integrated extension system - The metal bands of the
1500, 2000 and 4000 Series have an extension system so
the watch can be worn over a diving suit.
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.
The housing of the watch (including the crystal) in which
the movement or the module is fixed and thus protected
from shocks, moisture, etc. The design of the case is
influenced by the functions of the watch and by fashion.
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 preset 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.
The Swiss Official Chronometer Control - 3 independent
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 preset 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.
Face of a watch, showing hours, minutes and seconds.
Other smaller dials are called subsidiary dials (or sub
digital watch: A watch that shows the time through digits rather than through a dial and hands (analog) display
Indication of time and other data, either by means of
hand moving over a dial (analog display) or by numerals
appearing in one or more windows (digital or numerical
display). Such displays can be obtained mechanically or
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.
Folded End Piece - A unit of metal folded and cut into
designed shape to be used to connect the bracelet with
Solid End Piece - Solid unit of metal machined and drilled
to connect the bracelet with the case.
escapement: Device in a mechanical movement that controls the rotation of the wheels and thus the motion of the hands.
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