The Inner – Workings of a Watch, and How it Works

Watches essentially tell time by the integration of three main components- an energy source, a time regulating mechanism and a display.

Mechanical watches are made up of about 130 parts that work together to tell time. Automatic, mechanical movements mark the passage of time by a series of gear mechanisms. The gear train then transmits the power to the escapement, which distributes the impulses, turning the balance wheel. The balance wheel is the time regulatory organ of a mechanical watch.

Quartz Watches work with a series of electronic components, all fitting together in a tiny space. Rather than a wound spring, a quartz watch relies on a battery for its energy. The battery sends electronic energy to a rotor to produce an electronic current, then it passes through a magnetic coil to a quartz crystal which vibrates at a very high frequency (32,768 times a second) providing highly accurate timekeeping.

In addition to their extreme beauty, watches are also an incredible feat of engineering as well as craftsmanship. Many complicated parts must all work in tandem, in order to not only tell time, but perform the myriad of other functions that a great deal of today’s watches perform.

Watches contain many parts that work together to tell time. These could include a chronograph, altimeter, alarm, day/date calendar, phases of the moon, slide rule, etc.
Crystals – Crystals are the covers over the watch. There are three types of crystals commonly found in watches. Acrylic crystal is an inexpensive plastic used in today’s less expensive watches. Mineral crystal is a compound of several elements that are heat treated and Sapphire crystal, the most expensive and durable.


There are many different types of hands including :
ALPHA – A hand that is slightly tapered.
BATED – A narrow hand referred to as a ‘stick hand’
DAUPHINE – A wide tapered hand
SKELETON – Cutout hands showing only the frame
LUMINOUS – Hand made of skeletons with the opening filled with luminous material
BEZEL – The surface ring on a watch that surrounds and holds the crystal in place.
CROWN – The nodule extending from the watchcase that is used to set the time, date, etc.
DIAL – The watch face that contains the numerals/
CASE – or – WATCHCASE – The watchcase is the metal housing that contains the internal parts of a watch.
BRACELET – A bracelet is the flexible metal band consisting of assembled links, usually in the same style as the watch case.
STRAP – Simply, a watchband made of leather, plastic, rubber, fabric or metal.