WatchBuys Terms and Questions
Watch Technical Questions Articles
What does "17 jewels" mean?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  Higher grade watches have traditionally used a jeweled movements, which means that jewels (originally natural ruby, now synthetic ruby) were actually used in the movement.  These jewels are functional - they are used as the bearings for the wheel... Read More
What does "adjusted" vs. "unadjusted" vs. "regulated" mean?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  An "unadjusted" movement is a movement where no attempt has been made to ensure that the daily error rate in several orientations (positions) have been minimized across the positions.  An "adjusted" movement, therefore, has had some extra care in... Read More
Are more jewels better?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  Not necessarily. A typical hand-wind movement today will have only 17 jewels as a full complement.  Some really high-grade or ultra-thin movements will add a few extra jewels to further protect against any wear, but even these top out at 21-23... Read More
If a watch is advertised as "18K", what does that mean?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  The term 18K refers to solid gold. Pure gold is very soft; gold is made in several "karats", or 1/24th proportions of gold, to make it harder and stand up to daily wear.     9K = 9/24 purity of gold = 37.5% purity (sometimes seen in vintage and... Read More
What is a "hack" seconds feature?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  This is a military term referring to watches that stop the second hand, to allow for more accurate synchronization between two watches.  In the most common type of hacking watch, when the crown is pulled out to the time-setting position, a lever... Read More
What do I need to do to keep a mechanical watch running for a lifetime?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  Within reason, a mechanical watch can always be brought back into good time keeping, and a jeweled movement can last for generations. However, it is important to periodically service a watch to ensure that the components are well-lubricated, and... Read More
How does an automatic mechanism work?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  All self-winding watches work on the principle of converting arm motion (kinetic energy) into the winding of the mainspring (potential energy). Usually, this is performed by a half-disc of metal weighted at the edge called a rotor, which spins... Read More
What are synthetic rubies?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
Ruby is technically known corundum, and is a crystallized form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3).  In pure form, corundum is white in color; trace impurities are added to change the color - to red in the case of rubies.  It should also be noted that any... Read More
What is a mechanical watch?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  A mechanical watch is a device for keeping time, which uses the energy from a wound spring, and keeps time through the highly regulated release of that energy through a set of gears (the wheel train) and an escapement.  It differs from the... Read More
What is a column wheel?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  As one can imagine, constructing a chronograph is fraught with the potential for inadvertently stopping or damaging the entire movement.  For example, if the reset mechanism was somehow activated while the chronograph was running, large... Read More
What is a complication?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  A complication is defined as a wristwatch function beyond that required for simple hour, minute, and second. More practically, common additions such as a day/date window are typically excluded from this definition.  This leaves a wide variety of... Read More
What are some other materials used as watch cases?
Added on Thu, Apr 9, 2015
  Aside from the standard gold and stainless steel, high-end watches are often made of platinum or titanium. Platinum is a very heavy metal, and gives a shiny white metal appearance.  Unlike gold, pure platinum is fairly hard and resistant to... Read More