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Glossary of Watch Terminology
Alarm: A device that sounds a signal at a pre-set time.
Altimeter: A device that determines altitude by responding to changes in barometric pressure.
Analog Display: A display that shows the time by means of hands and a dial.
Automatic Movement: A mechanical movement that requires no winding because the rotor, part of the automatic mechanism, winds the mainspring every time you move your hand. When fully wound and left to sit, most automatics have up to 36 hours of reserve power. Mechanical movements are usually accurate within one minute each day.
Battery Reserve Indicator: Watches with this feature usually show when the reserve is getting low, the second hand moves at either two or four second intervals.
Batons: These are the marker usually five minute or quarter markers around the dial.
Bezel: The ring usually made of gold, gold plate or steel that surrounds the watch face.
Bracelet: A type of watch band made of various metals in links, which in most cases can be adjusted.
Cabochon: Tiny rounded decorative stone usually found on the button on dress watches.
Calendar: A feature that usually shows the day of the month, and can sometimes also show the day of the week.
Caliber/Calibre: Most commonly, the term is used to describe the movement's size.
Case: The container which houses the movement. Various metals used Stainless steel also brass and plated with gold or silver. Other materials may be titanium, gold, silver or platinum.
Case back: Found on the opposite side to the dial. The case back may be screw fit to aid water resistance or pressure clip fit. The case back is usually made of stainless steel unless the case is made of a precious metal.
Chronograph: Usually have various forms of stop watch or timing devices. (Sometimes confused with Chronometer)
Chronometer: This is an accurate time piece which has usually been tested in various temperatures so that its accuracy is guaranteed. (Often confused with Chronograph which would normally have press buttons on the side of the case)
Countdown Timer: A function that lets the wearer keep track of how much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed.
Crown: Button or even sometimes known as the winder, which is used to adjust time or other function on the watch. Some watches have a crown which can be screwed down onto the case for extra water resistance.
Day/Date Watch: A watch that indicates not only the date but also the day of the week.
Day/Night Indicator: A coloured or shaded band on a world time that shows which time zones are in daylight and which in darkness.
Deployment Buckle: A type of buckle that pops open and fastens using hinged, often adjustable, extenders.
Depth Alarm: An alarm on a diver's watch that sounds when the wearer exceeds a pre-set depth.
Dial: The watch face visible underneath the glass.
Digital watch: LCD watches display the time through digits but can have digital dial and hands as well.
Dual Timer: A watch that can have analogue and digital features enabling it to measure current local time as well as at least one other time zone and usually has chronograph functions as well.
Eco Drive: Sunlight and artificial light are absorbed through the crystal (the glass) and dial. A solar cell beneath the dial converts any form of light into electrical energy to power the watch. Lithium-ion rechargeable battery stores enough energy to power the watch from 80 days to 5 years. Some Eco Drive watches also have a power reserve indicator so you should never run out of power without a warning first. All the Eco drives are quartz; so they have the advantage of quartz accuracy.
Elapsed Time Rotating Bezel: A graduated rotating bezel used as a marker to keep track of periods of time. The bezel can be turned so the wearer can align the zero or pointer on the bezel with the watch's seconds or minutes hand.
Escapement: Device in a mechanical movement that controls the rotation of the wheels and thus the motion of the hands.
ETA: One of the leading manufacturers of watch movements based in Switzerland. ETA movements are used by many major Swiss watch brands.
Face: The watch face or dial that is visible underneath the glass.
Flyback hand: A seconds hand on the chronograph that can be used to time lapse.
Gasket: Most water resistant watches are equipped with gaskets to seal the case back, crystal, and crown to protect against water infiltration during normal wear.
Gear Train: The system of gears which transmits power from the mainspring to the escapement.
Hands: The hour and minute pointers indicating time on a dial.
Integrated Bracelet: A watch bracelet and case that are designed to give the appearance of being one piece.
Jewels: Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears in a mechanical watch, reducing friction and often containing small amounts of oil.
Lap Memory: The ability in some quartz sport watches to preserve in the watch's memory the times of laps in a race that have been determined by the lap timer. The wearer can recall these times on a digital display by pushing a button.
Limited Editions: A watch style manufactured in a specific amount - often numbered - and available in limited quantities. Limited editions are available from most fine watch manufacturers and may be highly prized by collectors.
LCD / Liquid-Crystal Display: A digital watch display that shows the time electronically by means of the liquid held in a thin layer between two transparent plates.
Lugs: Projection on the watch face to which the watch band/bracelet is attached.
Luminous: A coating of luminous material applied to the hands and batons to allow them to be seen in the dark.
Mainspring: The driving spring of a mechanical watch contained in the barrel.
Manual Wind: A manual wind watch must be wound every day by the crown or button in order to run.
Mechanical Movement: A movement based on a mainspring which is wound by hand - when wound, it slowly unwinds the spring in an even motion. An automatic mechanical requires no winding because of the rotor - which winds the mainspring every time you move your wrist.
Micron: Unit of measurement of the thickness of the gold-coating. 1 micron = 1/1000mm.
Mineral Crystal Glass: A hard transparent material that will resist scratches.
Moon-phase: A window in a watch face that shows the current phase the moon.
Mother-of-Pearl: Iridescent milky interior shell of the freshwater mollusc that is sliced thin and used on watch dials.
Movement: The inner mechanism of watch that keeps time and moves the watch's hand, calendar, etc. Movements are either mechanical or quartz and powered by various methods.
Perpetual Calendar: A calendar that automatically adjusts for the months' varying length and for leap year.
Plating (PVD/IP): A layer of gold or other coating that has been electro-deposited onto a metal; its thickness is measured in microns. Others metals can be used. PVD stands for physical vapour deposition, whilst IP stands for ion plating – which is another form of vapour deposition using electrical charges.
Quartz: A tiny piece of synthetic quartz that oscillates at the rate of 32.768 times a second when a small charge is passed through it, dividing time into constant equal segments.
Rose Gold: An alloy of gold and copper that gives the gold a pink or reddish hue.
Rotating Bezel: A bezel (the ring surrounding the watch face) that can be turned acts as pointer.
Rotor: The part of an automatic watch that winds the movement's main spring. The rotors swings with the movement of the wrist and enable the mainspring to wound at a constant pressure and thus gives the watch a constant source of power.
Sapphire Crystal: A crystal made of synthetic sapphire - extremely hard and can be three times harder than a mineral crystal.
Screw-Lock Crown: A crown that can be screwed into the case to make the watch watertight.
Seal: Most water resistant watches are equipped with gaskets to seal the case back, crystal and crown to protect against water infiltration during normal wear.
Solar Powered Batteries: See Eco Drive by Citizen.
Split Seconds Hand: Actually two hands, one a fly back hand the other a regular chronograph hand.
Stainless Steel: An extremely durable metal alloy (chromium is a main ingredient) that is virtually immune to rust, discoloration and corrosion; it can be highly polished even gold plated.
Stepping Motor: The part of a quartz movement that moves the gear train, which in turn moves the watch's hands.
Sterling Silver: A white precious metal which is usually hallmarked. The main legal standard of silver used for jewellery.
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".
Sweep Seconds-Hand: A seconds-hand that is mounted in the center of the watch dial.
Tachymeter: A device on the chronograph watches that measure the speed at which the wearer has travelled over a measured distance. Can also be used to calculate how many repetitions of an instance may be performed within a given timeframe.
Titanium: Very light but extremely resilient metal.
Two Tone: A watch that combines two different coloured metals, usually white and yellow They can be plated, precious or a mixture of both.
Waterproof: A term which has become misused over a period of time. Water Resistant is a more suitable description. See Water resistant.
Water resistance: A measurement- of how a watch will withstand different pressures of water at different depths, but only in laboratory conditions.
Water resistance is usually measured in metres but this can be confusing in itself as the pressure that watches are subjected to - when for example diving from the side into a swimming pool - can be very extreme and have therefore no relationship to actual depth.
You should carefully consider the guide below when selecting a suitable water resistance
Up to 30 meters (3ATM or 3bar) - splash proof, so not really meant for total immersion.
50 meters (5ATM or 5bar) – surface swimming only.
100 meters (10ATM or 10bar) - swimming or snorkelling only.
200 meters (20ATM or 20bar) - suitable for skin diving.
The above is a only a guide and it is always wise to check the actual manufactures or suppliers recommendations.
We would seriously recommend that if you need to dive to any particular depth you should refer to a watch manufacturer or supplier that specializes in diving watches for guidance. They should be able to advise you of the correct specifications you require
If there are no indications of water resistance on your watch you should never expose your watch to any type of moisture whatsoever.
If a watch is water resistant, it should never be exposed to hot water (ie showering or washing up) - this will cause the air in the watch to expand and rupture the waterproof seals.
White Gold : An alloy of gold and at least one white metal. Nickel used to be used as the main alloy, but at least 1 person in 8 has an allergy to it and has thus been replaced with other metals.
World Time Dial: A dial, usually on the outer edge of the watch face that tells the time up to 24 time zones around the world. Digital watches are also able to have this function.
Yacht Timer: A countdown timer that sounds warning signals during the countdown to a boat race.
Yellow Gold: Usually found in nine and eighteen carat and hallmarked.
WatchMad's useful hints & tips
Useful tips about watches are for general guidance only you should always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions as a precaution.
Water resistance is not a permanent feature of any watch, so if you are using your timepiece in water then have it tested regularly; always check the manufactures recommendations.
If you’re going to get your watch wet, check the button (winder) is pressed tight against the watch case before hand.
If you have a screw down button always check it is screwed down tight before you get your watch wet.
If you have a chronograph watch, never depress the timing push buttons when you’re in water as this will allow moisture or water inside the case.
If you have a specialist diving watch it essential to have a water resistance test carried out before the start of each season for your own safety. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If you are unsure of your watch’s resistance to water always check with the manufacturer; if in doubt leave your watch out of the water.
If your watch does not have any indication of water resistance on the case or dial then assume it does not have any resistance to moisture and do not take the risk of getting it wet. Always check with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Check the condition of your watch strap from time to time - especially after the anniversary of its purchase. If you spot any signs of wear you should replace it immediately to avoid the possibility of losing your timepiece.
Always check your watch bracelet, especially any adjustable link areas where - although unlikely - the securing pin may start to protrude. Do not wear your watch until you have had this corrected by your local jeweller.
From time to time check the condition and firmness of the clasp. The clasp should always secure with a firm snap. If this is not the case or the clasp suddenly flies open - remove your timepiece and seek the help of your local jeweler.
Always be aware of any deep scratches or chips to the glass as this could well cause a weakness and affect the water resistance of the watch.
Watches are like cars and from time to time will need attention or service. This should always be carried out by a qualified watchmaker or returned to your local stockist for return to the supplier service department to undertake any work.
Be very careful when you are washing your hands at say a service station - do not put your watch down; it's better to put it in a pocket or bag so that it’s not accidently left behind and lost.
All of Watchmad, useful tips about watches, are for general guidance only and you should always refer to the manufactures instructions as a precaution.
Frequently asked questions
(click to expand each heading)
Authorized dealer info
We are official authorized dealers for all of the brands that we stock.
Adjusting my watch bracelet
We can adjust any watch bracelet before dispatch if necessary. To take advantage of this you should email us with your wrist size at the time of checkout (or include details of this in the comments box). Bracelet adjustments are performed free charge; please note that this may delay your purchase but we will try our best to remove links the same day.
My watch has stopped working
Unfortunately even with highest quality of watches, faults can occur. Every watch we sell at WatchMad is backed by full manufactures warranty; this covers your watch against manufacturing defects such as losing time or if it stops working completely, We recommend that any such repairs/replacement parts are only performed by the manufacturer of the watch. If you do have a problem the quickest method to rectify your watch is to return directly to the manufacturer, this is the quickest way with a turnaround of approximately two weeks -the returns address is include in your guarantee booklet. If the watch is within its guarantee period any work under the guarantee will be carried out free. If you have any issues then drop us a email at support@WatchMad.co.uk
and we will try to help.
To help you get started with your new watch, we always include the correct instructions with every watch we sell - in most cases this is enough information for you to learn all the features. If you have problems understanding any part of the instructions then contact us for help. It is often advisable to look at the manufacturer's website for further details,
Citizen watches instructions can be complex, so to help you they have details of all their watches on their website, www.citizenwatch.com/coa/english/setting.asp
I want to cancel or return my order!
I haven’t received my order yet
As your order is processed we will email you, initially after placing the order you will receive an order confirmation email stating that it has been processed on our system, then we will pick & pack your order ready for collection by royal mail, once we have dispatched your order then we will email you confirming it has left the building and on its way to you - for further information check the delivery information
page. Orders are normally dispatched up until 4pm the same day. Orders placed after this time are dealt with on the next working day.
Items lost/delayed in the post can only be chased up after 21 days. See the delivery page for more information.
Out of stock watches
At WatchMad we update our website daily with our stock levels, if the watch you would like is out of stock send an email and we can let you know a delivery time - or we may have had it just arrive back in stock. On rare occasions a watch may have sold out in our stores, leaving us with no immediate stock. If this happens we will contact you to let you know - at this point you will be able to either cancel your order or keep it on backorder until the stock becomes available.
Where’s my refund?
See our returns policy on the delivery information
page - refunds can take up to 14 days to appear in your account, and any problems let us know.
Price increases on watches.
From time to time we do receive price increase from our watch suppliers and we do our best to hold the prices but sometimes it’s not possible, if the price has increased on a watch you were looking at give us a call and we may be able to honour the price!
As official dealers for all the brands on our website we can supply the original replacement straps, contact us with your requirements.
This is all best done local to you, due to errors which may happen or if the gift is unwanted, once items are engraved then it can’t be removed. We therefore don't offer an engraving service on orders placed over the internet.
My chronograph hands won’t reset
If you are finding that the stop watch part of your watch won’t reset back to 12 o’clock this usually is simple and the hands need setting up, see you instructions for details or contact are technical desk for help.
Automatic watches are charged by the movement of your arms when worn, if worn everyday and you only take it off at night your watch will be ticking away in the morning. Wearing you automatic watch only at the weekends this will cause it to stop in-between wearing it; all it will need is a few shakes (or hold it in your fingers by the sides and rotate your hand in a circular motion) to kick start it back into action.
We do sell winding boxes in our stores and if you would like some details send a email or visit your nearest store.