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Watch Glossary


The part of the watch that secures the timepiece to the wrist. The two common types of watch bands are Strap (i.e. leather) and Bracelet.

A bezel is the ring or rim which secures the crystal in place on the watch case. A bezel may be set with diamonds or other stones. Some bezels are marked with graduated scales, and can be turned to perform different types of timekeeping measurements – for example, the unidirectional bezel on a diver’s watch used to track elapsed time.

An ornamental top, often a dome-shaped or faceted precious stone such as a ruby or emerald, used to accent the winding crown. Also, the raised dome-shaped markers used to indicate the hours on some watch dials.

The metal housing that contains the internal workings of the watch (the movement, dial and hands).

The windows or subdials on the dial of a watch that display the day, date, month and/or year.

A watch that includes a stop-watch feature: a timer that can be started and stopped to time an event.

A timepiece that has met very high standards of accuracy, tested and certified by the C.O.S.C. (an official watch institute in Switzerland). Each chronometer comes with an individual certificate of precision.

The tiny knob on the winding stem used to move the hands to set the time on the watch, and to wind a watch with a mechanical movement.

The transparent "glass" which protects the dial of the watch. There are three common types of crystals: acrylic, mineral and sapphire. A synthetic sapphire crystal is the most expensive, scratch-resistant and durable type of crystal.

A buckle or clasp with a two or three piece inner element that folds onto itself securing the two ends of a strap or bracelet. This type fastener allows the wearer to slip on or remove the watch from their wrist with ease.

Also known as the watch "face." It gives a watch its beauty and character, based on the material from which it is crafted and the style of the numerals, markers, texture and other details that define it.

A sport watch built to withstand underwater pressure, often worn by scuba divers. Among other essential features, these watches are equipped with a screw-down crown that creates a strong seal to prevent water from penetrating the case. Must be water resistant to at least 20 ATM (the pressure equivalent of being 200m or 660 feet underwater) to be classified as a Diver’s watch.

A rotating bezel which can be used to indicate the hour in a second time zone, distinct from the time indicated by the hands on the dial.

A rubber or plastic ring that is used to seal the watch case against dust, moisture and water. Typically used in conjunction with the crown, crystal and metal case.

A small synthetic sapphire or ruby placed in a mechanical or quartz watch movement at various points which have been drilled, chamfered and polished to serve as bearings for watch gears, minimizing friction between mechanical parts.

Extensions from the north/south ends of the case that hold the pin used to attach the strap or bracelet to the case.

A sophisticated function on a watch that announces the time in hours, quarter-hours, and minutes by means of an audible chime that sounds when a push-button is depressed.

The iridescent lining of the interior shell of a freshwater mollusk that can be thinly sliced and used to create a watch dial. While mother-of-pearl generally has a milky white luster, it is also available in other natural pearlescent colors such as gray, blue and pink.

The inner mechanism or “engine” of the watch, a movement keeps the time, moves the hands and controls any special functions. A movement may be mechanical or quartz.

To ensure your watch’s water resistance, we recommend inspection and maintenance of the case seals and gaskets every 12-24 months. This will help keep the watch movement safe from air, dust, and moisture, which over time can get into the watch and affect its ability to function properly. All watch movements require periodic maintenance. We recommended that a mechanical movement be inspected for possible servicing every 3 to 5 years and quartz movements at each battery change.

A button that is pressed to operate (start/stop) a mechanism. Pushers are usually found on chronographs and timepieces with minute repeaters, or strikers, and alarms.

A device that chimes the time when a button is pushed, or a slide is pulled. See "Minute Repeater".

The rotor, an oscillating weight, is the component in an automatic watch movement that winds the mechanism’s mainspring. A series of gears transfer the energy generated by the rotor as it swings within the watch case, to the mainspring, winding the coil.

A crown that screws down into the case tube making the watch more water resistant. Provides the best underwater shock protection (against rocks, accidental knocks, scrapes, etc.) to prevent water leakage. To set the time on a watch with a screw-down crown, the crown must first be unscrewed before it can be pulled out to any hand-setting position.

To be qualified as "shock resistant", a watch must have demonstrated the ability to withstand an impact equal to that of being dropped onto a wood floor from a height of three feet during testing.

The dial of the watch is "cut out" to allow the inner workings of the movement to be seen through the transparent crystal and dial on the front side, and a transparent crystal case-back. In a watch with a “skeletonized” movement, the rotor, wheels and other moving parts are also painstakingly cut away, creating an elegant transparency all the way through the case.

Abbreviation stands for "Stock Keeping Unit"; an identifying number used when taking inventory. Same as the watch "model number".

A seconds hand that is mounted in the center of the watch dial (vs. one positioned in a sub-dial). A "true" sweep seconds hand is found only on mechanical watches, and has a motion that is undetectable to the human eye. On a quartz watch, the advance of the seconds hand is discernible in tiny step-by-step jumps.

A feature found on chronographs consisting of a calibrated scale, usually found around the perimeter of the dial, that can be used to measure the wearer's speed of travel over a pre-determined distance. Also known as "tachometer".

A number (used in addition to the SKU number) that provides coded information on the watch's attributes: case metal, plating; movement size and type; bracelet style; dial color, material, style, etc. Usually engraved on the case back.

A rectangular watch that has two gently bowed or convex sides.

A construction system in a mechanical watch that eliminates timekeeping errors caused by the slight difference in rates at which a watch runs in the horizontal and vertical positions. A rare and sophisticated feature.

The ability of a watch to withstand water pressure to a stated depth.

Element transmitting motion from the crown to the gears governing movement winding and hand setting.


Durable and dramatic, the black finish found on select Movado stainless steel and titanium watches is achieved through a PVD coating, or for the BOLD collection, an ion-plating process.

Also known as graphite fiber, carbon fiber consists of extremely thin fibers, predominantly of carbon atoms, bonded together in microscopic crystals. The vertical alignment of the crystals gives carbon fiber its unique texture, and makes it incredibly strong. Often combined with a polymer, carbon fiber watch cases and dials are exceptionally tough.

High-tech ceramic, an extremely hard material containing titanium carbide, is valued by watchmakers for its lightweight and exceptional scratch-resistance. High-polished ceramic timepieces are smooth-to-the-touch, ultra lightweight and durable.

The diamond is a precious gemstone, and the hardest natural substance on earth. No two are alike. Considered a symbol of love and commitment, the diamond is often found in bridal engagement rings. The diamond comes in many colors, but most people still consider the white diamond the most precious and rare. An individual stone’s clarity, color, cut and carat weight determine its value. Movado uses only quality, faceted, conflict-free diamonds in its watch designs.

Gold is a precious metal. In its pure form (24K), gold is too soft to work with, so base metals are mixed with it to give it strength. For example, 14K gold is a ratio of 14 parts gold to 10 parts base metal. White gold is created by adding platinum to the mixture; pink or rose gold comes from adding copper. Durable and elegant, the gold color cannot "wear off" since actual gold is an integral part of the material.

Movado’s yellow gold-toned watch designs look like solid gold, because what meets the eye is genuine gold. It is applied during a final step in the high-tech gold PVD vacuum-coating process which produces a beautiful, extremely hard and corrosion-resistant gold-toned finish. 

A type of design in which thin lines are engraved in a crossed or interlaced pattern to create a decorative textural effect on the dial of the watch.

The distinctive gunmetal gray tone seen on select Movado stainless steel and titanium watches is achieved through a PVD coating, or for Movado BOLD designs, an ion-plating process. Both impart a long-wearing finish.

Ion-plating is a type of physical vapor deposition (PVD) process in which a coating material, typically a compound or metal, is vaporized and deposited on the surface of a substrate. The target is bombarded with ionized material at high speed, commonly within a vacuum chamber, creating a finish that is hard, durable and corrosion-resistant. Movado uses an ion-plating process to create the rich colored metal and gold-toned designs in its BOLD collection.

Growing in popularity, K1 mineral is a type of watch crystal that is more shatter-resistant than sapphire crystal, and more scratch-resistant than regular mineral crystal.

Watch hands coated with a substance such as tritium or SuperLumi-Nova that makes them glow in the dark. They are especially common in sports models for better visibility underwater.

The iridescent lining of the interior shell of a freshwater mollusk that can be thinly sliced and used to create a watch dial. While mother-of-pearl generally has a milky white luster, it is also available in other natural pearlescent colors such as gray, blue and pink.

The letters are an abbreviation for Physical Vapor Deposit, a high-tech vacuum-coating process that produces a very beautiful and extremely hard finish that is very wear and corrosion resistant. Similar but superior to ion-plating, the applied layer is generally thicker with a higher material density. Yellow gold-toned and rose gold-toned PVD finishes include a final layer of actual gold. Movado also employs the PVD process to finish stainless steel watches in deep tones including black and gunmetal gray. See gold-toned and rose gold-toned.

Movado’s rose gold PVD-finished designs will retain their rich rosy looks for a long time. The warm rose gold tones are achieved through a high-tech vacuum-coating process that produces a beautiful and extremely hard, corrosion-resistant finish.

Highly scratch-resistant for long-lasting beauty and clarity. Measuring 8 to 9 on the Mohs scale, used to test the hardness of a material, a sapphire crystal is second only to a diamond in hardness.

The most popular metal used in watch cases and bracelets, stainless steel is extremely durable. Made of steel alloyed with chromium, stainless steel is not nickel free – however the nickel molecules are encapsulated, so it is classified as hypoallergenic. Movado uses only high grade 316L solid stainless steel which will not stain or corrode, and can be refinished, ensuring lasting beauty.

Founded in Austria in 1895, Swarovski is the premium brand for the finest crystal embellishments. Available in myriad colors, effects, shapes and sizes, precision-cut crystals from Swarovski are produced according to the innovative, lead-free Advanced Crystal standard. Movado uses only genuine Swarovski crystal elements in its BOLD watch collection.

Titanium is a white, very durable metal that is stronger and lighter than stainless steel, but softer. Non-corrosive, it is resistant to salt, perspiration, and high temperatures. Containing no nickel, it is also hypoallergenic.

Grilamid TR90 is a high-tech thermoplastic composite material that comes in a wide range of opaque and transparent colors. It has a high flexural fatigue strength and good stress-crack and chemical-resistance, making it a tough, lightweight, colorful choice for watch cases.

One of the "hard metals", tungsten carbide is a modern, sport luxury watch material prized for its weighty feel, rich steely blue color and extreme hardness. Tungsten carbide can be polished to a virtually scratch-proof mirror finish. Watches crafted of tungsten carbide are exceptionally resistant to scratches and often maintain their lustrous, like-new appearance for years.

Ultra-lightweight unidirectional black carbon fiber, the structural yet flexible breakthrough bike frame material innovated and perfected by Parlee Cycles, has a distinctive brushed look and soft sheen. Applied in many very thin layers, it can be used to fabricate super strong and lightweight watch cases and bracelets.


A mechanical movement that is wound through the motion of the wearer's arm during normal daily arm movement; sufficient activity is required to build up a power reserve. Also known as a "self-winding" watch.

Another name for a manual wind mechanical movement. See "mechanical movement".

A type of mechanical movement, also known as a "hand-winding" movement, in which the mainspring of the movement must be wound by hand daily, using the crown. See "mechanical movement".

A watch movement comprised of a series of turning cog wheels and jewels, expertly calibrated by hand. A mechanical movement may be: automatic, also known as "self-winding" (wound by the motion of the arm during daily wear) or "manual", also known as "hand-winding" (requiring regular/daily winding of the crown by hand).

A window, often half-moon shaped, in a watch dial that shows the current phase of the moon. This distinctive feature is usually seen in combination with other calendar-related features.

A calendar feature on a watch that automatically adjusts to account for the different number of days in each month, and for leap years.

An aperture or subdial on a mechanical watch, often wedge-shaped, that indicates how much longer the watch will operate before requiring winding.

Digital watches have quartz movements, and many offer multiple modes of operation – time, second time zone, calendar, and chronograph functions, for example. Their dials report the time and other information digitally via LCD (liquid crystal display) or LED (light emitting diode) displays.

A watch movement where time is "tuned" to, and measured by, the extremely rapid and consistent vibrations of a quartz crystal. The quartz crystal is powered by a battery. Also known as an Electronic Quartz Movement.

A movement that converts mechanical energy generated by the force of gravity and natural movements of the wearer's wrist into electrical energy which is stored in an accumulator which powers a quartz movement.

Another name for an automatic mechanical movement. See "Automatic" and "Mechanical" movements.