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A Gentleman’s Guide to the Basic Components of a Watch

One part jewelry and one part utilitarian equipment, a watch is an incredibly important accessory for a man to own. This simple machine that conveniently sits on your wrist can show status,
style, and personality.

A Gentleman’s Guide to the Basic Components of a Watch – Henry A. Davidsen

Aside from aesthetics, have you ever considered what makes your watch “go” or the individual components that make your watch unique? Today, we’re going to discuss some watch basics such as “movement” and what a bezel is, to give you a better understanding of the world of horology.

On the Inside

First things first: movement. One of the most important aspects of every timepiece is its movement type. Quartz, automatic, mechanical, chronograph, and chronometer, (just to name a few), will determine if daily winding is required (mechanical), or if a battery is required (quartz).

Most watch companies will purchase parts of the movement from suppliers while the higher-end watch manufacturers create their own proprietary movements. Rolex, A. Lange & Sohn, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe all have exclusive designs, thus making their timepieces highly sought after and collector items.

On the Outside

Moving from the inside out, let’s comb over the basic elements found on the outside of your watch.

  • Case: The case is what holds all of the watch’s inner workings. Depending on what type of watch it is, the case material can be made of precious metal or even plastic.
  • Crown: The small, sometimes protruding, dial located on the side of mechanical watches only – the crown is what we use to change the time/date on our watch.
  • Bezel: The bezel is a ring-shaped piece that sits around the watch face on the watch’s case. Sometimes the bezel contains embellishments like diamonds or colored gemstones and may or may not be the same material as the case.
  • Crystal: The clear covering over the watch dial is called its crystal. The most common crystal materials are sapphire, mineral, and plastic. Sapphire crystal is shatter- and scratch-resistant, as well as the longest lasting out of all three. Mid-priced watches utilize a mineral-based crystal, while plastic is found in lower-priced watches.
  • Dial: The flat surface that sits beneath the crystal. The dial can come in many materials, colors, and textures. The dial also boasts the watch’s numbers which can be anything from bar markers to Arabic numerals.

Hopefully we’ve peaked your interest in acquiring a new watch. If so, consider reading How to Choose the Right Wristwatch for Your Style and Personality.

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