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Understanding Watch Terminologies- A Beginners Guide to Everything

Jul 12,2023 | PAGANI DESIGN Official Store

Watches are indeed a great accessory, and modern watches with advanced technology have put timepieces to be more versatile and sophisticated than ever imagined. They now serve as a symbol of prestige and wealth, other than keeping you time-updated.

Luxury watches contain about a hundred parts, roughly up to 400 components, that add to the aesthetic value and make the watch run.

While understanding these parts, you may break into a list of complicated and abstract terms that fail to immerse you in the art of watch collection.

Dont’worry we have got you covered. This guide will help you navigate all the fundamental keywords you often hear while discussing watches.

Part I: Understanding Watch Anatomy

The watch components, inside or out, create a unique, luxury timepiece. Learn about watch anatomy in this section from the team of Pagani Design Watches.

Watch Case

This is the outer covering that encloses the inner workings of the watch. They are of different materials and shapes (oval, square, round, or tonneau) and protect the watch from regular wear and tear.

Watch Dial

The dial is the visible screen at the top of the watch, often called a watch face. It features markers, numbers, or other indicators that help the wearer read the time. It displays the time and comes in various colors, shapes, and styles.

An old, traditional watch dial looked very simple and minimalistic, like the one PD-1723. Still, modern timepieces have unique dial features such as date, time display, stop-watch feature, and markers combinations.


The bezel is the outer ring around the dial that protects the watch glass in place. It is either fixed or rotatable and has adornments depending on the functionality and watch type.

It has several markings and scale imprints used to track elapsed time. It comprises various ceramic, stainless steel, platinum, or metal materials. You can check PD-1718 ceramic bezel as an example.

Some bezels have one side rotation, known as unidirectional bezels, used to make mathematical calculations.

Some bezels are bi-directional, letting you turn them clockwise and anti-clockwise.

There is also a fixed bezel for specific use.

Bracelet or Strap

The bands attached to the dial are watch bracelets. They are made of different materials, including metal, leather, jubilee, oyster, or rubber. You can get original watch straps at $20.


The small screw/knob you see at the side of the watch case is called the watch crown. It acts like a command center responsible for setting the time and date.

It performs additional functions such as controlling the chronograph features and winding the mainspring of the mechanical watches.


This is the transparent covering that protects the dial from all sorts of dirt, damage, and scratches. It is made of plastic, glass, sapphire crystal, or mineral crystal.

All high-end watches, like the Pagani Design watches, use synthetic sapphire crystal to make them damage-free and scratch resistant.


Hand refers to the needle in the watches used to indicate hours, minutes, and seconds. You will see them in different shapes and sizes, from sword hands to alpha, dauphine hands.


A lug is a place where the strap and watch case meets through metal spring bars. They are located both at the top and bottom of the watch case.


The brand information on the watch face is called the signature.

Digging the Extras- Beyond Basic Timekeeping


A pusher is a button attached to the watch case, right at the top of the crown, used to activate the watch's additional functions, such as the chronograph counter.


Luminosity is the watch feature that lets you see the time, even in dark surroundings. The hour markers, indices, and hands are made of specific materials that produce the luminous effect, allowing the wearer to see in the darkest of the night.

PD-1703 offers luminous pointers to keep you time-updated even in the dark.


It is a scale inscribed on the watch bezel with a chronograph. It is used to measure speed and distance over a fixed period of time. It is a watch compilation mostly found on Swiss Luxury High-end watches.


They are small dials within the main dial of a chronograph watch to feature additional information such as measuring moon phase and power reserve and indicating minutes, hours, and seconds.

Part II: Understanding Watch Internal Mechanism

Before we begin to explore the watch's intricacies and unique pieces inside, know that each watch's manufacturing and model are distinctive in their attributes and features.

These inner workings are hidden inside the dial, while some watchmakers provide transparent casing so that you can peek inside the mechanism and look for its parts.

Movement/ Caliber

Caliber, another name for Movement, is the watch's essential component that powers the watch and controls all the time-keeping functions. It is the basis of the watch mechanism.

You will read three kinds of Movement used in watches- Quartz, Mechanical, and Automatic.

Quartz movement watches are run and powered by a battery. This type of watch won't need manual winding; instead, an electric oscillator keeps up the time. They are less expensive and include fewer working parts.

A mechanical movement needs manual winding and contains complex components to measure the passage of time.

Automatic movements are self-wounded and powered by the wearer's natural motion.

Seiko Japan movement is the best alternative to Swiss luxury watches and offers the same features and results at less price.


Jewels are small gemstones or crystal bearings installed within the Movement to reduce friction between gears. It helps maintain time accuracy and reduces the chances of wear and tear on internal parts.


The mainspring is the coiled metal spring that powers the watch wheel. It is located inside the barrel and acts as a fuel tank and battery for mechanical watches.


It is the mechanism in the watch that gradually transfers and transmits the power from the mainspring to the balance wheel. It drives the timekeeping elements by periodically turning the gear train to move forward, resulting in hand movement.

The ticking sound you hear while placing your watch near your ear is due to escapement.

Rotor or Oscillating Weight

A semi-circular weight placed inside the Movement supplies mechanical energy to the mainspring when the wearer moves his wrists. It is the key component responsible for the watch's functioning.

Balance Wheel or Hairspring

It is a weighted wheel that swings back and forth as part of the oscillating system. It turns the balance wheel to the center after every tick.

Part III: Understanding Watch Complications

Watch complications are secondary features offered by timepieces in addition to their primary function of telling the time. They are displayed and often performed by the wearer to enhance or simplify life.

They are called watch complications because they involve more complex parts and thus require complex building and servicing.


A Chronograph is a type of watch with a built-in stop-watch feature and is characterized by two-sub dials within the watch's face. It is activated by two pushers attached to the side of the watch case.

Helium Escape Valve

A feature found in dive watches to release pressure when the user is in deep down waters. It prevents the watch from being damaged and crystal glass from exploding.

Power Reserve Indicator

This is the sign of the power status of your mainspring. It allows the wearer to monitor the power left in a watch and how long it can function.


Tourbillon is the most valued cage-like mechanism found in luxury high-end timepieces that house escapement and a balance wheel. The function of this complication is to protect the watch from gravity deviations from the correct time.

Watches with this feature are more expensive than normal watches with no tourbillon.

Perpetual Calendar

It is a mechanical feature that displays correct calendar information, including date, day, month, moon phase, and even leap year.


We assumed reading about each watch's terminologies has cleared your understanding of timepiece composition. Now that you get familiar with each of them thoroughly, you can understand your watch better and easily get involved in buying conversation at your next retail shop.