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A glossary of watch terminology.


perpetual calendar: A calendar mechanism that automatically corrects long and short months as well as adjusts for leap years (i.e. it will count 29 days in February every fourth year).

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.

pushers: These are found on all Chronographs and are used to operate the functions of the Chronograph movement.

quartz: A timekeeping mechanism made of silicon dioxide (also called "rock crystal") which vibrates mechanically when placed in an oscillating electric field. The frequency of the oscillations depends on the manner in which the crystal is cut.

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 rule.")

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.

safety clasp: A built-in, two-piece clasp that prevents the timepiece bracelet from falling off.

safety extension bracelet: A built-in extension piece that enables the watch to be worn over a diving suit.

sapphire crystal: A crystal made of synthetic sapphire, a transparent, shatter-resistant, scratch-resistant substance.

screw-in case back: Back cover of the watch that screws into case on top of an O-Ring gasket to ensure water-resistancy.

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.

split second hand: Actually means two hands, one a fly-back hand, the other a regular chronograph hand. When the wearer starts the chronograph, both hands move together. To time laps or different finishing times, the wearer can stop the fly-back hand independently while the regular chronograph hand keeps moving, in effect splitting the hands in two.

split hand: A second hand on the second spring. Can be stopped independently of the switched-on chronograph and return to the current time with the push of a button.

spring bar: Used to attach a bracelet or strap to a watch case.

stainless steel: Resistant against acids contained in perspiration and salt water.

standard buckle: Same type of buckle that comes in a conventional style belt.

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 the date.

swiss made: The legally protected indication of Swiss origin. By the terms of the Swiss Federal Council ordinance of December 23, 1971, it can apply only to watches: Assembled in Switzerland, Started up, regulated and inspected by the manufacturer, Subject to the legal obligation of technical inspection in Switzerland.

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 hypo-allergenic.

tonneau watch: A watch shaped like a barrel, with two convex sides.

totalizer: A mechanism that keeps track of elapsed time and displays it usually on the subdial or subdials on a chronograph. Same as a "recorder" or "register". Most common types: 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers.

tritium: Emits harmless luminous beta rays for maximum light ability in darkness. Does not need to be "charged".

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.


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