The Anatomy of a Watch

In crafting a luxury watch, watchmakers go through the painstaking process of assembling a vast amount of different components that each play a pivotal role in the watch’s form and function. Whether you’re a long time watch collector or someone new to watches, it’s important to understand the various components of a watch in order to gain a true appreciation for them. In this post, our watch experts at SellMeWatch.com dissect the different parts of a watch and describe the function of each.

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Strap

We begin with the strap of a watch, which serves the essential role of fastening the watch to the wrist. There are various materials that are used for straps which include rubber, leather, and metals such as stainless-steel and gold. Metal straps are commonly referred to as bracelets.

Lugs

While the strap connects the watch to the wrist, the lugs connect the strap or bracelet to the watch’s case. Lugs often match the material of the case.

Case

The case of a watch holds and protects the watch’s movement. Cases are also a significant design aspect of a watch through the various shapes and materials they are crafted with. Cases can be round, rectangular, oval, square, as well as some more unique shapes such as tonneau, carre, and asymmetrical. Cases are offered in stainless steel, ceramic, gold, and platinum- just to name a few.

Dial

The dial is the metal base that houses the hour markers as well as the hour, minute, and seconds hands. In addition, dials can also feature subdials which are often used for chronographic complications. Dials are commonly thought of as the most significant part of a watch’s design as each watch’s dial is unique in its color, markers, and hands. The most popular markers include Arabic numerals and sticks, which are marks or dots instead of numerals.

Crystal

The crystal covers the dial of a watch a protects it from elements such as dirt, water, and dust to ensure proper function. Luxury watches typically feature a crystal that is made from sapphire, one of the strongest (and most expensive) materials available. Other materials used for the crystal include mineral crystals such as glass and acrylic.

Bezel

Not only does the bezel of a watch secure the crystal to the case, but some can also serve as a functional purpose as well by offering a timer which is useful for professionals such as divers for keeping track of the time elapsed for their oxygen supply. Some luxury watches also offer bezels which are set with diamonds, taking the watch to a new level of luxury.

Movement

In simple terms, the movement (sometimes also referred to as the calibre) is the engine of a watch that makes it possible for the watch and its various functions to work. The movement literally moves the hands of a watch and is hence, in the most important indicator of a watch’s accuracy. While many different companies have their own movements, all fall into two categories: quartz and mechanical. Mechanical movements are common to luxury watches as they feature the tiniest of components which have to be expertly assembled by hand to be able to function together and power the watch. In contrast to quartz watches which are often powered by batteries, mechanical watches are powered by wound springs which store and transfer energy.

Crown

Attached to the side of the case, the crown is a button which is used to adjust the time and date of a watch. Additionally, it is used to wind the springs of a mechanical watch.