One of the reasons buying a watch is difficult is that there is a lot of unfamiliar terms and phrases used in describing the look, style and features of any particular wrist watch. I figured it would be good to explain the important ones so that you will know exactly what that great watch you decided on actually does…besides telling time!
Here we go, hope this helps!
An analog watch is simply a watch which has a moving hour and seconds hand.
An aperture is a little window in a watch face in which something is displayed. A common item displayed is the day of the month.
An automatic watch is a mechanical watch that wound by the wearers normal movements, like reaching for something or swinging the arm while walking. Nice thing about these is that you won’t break the watch by improperly winding.
The balance creates an exact interval of time in a mechanical watch. It is the workhorse of any mechanical watch. A pendulum is an example of this mechanism.
The bezel is the distinctive ring that that is around the face or dial of the watch.
A calendar shows some information about the day or date. The day of the month might be shown in an aperture.
A chronograph watch performs a stopwatch function, a measuring function in addition to timekeeping. Watches that do this are labeled as a chronograph.
A chronometer is a timepiece. When a Swiss manufactured watched advertises as a chronometer, it has been certified by the Swiss authority to have met the highest standards of accuracy.
The C.O.S.C., the Control Officile Suisse de Chronometers, is the Swiss regulatory office which certifies Swiss timepieces. They will certify a Swiss watch as a chronometer if it deserves the rating.
The crown is the winder on a mechanical watch, it is the little button that you use to wind the watch or set the date.
The crystal is the clear covering of the watch face. Better watches have a sapphire crystal.
The dial is the watch face.
A digital watch shows the time via numbers rather an analog watch which uses hour, minute and possibly a second hand.
A foldover buckle is a three peice clasp on the band of which secures the band to your wrist.
Jewels as are listed in the movement are synthetic sapphires or rubies that are the bearings in the watch movement. They reduce friction, which reduces the energy required to keep the watch going. Jewels are used because they are really long lasting.
The main plate is the peice of metal on which all the interior parts of the watch are mounted.
The main spring is the energy source of mechanical watch. When you wind the watch the energy from winding is stored in the main spring.
A mineral crystal is a mid range crystal that is made of a form of glass. It is not as scratch resistant as higher grade crystals and cannot be polished.
The movement is the timekeeping other functions mechanism whether mechanical or electronic. This is the workhorse of your wrist watch.
A quartz movementis used in electronic watches as time base. It is very accurate and can be mass produced to tight tolerances which is why it is commonly used.
A rotating bezel is an outer ring which can be moved, it is often used as an elapsed time reminder.
A sapphire crystal is a high quality crystal found in better watches. It is really scratch resistant and holds up really well.
A sub dial is a small dial on the face that provides additional functionality.
A Tachymeter is a feature that measures the speed the wearer has traveled over a measured distance.
An unidirectional rotating bezel is an elapsed time indicator, often found on divers watches. It can be used to monitor the air supply of the diver.
Hope this helped, I tried to define most of the common terms used to describe watch features. Sorry if I missed anything!