Best Watches online Retail

Customer Services
Toll-Free US: +44 2033 551257
Why 3MSView Basket

Watch Glossary

Everything you want to know about watches. Frequently used words in watch lingo.
Refer to the following definitions if you have any questions about technical specifications or terms.

Our customer service team are also happy to discuss these terms or any other questions you may have about shopping for watches.

Email Address:
Alarm: The watch alerts you with beeps at pre-set time(s).
Analog - digital display: A watch that shows the time by means of hour and minute hands (analog display) as well as by numbers (a digital display).
Aperture: Small opening. The dials of some watches (in French: montres �� guichet) have apertures in which certain indications are given (e.g. the date, the hour, etc).

Applique: Applique or applied chapters are numerals or symbols cut out of a sheet metal and stuck or riveted to a dial.

Assortment: French term for the parts used for making an escapement.

Automatic watch:
A watch whose mainspring is wound by the movements or accelerations of the wearer's arm. On the basis of the principle of terrestrial attraction, a rotor turns and transmits its energy to the spring by means of an appropriate mechanism. The system was invented in Switzerland by Abraham-Louis Perrelet in the 18th century.

Barrel: Thin cylindrical box containing the mainspring of a watch. The toothed rim of the barrel drives the train.

Bezel: The ring that surrounds the watch dial (or face). The bezel is usually made of gold, gold plate or stainless steel.

Bi-directional rotating bezel: A bezel that can be rotated either clockwise or counterclockwise. These are used for mathematical calculations such as average speed or distance (see "slide rule") or for keeping track of elapsed time(see "elapsed time rotating bezel").

Bridge: Complementary part fixed to the main plate to form the frame of a watch movement. The other parts are mounted inside the frame.
(Watch-) case: Container that protects the watch-movement from dust, damp and shocks. It also gives the watch as attractive an appearance as possible, subject to fashion and the taste of the public.

Crown: Also called a stem or pin, a crown is the knob/button on the outside of the watch case that is used to set the time and date. In a mechanical watch the crown also winds the mainspring. In this case it is also called a "winding stem". A screw in (or screw down) crown is used to make a watch more water resistant. The crown actually screws into the case, dramatically increasing the water-tightness of the watch.

Crystal: The transparent cover on a watch face made of glass crystal, synthetic sapphire or plastic. Better watches often have a sapphire crystal which is highly resistant to scratching or shattering.
Depth alarm: An alarm on a divers' watch that sounds when the wearer exceeds a pre-set depth.

Depth sensor/depth meter: A device on a divers' watch that determines the wearer's depth by measuring water pressure. It shows the depth either by analog hands and a scale on the watch face or through a digital display.

Dial: The watch face (plate of metal or other material). Dials vary verymuch in shape, decoration, material, etc. The indications are given by means of numerals, divisions or symbols of various types.

Digital watch: A watch that shows the time through digits rather than through a dial and hands (analog) display.

Diving watch: A watch that is water resistant to 200M. Has a one way rotating bezel and a screw-on crown and back. Has a metal or rubber strap (not leather). Has a sapphire crystal and possibly, a wet-suit extension.
Integrated bracelet: A watch bracelet that is incorporated into the design of the case.
Jewels: Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears in a mechanical watch. The jewels reduce friction to make the watch more accurate and longer lasting. Generally made of synthetic material, except for the precious or semi-precious stones (ruby, sapphire, garnet) which are sometimes used in "de luxe" watches.
Quartz movement: A movement powered by a quartz crystal to. Quartz crystals are very accurate. They can be mass produced which makes them less expensive than most mechanical movements which require a higher degree craftsmanship.
Stopwatch: A watch with a seconds hand that measures intervals of time. When a stopwatch is incorporated into a standard watch, both the stopwatch function and the timepiece are referred to as a chronograph.

Tank watch: A rectangular watch designed by Louis Cartier. The bars along the sides of the watch were inspired by the tracks of tanks used in World War 1.

Telemeter: A telemeter determines the distance of an object from the observer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance. Like a tachometer (see "tachometer"), it consists of a stopwatch, or chronograph, and a special scale, usually on the outermost edge of the watch face.

Timer: Instrument used for registering intervals of time (durations, brief times), without any indication of the time of day.

Titanium: A metal that is used for some watch cases and bracelets. Titanium is much stronger and lighter than stainless steel. Titanium is also hypo-allergenic.
Tonneau watch: A watch shaped like a barrel, with two convex sides.
Water resistant: The ability to withstand splashes of water. Terms such as "water resistant to 50 meters" or "water resistant to 200 meters" indicate that the watch can be worn underwater to various depths.
Shop by Clock Category
Shop by Gender Category