Watch jargon translated

Never be caught out again confusing your chronometer with your crown

Horological terminology can be mindboggling, but you don’t want to sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about if you want to buy a good one. Those in the know here at Country Life have compiled a basic list of the watch jargon that you need to know if you’re interested in making a purchase, so gen up and then get out there.

Watches come in all shapes and sizes, and all different kinds of materials, but most of the essential components are the same. Some have more bells and whistles than others -every watch has a bezel for instance, but not every piece will come with a Tourbillon, as you obviously know..


Annual calendar

Tells the day, month and year; only needs to be adjusted each leap year

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A watch that only very rarely needs to be wound manually


The ring around the dial of a watch


Describes the size and configuration of a watch’s movement


A watch that is also a stopwatch


A specific type of timepiece tested and certified to meet certain precision standards


An additional feature on a watch, such as a calendar


A button on the side of a watch that sets the time and date and is wound up to power manual watches


The watch face


Marks on the dial that indicate hours and sometimes minutes


A watch that relies on a hand-wound mechanism to keep it powered up


Driven by a spring. Must be wound periodically

Minute repeater

Chimes the time in hours, quarters or minutes depending on the press of a button on the side


The watch’s engine—either quartz or mechanical

Perpetual calendar

Tells the day, month and year; doesn’t need to be adjusted each leap year


A watch powered by an oscillating crystal, which runs on a battery


An additional, complex component that works against forces such as gravity that can affect the accuracy of a watch

** Read more on the best luxury watches to buy, watches for different times in your life and all the latest news and best luxury watches launched to the market