We often take a watch for granted, but how many times do we stop and appreciate the craftsmanship hidden in all the different watch parts? We’d like to take you on a ride through the world of watches and explain the common, essential things about a watch.
The watch case
Let start easy with one of the main watch parts: the watch case. This is the material that houses the mechanics of the watch. Usually this is stainless steel, but it can also be made from different materials. The case could for instance be made out of gold, titanium, wood or carbon fiber. Furthermore, there are different watch finishes. The watch case also doesn’t have to be round. There are many designs possible regarding the case, for example square or rectangle. The comfort of the watch is also determined by the diameter of the case. If the diameter is too big, the watch might not sit comfortably on your wrist.
The watch strap
Attached to the case is the watch strap or bracelet. These can be made out of many materials as well. Common materials are steel, leather, canvas, rubber and nylon. The watch strap makes sure the that the watch case stays on your wrist. It is attached to the case with small spring bars. The strap also plays a big part in the comfortability of the watch, because it touches a large part of your wrist. A strap that is too small, or too big, in relation to the watch case makes wearing uncomfortable. The way the strap tapers can also affect the comfortability of the watch.
The strap is attached to the lugs using small spring bars. The lugs are usually the little legs that stand out at the top and bottom of the watch. In some cases the lugs don’t stick out, because the design of the watch. This is the case with for instance square watches or watches with cushion cases. There are small holes in the lugs which houses the spring bars. In some cases these holes are drilled through, which makes it easier to remove the spring bars.
We already told you that the case houses the mechanics of the watch. These mechanics are called the movement. The movement enables your watch to tell the time. There are many different types of movements. The most common ones are quartz and mechanical movements. Other examples of movements are solar powered movements, kinetic movements, Spring-Drive movements and Mecha-Quartz movements.
Like the watch case and watch strap the dial is one of the eye-catching watch parts. It enables you to read the time. The hands, powered by the movement, indicate what time it is using the markings on the dial. A dial can have many different designs. Different patterns, finishes and colors (Blue, Black or Green) add diversity to the dial. The dial usually contains important information about the watch like the manufacturer and the water resistance.
On top of the dial you can find the glass or crystal of the watch. It enables you to read the time while also protecting the dial and movement. The glass or crystal can be made from several different materials. Common materials are sapphire, mineral glass, Plexiglas and acrylic. Sapphire is expensive, but extremely scratch resistant. Mineral glass isn’t as resistant to scratches as sapphire, but more than Plexiglas or acrylic. These last two scratch quite easily, but they will not break or shatter. Next to this, they aren’t very expensive either.
Because sapphire is very clear, it isn’t unusual to coat it with an anti-reflective layer. This makes sure you don’t see any reflections in the sapphire. Domed sapphire crystals are also reasonably common. Because of the dome, you can tell the time from extreme angles.
The bezel is the metal ring that surrounds the crystal. The bezel can have different finishes. For instance you can have a polished bezel or a fluted one. Some bezels can turn, either one way or both ways. This is often seen on dive or aviation watches. Sometimes you can find a scale on the bezel like a tachymeter on a chronograph.
The crown is the button, usually on the side of the watch, that can be pulled out. By pulling it out you can set the time and date. The watch can be designed in such way that it has other complications which can be set by the crown. For example, if a watch has a mechanical movement you can often wind the movement with the crown as well.
A complication is a function of the watch that goes beyond telling the time. A common complication is the date function or the chronograph. Other complications are for example a day, month or year indication, a moon phase, a power reserve, a GMT-function or the water resistance.
Hopefully this was informative for you. Do you also like to see a review on watch parts of the movement?