The Anatomy of A Watch- Wrist Watch Parts Names Explained

Parts of a watch explained. Understand the parts of a wrist watch so you can select the best fit for you. Here are terms that describe the anatomy of a watch:


Watch Case- It is the container for the watch movements holding and protecting its many parts.

Case Back- It is the back of the case that is in contact with the skin. It is below the watch dial and movement. Where marks such as water resistance are stamped. Sometimes it is transparent so you can see the internal mechanism. This is known as an exhibition case back.

Lug- The horn-like projections from the case holding the spring bar where the bracelet or strap is attached. Their size and type determines the size of straps/bands.

Dial/Face- A plate with a metal base on which the hour markers and hands are printed or attached. It is the surface on which time and other information is displayed for you to read. 

Crystal- The transparent glass-like cover protecting the dial and reducing glare. The term "crystal" also refers to the tiny piece of quartz that acts as an oscillator in a battery powered quartz watch. Can be made of acrylic plastic, mineral glass or synthetic sapphire.

Sub-dial- A small dial within the main dial of complicated/multi-function watches. The small dial displays an extra function or complication. Eg chronograph, day and date. A watch can have two, three or more sub dials.

Aperture: A small opening inside the dial that displays certain information such as the date, day, month or moon-phase. Also referred to as a window.

Analog Watch: Analogue or analog watches are watches that display time using hands and hour markers.

Hour Markers- The hour indicators on an analog watch. They could be sticks, dots or numbers painted or applied on the dial.

Hands- Pointers that rotate over the dial of an analog watch to indicate the current time. A watch typically has an hour, minute and often a seconds hand.

Bezel- This is the ring surrounding the case and holding the crystal in place. It could be accented with gemstones, have an extra decorative ring or a rotating ring with a special function eg indicators on a dive watch bezel.

Strap- The band made of leather, rubber or fabric and used to tie the watch on the wrist and secure it.

Bracelet- A type of band that is series of metal links usually stainless steel that fastens the watch to the wrist and molds to the shape of the wrist.  

Crown/Winder- The button you use to set the watch hands when adjusting time or date. It is also the winder for winding automatic and manual mechanical watches. It is typically located at the 3 o'clock position. You typically pull it outward and rotate to set the time. 

Pusher- An attachment/button that you push to control the extra functions of a complicated or multi-function watch such as a chronograph watch.

Buckle- The means of fastening the watch so it stays in place and is secure. The traditional belt buckle also known as Ardillon buckle has one end of the strap slipped through a buckle and secured with a pin.

Deployant Buckle- A deployant buckle has a leather strap attached to a folding metal buckle. If the buckle opens up, the watch remains on the wrist and does not fall off.

Movement: The engine of a watch. The inner mechanism of a watch that keeps time and powers it's other functions.  

Jewel: Small sapphires or rubies located on a mechanical movement to reduce friction by acting as bearings for gears.

Rotor: A metal weight attached to the movement of an automatic self winding mechanical watch. It rotates freely when the wearer moves winding the mainspring and storing power to run the watch.

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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!