Watches have a beautiful exterior which we spoke about in a previous article. They also contain an intricate and beautifully crafted interior consisting of various wheels and gears that are responsible for accurate time keeping, which is especially true of good watches. Below is a short list of the parts that allow a watch to do its job, accurately.
Watch Parts – Basic Parts
The Balance Wheel is in essence a regulator in a watch. It has a mechanical movement that vibrates on a spiral hairspring. By lengthening or shortening the spring it will cause the balance wheel to go faster or slower. When the balance wheel travels from extreme to extreme it’s called oscillation.
The Gear Train is a series of small gears that transmit power from the battery (in a quartz watch) or spring (in a mechanical watch) to the escapement, which distributes the impulses that mark the time.
The Escapement is the part that restricts the electrical or mechanical impulses of the gear train, mentioned above, allowing equal parts.
The Motion Work is made up of a few parts that actually turn the watch’s hands. They also distribute and generate a watches power.
Watch Parts – Put it all together
The Mainspring is the “main” energy source that powers the watch movement. The spring is wound and the potential energy is stored in the coiled spring. It is then released to the gear train which transmits the power to the escapement and motion work, which turns the hands on the watch dial.
Many brands of watches are created by putting everything above together. The main energy sources can be electronic (battery), Solar or mechanical (wound up spring). A watch’s main timekeeping mechanism is called its movement. Keep in mind this is a more simplified description to make things easier to understand.
What about the External Parts
The cover of a watch face is typically made of crystal (high end watches) Most will also come with glass or plastic which makes the watch a little more inexpensive.
The hands of a watch are mounted to the center of the watch and indicate hours, minutes and seconds. They can also indicate other features such as the month. These hands can be plain or luminous depending on the make and price of the watch.
The bezel is the ring that surrounds the cover and holds the crystal face in place. The bezel can move and be used as a timing device or can be stationary like on a dress or casual watch.
The crown is used to set the date, time and other features. It is usually located on the right side of a watch and pulls out to make adjustments.
The watch case is the actual housing that holds all the internals of watch. Typically they are made of stainless steel, but it is not uncommon to find them in titanium, gold, silver and platinum. Cheaper watches are made of brass which is then plated with gold or silver.
The bracelet or strap is the band that secures the watch to its owner’s hand. They come in thousands of styles and designs. They are also made of silver, gold, titanium or platinum to match the watch case. Straps are typically made of leather but material can vary depending on the price of the watch. All brands of watches come with different options so your never stuck with one option.