Friday, 28 September 2007

Glossary of terms (A-M)

Analogue
Time indication by hands and dial. The word means "corresponding" and was originally an electronic term, adopted by the watchmaking industry after the invention of quartz.

Antimagnetic
Refers to any watch with parts protected from all but the strongest magnetism. Quartz is inert to this force.

Applied Numerals
Raised metal characters attached to the watch dial.

Automatic
A mechanical watch with a mainspring that is wound by the wearer's movements via a rotor. Invented by Abraham-Louis Perrelet in the 18th century.

Auxiliary Dial
Small dial showing seconds only, up to one minute, usually at the six o'clock position.

Back Winder
A flat crown set into the case back for setting time and winding.

Baguette
Rectangular movement, with a length at least three times its width. A feature of Art Deco watches.

Balance
The running regulator of mechanical watches. It oscillates on its axis of rotation, the hair-spring making it swing to and fro as in "tick-tock".

Barrel
A circular box housing the mainspring, with teeth attached at the edge drive gears.

Baton numberals
Undecorated non-numeral markers of hours, minutes and seconds.

Bezel
Metal surround frame in which watch glass (crystal) is fitted.

Button
Generally known as crown or winder.

Cabochon Crown
Crown set with a jewel.

Calibre
Denotes type, whether lady's or man's, automatic, etc, and once used to denote the diameter of a watch movement. From the Latin "qua libra?" (of what weight?).

Case
The housing of movement, dial and glass.

Chronograph
A watch that has an independent stopwatch for short interval timing. Common types are one-button, two-button or 12-hour with moonphase and split-second.

Chronometer
Ordinary watch that has passed stringent precision and reliability tests in an official observatory.

Complicated Watch
Refers to functions unrelated to the time of day - calendars, chronographs, moonphases, perpetual and repeaters.

Crystal
Glass, plastic, sapphire or quartz crystal dial cover fitted into bezel.

Deployment Buckle
Two strips of hinged metal (curved to the wrist shape) on the watchband. Upon closing, one folds over the other to cover it. Reputedly invented by Cartier.

Dial
Face of a watch showing all details.

Duoplan or Duodial
Doctor's watch with a separate auxiliary seconds dial from the hours and minutes. For taking quick pulse reading.

Integral Bracelet
Strap designed as a natural extension of watch case.

Jewels
Used as bearings at points of greatest friction in movements. Usually between 15 and 18 but are not indicative of quality or value of watch. Before, natural rubies and sapphires were used, but they are mostly synthetic today.

Lug
Part of watch case to which band or bracelet may be attached.

Mainspring
Principal spring in watch, a flat spring coiled in a barrel.

Mean Time
Average length of all solar days in one year, usual time shown by watches.

Minute Repeater
Chiming of the hours, quarters and minutes.

Month Aperture
Pierced window in a mechanical digital displaying the month.

Moonphase
Watch displaying phase of moon through 29 and a half days.

Movement
Complete mechanism of watch. 120 to 600 parts may be incorporated.

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