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24-hour denotation

In digital 24-hour denotation, one o’ clock in the afternoon/pm is shown as 13.00. On an analogue watch dial, the 24-hour denotation often has the shape of a separate dial indicating the hour from 00 – 24.



Alarm function.


An altimeter shows altitude.


Combined analogdigital watch.

Analog watch

Watch with hour, minute and second hands.

Automatic Watch

The spring of the watch is wound by a rotor powered by physical movement. Also called a mechanical watch.



The pressing of a button lights up the dial.


The rim of the watch around the watch face securing the crystal. On sports or dive watches the bezel is usually movable.

Big Date

When the Date denotation on a watch is made up of two separate windows with individually moving numbers, it is called a Big Date.



Coal. Also: Very dark grey colour.


Watch with a stopwatch function.


A watch compliant with the quality standards of the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres. Not to be confused with chronograph.


When a watch has more functions than just an hour, minutes or seconds, the extra functions are called complications.


Date bubble

Magnifying glass in the watch crystal above the date window. Is very common in dive watches.

Day- and Date denotation

Usually in the shape of a window on the dial or a separate dial with a pointer.

Digital watch

Watch with an LCD dial.

Dual Time

Dual Time means the watch can show the time in two different time zones. Also: GMT.



Swiss watch movement manufacturer owned by Swatch Group.


A quartz watch battery charged with (sun) light.


Fixed Bezel

A Fixed Bezel is not movable. Usually contains a scale of sorts, for instance a tachymeter.

Fixed Lugs

Usually, the watch strap or bracelet is attached to the lugs by a removable push pin. On a Fixed Lug watch, the pin is welded to the lugs. The watch strap (usually a NATO-strap) is pulled through the opening between pins and case. Also see: Slip Thru Strap.

Fly Back Chrono

A flyback chronograph is a watch complication where the Chrono function can be started, stopped and reset with just one button. Also called Retour-en-vol or Permanent Zero Setting.



GMT means the watch can show the time in two different time zones. Also: Dual Time.


Global Positioning System


Dark Grey/Brown metal colour



Watch movement powered by a hand-wound spring.



The hour and minutes denotation on an analogue watch.


A backlight system for Watches which was developed by Timex, incorporating an electroluminescent display for illumination of the watch dial.


Iridescence is the property of certain surfaces that appear to change colour as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. Examples of iridescence are soap bubbles and mother of pearl.



Mechanical quartz watch movement, controlled by a battery charged by a rotor powered generator.



Liquid Crystal Display

Laptimer/lap counter

Lap time memory


The watch strap is mounted on to the watch case at the lugs.


A luminescent material applied to the numbers, indexes and hands of analogue watches. Usually charged by sunlight and blacklight/ultraviolet light.


See: Bezel


Mechanical watch

A mechanical watch is not powered by a battery, but by a rotor (automatic or kinetic watch), a hand wound spring or spring drive.

Mesh strap

Also called: Milanese, is a strap made from a woven and waltzed steel wire.

Milanese Strap

Also called: Mesh Strap is a strap made from a woven and waltzed steel wire.

Mineral crystal

'Regular' glass. Not scratch or shock resistant. Sometimes provided with a protective coating.


A Japanese watch movement manufactured by Citizen.


A window on the dial shows the 29.5-day moon cycle.

Movable Bezel

On a sports or dive watch, the bezel is often movable. This has several functions. Also: Uni-Directional Bezel.

Multifunction Watch

A watch with more than two functions/complications. Usually a day, date and 24-hour denotation.



Watch strap made from a durable textile (usually canvas or nylon) with a stainless steel buckle and placeholders.


Pepsi bezel

(movable) bezel in in the colours red and blue.

Perpetual Calendar

A perpetual calendar watch automatically displays (usually up to the year 2100) the correct date for the differing lengths of months and leap years.

Petit seconde

See 'Small second'

Plexiglass / Plexi

Plastic. Shock resistant, but not scratch resistant. Can be polished easily.

Pocket Watch

Watches with or without a lid(s) worn on a chain in the trouser or vest pocket.

Power reserve indicator

An indication of how many hours of power a mechanical watch has left before it needs to be rewound.



Watch movement with an oscillating crystal powered by a battery.


Radio control

A quartz watch synchronised with the international atom clock.

Regulator watch

A regulator watch is a watch with hours, minutes and seconds on separate dials.


A retrograde watch dial does not display the time and other functions on a round dial, but on a scale. When the pointer reaches the end of the arc, it automatically jumps back to the start.


Swiss watch movement manufacturer.


A contra weight powered by physical movement winding the mechanical watch.


Sapphire Crystal

Scratch resistant glass. Is often supplied with an anti-glare coating. This type of crystal is also shock resistant, but can – in rare circumstances -shatter under extreme pressure/shock.

Screw Lock Back

To be able to withstand higher (water) pressure, the watch back is screwed into the watch case.

Screwed Crown

The watch crown is screwed into the case for protection of the water resistance.

Second time zone

Usually denoted by GMT or Dual Time.

Skeleton watch

A skeleton watch is a mechanical watch (although it is occasionally a quartz), where the movement is visible through the front of the watch and often the back of the watch or a small window on the dial.

Slip Thru Strap

Watch strap in one piece. The slip through strap is pulled through the gap between the lugs and pin which is underneath the watch case.

Small Second

When the second hand of the watch does not run from the central axis, but in a separate dial or display it is called a Small Second. Chronographs usually contain a small second doubling as a stopwatch. Also: Petit Seconde


A quartz watch powered by a solar powered cell.

Spring drive

Watch mechanism like in a mechanical watch wound by a mainspring, barrel, automatic winder and stem, to store the watch energy.

Start-Stop Hebel

Lever on top of a chronograph pusher. Used by pilots to start and stop their chronograph with one push.


Metal or plastic bracelets where the individual links are held together by an elastic material.

Swiss Made

A watch can only be called Swiss Made when the assembly of the movement and the watch were started, adjusted and checked by a manufacturer in Switzerland. By law at least 50% of the watch, components must be produced in Switzerland. But it is allowed to produce the watch case and strap elsewhere, but all the elements must be delivered to Switzerland unassembled.

Swiss Movement

Watch movement manufactured in Switzerland. Some of the best known Swiss watch movement manufacturers are ETA, Ronda, Soprot en Sellita.

Swiss Watch

See: Swiss Made



The scale on the watch dial or bezel can be used to compute a speed based on travel time or measure distance based on speed.


A Telemeter is a device used to measure distances - a rangefinder - to remote objects/occurrences that can be both seen and heard (like a flash of lightning). The user starts the stopwatch at the moment the occurrence is seen and stops the watch at the moment the occurrence is heard. The second-hand points to the distance on the scale. Originally used for finding naval gunnery.

Tide alarm or -table

Denotes water levels and high tides. Predominantly used by sailors and surfers.


Barrel shaped.


A tourbillion is a cage turning on its axis containing a mechanical watch mechanism. Originally developed to limit wear and tear to the pocket watch movement.


Bicolour means two colours, usually silver gold or white gold yellow gold. Also called: Two-Tone.


Tyvek is a synthetic material consisting of high-density polyethene. The material can be cut with scissors or a knife, but cannot be torn. It is sometimes used in watch straps.


Uni-Directional Bezel

A bezel that can only be turned in one direction. Often found on dive watches to help the diver estimate the remaining time/air supply. Unidirectionality is a safety measure to avoid accidental changes of the fixed period.


Watch mechanism

The driving mechanism of the watch. Well, known types of watch mechanisms are quartz, solar, kinetic.

Workout memory

lap timer/lap counter

World timer

An analogue watch (usually in the bezel) shows the time in the 24 time zones of the world.

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