Want to buy a watch? Our Watches Buying Guide will help you understand the different functions available so you can decide which watch is the one for you.
An analogue watch is not digital, but traditionally indicates the time by the continuous motion of two or three rotating pointers or hands pointing to numbers arrayed on a dial. The hours are marked in Arabic numerals, Roman numerals or baton markers; sometimes these are combined for fashion.
This stands for ‘atmosphere’ and indicates how water resistant your timepiece is. 1 ATM is equal to 10 metres of water; so 3 ATM means the watch is water resistant to 30 metres.
This is the ring around the outer edge of the dial, which, on sports watches, sometimes features markings and moves so it can be used to measure time or speed.
A chronograph watch has both timekeeping and stopwatch functions. These are available in analogue and digital formats:
• Digital chronographs use a digital display for timekeeping and stopwatch functions.
• Analogue chronographs have an analogue face (see above) with a separate digital display.
A chronometer has a high quality Quartz Movement (see below) that has been tested and certified to operate within a certain standard of accuracy by the COSC (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres).
The crown is the button on the end of the spindle that is used for adjusting the time and/or date on an analogue watch. Also known as the ‘winder’.
A digital watch displays the time as a number, rather than with hands. It shows the time in hours, minutes, seconds and even as fractions of seconds.
This watch displays two different time zones – perfect for travelers.
These watches use the movement of your body to keep them going. Kinetic movement is converted into electrical energy. Great as you don’t need to change the battery, however, the battery could run down if the watch is not worn for some time. Some have a ‘sleep’ mode, which conserves energy when the watch is not in use.
These are used to display the time on digital watches. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display and LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.
The face of the watch is the lens. Cheaper watches may have plastic lenses, while more expensive models often feature mineral crystal or sapphire glass, which are more durable.
This is the mechanism that measures the passage of time and displays the current time, and sometimes other information, such as date, month and day. Movements can be mechanical, electronic or a blend of both. Many modern watches have electronic movements, with mechanical hands on the face to indicate the time.
One of the most precise forms of timekeeping, Quartz vibrates thousands of times per second. Many modern watches use a Quartz crystal movement, rather than a mechanical clockwork operation.
These watches receive radio-controlled signals from a satellite transmitter, making them highly accurate.
Great for sports, these watches can withstand gentle jolts.
If your watch is splash-proof, it can withstand splashes of water, but should not be submerged in water.
Perfect for sailors and athletes, a tachymeter measures speed.
These watches can be submerged in water. It normally states water resistance, followed by a number and metre, such as 150m. This is only a guide, as watches are not normally tested in the sea, but in a laboratory.
• 30m: Will resist moisture and can be submerged, no swimming
• 50m: Can be worn while swimming in shallow water
• 100m: Can be worn while snorkeling and swimming
• 150m: Can be worn in the water, but not suitable for scuba diving
• 200m (plus): Suitable for standard scuba diving
• 1000m: May be worn for deep sea diving