A

AlarmQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A device that generates a signal at a specified time. Alarms in wristwatches include audible signals (beeps, tunes, etc.) and vibrations (buzzers).
AltimeterQuartz AnalogDigital
A device that measures the distance above or below mean sea level. Watch altimeters almost invariably use barometers to estimate altitude.
Ana-DigiQuartz AnalogDigital
A wristwatch containing both digital and analog displays.
AnalogQuartz AnalogMechanical
A wristwatch that uses moving hands to indicate the time.
Annual CalendarMechanical
A relatively new type of mechanical watch developed by Patek Philippe in 1996. This watch correctly adjusts for 30 or 31 days in a month, but does not correctly handle the transition from February to March or the leap year. An annual calendar watch must therefore be adjusted once a year.
Atomic Clock
A time keeping device with extreme accuracy used mostly by scientific laboratories. Atomic clocks are used to create the timing signals in GPS satellites and atomic time radio towers around the world.
Atomic TimeQuartz AnalogDigital
A term used to describe wristwatches which receive radio signals transmitted by governmental time standard agencies to maintain accurate time in the watch. In the United States, these signals are transmitted from radio towers in Boulder, Colorado and Hilo, Hawaii.
Automatic WindingMechanical
A watch designation for a mechanical watch indicating that the mainspring is automatically wound by the wearer’s movements. This is usually achieved by connecting the mainspring’s winding mechanism to an eccentric weight, which spins as the wearer’s arm is moved. Also referred to as “self winding” or “perpetual”.

B

BangleQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A type of watch in which the case and bracelet/strap are all one solid piece of metal or plastic.
BarometerQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A device that measures the local atmospheric (also called the barometric) pressure.
BezelQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The frame piece that holds the glass onto the case of a watch.
BraceletQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A set of links used to hold a watch to the wrist.
BuckleQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The device which connects the two sides of a strap.
Butterfly ClaspQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A buckle that expands to allow the watch to fit over the wearer’s wrist, and then collapses to form a snug fit. A butterfly clasp used on a bracelet allows the bracelet to appear to be continuous since the collapsing of the butterfly clasp hides the clasp.

C

C.O.S.C.Quartz AnalogMechanical
Abbreviation: Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres aka Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.
The Swiss organization responsible for testing movements for timekeeping accuracy. Movements which pass these tests are issued an official certificate, which is usually passed on to the purchaser of the watch containing the certified movement. C.O.S.C. approved watches are known as Chronometers.
CalendarQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
Function to indicate day, date, month and/or year.
CalibREMechanical
Historically, an indicator of a specific movement size.  Today, more commonly used as a synonym for movement.
CaseQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The housing for the movement, dial and crystal.
ChronographQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
Stopwatch function. Literally, a device that writes (graph) the time (chronos). The original chronograph devices indicated the beginning and end of a time interval by writing a dot on the dial. Today’s chronographs use hands or digital numerals to indicate, measure and record time intervals. Typical chronograph resolutions are 1/4 second, 1/5 second, 1/10 second
and 1/20 second.
ChronometerQuartz AnalogMechanical
The designation given a watch which has met the accuracy standards of the C.O.S.C. For mechanical watches, the movement must be accurate to +6/-4 seconds a day. For quartz-based watches, movements must be accurate to +/- 0.02 seconds a day.
ClaspQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The device used to attach two ends of a bracelet (usually) or a strap (less often).
CompassQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A device that indicates cardinal direction.
CrownQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The “knob” used to set the time and/or date functions. The crown is also used to wind the mainspring in a mechanical watch.
CrystalQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
When referring to the case of a watch: the clear lens that allows you to see the dial and (sometimes) other workings of the watch. When referring to the inner workings of a quartz analog or digital watch: the quartz crystal regulates the time keeping accuracy.

D

DialQuartz AnalogMechanical
The decorative “face” of the watch.
DigitalMechanicalDigital
Telling time with numbers. Typical digital watches use the HH:MM (Hours:Minutes) or HH:MM:SS (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) formats.

E

EscapementMechanical
Part of mechanism that alternately blocks and unblocks the gear train of a mechanical watch. The escapement includes the hairspring, balance wheel, and pallet lever. The accuracy of a mechanical watch is largely determined by the design of the escapement.
EyeQuartz AnalogMechanical
The portion of a watch dial swept by a small hand which is not mounted in the center of the dial. Typically the eyes are used in chronograph watches where there is a need to show elapsed intervals involving hours, minutes, seconds, and fractions of seconds. However, eyes are also used for features such as a small second hand, calendars, and power reserve indicators.

F

Flyback ChronographQuartz AnalogMechanical
A type of chronograph developed for aviators which allows for immediate restart of chronograph function upon the push of a button. In most flyback chronographs the elapsed seconds interval is indicated by a center mounted hand (sweep second) which “flies back” to zero (12-o’clock) when the pusher is activated and then immediately restarts measuring elapsed time. This feature was useful to pilots when they needed to fly a “box pattern” waiting for permission to land and wanted to fly an equal amount of time in each leg of the box pattern. Of particular interest in most high quality flyback chronographs is the sweep hand’s return-to-zero direction: counter-clockwise when the sweep hand is in the range 1-30 seconds; clockwise after the sweep passes 30. This ensures the fastest “return-to-zero”.
Fob WatchQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A watch designed to be worn by clipping or pinning to clothing with a chain. These watches were historically very popular in Eastern countries (China and Japan in particular). The most common type of fob watch in the West is the “Nurse’s Watch” – a fob watch with a red sweep second hand used by nurses when taking the pulse of a patient.

G

Gear TrainQuartz AnalogMechanical
The mechanism that drives the hands of an analog watch. In a mechanical watch the gear train converts the energy stored in the mainspring into rotation of the hands. In a Quartz Analog watch, the gear train is activated by the motor and moves the hands.
GMTQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
Abbreviation: Greenwich Mean Time
Since the Englishman Benjamin Harrison was the first person to make a chronometer, the “zero” line of longitude runs through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England. In maritime history, accurate measurement of time (see chronometer) was the best method to determine longitude when sailing away from the sight of land. England’s ability to determine this before any other country played an important role in the creation of the British Empire.
In the past, people determined time by the sun, noon in a particular location was the time when the sun was directly overhead. Obviously, this resulted in many different “noons” around the globe. This system worked well until the development of the railroad – the first vehicles which could travel fast enough to make the time differences inherent in “solar time” a problem. The adoption of a “standard time” was a logical development.
Greenwich Mean Time simply refers to the time kept at Greenwich. All of the other Time Zones in the world are measured against this time. For instance, the time in Middlebury, Connecticut – site of Timex Group Watch Hill Headquarters – is five hours behind the time in Greenwich and is therfore referred to as GMT-5.
 
Universal Time

Universal time is the modern (1928) version of Greenwich Mean Time.
GPSQuartz AnalogDigital
Abbreviation: Global Positioning System
A United States military system comprised of a number of low earth orbit satellites, each carrying a calibrated atomic clock, which transmit radio signals identifying their orbital data and the precise time. A ground-based receiver can convert the data from a minimum of three satellites into an accurate (+/- 3 meters) location.
GuillocheQuartz AnalogMechanical
A French term used to describe a manually operated turning engine which can cut elaborately decorated patterns. The engine is controlled by a set of cams referred to as the “rose”. Many high-end watches have dials which have been decorated using guillochage.

H

Hair SpringMechanical
Tiny spring used in the escapement of a mechanical movement to regulate the release of energy in the main spring to the gear train. The hair spring and balance wheel are the mechanical equivalent of a pendulum and provide the time base for a mechanical movement.
HRMQuartz AnalogDigital
Abbreviation: Heart Rate Monitor
A device used to measure a person’s pulse rate.  Modern heart rate monitor watches usually consist of a chest strap containing the HRM and a watch that receives the data via radio transmission. Timex’s family of HRMs uses analog and digital radio transmissions.

I

IndiciaQuartz AnalogMechanical
Mark placed on dial to indicate increment of time.
Indiglo®Quartz AnalogDigital
A lighting system that uniformly illuminates the entire watch dial for ease in telling time in low light conditions. Timex’s Indiglo lighting system is based on electroluminescence – a phenomenon associated with certain materials that convert electrical excitation into visible light.

J

JewelMechanical
The term used for the synthetic rubies in mechanical watch movements that are placed under wheels and pinions to reduce friction.

K

KineticQuartz AnalogMechanical
Seiko’s patented term for an automatic winding system that powers a miniature generator and supplies electrical energy to charge a capacitor or rechargeable battery powering a Quartz Analog movement.

L

LCDQuartz AnalogDigital
Abbreviation: Liquid Crystal Display
A low-powered digital display technology used in many watches. 
LEDQuartz AnalogDigital
abbreviation: Light Emitting Diode
A solid state device which converts electrical energy into light. The first LEDs could only generate red light. Modern LEDs emit blue, red, amber, green, yellow and even white light.
Linear IndicatorQuartz AnalogMechanical
Most motion in a watch movement is circular, the wheels go “round and round”. Converting this circular motion into “straight line” motion in the tiny space available in a watch movement is a great challenge. Very few watches exist with hands which move in a straight line (linear) fashion.
LuminescenceQuartz AnalogMechanical
Certain materials exist which can “glow” a long time after having been exposed to light. Luminescence is a property of materials related to the existence of meta-stable electronic orbitals. Materials which are luminescent absorb light energy, moving electrons to meta-stable orbitals, and later emit light energy as the electrons decay back to their stable energy levels.

M

Main SpringMechanical
Large coiled spring that is the main power source of mechanical watches; the main spring drives the mechanism as it uncoils.
Mechanical WatchMechanical
A timekeeping device powered by a main spring and regulated by a hair spring/escapement.
ModuleDigital
Insides of a digital watch containing battery, microprocessor, display and sometimes a sensor. The module is the term we use instead of movement for the “insides” of a digital watch.
Moon PhaseQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The moon rotates about the earth in a period of approximately 29.5 days. At any position on the earth the appearance (phase) of the moon will vary from “full” to “new moon” (not visible) over this period. Watches which display the appearance of the moon, usually in an “eye”, are quite popular.
MovementQuartz AnalogMechanical
The inner workings of a mechanical or QA watch.

P

PedometerDigital
A device which counts steps, usually based on a miniature pendulum or an electronic accelerometer.
Pendulum
A weight suspended from a fixed point that allows free-swinging motions to occur. A pendulum will swing back and forth at a roughly regular rate, which can be used in a clock to measure time.
Perpetual CalendarQuartz AnalogMechanical
A calendar function that correctly deals with the irregular number of days per month and understands Leap Years. There are special rules governing Leap Years which are based on the irregularity of the earth’s motion around the sun. For instance, the year 2000 was not a Leap Year, even though it was evenly divisible by four.
PhotovoltaicQuartz AnalogDigital
From the Greek (photo = light, volta = spark). A material that generates an electric voltage when exposed to light. See “Solar Power”.
Pocket WatchQuartz AnalogMechanical
A watch designed to be worn in a pocket.
PulsometerQuartz AnalogMechanical
The dial of a watch with a second hand can be marked to show pulse rate on the assumption that a fixed number, usually ten, of pulse beats are observed and then the position of the second hand “tells” the pulse rate. For instance, a pulsometer dial would show the number 40 at 3-o’clock.

Q

Quartz AnalogQuartz Analog
A movement which drives hands with motors and uses a quartz crystal as its timebase.

R

RetrogradeQuartz AnalogMechanical
A term used to describe hands that can move both forwards (clockwise) and backwards (counter-clockwise) following an arc with a limited range.
RotorQuartz Analog
The part of the motor of a Quartz Analog movement, which rotates under the influence of the induced magnetic field in the stator.

S

Sapphire CrystalQuartz AnalogMechanical
Sapphire is a hard, transparent, scratch resistant material used as the crystal of high-end watches. Some mechanical watches also use sapphire as the back of the watch case, in order to expose the watch movement.
Screw Down CrownQuartz AnalogMechanical
A crown designed to provide greater water resistance through screw threads and a gasket. In normal use this type of crown is firmly screwed into the bezel. The crown must be unscrewed before it can be used to set the time.
SensorQuartz AnalogDigital
A device that “senses” some physical parameter. Sensors used in watches include devices to indicate temperature, pressure, humidity, and ultra-violet radiation.
Shock ResistanceQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The ability of a wristwatch to undergo physical shock and continue to function accurately. The unit of shock is the “g”, representing the force of the earth’s gravity. Typical Timex watches are shock resistant to forces exceeding 3,000 g.
Solar PowerQuartz AnalogDigital
Certain materials can convert sunlight into electrical energy. These materials are called “photovoltaic”. Watches that incorporate photovoltaic materials as energy sources are referred to as “solar powered” watches.
Speed and DistanceDigital
Runners are interested in how fast they are running (speed) and how far they have run (distance). Timex was the first company to introduce a “speed and distance” product for runners, combining data from a Global Positioning System device or a pedometer with timing data from a Timex Ironman runner’s watch.
Spring BarQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A clever method to fasten a watch attachment (strap or band) to the lugs of a watch case is to use a cylindrical mechanism that contains a spring which pushes against pins at each end of the cylinder. This mechanism is called a spring bar, enabling the attachment to be fastened to the watch by first depressing one of the spring-loaded pins and then allowing the pin to expand into a hole in the lug; the process is repeated for the other pin.
StatorQuartz Analog
The part of a quartz analog stepping motor, usually made of a very soft iron compound, which is rigidly fastened to the movement frame so that it cannot move (stator comes from static). The stator is magnetized under control of the quartz analog integrated circuit, and the magnetic field in the stator interacts with the permanent magnetic field of the rotor, causing the rotor to turn. A quartz analog stepping motor is designed to change the polarity (direction of the magnetic field) of the stator to first start the rotor turning and then stop it after it has moved, usually 180 degrees. This “start then stop” sequence is why the second hand of a Quartz analog movement seems to jump one second at a time.
StrapQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A watch attachment made of fabric, rubber, plastic or leather.
Sub Second HandQuartz AnalogMechanical
A small second hand that is not center-mounted. This type of second hand is often placed at the 6 o’clock position.
Sweep Second HandQuartz AnalogMechanical
A hand that rotates 360 degrees every minute and is centrally mounted in the dial, thus “sweeping” the expanse of the dial every minute. In a Quartz Analog watch this type of hand traverses a 6 degree arc each second.
Swiss MadeQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has set standards governing the mark “Swiss Made”. In brief, a watch which is marked “Swiss Made” must contain a “Swiss Movement”, must have been assembled and tested in Switzerland, and must meet minimum values of Swiss part content and Swiss labor.

T

TachymeterQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
“Tachy” in Greek means “fast”. A Tachymeter indicates how fast something is going. In a wristwatch, tachymeter markings on the dial of a watch, usually associated with the sweep second hand, relate elapsed time to speed, usually against a measured mile or kilometer. You use the tachymeter dial simply by starting your travel when the second hand is at 12 o’clock. After you have traveled a mile, the position of the second hand shows the speed. For instance, if the second hand is at 6 o’clock (1/2 rotation of the dial) after you have traveled a mile the tachymeter marking will show 120, since traveling 1 mile in 30 seconds is equivalent to a speed of 120 miles per hour.
TourbillonMechanical
An escapement which rotates 360 degrees, usually in one minute, in order to average the timekeeping distortion of earth’s gravitational field to 0. “Tourbillon” in French means “whirlwind”. The famous French watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon escapement in the latter part of the 18th century to improve the accuracy of pocket watches. While tourbillions are beautiful to watch, their functional benefit in wristwatches is disputed.

U

UCT
Abbreviation: Universal Coordinated Time
A standard time system which is based on atomic clocks and which is adjusted (by adding a “leap second”) to account for the gradual slowing down of the earth’s rotation. A leap second was added in 2006.

W

WatchQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A small timekeeping device.
Water ResistanceQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
The Marking refers to the depth the watch can be submerged to STATICALLY (ie: no movement).  Movement of the wrist underwater can cause a pressure wave on the watch SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the static water pressure.
Markings Example of Usage
Water resistant Withstand splashes of water or rain; do not submerge
3 atm/30m/100 ft. Rain, showering; do not submerge
5 atm/50m/165 ft. Rain, showering, swimming
10 atm/100m/330ft. Rain,showering, swimming, sailing, snorkeling, recreational diving
20 atm/100m/330ft. Rain, showering, swimming, sailing, snorkeling, recreational diving, surfing, white water rafting
WindowQuartz AnalogMechanical
Hole in dial through which underlying mechanisms, usually a date wheel, can be seen.
World TimeQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
Watch that shows the current time in selected major cities around the world.
WristwatchQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A watch designed to be worn on the wrist.

Y

YachtimerQuartz AnalogMechanicalDigital
A chronograph watch used specifically for yacht racing.