Explore Ladies Complicated Watches + Watch Complications Explained

Ladies complicated watches do more that tell time. The extra functions above the basic function of telling time are referred to as complications. A mechanical watch with any other function in addition to telling time is called a a complicated watch. 

Enjoy convenient features and functions, interesting watch faces, and superior craftsmanship with complicated watches. Here, learn more about the different types of wrist watch complications and what they do and discover amazing complicated watches for women.

Explore Complicated Ladies Watches

Wrist Watch Complications Explained

Here is a list of wristwatch complications and their functions:

Date/Astrological Complications

Date display is the simplest and most common complication. This is where a  wrist watch has the current date displayed on the face via a date window, pointer date, or a sub-dial.

  • Simple Calendar/Day and Date Display: A simple calendar watch with a small calendar window on the dial where the day and date today are displayed. Also known as quantième complet or full calendar, it requires updating at the end of 30-days months and at the end of February. A triple calendar or complete calendar displays the date, day and month.
  • Annual Calendar: Displays the day, date and month. It self-adjusts for 30 and 31-day months requiring manual adjustment once a year at the end of February.
  • Perpetual Calendar: A perpetual calendar is a sophisticated calendar that displays the date, day, month and four year cycle in a perpetual (continuous) manner, accounting for the different lengths of the months and leap year's day. It will automatically adjust for leap year. The next time a perpetual calendar will have to be adjusted manually is in the year 2100.
  • Equation of Time: Did you know that only 4 days a year are exactly 24 hours long! The actual solar length of most days varies by as much as 16 minutes shorter and 14 minutes longer. The equation of time is a sophisticated calendar watch which takes into account the equation of time measuring the minutes difference there is between the calendar time and the actual solar time. It indicates the addition or subtraction of minutes for the day.

Chronograph/Timing Complications

This is the  most popular complication. A chronograph watch is a wristwatch with a stop watch function. It not only shows the current time but can also be used to measure elapsed time in seconds, and sometimes sub seconds, minutes or hours. For example measuring time intervals in sports.

The stopwatch function is controlled by a start/stop button and a reset button.  Chronograph watch dials have 3 sub-dials that keep track of tenths of seconds, minutes, or hours for the stopwatch function.

There are simple and sophisticated chronographs: simple chronograph, tachymeter,  pulsation scale (pulsometer), telemeter, flyback chronograph, and rattrapante. Learn more about these timing complications.

Duo Time/Travel Complications

Dual Movement: A duo time zone watch with dual movement has two movements running separately. There are independent of each other and are powered and set separately.

Duo Time Zone: A duo time zone watch where both time zones are powered by the same movement. You can set it so that it displays your home time and the local time for your current destination. The time for the second time zone can be displayed using a 24hr hand, a subdial or a window with a digital display.

GMT Watches: GMT or UTC watches show the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the home time. This kind of watch has the usual hour hand plus a second 24hr hour hand that can be set independently to display the time in another time zone instead of the GMT time, in which case it functions as a duo time zone watch. The 24hr system makes it easy to tell whether the time is am or pm.

World Timer: A World Timer is the most sophisticated travel complication. It displays all the time zones around the world. You can tell the time at home as well as determine the time for each of the 24 time zones.

A world timer has a rotating inner bezel (a ring surrounding the dial) with a 24hr display and an outer bezel where major cities in the 24 time zones are listed. The main dial displays the home time. The user sets the outer bezel and can tell the time in a specific city and therefore time zone by reading the scale next to the city the hand is pointing to. Some world timers also have a day/night indicator where a colored/shaded band shows the time zones experiencing daylight and those experiencing darkness.

Striking Complications

Minute Repeater: A watch that can chime the hours, quarter hours, and minutes on demand with the push of a button or the pull of a lever. It uses different distinguishing tones depending on whether it is hours, quarter hours, or minutes. You can tell the time by listening not looking.

Alarm Watch: A wristwatch with a built in chime mechanism that can be set to ring at a predetermined time notifying he person when that time is reached.

Quarter Repeater

Passing Strike


Astronomical Complications

Astronomical complications indicate celestial objects on the watch's dial:

Moon Phase: The moon phase complication shows the current phase of the moon on the watch face. The current face - full, half, quarter or new- is displayed via a moon phase indicator on the watch dial. The changing face of the moon are reproduced on the dial. This early complication was especially useful for night travelers who needed the light of the moon to help find their way and fishermen and sailors who used it to determine tides. 

Star Chart- Shows where the star constellations are located. Great for star gazers or amateur astronomers.

Planetarium- Indicates the alignment of the solar system and displays on the dial where some of the planet's in the solar system are positioned.

Other Complications

While the definition of a complicated watch is that any function beyond telling time in hours, minutes and seconds is a complication, automatic winding mechanisms or devices for cancelling out rate disparities in vertical positions, such as the tourbillon and the carrousel, are also considered complications:

  • Automatic Watch - The traditional mechanical watch is manually wound by hand. An automatic winding mechanical watch is self-winding. It has a rotating rotor, a semi-circle shaped disc, that rotates to capture energy from the wearers wrist motion and wind the watch. Manual winding is not necessary as long as the watch is being worn. Learn more about ladies automatic watches.
  • Power Reserve Indicator: An sub-dial or linear indicator found on mechanical or automatic watches. It displays the time remaining before the watch stops and needs to be rewound.
  • Tourbillon - A tourbillon is a small rotating cage that houses the balance, hairspring and escapement. This rotation counteracts the effect of gravity on the accuracy of the watch. The rotating mechanism is displayed via an opening in the dial.
  • Carrousel: The carrousel is an exceptional and rare complication that counteracts the effect of gravity on the accuracy of watches, just like a tourbillon.

What Are Complicated Watches?

In the world of watches, complications refer to extra functions of a wristwatch. A watch’s primary purpose is to tell time. However, there are watches that do more than just tell time.  

Watch functions beyond the basic function of telling time are known as complications. A watch with any other function in addition to telling time is called a a complicated watch. Watches that show only the hours, minutes, and seconds are said to have simple movements.

Complications are found in mechanical and automatic watches.  What is amazing is that these functions are all purely mechanical made of moving parts.

Adding complications to a watch is expensive. The movement modules need to be designed to operate both the timing mechanism and the watch's complications. It takes a lot of innovation, skill and prowess to design and assemble complicated timepieces.

That is why complicated watches are rare, appreciated and expensive, and found on higher end mechanical and automatic movements.

A “quartz” watch that is powered by a battery can also have many functions, but they are simply called functions not complications.

The dial of a complicated watch looks complicated with sub-dials that display the extra features. The dial is multi-functional and you can read more than the time when you look at the watch face. The more the complications in a watch, the more complicated the dial is.

Complicated ladies watches have beautiful and intricate internal mechanisms. The display is bold, eye catching and masculine. A larger face to accommodate the extra windows and a bigger case to house the complicated movement results into a stylish oversized look.

Complications in ladies complicated watches range from simple and practical to highly complex and rare. The more extra functions a watch has, the more complicated it gets.

A Grande Complication

When a single watch has three or more complications, it is referred too as “grande complication” or “ultra-complicated” because it has the most complex movement.

To be considered a “grand complication”, a timepiece must have at least three complications and at least one must come from each of the above groups of complications.

A grand complication is an incredible achievement in watchmaking. It is extremely difficult to assemble a timepiece with so many complications successfully because space is limited and there are so many components to include.  

The more complications in a watch, the more difficult it is to design, create, assemble, and repair. A typical date-display chronograph may have up to 250 parts, while a particularly complex watch may have a thousand or more parts.  

Only few manufactures have the expertise and resources to create such technically complex timepieces. Some watchmaking companies with ultra-complicated timepieces are Breguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin.

Ultra-complicated watches are made in limited numbers, some of which are one of a kind instruments. They are very expensive and exclusive.

The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 is the world's most complicated wristwatch. It has 36 complications, 25 of them visible, 1483 components and 1000-year calendar.

Multifunction Watches

Multi-function watches are to quartz/electronic watches what complications are to mechanical watches. Ladies quartz watches that are powered by a battery can also accomplish multiple functions but these are powered by a computer chip and therefore are easy to make. Explore women's multi-function watches.

Usefulness of Complications

For most people, a wrist watch has done its work if it can reliably tell time. While keeping time is the number one function of wrist watches, they can do so much more. They are capable tools that are very convenient to carry wherever you go. 

For men, a watch serves as a multi tool capable of providing information in addition to just the time of day. For some professionals, a complicated wristwatch is a practical tool of trade that in some cases, has life saving capabilities. From monitoring oxygen levels while deep sea diving to measuring the heartbeat of a patient in hospital to helping police officers,  

Some complications are convenient and meet certain needs such as timing intervals. Some complicated watches are tools of trade helping various professionals from  military operators, athletes, doctors, pilots, and divers complete their duties by giving them with essential information.

Some complications enhance the watch's functions while others are mainly ornamental decorating the watch face.

Watch collectors and connoisseurs value complicated watches not just because of their special functions but more so because of the innovation, skill, and ingenuity that goes into making them.

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As the Chinese Proverb goes: ''An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold''. Well, you can buy a great timepiece to help you manage the precious gift that is time while expressing your style!