Luxury Watch Anatomy 101

You might know what wrist to wear a watch or when were watches invented, but do you know the anatomy of a watch? Chances are high that if you have been wearing a used luxury watches such as pre-owned iwc watches for any length of time, you have a pretty good understanding or idea of the basic components that make up your watch. In fact, there are several pieces of the watch that are so basic it might seem strange that someone wouldn’t know what they were called. 

Things like the watch face, the strap, even the winding crown, maybe terms that are so familiar to you at this point that you asswatches, diver watches, and pilot watches as an important feature for keeping precise time while engaging in potentially perilous endeavors. 

Subdial 

The sundial or sub dial is simply a smaller dial within the larger dial or clock face. Often the sundial tells information that the main dial excludes. 

Tachymetre 

This is a tool used to measure speed by marking distance traveled at a specific rate. This complication is especially prevalent in racing and pilot watches.

There you have it! The anatomy of your luxury watch may be complex, but hopefully, this guide allowed you the opportunity to realize what an interesting piece of machinery your watch really is. Luxury watches, like any good timepiece, are monuments to precision. Everything about your luxury watch, down to the last screw, is a crucial part of what makes your watch precise, which is a large part of what makes it so unique and valuable. 

While this basic guide does not fully encapsulate the complexities of your watch, it does give you some insight into how and why your watch operates. Additionally, the anatomy of watches varies immensely between brands. While you would be hard-pressed to not find all of the components in this guide in your luxury watch, there is a high degree of variance between luxury watch brands.

To find the brand that best suits your needs, contact CJ Charles today! Our luxury watch specialists can enthusiastically find you the perfect watch or timepiece with the ideal functions and complications best suited for your needs. Plus, as a jeweler, we can make sure that your next luxury watch or pre owned watch is as stunningly beautiful as it is functional and practical.ume everyone knows them. Whether you are a luxury watch expert or a complete novice to the world of high-end watches, this guide to watch anatomy will help you familiarize yourself with the components of your watch, from the most basic parts to the most intricate details.

Timeless design and superior craftsmanship. Shop watches!

Let’s begin with the basic anatomy of your watch:

What is the basic anatomy of a watch?

The basic anatomy of a luxury watch is made up of two major categories: the band and the case with all of the internal mechanisms housed inside the case. Being that your watch is one cohesive piece of machinery, it may be hard to think of the watch itself as separate pieces but for today, let’s focus on the strap and the case specifically. 

There is undoubtedly going to be overlap within these distinctions; for example, the dials of the watch are part of the internal mechanisms, but they live within the case. For the purpose of this article, we are going to call the dials part of the case. The dials (although controlled by the internal mechanism) sit on and interact with the clock face in a way that makes them a better fit (categorically speaking) as part of the case.

Remember, these categories aren’t gospel truth; we’re just trying to lump those pieces of your watch that could be part of either group into the major category where we feel they fit best. Additionally, all of this is just a method to help you better understand the general anatomy of your luxury watch.  

Now that we have an understanding of the two major groups and how we will be breaking down the minutiae let’s begin with the watchband! 

The watch band not only keeps your watch fitting properly around your wrist but also serves as a fulcrum around which the rest of the watch pivots and rests. Additionally, the band (also known as the strap or bracelet) can be a stylish and interchangeable piece to help keep your watch looking its best. Plus, many of the best dress watches including swiss watch manufacturer watches have interchangeable straps to help your watch fit into any situation without too much extra effort.

Your first impression may be to think that the watch band is as simple as the strap of the watch and nothing more. In actuality, the band includes several key components that a watchmaker adds that will help the watch stay intact and run properly. Let’s run through them now:

The Strap

The strap can be made of multiple types of material, including leather, fabric, or metal. Typically a metal strap is called a “bracelet,” while the other two common materials (i.e., leather and cloth) are referred to as straps. 

The Lugs 

The lug is where the bracelet and the watch case meet and connect. Typically held in place by a special pin, the strap fits in between the spaces of the lug. The shape and style of the lug changes depending on the brand and specific style of the watch. Some watch lugs are square, and others are round. 

The Buckle 

The buckle, aka the clasp, is how the band or bracelet attaches to itself and stays secure to your wrist. The buckle is often an extension of the strap though in some rare cases, certain straps will allow you to remove buckles and interchange them the same way you would remove a strap from the watch casing.

Now that we have the strap covered let’s move on to the watch case. The case of the watch is slightly more complex as the case is in itself an integral piece while also housing other specific pieces that live inside of and connect to the case itself. For example, the face of the watch, which includes the dials, hands, etc., are all part of the case. 

The Case 

The case contains all of the internal mechanisms, the watch movement, and dials. Think of the case as the outer shell that houses the inner workings of your watch. Typically the case consists of two pieces. The first is the metal housing of the watch, and the second is the glass or ceramic covering over the face. Together these two pieces form the case.  

Bezel 

This is the outer ring of the watch that lines the face. Being that the case is typically made of mineral crystal like sapphire crystal, and metal, the watch bezel serves to protect where the two different materials meet each other. Additionally, the watch bezel often has valuable markings that could include hours of the day, a rotating bezel chronometer, etc. If your watch is waterproof, the bezel is what helps keep enough pressure on the face to prevent water from seeping in.

The Crown

So, what is the crown of a watch? Also called a winding crown, this knob is the watch dial that sits on the side of the watch. The crown allows you to wind the automatic watch or mechanical watch (if it requires it) and is often used in setting the time. Depending on your particular watch, the winding crown can serve multiple purposes.

The Face 

Familiar with what is the dial on a watch? Also called the dial, the face of the watch is the time-keeping element that you look at through the case. The dial comes in many different varieties of color, numerals, etc., and is the star of the show as far as the functionality of your watch is concerned. The dial is where the hours of the day are measured, minutes, seconds, etc. Sometimes watches that have multiple complications will feature multiple dials, i.e., multiple smaller “faces” with alternate measurements of time, hands, etc. Other brands, like NOMOS Glashütte watches, pride themselves on the elegan simplicity of an uncomplicated face.

Hands 

The hands of the watch are pivotal for actually measuring the time, as, without them, the dial would be useless. The watch hands often match the dial while also containing enough contrast to be visible. Pilots watches are specifically known for their large, contrasting watch hands. 

Markers 

The indicators that mark specific units of time on the watch face are called markers. Markers can measure seconds, hours, minutes, etc., depending on the designation they have been given on the watch. The minute or hour marker can be numerals, lines, dots, or any other form of indicator that would differentiate moments in time. 

Signature 

The signature is a vital piece of any luxury watch as it typically contains more than just the brand of the luxury watch itself. The signature is where you will find valuable information about your luxury watch like the serial number, model number, production number, etc. 

At this point, you may be asking yourself, if all of these things make up the basic anatomy of my watch, what are “complications?” That’s a great question! Complications are additional features that your watch has which are driven by additional internal mechanisms beyond the standard “hour/minute/second” features. In fact, even a sweeping second hand (made famous by Rolex) or the inclusion of a second hand at all can be considered a complication. Basically, a complication is any additional feature of the watch driven by an internal mechanism that helps you navigate time and space. Some examples of famous complications are as follows:

Chronograph 

A chronograph watch is a fancy name for a stopwatch. A chronograph is featured on many racing watches, diver watches, and pilot watches as an important feature for keeping precise time while engaging in potentially perilous endeavors. 

Subdial 

The sundial or sub dial is simply a smaller dial within the larger dial or clock face. Often the sundial tells information that the main dial excludes. 

Tachymetre 

This is a tool used to measure speed by marking distance traveled at a specific rate. This complication is especially prevalent in racing and pilot watches.

There you have it! The anatomy of your luxury watch may be complex, but hopefully, this guide allowed you the opportunity to realize what an interesting piece of machinery your watch really is. Luxury watches, like any good timepiece, are monuments to precision. Everything about your luxury watch, down to the last screw, is a crucial part of what makes your watch precise, which is a large part of what makes it so unique and valuable. 

While this basic guide does not fully encapsulate the complexities of your watch, it does give you some insight into how and why your watch operates. Additionally, the anatomy of watches varies immensely between brands. While you would be hard-pressed to not find all of the components in this guide in your luxury watch, there is a high degree of variance between luxury watch brands.

To find the brand that best suits your needs, contact CJ Charles today! Our luxury watch specialists can enthusiastically find you the perfect watch or timepiece with the ideal functions and complications best suited for your needs. Plus, as a jeweler, we can make sure that your next luxury watch or pre owned watch is as stunningly beautiful as it is functional and practical.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published