Watch Terminology 316 Surgical Stainless Steel

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Watch Terminology
316 Surgical Stainless Steel

Hypoallergenic 316 Surgical Stainless steel has in recent years been used increasingly in jewelry. The benefits include a high resistance to corrosion which prevents rust, a resistance to high temperatures, long term durability and a bright, easily maintained surface providing for a modern and attractive appearance. Stainless steel is also quite easy to clean and does not oxidize over time as does other types of semi–precious materials.

Automatic Mechanical Wind

A watch which has mechanical moving parts and winds its mainspring automatically using an internal rotor system.

Automatic Winding

The watch mainspring is wound automatically by a device inside the movement which rotates due to normal wrist motion while wearing the watch.


A frame or ring which holds the crystal of a watch.


Any kind of precious stone, such as sapphire, ruby or emerald, uncut and only polished, generally of a half–spherical shape, mainly used as an ornament of the winding crown(s) or certain elements of the case.

Carbon Fiber Finish

An extremely strong thin fiber made by pyrolyzing (to transform a substance through heat application) synthetic fibers, such as rayon, until charred. It is used to make high–strength composites.


The cover on the back of a watch which protects the movement. A caseback normally snaps back into place. Waterproof models will have a screw down variety to ensure water cannot permeate the seal. Information regarding each watch can usually be found on the outside of the caseback.


A watch with a complex feature allowing measurement of fractions of a second and elapsed time, independent of the watch displaying normal time.


A watch which has been measured for accuracy and tested for precision by an official testing institute.


A term used to describe an added feature to a watch, making it more than a simple timepiece. Examples: chronograph, split–chronograph, day, date, month, repeater, etc.

Côtes de Geneve

Decoration applied mainly to high–quality movements, appearing as a series of parallel ribs, realized by repeated cuts of a cutter leaving thin stripes.

Embossed Leather Band

The leather has the look of crocodile (or another animal) but is not made from that animal.


A knob on the outside of the watch case used for winding the mainspring and setting the time and calendar functions.

Deployment Buckle

A hinged fold–over style metal clasp that opens and closes easily, allowing the watch to be placed on the wrist or removed without the use of a traditional buckle.

Dual Time

A watch that displays the time from two separate time zones. Normally, these watches are made with two separate movements.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

GMT. Abbreviation for Greenwich Mean Time. As a feature of watches, it means that two or more time zones are displayed. In this case, the second time may be read from a hand, making a full rotation in a 24–hour ring (thereby also indicating whether it is a.m. or p.m. in that zone).


This is a different process that is not micron plating but gives an equivalent of 5 Microns. It holds better under certain conditions than plating.

Jeweled Movement

The internal part of a watch used to reduce friction, such as a bearing. Normally made of synthetic material. However, some high grade watches use both precious and semi–precious stones.

* The basic 7 jewels are part of the escapement and balance and are found on watches. They include cap and hole jewels for both the top and the bottom of the balance wheel (total of 4), the two pallet jewels and the roller jewel.

* The next 8, making 15 jewels, are hole jewels for the fast moving part of the gear train.

* The next 2, making 17 jewels, are jewels on the center wheel.

* The next 2–4, making 19–21 jewels, are cap jewels on the escape wheel and the pallet fork.

Krystena Crystal

Watch crystal that is extremely hard and very scratch resistant.

Luminous Hands

Hands that glow in the dark.

Mechanical Automatic Wind

A watch which has mechanical moving parts and winds its mainspring automatically using an internal rotor system.

Mechanical Manual Wind

A watch which has mechanical moving parts and requires its mainspring to be manually wound.

Mineral Crystal

Clear watch crystal, scratch resistant.


The function or complication of a watch which displays the phases of the earth’s moon cycle.

Power Reserve Indicator

An indicator hand on a dial which displays how much the mainspring is wound up or down.

Quartz Movement

A watch whose battery–powered mechanism uses electrical energy to cause vibrations in a synthetic quartz crystal at the very high rate of 100 kilocycles per second. Electronic quartz watches are some of the most accurate watches produced.

Rotating Bezel

Style of bezel which rotates to measure elapsed time, dual time and mathematical functions. These style bezels are normally designed for and used on aviation and scuba diving watches.

Sapphire Crystal

Synthetic watch crystal that is extremely hard and very scratch resistant.

Shock Resistant

A watch movement in which the balance staff end stone jewels are sprung so that when the watch is subjected to a shock, there will be some "give."


A mechanical watch movement that has had as much material cut away from the plates and dial as possible during the manufacturing process to render the greatest view possible of the watch wheels and escapement. It is normally cased in a watch case where the crystal is mounted on both the front and back to create a very decorative watch.


A smaller dial on the main dial of a watch displaying a feature of the watch. Example: constant second hand, minute and hour counters, days, dates, months, leap years, etc.

Sub–seconds Hand

A smaller sub-dial on the main dial displaying constant seconds.

Tachymeter ⁄ Tachometer

Watch or stop watch used for the measurement of speed. Normally a timer or chronograph with a graduated dial or bezel allowing the speed of a vehicle to be figured in miles per hour or kilometers per hour.

Water Resistance (ATM)

A watch whose case(s) is designed in such a way as to resist infiltration by Water.

# Examples: 3 ATM corresponding to a conventional depth of 30 meters.

# 5 ATM corresponding to a conventional depth of 50 meters.

# 10 ATM corresponding to a conventional depth of 100 meters.

# 15 ATM corresponding to a conventional depth of 150 meters.

# 20 ATM corresponding to a conventional depth of 200 meters.

# 100 ATM corresponding to a conventional depth of 1000 meters.

Moisture Resistant

A watch designed to withstand rain and splashes of water, but not designed to withstand bathing or submerging.

Fold–over Clasp

A hinged and jointed element, normally of the same material as the one used for the case. It allows easy fastening of the bracelet on the wrist. Often provided with a snap–in locking device, sometimes with an additional clip or push–piece.

Helium Valve

Valve inserted in the case of some professional diving watches to discharge the helium contained in the air mixture inhaled by divers.

PVD–gold Plating

PVD is a closely held proprietary process in which gold ions are bonded to steel. This process is utilized by a select few manufacturers and is the equivalent of 10 microns of 18 karat gold. It is longer lasting than the industry standard gold plating process.

To further explain, the average watch is flash plated – which is a dipping process where the level of microns of gold which adhere to the watch depends on how long the metal is in the tank. During PVD or IP (ion plating), the gold is bonded to the steel on a molecular level and lasts longer than flash plating (described above) with the equivalent to 10 microns of plating.

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