Watch Terms You Need to Be Aware Of

By now, you probably know the distinguishing characteristics between an automatic watch and a quartz watch, but there are more to watches that meet the eye.

A true horological expert will marvel not only on the things that one can see on the watch face but also the inner workings of a timepiece as well.

In today’s article, I will go over some of the most important watch terms that you need to be aware of.


This is a ring around the watch crystal that holds both the glass and the crystal in place.
This is usually made of metal (or stainless steel) but other watchmaking companies can make use of any other material that they wish.


The watch case is a container that helps protect the inner workings of a watch. The cases are available in many shapes and sizes, including square, round, oval, rectangular, and tonneau.


This refers to the small opening on the watch face that typically is reserved for telling the time and date.


The watch lug is the protrusion from the watch case that helps secure the bracelet or strap to the watch case itself.


This is the small part of the watch (usually located on the side) that is responsible for adjusting the time and the date of the timepiece.

On mechanical watches, this is also the mechanism that is used to wind the mainspring as well.


Also known as watch movement, this refers to the engine that is responsible for how the watch functions or moves.


This is the topmost portion of the watch that helps protect the watch face and the inner mechanisms. This is usually made of plastic, glass, or synthetic sapphire.


This is either a band or a strip of rubber or leather that will hold the watch onto your wrist. For it to qualify as a watch strap, it has to be made either of leather or rubber material. Stainless steel straps are known as bracelets and not straps.


This is present in automatic watches and this is the one responsible for automatically winding the mainspring so that you do not have to continuously have to do it yourself.


Other than the basic watch hands, the subdial is a small circle that also provides you with key information. This is usually found in Chronograph watches.


This is the main watch face where you will see the time, the date, and other features of the watch.


These are the time indicators that are usually placed on top of the watch’s face to help you determine what time it is. There is a hand that tells the hour, minute, and seconds.


Watch complications are basically just extra added features that are incorporated into the watch. Remember that a watch’s main feature is timekeeping. A perpetual calendar and altimeter are both considered watch complications, among many others.