Saturday, 29 September 2007

Glossary of terms (N-Z)

Oyster Case
Rolex watch with water-resistant case.

Pave
Literally "paved with", dial with precious stones.

Perpetual Calendar
Calendar mechanism with display, which automatically corrects for long and short months and leap years.

Platinum
Precious silver-white metal heavier than gold and used for cases and bracelets in expensive models.

Quarter Repeater
Repeating mechanism that sounds hours and quarter hours.

Quartz
Rock crystal of silicon dioxide that can be made to oscillate by electronic switching. Maintains constant frequency. Mostly synthetic crystals are used today.

Rolled Gold
Very thin sheet of gold is pressed onto another metal, usually double thickness.

Roman Numerals
Besides Arabic, the most common numerals on watch dials. IIII instead of IV.

Rotor
In automatic watches, the rotor winds the mainspring. In quartz, it is a permanent rotating magnet in the step-switch motor.

Ruby
This is in fact, corundum, a synthetic stone and used to reduce wear on certain pivots.

Sapphire
Glasses or crystals, scratch-proof and usually synthetic

Shock-resistant
A watch is classified shock-resistant when dropped onto a hardwood surface from a height of one metre and it doesn't stop, or its daily rate does not change by more than 60 seconds.

Signed Movement
The maker's signature on movement.

Skeleton Watch
The dial of a skeleton has a separate ring with interior cut away, leaving only numerals and exposing the wheels and mechanism of the movement. Back plate is also cut away and fitted with glass.

Split-second Chronograph
Watch with a sweep second hand, independent of chronograph hand.

Stem
The shaft connecting winding mechanism and crown on outside of case.

Subsidiary Dials
Smaller auxiliary dials showing elapsed minutes and running seconds.

Swiss-made
A Swiss Federal government ordinance dating to 23 December 1971. Decrees that: (1) this expression can only be featured on a watch and used in connection with its marketing, only if at least 50% of the components, by value, excluding costs of assembly, are of Swiss manufacture; (2) it was assembled in Switzerland and was started and regulated by its manufacturer in Switzerland and; (3) is continuously subject to the legal obligation of technical inspection in Switzerland.

Tachometer
Speedometer or revolution recorder on bezel.

Tank Case
Original patent design by Cartier but today, it is used commonly to refer to a retangular case.

Tonneau
Case shape with wide centre and flat tapered ends.

Tourbillon
Breguet invention for nullifying vertical position errors by means of a revolving platform which goes through all such positions, so that they neutralise each other.

Tritium
Luminous paint for dials, hands and numerals.

Tuning Fork
A transistor continually switching between two small magnets to regulate smooth running, oscillating 360 times per second. The high frequency gives great precision in time-keeping. Bulova Accutron made the device famous but quartz ousted its popularity.

Water-resistant
The expression "waterproof" is illegal in America. Sold as water-resistant, watches must be able to withstand water pressure at a depth of one metre for 30 minutes and thereafter for 90 seconds at 20 metres.

World-time Watch
A watch that depicts current time in any chosen city or zone.

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