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Horology glossary

Watchmaking, watches technical terms : Movements, Cases and Dials

Analogue time display

The time is indicated by a pair of hands. The current time can be told by comparing the relative positions of the hour and minutes hands.

Automatic winding

An additional mechanism that uses energy derived from the motions of the wearer's forearm to tighten the mainspring of a mechanical watch.


The protective exterior housing of a watch. Cases are made in very resistant stainless steel 316L


A plate, with a metal base and visible through the crystal, that carries certain indications "index", such as the hours, minutes and sometimes seconds. 
This is the visual part that you will be able to personalize while designing your GriGri watches.

Sapphire crystal

A scratch-resistant crystal with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. Only diamond is harder.


An additional mechanism in a mechanical watch, e.g. a date or chronographe. 
The GriGri watch complication is the date at 6 o'clock.


A button, often fluted, on the outside of the watch case used to wind the mainspring in mechanical watches. It is also used to set the time, when pulled out, and for setting a watch calendar. A screw-down crown is used to make the watch more water resistant and to help keep out dust.

Date display

A date complication is when the date is displayed on the watch, and it is the simplest complication that exists on a watch. Digital date shows the date displayed numerically through a window (also known as an aperture) on the dial. The date function must be manually adjusted at the end of 30-day months as well as at the end of February to ensure the proper date is displayed.


One of the most important parts of any watch, the escapement provides impulses that maintain the oscillation of the balance wheel ensuring the rate that the escapement will allow the hands to revolve.


Oscillations per unit of time, measured in hertz (Hz). The oldest common standard for wristwatches was 18.000 A:h (2.5 Hz). To increase precision, watch movements manufacturer later raised the frequency to 21.600 A/h (3 Hz), 28.800 A/h (4 Hz) and more.


The pointing device anchored in the center of the dial and rotating around it indicates the hours, minutes, seconds and any other indications that the watch provides according to its level of complication.


Synthetic sapphires or rubies that act as bearings for gears of a mechanical watch. A quality hand wound or automatic mechanical watch contains at least 17 jewels.


Curved elements pointing towards the outside of the case to fix the wristband of the watch (strap or band).


Luminous (lume) markers and hands are made by applying glow in the dark coating to the indicator. This allows them to illuminate automatically in a darkened environment.

Mechanical Watch

Mechanical watches are the most traditional type of watch. They usually consist of about 120-180 individual parts. This is a watch that runs without any electrical source and can consist of manual wind watches or automatic watches. When wound, it slowly unwinds the spring in an even motion. An automatic mechanical requires no winding because of the rotor, which winds the mainspring every time you move your wrist.

Mineral Glass

Heat hardened glass about ten times harder than plastic. Hardness level 5.  
Less resistante than the Sapphire glass used by GriGri watches


The engine of the watch, The fully functioning assembly of all the main timekeeping organs of a watch. Three main types of movements : mechanical, automatic and quartz.

Quartz Movement

Quartz watches are battery powered. They can either have hands, like the more traditional mechanical watch, or have a digital display. These watches are much more accurate than even the most expensive manual wind watches.

Automatic Movement

See "Automatic winding" on the top of the page


The part of an automatic watch that rotates as it is worn to wind the main spring.

Screw Back crown and case back

The back of the case and the crown are provided with a thread which allows to screw them to the watch case. Threaded models are more efficient than models with encapsulated case back and associated with the etancheity gasket they are offering a much better protection of up to 100m safely. Water can not enter into the watch case.

Shock Absorber

All mechanical and automatic watches are protected against bumps and drops by shock protection. The shock absorber is a spring that captures the shocks and then protect the balance and its pivots from being damaged.


A prohibited term used when describing the water resistance of a watch. No watch can be fully 100 percent waterproof.

Water Resistant

The ability of a watch to resist splashes of water. This will indicate the depth that a watch can be worn underwater. 
Water resistant: 
Withstands splashes of water or rain but should not be worn while swimming or diving 
Watches come in different water resistant depths and diver’s depths: 
Water tested to 50 meters (165 feet): 
Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water 
Water resistant to 100 meters (330 feet): 
Suitable for swimming or snorkeling 
Water resistant to 200 meters (660 feet): 
Suitable for scuba diving