Why is Geneva the Center of the Luxury Watch World?

While there are certainly other nations like Germany, Japan, England, and even the US that have their own watchmaking centers, today Switzerland is still the country most associated with fine watchmaking. And similarly, although watchmaking is spread out across little villages in the tiny nation (in fact, my family is from the watchmaking village of St. Imier, home to Longines and other watch brands) the city of Geneva lays claim to being the heart of the Swiss watch industry. But why is Geneva the center of the luxury watch world today? Let’s find out.

 

A Brief History of Swiss Watchmaking

Paradoxical as it may seem, the origins of luxury watchmaking in Switzerland was in fact partly due to austerity measures of the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin spearheaded the movement in Switzerland and in 1541 he banned the wearing, selling, and making of jewelry in Geneva, deeming it too frivolous and opulent. As a result, the jewelers of the city were left with no viable trade. Around the same time, French Protestants, the Huguenots, fled to Geneva to escape persecution in France from the Catholic majority. With the migration, the French refugees brought along their creative skills and watchmaking know-how to the Swiss city. Thankfully, John Calvin did allow for the production of watches in Geneva as he deemed them as practical instruments and not flashy objects of wealth like jewelry.

Therefore, the out-of-work Swiss jewelers and the newly arrived French watchmakers shared their knowledge and savoir-faire, which laid the groundwork for Geneva to establish itself as a burgeoning European watchmaking city. Over the course of the next few centuries, the industry spread from the city to the rural areas of Switzerland because these areas offered a willing labor pool. Farmers had plenty of free time in the winter and consequently many of them were hired by Genevan watch companies to build watch components.

While Switzerland as a nation has been continuously committed to the watchmaking industry, this is not to say that it has been an easy path. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Quartz Crisis threatened to topple the entire mechanical timepiece market with the advent of cheap quartz-powered timepieces from Asia. Only the strongest watch brands survived and the early 1990s saw a phenomenal comeback of the mechanical luxury watch, which continued to boom until only just recently. Today, it’s no secret that the smartwatch category presents yet another threat to the luxury watch market. Just how Switzerland will tackle this challenge remains to be seen.

 

Geneva is Home to Leading Luxury Watch Brand HQs and Top Horology Events

Although many Swiss watch brand manufactures are scattered throughout the country—Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, Omega in Biel/Bienne, Breitling in Grenchen, and IWC in Schaffhausen—Geneva is still home to the headquarters and production facilities of the two titans of Swiss watchmaking; Rolex and Patek Philippe.

Rolex HQ in Geneva (Image: Rolex)

Along with manufacturing, Geneva is the best city in the world to shop for a luxury watch. Take a stroll down Rue du Rhône and surrounding streets in Geneva and you’ll be met with the most incredible watch boutiques from just about all the prestigious watch brands from Switzerland and beyond. Plus, the renowned Patek Philippe museum is of course also in Geneva.

Basel may host the largest watch and jewelry fair in the industry, but Geneva is not far behind with the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH) event taking place every January. Top brands such as Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Richard Mille, and others are there to showcase their novelties for the year.

GPHG is the most prestigious awards ceremony in the watch industry (Image: GPHG)

Geneva is also where the annual Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Genève event takes place—the most prestigious awards in watchmaking today.

Moreover, it’s not just new watches that come to Geneva. This picturesque city by the lake is also where the world’s best auction houses hold high-profile auction events a few times a year, selling rare, vintage, and extraordinary watches to keen international collectors.

 

What is the Geneva Seal?

 Based on the official full coat of arms of Geneva, the presence of the Geneva Seal (Poinçon de Genève in French) in watch movements certifies that the movement was indeed made in the City or Canton of Geneva. There is also a set of strict quality regulations to pass before a watch can be engraved with the seal.

The Geneva Seal on a Vacheron Constantin watch (Image: Vacheron Constantin)

Perhaps the most famous watch house to proudly feature the Geneva Seal on most of their timepieces is Vacheron Constantin. Patek Philippe also used the Geneva Seal up until 2009, when the famous manufacture implemented its own “Patek Philippe Seal” process.

 

As you can see, Switzerland, and in particular Geneva, has cultivated a culture that emphasizes the importance of fine watchmaking. From watchmaking schools to state-of-the-art production facilities to corporate offices to lavish boutiques to glamorous events, Geneva has rightfully earned its place as the center of the watch world.

Watch Talk: How to Sell or Trade a Luxury Watch

Spring is in full swing, which for many means some spring-cleaning tasks ahead. But aside from cleaning out the closets, garage, and the dark space under your bed, may we suggest clearing out the clutter from your watch box too. There may just be some luxury watches stashed away in there that haven’t seen the light of day in years (decades?) that you should probably deal with. The good news is, that while you may not want to wear your old luxury watches—perhaps they’re too small, too big, too outdated, or simply not your style—as the old saying goes, one’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Okay “trash” is way too harsh when speaking of fine timepieces, but you get our drift. Turn your clutter into cash or credit with these three steps on how to sell or trade a luxury watch.

1. Gather Your Used Watches and Do Some Research

Preowned Luxury Watches

 

Like with most things in life, preparation is everything. So, first things first, go through your drawers, closets, your safe, and watch box and gather any luxury watches that you haven’t worn in a while. Bonus points if you can locate the watches’ original paperwork and packaging. Take a long hard look at what’s in front of you and be realistic—will you ever wear these again? Are you just holding on to them for nostalgic reasons or perhaps you feel bad getting rid of them? Think about it this way, watches that gather dust in a dark space does nobody any good! Let them go to a better home, where they will be appreciated and worn! Plus, it’s not like you’ll throwing out these valuable items—sell them or trade them in for watches you’ll actually enjoy wearing.

Do some basic research on the pre-owned watches you have. There are plenty of resources out there from watch forums to watch blogs to online watch magazines to auction results to get a better picture of the history, current value, and existing demand of your used watches. Also, and this is very important, have realistic expectations. While in your mind these may be priceless items worth a bucket load of cash, the reality is often a much different story. Just because you found one example of a watch similar to yours that sold for five-figures, does not mean that yours will be valued the same. There are plenty of factors that play into the perceived value of a pre-owned luxury watch including provenance, condition, and most importantly, demand.

2. Take Clear Pictures and Prepare Detailed Descriptions

 Preowned Luxury Watches

Once you have your watches ready and have a ballpark figure or what you’re expecting to get in return for selling your watch, it’s time to take some pictures. Take clear higher resolution pictures so as many details of the watch can be seen in the photographs. Also, take pictures from all angles of the watch—front, back, sides, bracelet/strap, buckle/clasp, box/papers, and so on. The goal here is to give a clear and honest look at the watch in its current state. No use trying to hide any flaws and/or damage to the watch because these will eventually be uncovered.

Once you’re happy with the pictures, head to the Phigora Sell Page to fill out the quotation request form. Similar to the pictures, be as detailed and honest in your accompanying descriptions as possible. Also indicate if you want to sell or trade a luxury watch and one of our team members will get back to you in less than 24 hours.

3. Find a Watch to Fall in Love With

Preowned Luxury Watches

Reward yourself for a job well done by browsing our collection of pre-owned watches to find one that you love. Consider your budget (taking into account the credit that your old watch will get you), lifestyle, and taste and pick a watch that you’ll be happy to wear often. Do you gravitate more towards dive watches, pilot watches, dress watches, or understated time-only watches? What about metals—do you wear stainless steel or gold more?

It’s always a good idea to look at popular brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Omega, and Breitling. These types of luxury watches are better at retaining their values, which is something to think about if you’ll sell your watch again in the future. And for even more savings, don’t miss our Spring Sale happening right now for a limited time.

Although “fun” isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to spring cleaning, selling or trading your old watch for a new one certainly is. Out with the old and in with the new, we say!

Watch Talk: How to Shop for a Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

Buying a pre-owned watch is a great way to get your hands on an affordable luxury watch, yet it can be a daunting task filled with uncertainty if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. We want to make sure we equip you with as much information as possible and so we developed a quick how to on how to shop for a pre-owned luxury watch with confidence.

 

1. Research Watch Brands, Models, and Styles

You have a wide variety of luxury watch brands, styles, and models to choose from. High-end watch brands are rich with history, which makes for some interesting timepieces.

Generally speaking, a watch manufacture is one that designs and produces most of their own timepiece components and mostly constructs their own mechanical watch movements in-house (there are always exceptions). Some leading luxury watch manufactures include Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Söhne. Other luxury watchmakers, such as Cartier, Breitling, and Omega, sometimes manufacture their own movements and sometimes take standard “ebauche” movements and modify them. Most watch brands also offer more affordable battery-operated quartz models along with their more expensive mechanical watches. The type of watch movement is something to take into account when buying a pre-owned luxury watch.

In terms of style, there’s an abundance of options to consider. It’s standard for most high-end watchmakers to offer pieces in robust stainless steel and fine 18k gold, while other companies focus on other materials like titanium, carbon fiber, and ceramic. The size of wristwatches has progressively increased over its history — what once was considered the average size for a men’s watch, 26mm – 32mm, is diminutive compared to today’s average size of 40mm and beyond. However, there’s been a notable trend these days back to smaller men’s watches hovering around the 36mm – 39mm mark.

Research some top watch brands to see if their heritage, styles, and models resonate with you.

 

2. Taste and Lifestyle Fit

Many watches offer specific functions, for instance, diver’s watches have high levels of water resistance, pilot’s watches have multiple time zones, chronograph watches measure elapses events, and fine classical watches boast traditional complications such as calendars and indicate moonphase. When contemplating buying a preowned luxury watch, consider your lifestyle and what type of watch would best suit your needs.

If this is your first pre-owned watch purchase, a versatile and affordable luxury watch may be the right choice for you. Some great starter luxury watches for men include the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the Breitling Colt, and the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. For women, the Cartier Tank Française and the Rolex Lady-Datejust are classic entry-level luxury watch choices.

Check out our beginner’s guide to starting a luxury watch collection to learn more.

 

3. Select a Brand That Will Retain Value

If the possibility of reselling your pre-owned luxury watch in the future is an important factor, then selecting a brand that tends to maintain its value, such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier, is something to keep in mind.

When purchasing a second-hand luxury watch for the first time, look for watches that historically retain their design characteristics without too many drastic changes for easier reselling later. For instance, the Rolex Submariner, Breitling Chronomat, and Omega Speedmaster Professional, have all kept their iconic looks virtually untouched for decades.

Stainless steel luxury watches have always been a popular choice with their demand steadily increasing, thus, may be easier to resell than other, more expensive, materials.

 

4. Buy From a Reputable Source

There are a number of advantages of buying a pre-owned luxury watch over a brand new one, including better prices, availability of discontinued models, and a wider range of options. However, in this case, it’s very important to “buy the seller” to avoid getting cheated.

Be cautious of companies that promise cheap luxury watches without the necessary measures to protect the buyer from fraudulent sellers. Aside from the price, examine other factors like condition, proof of authenticity, reputation, and after-sales service. Opt for reputable sources like Phigora that offer pre-owned watches for sale within a safe and secure online marketplace.

If you’re in the market to buy a luxury watch online, then take advantage of Phigora’s valuable features to protect the buyer. Not only are all of our watches backed by an authenticity guarantee, they also come with a one-year warranty. Plus, we also have an easy return policy should you not be satisfied with your purchase.

Consider the above buyer’s guide tips, browse through our catalog of pre-owned watches for sale, and buy with confidence.

Ready to shop a preowned watch? Shop our Spring Sale from now until April:

https://www.phigora.com/spring-sale.html

March Watch of the Month: Rolex Submariner No-Date 14060

There are your standard popular luxury watches and then there’s the Rolex Submariner—a watch that is truly in a league of its own. Born in the 1950s as a tool watch for scuba divers to take with them underwater, the Rolex Submariner has long since graduated to the ultimate status sports watch.

While there are endless options to choose from within the Rolex Submariner collection, from gold to steel to two-tone to bejeweled to ceramic models, we love the simplicity of the stainless steel Rolex Submariner No-Date watch. Join us as we highlight our March Watch of the Month, the classic Rolex Submariner No-Date ref. 14060.

 

The Design of the Rolex Submariner No-Date 14060

Introduced in the 1990s and no longer in production, the stainless steel Rolex Submariner ref. 14060 is one of the last classically styled Submariner watches that sport an aluminum bezel rather than the new style Cerachrom ceramic bezel. As a dive watch, that bezel, marked to 60 units, is, of course, unidirectional rather than bidirectional. This is to prevent divers from overestimating how long they’ve been in the water for. If the watch gets knocked, the bezel will only turn in one direction to add more minutes rather than reduce them.

Furthermore, to withstand underwater exploration, the Rolex Submariner ref. 14060 is water resistant to 300 meters (1,000 feet) thanks to the Oyster case construction, screw-down winding crown, and fluted caseback. Like all modern Rolex Submariner, the Sub ref. 14060 has a 40mm case.

Housed within the case is the familiar black Submariner dial with lume plots and luminescent Mercedes-style hands. These details allow for clear legibility even in the murkiest of waters. Another thing you’ll notice on the Submariner ref. 14060 is the lack of a date window, hence its Submariner No-Date label.

Finally, rounding out the look of the Submariner No-Date ref. 14060 is its matching stainless steel Oyster bracelet. This particular model has hollow center and end links on the bracelet rather than solid ones, which makes it more lightweight than its modern counterparts. Again, keeping with dive watch functionality, there’s an extension mechanism in the clasp that allows to wearer to extend the bracelet to fit it over a dive suit.

 

The Appeal of the Rolex Submariner No-Date 14060

Fans of the Submariner No Date ref. 14060 love the watch for its fantastic symmetric. The absence of the ubiquitous dial window at 3 o’clock and accompanying Cyclops lens on the crystal allows for a beautifully balanced and uncluttered dial. Remember, when the Rolex Submariner first made its debut in 1953, it did not have a date window. So a no-date Submariner is more like the original Sub than ones with a date window.

Moreover, the Submariner ref. 14060 is a bridge between vintage Submariners and the ultra-modern ones. It boasts contemporary features such as a sapphire crystal and a 300-meter water resistance, yet it maintains the more traditional case shape and smaller details on the dial compared to the new “super case” and “maxi dial” of the latest Submariner watches.

Plus, if you look at the sides of the case, you’ll notice lug holes—something that today’s Rolex watches don’t have. This means that it’s easy to switch out the steel Oyster bracelet for different straps. The Submariner ref. 14060 looks great on a leather strap or NATO-style nylon strap. One awesome sports watch, endless ways to wear it.

Another big attraction of the Submariner No-Date 14060 is its price point. Coming in as one of the most affordable Submariner watches, the ref. 14060 can be picked up for less than $6,000 in the secondary market.

 

Submariner No-Date 14060 vs. 14060M vs. 14060M COSC

As with all things Rolex, it’s all about the small details. When Rolex first introduced the ref. 14060 in 1990, it came equipped with the Caliber 3000 automatic movement. Then in 1999, Rolex furnished the no date Submariner with the Caliber 3135 automatic movement, thus the 14060M was born where “M” stands for “modified.” Yet, the style of the watch remained the same.

However, around 2007, the no date Submariner took a drastic design change when Rolex sought COSC-approval for the watch. The Submariner ref. 14060M COSC is notably different from its two older siblings since it includes the “SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED” text on the dial. So the Submariner No Date went from a two-liner Submariner to a four-liner Submariner. The Sub ref. 14060M COSC was discontinued to make way for the new Submariner ref. 114060 in 2012.

 

The Last Classic Submariner

If like us you appreciate traditional Submariner design, then you’ll love the Submariner ref. 14060. With its minimal dial, lightweight bracelet, lug holes, and aluminum bezel, this is the last generation of the classic Submariner.

Watch Care: 5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Rolex

It’s no secret that owning a Rolex watch is not an inexpensive endeavor. And once you’ve spent the thousands of dollars it costs to own one, you’ll naturally want to take good care of it so you can enjoy it for years.

On the one hand, these are not delicate timepieces (for the most part) to be hidden away in a safe. Rolex watches are built to dive deep into oceans, climb to the highest mountaintops, speed through the fastest races, and fly across continents. So it’s safe to say they can withstand the daily knocks of desk diving, shuttling the kids to school, and vacationing in the Caribbean. However, a little extra care will keep your Rolex watch in tiptop shape. If properly tended to, your future grandkid can happily wear it once you’re long gone. Read on for our recommendations on how to extend the life of your Rolex watch.

 

1. Wearing Your Rolex

While Rolex watches are famous for their durability and robustness it’s inevitable that your Rolex will gain scratches and dings during wear. In fact, some many Rolex enthusiasts are proud of these scratches since they illustrate a life well lived!

However, damage to the bezel and sapphire crystal will cost you should you need to replace them. Older Rolex watches come with acrylic crystals protecting the dial and older Rolex sports models have aluminum bezels. Conversely, newer Rolex watches have sapphire crystals and the sports watches typically have ceramic bezels. Note that on Rolex watches, sapphire and ceramic is much more expensive to replace than acrylic and aluminum.

It’s vital to ensure that the winding crown is screwed down into the case when you wear your Rolex. This will help keep water, dust, and dirt out of your watch. And don’t forget about the screw-down pushers on the Rolex Daytona too.

Since the majority of Rolex watches run on automatic movements, wearing it literally brings your Rolex watch to life! As long as you wear your Rolex, it’ll continue to run. If you do however store it away for a while, you’ll need to hand-wind by turning your (unscrewed) winding crown a few times it to get the movement going again.

 

2. Storing Your Rolex

When you’re not wearing your Rolex, it’s a good idea to store it properly. If your Rolex came with a box, that’s a great place to put it away. Alternatively, a watch box with multiple watches works well too. Just make sure that they’re not piled on top of each other because this will most certainly cause some unwanted scratches!

When stashed away, keep your Rolex out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. Think cool dark place—like a safe. Also, it’s better to have your Rolex stored far from electronics to avoid exposing the movement to magnetic fields. You may also consider investing in a watch winder to keep your Rolex watch running even when it’s off your wrist.

 

3. Cleaning Your Rolex

Depending on how often you wear your Rolex watch, keep it fresh with regular cleaning. For instance, if you wear it every day, we would recommend a weekly wash. Not only will built-up dirt and grime dull the look of your Rolex, it can also cause bracelet stretching over time.

To clean a full metal Rolex watch, simply wash it using warm water and a mild soap (Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soap is a great choice). You can also use a soft brush to clean harder-to-reach areas, particularly around the lugs and in between bracelet links. Once you’ve washed off all the soap, dry your Rolex watch with a soft cloth and you’re ready to go.

Remember these are water-resistant watches so water is completely fine—but again, make sure the winding crown is screwed in properly!

 

4. Up Keeping your Rolex

If the scratches on your Rolex bracelet, case, and crystal are bothering you and it’s still a while until your next servicing, there are some ways to remove scratches at home.

While there are some Rolex wearers who are adamantly against at-home techniques for restoring the look of a Rolex watch, others are completely fine with using store-bought products and simple methods. There are plenty of products including polishing pastes, clothes, and solutions out there to get the job done at home—just find the one that suits you best if you’re up for it.

 

5. Servicing Your Rolex

Every couple of years, it’s advisable to send your Rolex in for a service. Some people prefer having an official Rolex service center do the job while others have a relationship with an independent watchmaker they trust. When deciding on which route to take, consider the costs, value, length of time, and dependability of each party.

A full service means that your Rolex will be cleaned, polished, and buffed to look as new as possible. Damaged parts—such as the crystal, bezel, crown, or dial—may be replaced if needed. On the inside, the movement will be removed, disassembled, checked for performance, lubricated for friction, and parts will be replaced as necessary. Lastly, the gasket will be replaced and the watch will also be pressure proofed for water resistance.

There is a caveat to this however. For vintage Rolex models, collectors typically like to have as many original parts as possible on their timepiece, in addition to unpolished condition. Rolex will replace parts, machine polish, and bring the watch up to modern standards as much as possible when servicing. So if this is not what you want for your Rolex, then do not send it in for servicing.

Did you know that Phigora provides watch repair and maintenance services? Email customerservice@phigora.com to inquire and learn more about this new service!

If you notice any condensation on your Rolex dial underneath the crystal, have it looked at by a certified watchmaker as soon as possible. Water may have gotten into your watch and without immediate attention, it may cause expensive damage to your Rolex.

With a little bit of care, consideration, and maintenance, your Rolex watch will be your trusty companion for a long time to come. But never be scared to wear your watch for fear of damaging it or get too bent out of shape about little scratches—sport your lived-in Rolex watch with pride!

Omega-Speak: A Reference Guide to Omega Specific Terminology

As one of the world’s leading luxury watch brands, Omega enjoys a passionate fan base of clients, collectors, and enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. With roots that date back to 1989, the Swiss watch company has released some of the most iconic timepieces, innovative materials, and groundbreaking watchmaking advancements throughout its long history. From the Moonwatch to the Co-Axial escapement to the new Master Chronometer rating, read on to discover terminology, inventions, and nicknames that are specific to Omega culture.

 

Official Omega Terms

 

Ceragold

Used on some Seamaster Planet Ocean diving watches, Omega Ceragold bezels seamlessly combine ceramic and 18k gold. The bezels are first formed using zirconium-oxide-based ceramic, which are then laser-etched with bezel markings such as numerals and scales. The ceramic rings are then plunged into a gold electrolytic bath for 48 hours where a thick layer of 18k gold coats the rings. The rings are then polished down to their ceramic layer, leaving behind a beautifully smooth ceramic bezel with an 18k gold-filled diving scale.

 

Co-Axial Escapement

The Co-Axial escapement was invented in 1974 and patented in 1980 by watchmaker George Daniels. Omega purchased the rights of the Co-Axial escapement from George Daniels and debuted it in a DeVille watch in 1999. Compared to a traditional Swiss lever escapement, the Co-Axial escapement causes much less friction, thus there’s less need for lubrication and the watch can enjoy longer periods between servicing. The Co-Axial escapement also boasts better efficiency, resulting in better precision. Today, Omega furnishes many of their watches with the Co-Axial escapement.

 

Griffes

“Griffes” is the French word for “claws” and refers to four metal pieces holding down the bezels on modern Omega Constellation watches. The “Griffes” made their debut on the 1982 Constellation Manhattan models and has since become an integral design element on all Constellation watches for both men and women.

 

Liquidmetal

First used by Omega in 2009, Liquidmetal is an alloy composed of zirconium, nickel, and other metals. Omega uses the alloy along with ceramic to create ultra-tough scratchproof and fade-proof bezels. The ceramic bezel inserts are first laser-engraved with bezel markings and then bonded with the Liquidmetal alloy. Once the Liquidmetal is polished away, Omega is left with a ceramic bezel with Liquidmetal-filled markings.

 

Master Chronometer

In 2015, Omega introduced the new Master Chronometer certification on the Globemaster watch. A Master Chronometer certification means that in addition to being COSC-certified, it has also been certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). METAS subjects watches to eight intensive tests over ten days including precision tests, positioning tests, magnetism tests, water resistance tests, and durability tests. Master Chronometer certified Omega watches are resistant to an incredible 15,000 gauss of magnetism, thus are considered true anti-magnetic timepieces.

 

Moonwatch

While the Omega Speedmaster chronograph was first introduced in 1957, in 1969 it became the first watch on the moon when it traveled with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on their historic lunar landing. Since then, the Omega Speedmaster Professional aptly picked up the Moonwatch nickname. Omega has since created a variety of Moonwatch editions characterized by their black bezels, black dials, steel construction, and manual-wound chronograph movements.

 

Sedna gold

Named after one of the reddest planetoids in our solar system, Sedna is Omega’s proprietary red gold alloy that blends gold, copper, and palladium. It is prized for both its beautiful color, as well as its resistance to fading.

 

Famous Omega Nicknames and Terms Used by Collectors and Enthusiasts

 

It’s important to note that famous Omega collector Chuck Maddox coined many of the Omega nicknames that are frequently used by collectors today. Chuck Maddox passed away in 2008.

 

Anakin Skywalker

The nickname used for the 1970s Omega Seamaster Chronograph ref. 145.0023 with the tungsten-chrome finish and the blue, red, and black dial. This was coined to complement the black “Darth Vader” version of the same watch reference.

 

Big Blue

The nickname used for the vintage Omega Seamaster Automatic 120m Chronograph ref. 176.004 in reference to the watch’s large 47mm case and blue dial and blue bezel. This is not to be confused with the new Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT “Big Blue” ref. 215.92.46 released at Baselworld 2017.

 

Bullhead

First released in 1969, “Bullhead” is the label given to a family of Omega chronographs that features the winding crown and chronograph pushers at the 12 o’clock position rather than the typical 2/3/4 o’clock position. The location of the pushers and crown, along with the distinct case shape do indeed come together for a design that’s remarkably like a bull’s head.

 

Darth Vader

The nickname used for the 1970s Omega Seamaster Chronograph ref. 145.0023 with a black ceramic-like coated steel case and a black, red, and white dial.

 

Double Eagle

In 2003, Omega released a larger, heftier, and more masculine version of the Constellation dubbed the Double Eagle. A double eagle refers to a score of three strokes under par in golf and as big supporters of the sport, Omega borrowed this term to name their then-new Constellation Double Eagle collection.

 

Ed White

NASA Astronaut Edward White became the first American to walk in space in 1965. During his historic spacewalk, he had on his wrist an Omega Speedmaster ref. 105.003. Therefore, this particular reference has aptly been nicknamed the “Ed White.”

 

Holy Grail

According to the late Chuck Maddox, the Speedmaster Automatic ref. ST376.0822 first released in 1987 is the “Holy Grail” Speedmaster. The 42mm Speedmaster Professional style case houses Omega’s version of the classic Lemania 5100 automatic movement.

 

James Bond

In 1995, superspy 007 began wearing Omega watches in the famous James Bond films—and continues to do so today. One of those Omega watches includes the Seamaster Professional ref. 2531.80, which has since been nicknamed the “James Bond” by collectors.

 

Jedi

To complement the “Darth Vader” and the “Anakin Skywalker” Star Wars themed nicknames, the vintage Omega Seamaster ref. 145.0024 picked up the “Jedi” moniker. However, the vintage Omega Seamaster ref. 176.0005 with a distinct cushion style case is also often (incorrectly) referred to as a “Jedi” due to an auction house catalog error.

 

Lobster

The nickname used for a variant of the Omega Speedsonic ST188.0001—a chronometer chronograph powered by a quartz movement—from the 1970s with an unusual lobster tail-like metal bracelet.

 

Mitsukoshi

Mitsukoshi is one of Japan’s most famous department store chains. In 2003, Omega collaborated with the store to launch a limited-edition Speedmaster Professional ref. 3570.31 dubbed the “Mitsukoshi.” Characterized by a white Panda-style dial with black registers, only 300 examples were produced and sold exclusively through the Mitsukoshi stores.

 

Montreal

Omega has long been the official timekeeper of the Olympic games. For the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics the company unveiled the Seamaster Chrono Quartz ref. 196.0052. Now nicknamed the “Montreal,” the case was fashioned to resemble a scoreboard while the dial featured both analog and digital displays. Plus, the famous Olympic rings logo is found engraved on the caseback.

 

Speedy

An affectionate nickname for any Omega Speedmaster.

 

Speedy Tuesday

The hashtag #SpeedyTuesday was created in 2012 by Omega enthusiast and blogger Robert-Jan Broer of Fratello Watches and quickly gained momentum across all social media platforms. So much so, that Omega created the Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited-Edition watch in 2017, aptly limited to 2,012 pieces!

 

Wally Schirra

In 1962, Wally Schirra piloted his Sigma 7 capsule on a six-orbit mission that lasted more than nine hours and on his wrist was his personal Omega Speedmaster CK2998. This particular watch became the first Omega in space and of course, picked up the nickname the “Wally Schirra.” Omega has since released a couple of commemorative models to celebrate the first Omega in space including the 2012 Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” ref. 311.32.40.

Rolex-Speak: A Reference Guide to Rolex Specific Terminology

In addition to iconic watches, celebrity endorsements, and being the most powerful luxury brand in the world, Rolex culture has something else—its own lexicon. Masters of marketing, Rolex has coined a slew of their own terminology to differentiate themselves from the competition. It’s not rose gold, it’s Everose gold. It’s not ceramic, it’s Cerachrom. Plus, Rolex enthusiasts have carried on the tradition by creating their own nicknames and labels when referring to specific watches and design traits. Read on to brush up on your Rolex speak. 

 

Official Rolex Terms

 

Cerachrom Bezel

Unveiled in 2005, Cerachrom is Rolex’s patented approach to a high-tech ceramic bezel. The word “Cerachom” is a compound word mixing the words “ceramic” and “chrom,” the ancient Greek word for color. Prized for its resistance to both fading and scratching, the majority of Rolex sports watches today come equipped with a Cerachrom bezel.

 

Chronergy Escapement

A major component of a mechanical movement is the escapement. It takes the energy from the coiled mainspring and distributes it in small and controlled increments to the rest of the movement, which in turn produces the familiar ticking sound. In 2015, Rolex presented their patented Chronergy escapement in the new Caliber 3255. The increased efficiency of the Chronergy escapement made way for an increase in power reserve.

 

Chromalight

Chromalight refers to Rolex’s luminescent material used on the dial and sometimes bezel of some of their current watches. It glows blue in the dark rather than the more typical green and lasts for up to eight hours. It made its debut in 2008 on the then-new DeepSea Sea Dweller and has since made its way to other Rolex watches.

 

Cosmograph

Introduced in 1963, the Cosmograph was Rolex’s new generation chronograph watch. While Cosmograph is the official Rolex name for their chronograph watches, today, this family of famous luxury sports watches is simply known as the Daytona.

 

Cyclops

Cyclops is the Rolex term for the lens charged to magnify the date window at three o’clock. Affixed to the exterior of the crystal, it was launched in 1954 on a Datejust model and has since become a signature trait on almost all Rolex watches with a date window.

 

Easylink

The patented Easylink extension system allows the wearer to extend the length of an Oyster bracelet by 5mm without the need for tools.

 

Everose

Everose refers to Rolex’s exclusive 18k rose gold alloy that offers an ideal blend of gold, platinum, and copper for a color that’s not only distinct but one that will never fade.

 

Fliplock Extension

Found on Rolex’s extreme diver’s watches such as the Sea-Dweller and the Deepsea, the Fliplock Extension allows the Oyster bracelet to be adjusted by an additional 26mm to accommodate thick diving suits.

 

Glidelock Clasp

Similar to the Fliplock, the Glidelock clasp also permits bracelet extension to fit around a diving suit, but this time to a length of 20mm in 2mm increments. In addition to Sea-Dweller and Deepsea, the Glidelock is also fitted on the Oyster bracelets of modern Submariner diving watches.

 

Jubilee Bracelet

One of Rolex’s famous bracelets, the Jubilee bracelet includes a five-link configuration and was first introduced on the inaugural Datejust watch in 1945.

 

Oyster Bracelet

One of Rolex’s famous bracelets, the sporty Oyster bracelet has been around since the 1930s and includes a flat three-piece link configuration.

 

Oyster Perpetual

Oyster Perpetual is the label given to those Rolex watches that include a waterproof Oyster case and a self-winding “perpetual” movement. All modern Rolex watches (aside from the Cellini collection) fall into the Oyster Perpetual family. This is not to be confused with the Oyster Perpetual model, which is Rolex’s entry-level time-only watch.

 

Parachrom Hairspring

The oscillator regulates the precision within a mechanical movement and it’s composed of a hairspring and a balance wheel. Rolex’s patented blue Parachrom hairspring is resistant to magnetic fields and up to ten times tougher against daily knocks than standard hairsprings.

 

Pearlmaster Bracelet

In 1992, Rolex launched a more precious version of the ladies’ Datejust with the Pearlmaster jewelry watch. Along with its gold construction and gems, the watch’s distinguishing feature is its Pearlmaster bracelet with rounded five-piece links and a Crownclasp.

 

Perpetual Movement

Rolex invented the world’s first self-winding movement driven by a Perpetual rotor in 1931, dubbed the Perpetual Movement. Not only is this clever mechanism at the core of every Rolex automatic movement, it provided the basic structure for almost every modern automatic watch thereafter.

 

President Bracelet

One of Rolex’s famous bracelets, the President bracelet includes a semi-circular three-link configuration. It is exclusively manufactured in either 18k gold or platinum and is always fitted with a Crownclasp. This bracelet made its debut on the Day-Date watch in 1956 and today, the Day-Date is often referred to as the Rolex President.

 

Ring Command Bezel

Found on the Yacht-Master II and Sky-Dweller models, the Ring Command bezel controls portions of the mechanical movement and works in conjunction with the winding crown to set and adjust different functions on the watch.

 

Ringlock System

Found on the Deepsea diving watch, the Ringlock System is composed of a nitrogen-alloyed steel central ring, a 5.5mm thick domed sapphire crystal, and a titanium caseback. This system allows the Deepsea to safely plunge down to 3,900m (12,800ft)—well beyond the depth any person could survive.

 

Rolesor

A part of the Rolex lexicon since 1933, Rolesor refers to the use of both gold and steel on a Rolex watch. Often referred to as two-tone, Rolesor can mean a combination of yellow gold and steel, rose gold and steel, or white gold and steel.

 

Rolesium

Exclusively found within the Yacht-Master collection, Rolesium refers to the use of both platinum and steel on a Rolex watch.

 

Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified

Found on the majority of modern Rolex watch dials, the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” label indicates that the watch is both COSC-certified as a chronometer and it has passed a battery of stringent in-house tests to offer the reliability, precision, and durability we have come to expect from a Rolex watch. In 2015, Rolex redefined the SCOC designation to guarantee an accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day.

 

Triplock and Twinlock Winding Crown

An integral component to the water resistance of the Oyster case is the construction of the winding crown, which is screwed down to the case to keep the water out. Twinlock winding crowns have two sealed zones while Triplock winding crowns have three sealed zones to keep the watch watertight.

 

Famous Nicknames and Terms Used by Collectors and Enthusiasts

 

Batman

The nickname for the GMT-Master II ref. 116710BLNR in reference to the watch’s black and blue Cerachrom ceramic bezel.

 

Coke

Refers to the black and red bezel found on specific models of the Rolex GMT-Master II watch.

 

Fat Lady

The nickname for the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 in reference to the watch’s thicker case, larger crown guards, and wider lugs.

 

Hulk

The nickname for the Submariner ref. 116610LV in reference to the watch’s rich green color.

 

James Bond

The nickname for the vintage Submariner ref. 6538, which was worn by Sean Connery in Dr. No on a striped textile NATO-style strap.

 

Kermit

The nickname for the 50th-anniversary Submariner ref. 16610LV in reference to its green aluminum bezel.

 

Nipple Dial

Refers to a specific dial design on vintage Rolex GMT-Master and Submariner watches that include faceted gold hour-markers that resemble a nipple.

 

Patina

A term often used in vintage Rolex collecting circles to describe the color change that happens to certain parts of the watch—hands, indexes, dials, bezel markings—over time. It can range from off-white to a rich brown hue.

 

Paul Newman

The label given to particular vintage Daytona models (ref. 6239, ref. 6241, ref. 6262, ref. 6263, ref. 6264, and ref. 6265) that come equipped with Rolex “exotic” Art-Deco style dials after the famous actor wore one himself. Paul Newman’s own Daytona Paul Newman recently became the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction when it sold for $17.8 million in October 2017.

 

Pepsi

Refers to the blue and red bezel found on specific models of the GMT-Master and GMT-Master II. This was the first type of bezel used on the inaugural GMT-Master and is the most iconic option.

 

Polar

Refers to the white dial versions of the Rolex Explorer II watches.

 

President

The nickname given to Rolex Day-Date watches in reference to both its President bracelet and for its status as the go-to watch for world leaders, captains of industry, and celebrities.

 

Root Beer

Refers to the brown and bronze bezel found on specific models of the GMT-Master and GMT-Master II.

 

Smurf

The nickname for the white gold Submariner ref. 116619LB in reference to the watch’s vibrant blue color.

 

Steve McQueen/Freccione

The vintage Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 picked up the nickname “Steve McQueen” when it was erroneously published that the legendary actor wore one. He never did—his Rolex of choice was a Submariner—but the nickname stuck. The Explorer II ref. 1655 is also called the “Freccione,” derived from the Italian word for arrow in reference to the arrow-tipped 24-hour hand.

Watch Speak: Timepieces, Wristwatches, and Horology Glossary and Terminology

When reading about the complex world of watches, you’re bound to come across some very specific terminology. While some of them are self-explanatory, others require a little more knowledge to understand. To help you decipher these terms, here is a comprehensive glossary of common terms and names used when referring to watches, horology, and timekeeping.

 

A

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Alarm

A mechanism that makes a sound at a pre-determined time.

Altimeter

An instrument that measures altitude

AM/PM Indicator

An indicator a 12-hour display that shows whether it’s nighttime or daytime. Also referred to as a Day/Night Indicator.

Analog Watch

A watch that indicates the time via hands on a dial.

Aperture

A small window on a dial. Typically refers to a calendar window to show the date, day, month, or moonphase.

 

Annual Calendar

A watch that indicates the time, day, date, month, and leap year (often moon phase too) correctly throughout the year with only the need for one manual adjustment at the end of February.

Anti-Magnetic

A watch built to withstand the detrimental effects of magnetic fields.

ATM

Unit used to measure atmospheric pressure. Used in watches to denote water resistance where 1 ATM equals 10 meters or 1 bar.

Automatic Movement

A type of mechanical watch movement that relies on the motion of a wrist (or watch winder) to move the rotor back and forth to automatically wind the mainspring, which then transmits energy to power the watch. If left motionless, an automatic movement will stop working until it’s wound up again. Also referred to as a self-winding movement.

Automatic Watch

A watch powered by an automatic mechanical movement.

 

B

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Balance Spring

A tiny spring that returns the balance wheel back to its neutral position. Also referred to as a hairspring.

Balance Wheel

The timekeeping device in a movement that swings back and forth and divides the time into equal parts. Combined, the balance spring and the balance wheel serve as the regulating mechanism of the movement much like a pendulum in a clock.

Band

A strap, typically leather, textile, or rubber, that secures the watch to a wrist.

Barrel

A round box that houses the mainspring in a mechanical movement. The exterior of the barrel has a ring of gear teeth that drives the gear train. The larger the barrel the more power reserve a movement has.

Baselworld

The largest annual watch fair that takes place in Basel, Switzerland, during the springtime. It’s when most watch brands release their novelties for the year.

Beats Per Hour (bph)

The number of vibrations/ticks/beats per hour of a watch. High-end watches boast quicker frequency rates such as 21,600 bph (6t ticks/second), 28,800 bph (8 ticks/second), or 36,000 bph (10 ticks/second). The faster the ticking the higher the precision.

Bezel

The ring that sits on top of the case to secure the crystal above the dial. There are several types of bezels including decorative ones and functional ones to track elapsed time. A bidirectional rotating bezel turns clockwise or anticlockwise. A unidirectional rotating bezel, typically used on diving watches, turns only anticlockwise.

Bracelet

A metal strap, typically steel, gold, platinum, or titanium that secures the watch to a wrist.

Bridge

Bridges are a series of plates or bars that hold components of the watch movement together and are attached to the mainplate with screws.

C

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Cabochon

A polished but not faceted stone, typically mounted onto a winding crown for decorative effect, a signature detail on many Cartier timepieces

Calendar

A watch function that indicates the date, day, month, and/or year.

Caliber

Another name for a watch movement—the mechanism that powers the watch.

Case

The main portion of the watch that houses the movement. Available in a range of metals and shapes.

Caseback

The opposite side of the dial on a watch—the portion that lies on the skin when the watch is worn. Casebacks can be snap in, screw in or screw down. Plus, casebacks can also be solid, which is typically engraved with watchmaker hallmarks, or transparent for a view of the movement within.

Chronograph

A chronograph is a watch function that can measure periods of time via a start, stop, and reset mechanism—essentially a stopwatch. Modern chronograph watches typically measure time via the central seconds hand and often come with extra subsidiary registers that can record elapsed times (in minutes and/or hours). Chronographs are quickly identified by extra pushers on the case.

Chronometer

A highly precise watch that comes with an official certification. Swiss made chronometers are certified by Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres (COSC).

Cloisonne

Decorative work where materials such as enamel, glass, or gems are separated by thin strips of metal. Typically found on the ornate dials of very high-end watches.

Column Wheel

Some chronographs have column wheels, which, thanks to its ratchet teeth, acts as the on/off switch for the chronograph function.

Complication

In watch speak, any additional function over and above time indication is a complication. For instance, calendar, chronograph, moon phase, minute repeater, and world timers are all complications.

COSC

Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, the institute responsible for testing and certifying the precision and accuracy of Swiss watches.

Côtes de Genève

Also known as the Geneva Stripes, the Côtes de Genève is a special type of stripe-based decoration found on watch movements.

Crown

A button positioned on the outside of the case to wind the movement, set the time, and set other functions on the watch such as the date. Sometimes referred to as the winding stem. A screw-down crown improves water resistance.

Crystal

The component covering the dial, typically fashioned from acrylic, glass, or sapphire. Today, sapphire crystals are ubiquitous on luxury watches, prized for their resistance to scratching and shattering.

 

D

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Day-Date

A watch function that indicates the day of the week along with the date of the month like on the Rolex Day-Date

Day/Night Indicator

An indicator a 12-hour display that shows whether it’s nighttime or daytime. Also referred to as an AM/PM Indicator.

Deployant Clasp

A type of folding metal buckle on watch bands and bracelets that offers more security than a typical tang buckle. Often erroneously called a deployment clasp.

Depth Alarm

A mechanism that emits a sound when a diver submerges below a pre-set depth.

Dial

The face of the watch that houses the watch hands, indexes, and/or functions. They range in materials, colors, and decorations.

Digital Watch

A watch that displays the time using digits on a screen, typically LCD.

Dual Time

A watch that includes two hour hands to indicate the time in two different time zones. The secondary hand is typically referred to as a GMT-hand, 24-hour hand, or UTC hand.

 

E

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Ebauche

Unassembled movement kits that are built, modified and branded by different watch companies. The most Swiss famous ébauche movement maker is ETA and these ETA movements are the basis for many luxury watch movements.

Enamel

An opaque glassy substance applied to metal surfaces, typically used as a decorative element on dials of high-end watches.

Engine Turned

Repetitive patterns engraved into metal surfaces as a decorative technique. Also known as Guilloche.

Equation of Time

A watch complication that displays the disparity between mean solar time and true (apparent) solar time.

Escape Wheel

Part of the escapement, the escape wheel gears includes very large teeth to interact with the pallet fork, allowing the watch’s wheels to advance by a fixed amount, moving the hands forward.

Escapement

Sitting between the train and the regulating organ, the escapement maintains the oscillations of the regulating organ.

 

F

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Flyback Chronograph

The timing on a fly-back chronograph can be reset without first having to be stopped.

Frequency

The number of vibrations or beats per hour determined in hertz (Hz) such as 4Hz (28,800 bhp) or 5Hz (36,000 bph).

 

G

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Gasket

Rubber rings that create airtight seals around the caseback, crystal, and crown for improved water resistance. Gaskets typically require replacing every couple of years.

Gear Train

A mechanical system comprised of mounted gears that transfers energy from the mainspring to the escapement.

Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG)

Created in 2001, the GPHG is an annual awards ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, that awards the best watches of the year across several categories. The top prize is the “Aiguille d’Or” awarded to the very best watch of the year.

Grande Sonnerie

A complication that combines quarter striking and minute repeater complications. At every quarter hour, it sounds the hours and quarters on two gongs. It can also strike the hours on demand via a button.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Previously used as the international civil time standard, replaced by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Dual Time watches are sometimes referred to as GMT watches.

 

H

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Hack Feature

A mechanism that stops the watch completely when the crown is pulled out for precise time setting or synchronization.

Hand

The indicator that rotates around the dial to point to the hour, minute, second or any other display. Hands come in a range of shapes and sizes.

Haute Horlogerie 

A French word that translates to high watchmaking to denote the very best in mechanical watches and very complex watch complications.

Helium Escape Valve (HEV)

Diving watches built to dive to extreme depths are typically fitted with Helium Escape Valves to releases gases that build up in decompression chambers. This release prevents the crystal from popping off in pressurized chambers.

Horology

The science of measuring time or the art of making instruments such as watches for indicating time.

Hour Markers

The indexes around the dial that indicate the hours. There’s a wide range of hour marker styles including sticks, batons, round plots, Arabic numerals, and Roman numerals.

 

I

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Integrated Bracelet

A style of bracelet that is incorporated into the watch case that became very popular in the 1970s like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus

 

J

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Jewels

In watch movements, jewels refer to synthetic rubies used as bearings in gears to reduce friction. They are set into the drilled holes of plates and bridges.

Jump Hour

As its name suggests, the Jump Hour hand jumps to the next hour every 60 minutes rather than slowly edging towards it over the course of an hour. Sometimes, rather than a hand, a Jump Hour watch will include a window with numerals that jump to the next hour every 60 minutes.

 

K

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Karat

The measure of the purity of gold where 24-karats is pure gold. While many vintage watches were made in 14k gold today, gold luxury watches are almost exclusively made from 18k gold.

Keyless Works

Gears that not only wind the mainspring via the turning of the winding crown but also allow the hands to be set when the crown is pulled out. Named so because prior to this invention, keys had to be used to wind the movement.

 

L

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Lacquer

A hard protective coating for a range of materials. Originally made from the sap of a lacquer tree there are also synthetic substitutes today. Sometimes found as a decorative technique on the dials of high-end watches.

Lever Escapement

A type of escapement that includes a forked lever that positioned between the escape wheel and the balance that locks and unlocks the escape wheel teeth.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

Composed of liquid encased between two clear plates and activated by electronic impulses, LCD is typically found on digital watches to display the time using digits.

Lugs

The protrusions on a watch case that holds a spring bar. The spring bar is what attaches the watch band, strap, or bracelet to the case.

Luminescence

A substance applied to the face a watch to emit a glow in low light. Also known as watch lume, a range of materials have been used from (highly radioactive) radium to (lesser radioactive) tritium to (nonradioactive) photoluminescence.

 

M

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Mainspring

The spring that is wound to supply power to the watch.

Manual-Winding Movement

A mechanical movement that requires manual winding of the crown to wind up the mainspring to power the watch. Also known as a hand-wound movement.

Manufacture

The French word for manufacturer, in horology it refers to high-end watchmakers that typically produce very luxurious watches and/or their own movements in-house.

Marine Chronometer

A chronometer specifically built for the use on a ship that can calculate longitude while sailing.

Mechanical Watch

A traditional type of watch that doesn’t require electricity to operate but rather gets its power from a wound mainspring. The two main types of mechanical watches are automatic and manual.

Minute Repeater

A watch complication that sounds the time on demand using bells or gongs.

Moon Phase Display

A watch complication that indicates the phases of the moon on the dial.

Mother-Of-Pearl

Also known as nacre, mother-of-pearl is the outer layer of a pearl or the inner layer of a shell that is sometimes used on the dials of watches—typically ladies’ luxury watches.

Movement

The whole mechanism that powers the watch. There are quartz movements powered by batteries and mechanical movements powered by a wound-up mainspring. Mechanical movements are then further divided into automatic and manual movements.

 

O

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Oscillation

Also known as swing, oscillation is the movement back and forth at a regular speed. For instance, each oscillation of a pendulum represents one second.

 

P

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Perpetual Calendar

A watch that correctly indicates the time, day, date, month, and leap year (often moon phase too) in perpetuity (forever) without the need for adjustment. The only time a perpetual calendar will need manual adjusting is in 2100 when the leap year will be ignored.

Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD)

A thin coating applied to a watch to add color. Black PVD watches are especially popular.

Power Reserve

The amount of energy that can be stored in a watch before the mainspring needs to be wound again. A power reserve indicator is sometimes placed on a dial of a watch.

Pusher

A button on a case that is pressed to drive a mechanism, for example, chronograph pushers, alarm pushers, and striking pushers.

 

Q

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Quartz Movement

A movement powered by a quartz crystal, which oscillates to regulate timekeeping. A quartz movement does not require winding, but rather typically gets its power from a battery. Sometimes, the battery can be recharged via solar power or kinetic energy.

Quartz Watch

A watch powered by a quartz movement.

Quick-Set

Also known as quick-date, the quick-set function allows the date to be set independently from the center hands.

 

R

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Rattrapante

Also known as a split-seconds chronograph, a rattrapante features two sweep seconds hand rather than just one to allow for the timing of two different events with the same start time.

Retrograde

A retrograde feature includes a hand that moves over a portion of an arc then jumps back to the beginning again rather than in a full circular motion. A retrograde display can vary to indicate the day, date, hours, minutes, and/or seconds.

Rotor

The part of an automatic movement that swings back and forth thanks to the natural motion of the wrist to wind up the mainspring.

 

S

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Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (S.I.H.H.)

An important watch fair that takes place in Geneva, Switzerland at the beginning of each year. Led by the Richemont Group but increasingly including other brands, SIHH also presents watch novelties for the year.

Skeleton Watch

Also known as openworked, a skeleton watch reveals the interior of the watch as much as possible by stripping away as much of the dial, case, and movement as possible. Typically sports a transparent caseback too.

Slide Rule

Typically found on pilot watches, a slide rule bezel allows the wearer to perform a host of calculations including fuel consumption, airspeed, and distance calculations.

Small Seconds Indicator

Rather than the sweep seconds-hand on the center of the dial, a small seconds indicator displays the running seconds elsewhere on the dial, typically in a subsidiary dial.

Subsidiary Dial

Also known as a subdial or register, subsidiary dials are smaller dials placed on the main dial to indicate a range of information such as seconds, calendar, chronograph, or a secondary time zone.

Sun/Moon Indicator

A complication that displays the phases of the sun and moon over the course of the day and night.

Sweep Seconds Hand

The seconds hand positioned at the center of the dial instead of a subdial. Also typically refers to the motion of the seconds hand of a mechanical watch that “sweeps” around the dial rather than the seconds hands “ticking” around the dial on a quartz watch.

 

T

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Tachymeter

Also known as a tachometer, a tachymeter is a scale on a watch dial or bezel used to determine speed based on time.

Telemeter

A telemeter is a scale on a watch dial or bezel used to determine distance based on time.

Tourbillon

A watch device invented to offset the detrimental effects of gravity by constantly rotating the balance wheel, balance spring and escapement typically within a cage. A tourbillon usually makes one full rotation every minute and is often prominently displayed on the dial.

 

V

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Vibrations

The movement of an oscillating component of the watch, typically five (18,000 vibrations per hour) or six vibrations per second (21,600 vibrations per hour) but can reach much higher frequencies. Also denoted by beats per hour or frequency measured in hertz (Hz).

 

W

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Water Resistance

The rate at which a watch can withstand exposure to water typically indicated by meters, feet, ATM or bars. Important to note that waterproof is an illegal and erroneous term in watchmaking as no watch is 100% waterproof.

Wheels

While wheels and pinions are sometimes used interchangeably, large gears made of brass are referred to as wheels and small gears made of steel are referred to as pinions. These components make up the gear train, which transfers energy from the mainspring to the escapement.

Winding

The action of winding the mainspring to power a mechanical watch. This can be done manually via the crown or automatically via a rotor that swings back and forth with the natural motion of a wrist.

World Timer

A watch complication that permits the simultaneous indication of 24 time zones around the periphery of the dial typically denoted by major cities.

Which Rolex Watch Should I Gift My Husband?

Which Rolex Watch Should I Gift My Husband? When it comes to the subtle art of gift giving, husbands have a much easier time than wives. Men have a vastly more diverse range of options to choose from when it’s time to present the special woman in his life with that certain something that will make her eyes light up, and earn himself a few Brownie points into the bargain.

Between bags, shoes, makeup and jewelry, men don’t really have an excuse for getting it wrong. For women, the process takes a whole lot more careful consideration. Husbands can be tricky creatures.

However, a fine timepiece is one gift that is practically guaranteed a great reception.

Giving watches as gifts has been a tradition for almost as long as watches have existed. They are the go-to present to celebrate specific events, such as graduations or retirements. But the gifting of beautiful watches between loved ones has always been particularly meaningful.

As something that will delight your significant other for a lifetime, and be passed down to future generations, a luxury watch is very hard to beat and the gift of a Rolex is perhaps the best of all.

Datejust Rolex WatchWhy Rolex?

As a brand, Rolex have transcended their status as mere watchmakers and are now one of the most recognizable names on the planet. Even if the husband in question is not a watch fanatic, a Rolex watch signifies the ultimate expression of prestige and success.

Of course, if he is a fanatic, you will be presenting him with the type of watch that many collectors aspire to, a piece of horology history that is also useful, ultra-reliable and intensely personal.

More than possibly any other brand, Rolex also has the most comprehensive variety of watch styles, suited to the broadest range of applications. From the sports models that cover everything from aviation to motor racing and exploration both above ground and underwater, to the elegance of the dress watch collection, there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ Rolex watch; there’s only the one that fits in best with its intended wearer’s lifestyle.

Which Rolex Should I Give?

It would be tempting to say there is no wrong choice when deciding which Rolex watch to give as a gift but, in reality, selecting exactly the right model for your husband can be a complex affair. Rolexes have been called ‘engagement rings for men’, meaning they place the same importance on their watch as women do on their diamonds. As watches are generally the only significant pieces of jewelry men wear, it’s vital to know his particular tastes and favorite styles before you buy. Below, we’ve laid out several different possibilities and our reasons for choosing them. Hopefully it’ll help make your decision a little easier.

The Submariner

Submariner Rolex WatchWhen you hear the name Rolex, the Submariner is the Rolex watch that immediately comes to mind. Its design has inspired countless homages and its popularity has bred a million counterfeits.

A timeless classic, it has barely changed, outwardly at least, in its more than sixty years in production. Today, it remains the watch that all other dive watches are measured against. Waterproof to 300m, its minimalist styling and understated ruggedness give it a go-anywhere appeal that looks as at home worn with a wetsuit as it does peeking from beneath the sleeve of a tuxedo.

As a Rolex to wear every day, no matter the situation, the Submariner is in a league of its own. If buying pre-owned, expect to spend anywhere from $6000 and up for a Submariner. Here is our Submariner Collection.

Datejust Rolex WatchThe Datejust

Tracing its history back even further than the Submariner, the Datejust was released in 1945 to celebrate Rolex’s 40th anniversary. Now available in a bewildering number of different configurations of dial, metal, case size and finish, there is a Datejust out there to suit everyone’s taste.

Depending on your audience, you can go for the masculine discreetness of a steel 36mm with a white dial sitting on an Oyster bracelet, all the way through to the eye-catching extravagance of a yellow gold 41mm, Datejust II, bedecked with diamond hour markers and bezel.

The introduction of the 28mm Lady Datejust range has seen the series become a particular favorite as a wedding or engagement present, as bride and groom sport matching timepieces on their big day.

You can expect to spend anywhere from $3000 and up for a Datejust model, depending on the model. Check out our Datejust Collection.

 
Milgauss Rolex Watch
The Milgauss

The Milgauss has always reveled in its role as Rolex’s dark horse. Officially a sports watch, it was actually designed to be worn by engineers and scientists. Its movement is housed inside a soft Faraday cage, making it impervious to the effects of strong magnetic fields—the name comes from the French for 1000 Gauss, with Gauss being the measure of magnetic flux density.

The watch has a quirky nature that sets it apart from the ubiquitous Submariners and GMT-Masters, but in recent years, it has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. The understated, sober design is given an uncharacteristically playful pop of color in the bright orange lightning bolt seconds hand and markings above the hour indexes.

The Milgauss is the ideal gift for someone who likes to stand out as an individual.

Daytona Rolex WatchThe Daytona

A combination of beautiful, uncluttered design, a long and illustrious pedigree and the buzz surrounding the upcoming auction of a model once owned by a certain Paul Newman himself, all add up to make the Rolex Daytona currently one of the most desirable and important watches in the world.

Possibly the only model in the catalog to out-iconic the Submariner, the Daytona is now an institution. It follows Rolex’s overriding philosophy of housing flawless mechanics inside a bombproof case and turns it all into an exquisite piece of jewelry.

The model with the most variations out of all the sports watches, the Daytona can be had in everything from stainless steel, through yellow, white and Everose gold, all the way up to platinum. Throw in dials of white, black, green, blue and mother-of-pearl and it becomes one of the most versatile offerings there is.

Intended for those only content with the very best, the Cosmograph Daytona is something very special. This model can start at $8000 and go up much higher in some variations. See our Daytona Collection.

Should I Buy New or Pre-Owned?

Opting for a vintage or pre-owned watch has a great many advantages. Along with the obvious benefit of a lower initial cost, another key factor is availability. A brand new steel version of the Cosmograph Daytona we talked about above has a waiting list that will take you comfortably into the next decade. Most of the Rolex range available today has been in production for generations, and the brand is renowned for the extremely subtle tweaks they make to their designs. That gives you a pre-owned market populated by gems of watches at a fraction of their retail price, ready to buy now and that look brand new.

Unlike the engagement rings they are sometimes compared to, there is no one specific occasion that is the right time to gift a Rolex. Anniversaries, promotions, holidays; it is the gift that can mark many different moments in your lives together. For a birthday present with the ultimate bespoke factor, recently there has been an upsurge in gifts of vintage Rolex watches that were produced in the recipient’s birth year. While they might take some searching for, the serial numbers on the watchcase can be matched with Rolex’s official records to ensure you purchase one with exactly the right date.

We hope our guide has helped you answer some of the questions over which Rolex to gift your husband. Whichever one you decide to go for, take it from us, he’s a very lucky guy!

 

Watch Education: Is My Watch Automatic, Battery Powered, or Hand Wound?

While the style of the watch—from the case to the dial to the bracelet—is what gets noticed first, for many watch enthusiasts, what lies underneath is just as important. In watch-speak, the mechanism that powers a timepiece is referred to as a movement or a caliber. Read on to find out what the three main types of watch movements are and the famous luxury watches that house them.

Omega Caliber 1861What is a Hand-Wound Mechanical Watch Movement?

The most traditional watch movement is what is referred to as a hand-wound or manual-wound movement. As its name suggests, a watch that runs on this type of caliber requires the wearer to manually wind the crown of the watch regularly to keep it going. Turning the crown winds the mainspring, where the energy of the watch is stored. In simplest terms, that energy is then distributed through the gear train, balance wheel, and escapement to drive the hands around the dial to indicate the time. Depending on the power reserve of movement—how long energy is stored before it runs out of juice—a manual watch needs to be wound anywhere from daily to weekly. The biggest advantage of a hand-wound mechanical movement—aside from prestige and tradition—is that its construction is thinner than its automatic counterpart. Therefore, manual calibers are typically found in ultra-thin timepieces. For example, many models within Patek Philippe’s signature Calatrava collection contain manual movements. Furthermore, there’s Omega’s famed Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch,” which has the distinction of being the first watch to journey to the moon. Powered by hand-wound movements, the original 1957 Speedmaster Professional contained the Caliber 321, followed by the Caliber 861, and finally the Caliber 1861.

Rolex Datejust MovementWhat is an Automatic Watch Movement?

An automatic or self-winding movement is also a mechanical caliber, but it doesn’t require manual winding. Rather, it winds itself automatically via a rotor that moves back and forth thanks to the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. As the rotor moves, it winds the mainspring, which subsequently powers the watch. The leading benefit of an automatic movement is prestige mixed with practicality. As long as it is worn, an automatic watch will keep running without the need for manual winding or battery. Automatic movements are prevalent in luxury watches today. Take for example Rolex’s famous Caliber 3135 found within the Datejust, Submariner, Yacht-Master, and Sea-Dweller watches. There’s also the Caliber 3155 of the Day-Date, the Caliber 3186 of the GMT-Master II, and the Caliber 4130 of the Daytona. While some top watchmakers manufacture in-house movements, many of them also depend on ébauche movements. These are unassembled movement parts that are then built and modified by the watch companies as they see fit. Famous ones include the Valjoux 7750 movement and the ETA 2892-A2—both used by watch brands like Omega, TAG Heuer, Breitling, and IWC.

What is a Quartz Watch Movement?

A quartz movement is one that depends on a battery for energy. Seiko unleashed the world’s first mass-produced quartz watch in 1969 with the Astron. Not only are quartz movements more accurate than mechanical ones, they’re also cheaper and faster to produce. As a result, this technological breakthrough almost eliminated the Swiss watch industry in the 1970s and 1980s. Swiss watches not only bounced back, but most leading luxury Swiss watch companies today include quartz models in their lineup. For example, there’s the Cartier Panthère, the OMEGA Constellation, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer, and the Breitling Colt. In fact, Breitling flaunts that their SuperQuartz movement is ten times more accurate than a standard quartz caliber.

Aside from opening up the watch, an easy way to tell if a watch is quartz is to look at the seconds hand. A quartz watch will have the once-every-second ticking action while a mechanical piece will feature smoother sweeping strokes around the dial.

Manual, Automatic, or Quartz Movement?

The discussion of watch movements can be a heated one among the watch crowd with loyal fans in each camp. However, the truth is, each caliber brings its own advantages (and disadvantages) to the table. Like any other component of a timepiece, a particular movement—whether manual, automatic, or quartz—should suit the wearer’s lifestyle, budget, and taste.