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WATCHES 101-PART II

WATCH FUNCTIONS With the strides made in watch techonology over the past century, wristwatches have developed a plethora of useful features and functions. When shopping for a watch, you should be aware of the various features and functions available in watches, as well as what types of features and functions you would like in the…

WATCH FUNCTIONS

With the strides made in watch techonology over the past century, wristwatches have developed a plethora of useful features and functions. When shopping for a watch, you should be aware of the various features and functions available in watches, as well as what types of features and functions you would like in the watch you ultimately purchase. We have detailed each of the most popular functions below.

CALENDAR WATCHES

Have a feature that shows the day of the month and often the day of the week and the year. There are several types of calendar watches. Some show the date and day of the week with subdials and analog hands. Others have a scale on the outer rim of the watch face numbered from 1 to 31 for the days of the month. Others show the day, date and sometimes the year digitally through an aperture on the watch face.

MOON PHASE WATCHES

Have a window in a watch face that shows which phase the moon is in. A disk beneath the window with two pictures of a moon rotates as the month progresses revealing gradually larger or smaller segments of the picture.

TRAVEL WATCHES

MULTI-ZONE WATCHES

Show the current time in two or more time zones simultaneously.

WORLD TIMER WATCHES

Watches with a dial usually on the outer edge of the watch face that tells the time in up to 24 time zones around the world. The time zones are represented by the names of the cities printed on the bezel or the dial. The wearer reads the hour in a particular time zone by looking at the scale next to the city that the hour hand is pointing to. The minutes are read as normal.

YACHTING AND DIVING WATCHES

WATER RESISTANT WATCHES

The case, crown, push buttons and crystal of a watertight watch are made in such a way that no dust or water can penetrate, providing longtime protection of the internal parts. Water-resistant watches should be tested once a year and opened only by a qualified watchmaker. Most manufacturers avoid the term “waterproof” as no internal standard has been devised. Waterproof is not a legal term in the US.

TIDAL WATCHES

Indicate high and low tides. A must for yachtsmen.

YACHT TIMER

A countdown timer (see “countdown timer”) that sounds warning signals during the countdown to a boat race.

DIVER’S WATCHES

Watches able to withstand water pressure up to a specific depth without incurring damage. These can have feature depth sensors, depth alarms, and altimeters.

TIMING WATCHES

CHRONOGRAPH

A watch which not only indicates the time of the day in hours, minutes and seconds, but is also equipped with an additional mechanism- operated manually by push buttons-which makes it possible to measure continuous or discontinuous intervals of time, from a fraction of a second to 12 hours.

CHRONOMETER

Not to be confused with a chronograph, this term is assigned to watches that have undergone thorough and intensive testing at an official laboratory or an official institute. A chronometer is a precision instrument and is accompanied by a certificate.

STOPWATCH

An instrument, usually a pocket watch, which only measures intervals of time and does not indicate the time of day. A stopwatch can be incorporated into a standard watch; both the stopwatch function and the timepiece would then be referred to as a “chronograph.”

COUNTDOWN TIMER

A function that lets the wearer keep track of how much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed. Some countdown timers sound a warning signal a few seconds before time runs out- these are usually events such as yacht races, where the sailor must maneuver the boat into position before the start of race.

SWEEP SECONDS-HAND

A seconds-hand that is mounted in the center of the watch dial.

TELEMETER

Determines the distance of an object from the observer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance. Like a tachymeter, it consists of a stopwatch or chronograph, and a special scale, usually on the outermost edge of the watch face. One use of a telemeter would be determining the distance of a storm from its observer.

TACHYMETER

Probably the most common feature on a chronograph, a tachymeter (also called tachometer) measures the speed at which the wearer has traveled over a measured distance. The wearer starts the chronograph when passing the starting point and stops it when passing the finish. The wearer can then read the speed in units, in this case, miles per hour, off the tachymeter scale.

LAP TIMER

A chronograph function that lets the wearer time segments of a race. At the end of a lap, he stops the timer, which then returns to zero, to begin timing the next lap.

LAP MEMORY

The ability, in some quartz sport watches, to preserve in the watch’s memory the times of laps in a race that have been determined by the lap timer (see lap timer). The wearer can recall these times on a digital display by pushing a button.

12-HOUR RECORDER (OR REGISTER)

A subdial on a chronograph (see “chronograph”) that can time periods of up to 12 hours.

ALARM

A device that sounds a signal at a pre-set time.

YACHT TIMER

A countdown timer (see “countdown timer”) that sounds warning signals during the countdown to a boat race.

ROTATING BEZEL

A bezel (the ring which holds the crystal) that can be turned. Different types of rotating bezels perform different timekeeping and mathematical functions (see “elapsed time rotating bezel”, uni-directional rotating bezel”, and “slide-rule”.)

ELAPSED TIME ROTATING BEZEL

A graduated rotating bezel (see “rotating bezel”) used to keep track of periods of time. The bezel can be turned so the wearer can align the zero on the bezel with the watch’s seconds’ or minutes’ hands. He can then read the elapsed time off the bezel. This saves him having to perform the subtraction that would be necessary if he used the watch’s regular dial.

UNI-DIRECTIONAL ROTATING BEZEL

n elapsed time rotating bezel (see “elapsed time rotating bezel”) often found on diver watches, that moves only in a counterclockwise direction. It is designed to prevent a diver who has unwittingly knocked the bezel off its original position from overestimating his remaining air supply. Because the bezel moves in only one direction, the diver can err only on the side of safety when timing his dive. Many diver watches are ratcheted, so that they lock into place for greater safety.

SLIDE RULE

A device, consisting of logarithmic or other scales on the outer edge of the watch face, that can be used to do mathematical calculations. One of the scales is marked on a rotating bezel, which can be slid against the stationary scale to make the calculations. Some watches have slide rules that allow specific calculations, such as for fuel consumption by an airplane.

FLYBACK HAND

A seconds hand on a chronograph (see “chronograph”) that can be used to time laps or to determine finishing times for several competitors in a race. Usually has two sweep second hands, one positioned above the other. When the timer is running, the hands appear as one. When the start/ stop button is activated while the chronograph mechanism is running, one hand stops to record a lap time etc. and the other continues to run. Activating the start/ stop button causes the hand to return to the original position in tandem with the running sweep hand.

AUTO REPEAT COUNTDOWN TIMER

A countdown timer (see “countdown timer”) that resets itself as soon as the preset time has elapsed and starts the countdown again. It repeats the countdown continuously until the wearer pushes the stop button.

SUBDIAL

A small dial within a watch dial used for any of several purposes, such as keeping track of elapsed minutes or hours on a chronograph or indicating the date.

REPEATER WATCHES

A repeater watch is a complication watch that indicates the hours by means of striking gongs- a function activated by a pushpiece of slide. There are several types of repeater watches:

QUARTER-HOUR REPEATERS

This type of mechanism is designed to strike the hours and quarter-hours. A low-pitched gong is struck to indicate the hour, while quarter-hours are indicated by a low and a high note struck together.

HALF-QUARTER REPEATERS

This type of mechanism is designed to strike the hours, quarter-hours and half-quarter hours, i.e. 7.5 minutes after the quarter-hour. A low-pitched (bass) gong is struck to indicate the hour, quarter-hours being indicated by a combination of bass and treble notes, the first half of the quarter-hour by a single treble note and the second half by two treble notes.

FIVE-MINUTE REPEATERS

These came in two versions. The first version is a bass note is struck to indicate the hours, and a treble note for every five minutes, rather than for every quarter-hour. The second version is a bass note is struck for the hours, combined bass and treble notes for the quarter-hours, and a treble note every five minutes in addition to the quarter-hour.

MINUTES REPEATERS

Watches that strike or sound that hours and minutes on demand by activating a button.

MULTIFUNCTION WATCHES

SKELETON

A watch with a mechanism cut away to the minimum material by sawing and milling. Skeleton mechanisms are often provided with fine engravings and casings. Build in between the transparent dial and glass bottom; they create attractive, decorative watches.

TOURBILLON

Device invented by A. L. Breguet in 1801 to eliminate errors of rate in the vertical positions. It consists of a rotating carriage or cage carrying all the parts of the escapement and the balance wheel. This ingenious mechanism corrects the small gravitational error that exists in regular watches.

COMPLICATION

A watch with more than one function (e.g. alarm, moon phase, perpetual calendar, power reserve indicator, split seconds, repeater). The term is usually used only for mechanical watches.

GRANDE COMPLICATION

A masterpiece of micro engineering. It usually includes the maximum number of functions. Displays hours, seconds, elapsed time, phases of the moon, and includes a split-second chronograph. Can have 9 hands, over 950 parts, and an automatic mechanical perpetual calendar programmed for 514 years.

We the previous list was certainly long, we wanted to provide you with a comprehensive list of available watch functions. To begin shopping for a watch with your desired functions, please visit one of our Southern California showrooms in Rolling Hills Estates and Torrance.

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