For many people, the right watch is a matter of balancing form and function. In functional terms, you鈥檒l want quality construction and reliable performance to suit your lifestyle. A watch built for adventure, for example, will be very different from a watch built for business.
This glossary helps you understand the various terms used when talking about watches. You can find definitions or read the comparisons of different types of metals, from steel to gold plate to titanium. There also are sections comparing the different types of movements, crystals and water resistance.
Ana-Dig: A watch with both analogue and digital display. The analogue display has a traditional dial with hour, minute and, sometimes, second hands. The digital display shows the time on a liquid-crystal display.
Bezel: The upper portion of the watch that encircles the face and holds the crystal. In some cases it contains an extra ring to beautify the case, or a rotating ring with a special function.
Bracelet: A metal strap that goes around the wrist, made of steel, gold or other metal.
Cabochon: A smooth round or oval, convex (bulging outward) polished gemstone. In watch terminology, it describes a decorative stone set in the crown.
Case: The shell that houses the moving parts of the watch. It is always made of a durable material and is often waterproofed to some degree.
Chronograph: A stopwatch function built into a wristwatch.
Crown: The small round serrated knob, usually located at the 3 o'clock position. Some people refer to it as a winder, as it once was used to wind clockwork watches. Today, the crown is normally pulled out and rotated to set the time.
Crystal: The transparent protective covering that fits tightly over the face of the watch. It is held in place by the bezel. May be made from plastic, glass or synthetic sapphire.
Dial: The face of an analogue watch, which usually displays the hour indicators.
Gasket: A rubber or plastic ring that seals the internal works of the watch against dust, moisture and water.
Gold plating: An application of gold over the surface of an item. Gold plating is used to give watches the look of gold, at a fraction of the price.
Jewels: Small, hard gemstones used in certain moving parts of some mechanical watches. They are used in sensitive parts of the machinery because they are smooth and very durable, helping the watch stay accurate and last longer.
Liquid-crystal Display (LCD): A digital display where the numbers are formed in a liquid layer, sandwiched between a pair of clear crystals.
Movement: The means by which a watch keeps time, often including the power source. For example, a watch with mechanical movement uses a spinning balance wheel powered by a tightly wound spring, whereas a watch with quartz movement measures the vibrations in a piece of quartz and is often powered by a battery.
Solar Tech: Solar powered quartz watch, such as the Eco Drive from Citizen. This provides the accuracy of quartz, without the inconvenience and cost of battery changes.
Stainless Steel: The metal of choice for high quality watchcases and bracelets, because it is durable and can withstand more wear and tear than brass or gold. It doesn鈥檛 contain nickel, so it鈥檚 also hypoallergenic.
Strap: A leather, plastic or fabric band that holds the watch on your wrist.
Titanium: One of the lightest, strongest metals on earth. Used to make top-end watchcases and bracelets. Extremely durable and hypoallergenic.
Water resistance: A measure of how well a watch will resist the intrusion of moisture