Watch Glossary


A type of watch with a dial, hands and numbers or markers that display a 12-hour time span.


Atmospheric pressure, referring to water resistance. 1 ATM is equal to 33 feet.


The ring — usually made of gold, gold plate or steel — that surrounds the watch face.


A type of watch band made of elements that resemble links.


The metal housing a watch’s components.

Case Back

The reverse side of a watchcase, which lies against the skin. Often engraved with the manufacturer’s name, its water and shock resistance, and the case’s metal content.


A stopwatch that can be started and stopped to time an event. There are many variations on the chronograph: Some operate with a center second hand that keeps time on the watch’s main dial; others use subdials to show elapsed hours, minutes and seconds. Watches that include the chronograph function are themselves called “chronographs.”


The button on the outside of the case that is used to set the time and calendar.


The transparent cover on the watch face; made of glass crystal, synthetic sapphire or plastic.

Day/Date Watch

A watch that indicates not only the date but also the day of the week.

Deployment Buckle

A type of buckle that pops open and fastens using hinged, often adjustable, extenders.


The watch face. The numerals, indices and surface designs can be applied as separate elements or simply printed on the dial.


The visible side of the watch, where the dial is contained. Most faces are marked with Arabic or Roman numerals to indicate the hours.


An element that seals the case back, crystal and crown to protect against water infiltration during normal wear. Most water-resistant watches are equipped with gaskets, and it is important to have the gaskets checked every two years to maintain the water resistance of the watch.


An hour indicator on an analog watch dial; used instead of numerals.


Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears in the mechanical watch, reducing friction.

Limited Edition

A watch style manufactured in a specific amount, often numbered, and available in limited quantities. Limited editions are available from most fine watch manufacturers and may be highly prized by collectors..


Projections on the watch face where the watch’s band or bracelet is attached.

Main Plate

The base plate on which all the other parts of a watch’s movement are mounted.


The inner mechanism of a watch that keeps time and moves the watch’s hand and calendar. Movements are either mechanical or quartz.


A button that is pressed to work a mechanism.

Quartz Movement

A technology that employs the vibrations of a tiny crystal to maintain timing accuracy; this allows a watch to keep time without being wound.

Sapphire Crystal

A crystal made of synthetic sapphire — a transparent, shatter-resistant and scratch-resistant substance — that covers and protects the watch face.

Stainless Steel

An extremely durable metal alloy that is virtually immune to rust, discoloration and corrosion. Because of its strength, stainless steel is often used even on the case backs of watches made of other metals.

Swiss Made

A watch whose movement was assembled, started, adjusted and controlled by a manufacturer in Switzerland.


A watch that combines two metals — which, in the case of fine watches, are usually yellow gold and stainless steel.

Water Resistance

A watch marked “water resistant” can handle light moisture, such as rain or sink splashes, but should not be worn while swimming or diving. One that can be submerged in water must indicate at what depth it maintains water resistance (e.g., 50 meters or more on most sport watches).