Horology Glossary

AHCI – Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (Horological Academy of Independent Creators).

automatic movement – a watch which has a spring which is wound automatically by the natural movement of a person.

Baselworld – the largest most important watch trade show held in Basel, Switzerland, each spring.

bezel – the attachment around the crystal and the front of the case. It may be fixed or moveable. Not all watches have a bezel.

bracelet – the metal links and clasp for securing a watch to your wrist. Alternately, a strap (with either a buckle or clasp) may be used.

case – the housing (usually metal) of the watch movement.

chronometer – a watch with a certification for the highest standards of timekeeping. The official institute responsible for this is Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC).

complication – any features of a watch beyond that of timekeeping. Common complications are day/date, automatic winding and chronograph.

COSC – (see chronometer).

crown – the part on the side of the watch case used for adjusting the time and date of a watch, as well as to wind a manual or automatic watch.

crystal – the clear glasslike-material through which the dial can be viewed. It also serves to protect the dial and hands.

dial – (also face and watch dial) the part of the watch which displays the time via its hands.

ETA – A specialist manufacturer of affordable non in-house Swiss movements.

hands – the parts which move to indicate the hour, minutes or seconds as marked on the dial.

horology – the study of timekeeping.

jewel – a mineral material used to maintain smooth and reliable operation of a mechanical movement.

lug – the extensions on a case to facilitate fastening of the bracelet or strap to the watch.

manual movement – a watch which has a spring which needs to be hand wound.

marker – watch dial markers can numeric, physical objects or both. Minute markers are generally painted onto the watch dial.

mechanical movement – a watch with a manual or automatic movement.

movement – the mechanics of a watch. The three main types are manual, automatic and quartz.

quartz crisis – the rise of quartz movement technology in the 1970s which saw the decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry.

quartz movement – a watch which has a battery as its energy source and a vibrating quartz crystal to keep time.

watch, mechanism of – a mechanical watch has five main parts – a mainspring, gear chain, balance wheel, escapement and face. The mainspring is the energy source. The gear chain is keeps the time by transmitting energy to the balance wheel and by keeping the count. The balance wheel is the mechanism which oscillates at a regular interval. The escapement regulates the balance wheel oscillation and also move the hands forward. The face (or dial) is the visual plate to show you the time.