What are the parts of a watch?

Bought a new watch and thinking about the parts of a watch? Let us explain each and every part of a watch. Specifically for beginners in the world of watchmaking, knowing all the parts of a watch is not an easy task.

If sometimes you confuse about parts of the watch or you don’t know what they are used for, this article will try to solve all the doubts generated and accumulated forever.

We want to avoid the most technical components that we practically do not even know exist since they are part of the watch’s interior that we will rarely see unless we are very handy.

However, in the case and in the dial we find parts that we can clearly differentiate, even distinguish the materials with which it has been manufactured.

As we understand and delve into the world of watchmaking, it will also bring us closer to knowing the true value of a watch and finding new pieces for our catalog, knowing how to really value them.

We have distinguished 12 parts of a watch, and here we tell you.


parts of a watch

The movement is one of the most important parts of a watch and the essence of it. However, it is also the part that least interests non-fans and those who prefer design above all else.

Once you enter the world and become a fan, you begin to give it the importance it has.

The movement is the engine of the watch, and the quality of the movement is what defines its precision.

We find 2 common movements: the mechanical (manual or automatic) and the quartz).


Mechanical movement is one that needs us to provide energy continuously. Whether by a flick of the wrist or winding the crown, these watches are associated with high value and classic style.

Although a few years ago, the prices of these models were not within the reach of many people’s pockets, every time we find prestigious brands that offer very cheap automatic watches.

Some examples of these clocks are as follows:

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The quartz movement is the most common, and provides energy through a battery, providing good precision.

Today, a good battery is capable of keeping a watch alive and running for several years, with very low maintenance and fewer components (and therefore fewer breakdowns).

The quartz serves to transfer the electric current through vibrations that cause the movement of the watch. This causes it to oscillate and drives the watch to keep the hands ticking.


The dial is the part of a watch that contains the hands of the watch and the one that shows us the time. Whether it’s a digital watch or an analog watch, it’s the one that contains the numbers and additional information.

dial is the main parts of a watch

These numbers can be arranged in analog format, by means of Arabic or Roman numerals (using hands), or in digital form.

In most cases, it also contains the calendar, chronograph, and all the complications that a watch can usually have.

The dial is the element that most stands out in a watch and the one that most influences a buyer’s decision since it is the part that expresses the most design and the most different when we compare different models.

Keep in mind that this part of a watch can be made of different materials, with various colors, textures, styles, or even geometries.

In classic watches, it is usual for the dial to be round, but in analog watches, except for the last year, they have almost always been characterized by a square geometry.


Delving deeper into the dial as a fundamental part of a watch, we can find different styles according to our tastes, and they are all cataloged under a name or definition. Let’s talk about some of them.

The enamel of the watch is the part made up of glass and metals historically used as a material for the dial. Among them, we can find different colors and textures.

The most classic and valued watches had the dial pattern engraved manually. However, today it is rare to find it in the mid-priced versions, where it is directly engraved with a machine.

Tapisserie style DIALS OF A WATCH

Tapisserie style DIALS OF A WATCH

The Tapisserie style is an engraved form of the dial made up of small squares located on the surface of the dial.

We find this way of styling the watch in famous brands such as Audemars, with the Royal Oak collection.

Much like a guilloche, the tapisserie pattern is made up of small squares on the watch face’s surface. The  Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is perhaps the most famous watch with the tapisserie dial.

Crosshair type dial

The front sight is designed using fine lines placed horizontally and was part of many classic watches and popular prestige brands.

Crosshair type dial OF A WATCH

Omega is a big fan of the “crosshairs” dial design and places a high value on this part of the watch.

In the dress models with a classic and minimalist style, this point of sight crossed the central area of ​​the watch horizontally, from the numbering at 9 o’clock to crossing the calendar with the day located at 3 o’clock, in the event that it was worn.


One of the most attractive styles for many people, in the world of watches, are the skeleton model.

The attraction of this range, which is already part of many watch brands, is the possibility of seeing the internal parts in full operation, something that arouses complexity.

Although this dial design has always been associated with luxury brands such as Hublot, today we can find many models adapted to the general public.


Another important part of a watch as it is also involved in its style and appeal is the bezel. It is the ring that surrounds the sphere and ensures that the glass is correctly fixed.

There are simple types, without added value, or those that provide information or are revolving. Depending on the type of watch, such as Tissot Seastar diving watches, they are more rigid and stand out more.

Depending on the style and design of the watch, the bezel can be plain, decorative, and, in the case of a diver’s watch, functional. The bezel can be fixed or rotating for certain functions.


There are many types of bezels in a watch but we shall only discuss the most important ones.


Tachymeter bezel

The tachymeter of a watch is located either on the bezel itself or in the most eternal part of it. This element allows you to measure the speed of an object based on knowing the time scale and a fixed distance.

For this, we need the chronograph complication. Nowadays it is practically not used, since most cars or planes have a much more precise speed meter, but it is part of the history of pilot’s watches and today it is a widely used design factor due to its attractiveness.

As we said in the article on tachymeters, it is important that the time it takes for the object to travel the previously defined fixed distance is less than 60 seconds (1 turn of the hand).

Diving bezel

Diving bezels are characterized by ascending numbering, which calculates the time elapsed during the dive.

They are one of the best known and even this part of the watch is incorporated into models that have nothing to do with the diving style.

An important part of the diving bezel is that it must be unidirectional so that we are not going to make the mistake of reducing the elapsed time by accidentally brushing or touching it.

In this way we ensure that the calculation of the elapsed time is, at least, higher than the calculated one, so we will never have problems of lack of air in the deep sea.

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Countdown bezel

Just the opposite of the diving bezel, the countdown bezel does it the other way around, starting at 60 and ending at 0. In this way, it allows us to measure the time left until the event or task starts.

This function is so interesting that most mobile phones have incorporated it into the clock functions. Initially, they were conceived to calculate the time left to start a military maneuver or attack, although today it is more related to the time left until the cake is finished in the oven.

In general, a watch with a countdown bezel can move bidirectionally, so that we can position it just in line with the constantly moving minute hand.

Dual bezel

When we live on horseback between several countries, Smartwatch watches are currently the best solution, since if they are synchronized with the mobile, they will automatically change the time.

However, when these technological innovations did not exist, it was resorted to using dual bezel or GMT watches. This part of the watch provides a 24-hour scale that we could adjust based on the time change.


Its use is very simple. It is enough to know the time difference between one country and another (or within the same country) and turn the bezel until the number is as many hours ahead or behind as the time difference.


The case is one of the most important parts of a watch from a structural point of view. It is the skeleton that holds the dial and joins it to the strap.

It has a great impact on the overall design of the watch and can be made from different materials, colors and textures. The most common, in dress watches or luxury brands, is to find the case made of stainless steel (generally 316L).

For smartwatches or tactical watches, we can find that most of the parts of the watch are made of plastic, resistant and lightweight.



The glass is the casing that protects the contents of the sphere, very sensitive to shocks and with machinery in constant movement that cannot be touched.

The glass can be, as it says, glass, or other transparent materials, such as plastic, glass, sapphire, etc.

One of the most sought-after crystals, intended for watches with a higher market value, is sapphire crystal, a material that is highly resistant to shocks and scratches.


For an analog clock, the hands are the essence to give us the privileged information of the time. These thin rods that are born from the center of the sphere, point to numerical markers (well, not always) that tell us the time.

The hands can be extremely precise, although this requires them to be very thin. They can indicate seconds and, in the most extreme cases of emblematic models, up to tenths or hundredths of a second.

An example of this is the Certina DS-4, which has a chronograph capable of measuring hundredths of a second.


The crown is a not so well known part within the parts of a watch. To get a quick idea of ​​where we can find it, we talk about the screw usually located in the hour index of 3.


For a quartz watch, it only offers the possibility to change the time or adjust the calendar, but for a mechanical watch, it offers the important task of winding (when it comes to manual models).

Read our guide on

Mechanical vs Automatic vs Quartz Watches: Which Type of Watch is Best for You?

As most watches are watertight and offer good impermeability, this means that this part of the watch is well screwed with the case, so that it prevents water from entering the interior.

If we go to luxury models, such as those offered by Swiss brands, many times they are encrusted with precious stones or gold.


Markers are lines or numbering that make it easy to interpret the direction the hands are pointing. In the most minimalist models, especially intended for the female public, we find a total absence of this numbering on the dial, even of the indices.

However, for tactical, sports, or chronograph watches, markers are a must as they offer precision in reading the hours.


Roman numeral

Roman numerals are reserved for classic dress watches, which are slowly losing positions in the catalog of major brands.

Most of them mark 12 different points, from I to XII, and curiously we find in many watches that the number IV appears with the form IIII. It is believed that it was used this way simply for aesthetics.

Arabic numerals

The current numbering of Western countries is the most common in the commonly used watch models.

They position numbers from 1 to 12, although there are also minimalist styles that only use 12, 3, 6, and 9.

Linear or diamond markers

For models where the design is mainly valued, the numbering disappears and is replaced by markers such as diamonds, lines, crystals, etc. These give a watch more style and originality, and it is common to find it in many women’s watch brands.



The lugs, although it also has other names, are the part of the watch attached to the case that serves as a point of attachment to the bracelet.

This part is rather decorative, although it does not offer many changes to the style of a watch.

Sports models usually have a larger lug, which provides a greater sense of rigidity, solidity, and resistance.


The pushers of the watch are the pieces located above or below (or both) of the crown, and it is typical of the chronograph complication.

Using the buttons we configure options such as the chronograph, the countdown, or other advanced functions to measure time.



The subdials are part of the dial and provide more information. Its use is quite common in chronographs and models with complex dials. Functions such as the calendar, chronograph, or even the moon phase are inserted in them, for watches of this type.


The strap is the link between the case and our wrist, and it is the part that everyone knows, without many secrets.

It can be made of different materials, although the most common are steel or titanium (links), leather (more classic style), or plastic, for the sportier models.

Many watch brands allow you to customize and have different straps for the same case and dial, something that allows you to modify the design depending on the style you want to use.

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