Watch Glossary

Caliber -

The movement of a watch is also referred to as the caliber. When writing out the caliber of a watch, manufactures usually place the name of the timepiece at the beginning.

Case -

A case houses the internal parts of a watch. They are generally made from metal like gold, silver or titanium. Lower priced watches will usually feature a gold or silver plated case.

Caseback -

The caseback is the backside of a watch. On some watches, the caseback will be transparent to allow the owner to watch the inner workings of their timepiece. Usually, manufacturers will put their name or logo on the caseback along with other details.

Chiming Mechanism -

Most mechanical watches use a separate apparatus to house the chiming mechanism. This mechanism features a hammer which hits things like a gong or even a set of chimes to alert users of the time.

Chronograph -

This is a stopwatch that can be used in sporting events.

Chronometer -

These devices are known for how precise they are. These calibers are certified for their preciseness by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute.

Co-axial Escapement -

The co-axial escapement was invented in the 70s to be used as an alternative to the Swiss lever escapement. The name for this apparatus was given because of the dual wheels mounted on parallel shafts. The use of the escapements became very popular once watchmakers saw the lack of friction produced. By using this escapement, watchmakers were able to use less lubricant while allowing the watches to run for longer periods of time.

Complication -

An additional function offered on a watch is known as a complication. Things like calendars, alarms and moon phase settings are very common complications. The more complications featured on a watch, the harder it is for watchmakers to build them.

Crown -

The crown is the button located on the outside of a watch’s case. This button can be used to change the settings for date and time. On most mechanical timepieces, the crown can be used to wind up the mainspring.

Crystal -

The crystal is what covers the face of a watch. This cover can be made from plastic, crystal and even synthetic materials.