A watch movement indicates how the watch is able to keep time. A majority of modern watches have a quartz movement. Often Swiss-made, a quartz watch uses electricity from a battery to power the movement. When electricity passes through the quartz crystal, it vibrates at a precise frequency. These vibrations drive the movement to keep the hands in motion.
But before the quartz technique came to be, there was mechanical watch movement. Sometimes found in estate collections, mechanical watches must be manually wound on a regular basis to keep them running. Also mechanical in nature,automatic watch movement, called "self-winding," uses a weighted rotor that rotates with the movement of the wrist to keep the watch wound. Automatic watches should be wound with a watch-winder when left off the wrist for a while, as their performance is optimal when fully wound.
In addition to their movement, some watches feature special functions. Chronograph watches have a stopwatch integrated into the watch. They can perform various timekeeping functions depending on the model. Day-date watches are ideal people always on the go, as they have a built in calendar, and moon phase watches illustrate the current phase of the moon.
Many watches are water resistant under limited amounts of pressure. The water resistance is usually indicated by meters, measuring the pressure encountered at that particular depth. This is important to understand, since it does not mean that a watch can be submerged to that particular depth. For example, a watch that is water resistant to 30M should not be worn while swimming. Even though a person is not going down 30M, the act of swimming can cause the watch to hit the water at pressures greater than 30M.
For someone who needs a watch for swimming, it is really necessary to have a watch that is water resistance to at least 50M. For activities such as snorkeling or diving, much greater water resistance would be necessary. It is also important to note that water resistance is not a permanent condition. The gaskets and seals can dry out and deteriorate over time, so it is necessary to have the watch checked and maintained periodically.
Most watches are made of stainless steel, as this metal is tough enough for every day and resistant to rusting and corrosion. To give the stainless steel a particular color, it is sometimes colored with a gold plate or a PVD coating. PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) is a thin film deposited through a special vaporization process. Some watches are also made of titanium and other durable materials.
The face of a watch involves a dial and a protective cover, called the crystal. The crystal is most commonly made of mineral or synthetic sapphire. Dials are typically black, silver, white, or blue and are also sometimes made of mother-of-pearl. The dials can feature numbers, roman numerals, or plain lines to indicate the time. Sometimes diamonds or crystals are added for ornamentation, especially on the bezel.
The crown is the little screw button on the side of the watch. Turn and press the crown to wind the watch and set the time. It is usually ribbed, giving it some grip, and will sometimes click to let you know that it is working properly. A crown can also be used in concordance with a particular function, like the stopwatch feature of a chronograph watch.
A watch is referred to as a bracelet if it is made of a rigid material, like metal or ceramic. Bracelets are usually comprised of links, which can be removed by a jeweler to create a custom fit. Bracelets most commonly fasten with a concealed or foldover clasp. When a watch is made of a softer material, like leather, alligator, or rubber, it is referred to as a strap. Straps can have a buckle closure or a foldover clasp.