With every hobby and interest comes specific lingo that is used by others in that same culture. The terms may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, they become very useful and important to use. While there are plenty of watch anatomy guides and watch term glossaries on the web, we haven't seen an all inclusive guide that factors in modern lingo and watch straps themselves. That's why we created this A-Z glossary to explain the differences of 'bezel' and 'diver', and 'single-pass' straps versus 'double-pass' straps.
Analog Display: This is the traditional display using forms of pointers at an angle to indicate a value. You may see analog displays on traditional watches, clocks and mechanical weighing scales.
Aperture: A small opening on the dial that displays calendar information such as the date, day, month, or even moon phase.
Apple Watch Adapters: Also known as Apple Watch connectors, these sliding metal clasps will ensure the Apple watch strap is locked in place. Adapters are great for easily switching out straps to personalize your look.
Automatic: An automatic watch is a mechanical watch where manual winding is not necessary. It winds "automatically" by itself.
Balance wheel: weighted device in side of a watch that keeps time by swinging back and forth.
Ballistic: This is a type of nylon that is thick and tough. It was engineered during WWII by DuPont Corporation as a material to be worn by airmen.
Band: The watch band, also known as a watch strap or watch bracelet, is a bracelet of a certain material that secures the watch onto the wrist. Materials for watch bands include: leather, metal, rubber, nylon, and more.
Beater: a watch that is worn very regularly and can take on the "beating" or abuse of daily wear.
Bezel: The bezel is the ring casing that encircles the glass face to keep it in place.
Bond Strap: Bond Straps were made popular from the James Bond film series. Starting with the 1964 film Goldfinger, the 'Vintage Bond' nylon watch strap was worn by Bond (Sean Connery). Later on, the classic black and gray striped Bond strap became popular, as well as the Bond strap from the 2021 film No Time to Die.
Butterfly Clasp: The butterfly deployant clasp is a type of folding buckle that is commonly found on metal and leather watch bands. The clasp allows for the bracelet to not bend as often, loosening the band when unlocked and easily locking when fastened.
Caliber: a reference to the wristwatch's movements. It is the internal engine that makes the watch's functions work correctly.
Carry: An EDC (Every Day Carry) term meaning the items that you carry with you daily.
Case: a box or travel roll designed to protect and stores watches.
Caseback: The back of a watch. Most cases will allow you to remove the back to allow access to the movement.
Chronograph: Derived from the greek words, chronograph technically means "time writer". However, a chronograph watch is a traditional watch that is able to operate like a stopwatch. It allows the wearer to measure time with functions like 'start', 'stop', 'reset'.
Cordura: Originally created by DuPont, this ultra strong and tear-resistant fabric was designed to be used in the military during World War II. Since then, it has become a popular material for EDC items and tactical gear.
Crown: The ribbed knob located on the side of the watch used to set the time.
Crystal: the glass covering on the watch face that protects the dial and hands.
Desk Diver: Someone who appreciates dive watches without ever taking it into water. This person might wear these watches as everyday office wear.
Dial: also known as the watch face, the dial displays the time.
Digital Watch: a watch that displays the time digitally as opposed to the analogue form that uses a dial and hands.
Display: how the time is presented visually on a watch. (analog vs. digital) A physical display case is box or stand that allows watches to be shown off and organized.
Diver: Also known as a diving watch, dive watch, or diver's watch, a diver is designed for underwater activity and needs to be water resistant at at least 100 meters.
Double pass: This is the traditional watch strap style with two layers of fabric to secure the watch head from sliding off. A single pass strap has the second layer removed, making the overall feel thinner.
Dress: A dress watch is a watch of minimalism and elegance that is worn on formal occasions.
EDC: Also known as Every Day Carry, these are your collection of items that one would carry with them on a typical daily basis. Some EDC items include: watches, wallets, pens, knives, and flashlights.
Escapement: the mechanism in a timepiece that controls the wheelwork, or controlled speed and motion of the train.
Field Watch: a simple military watch. Originated during World War I, these watches were designed for soldiers to wear in the trenches. Today, a field watch is a casual watch that has accurate movement, easy-to-read dial, and a sturdy strap.
FKM Rubber: FKM, shortened for fluro-elastomer, is a class of high quality synthetic rubber that provides great resistance to heat and chemicals.
Gasket: Made from rubber and neoprene, these rings are designed to protect your watch from dust, dirt, water, and other substances.
Glass: The glass, otherwise known as the crystal, is the glass covering on the watch face that protects the dial and hands.
Grail Watch: This refers to the ultimate collection timepiece and it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive.
Grain: For leather and wood straps, this refers to the composition, appearance, and texture of the materials.
Hand: refers to the small spears on the clock that point to the hour and minute. There are different types of clock hands such as: Alpha Hands, Baton Hands, Breguet hands, and more.
Horology: The study and measurement of time.
Indices: These are the markings on the dial that symbolize the hours and minutes. There are various different index markings that include: Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, dagger indexes, diamonds, and sticks.
Jewels: Tiny gemstone bearings were introduced into the mechanical movement of the watch to reduce friction.
Keepers: Keepers can also be known as hoops or loops, but they are are rings that keep the watch band from slinking around on your wrist. Keepers are typically made from leather or metal but can be made of other materials as well.
Kinetic: This word is derived from the Greek word kinetikos meaning "in motion". Kinetic watches operate by using the watch wearer's daily motion where the energy is stored in a capacitor.
Lugs: Watch lugs are where the watch strap or band attaches to the watch case. The gaps between the lugs are for spring bars where the bracelet will be secured.
Lug Width: the internal width measured between the lugs. Common lug widths range from 16mm to 24mm.
Lume: Lume is the shortened term for luminous phosphorescent glowing solution applied on certain watch dials.
Marine Nationale: Marine Nationale straps are also known as parachute watch straps because of the stretchy nylon webbing material. The Marine Nationale coloring is green with a yellow stripe.
Mechanical: The opposite of an automatic watch, a mechanical watch's movements are powered by gears and springs. The mechanical watch uses a clockwork mechanism to measure the passing of time.
Microbrand: a small-scale brand recognized by members or consumers in a specific region, micromarket or niche market.
Military Time: The 24 hour clock system which measures all 24 hours instead of 12 hour civilian time.
Millimeter: The metric system is used in watch manufacturing. A millimeter is one thousandth of a meter. It is also a common term you will hear when it comes to watches and straps. For example, watch face sizes are commonly between 25mm and 45mm and watch strap sizes of 18mm to 24mm are common.
Movement: Also known as a caliber, the movement refers to the watch's time telling function and how it is powered to tell time. There are mechanical movements, automatic movements, and quartz movements. These movements are all powered in different ways.
Numeral: a symbol or figure indicating a number. Numerals include: cardinal numbers, Arabic numerals, and Roman numerals.
Nylon: a tough, yet lightweight fabric made from synthetic plastic. Nylon is used for a variety of applications and is commonly used for watch straps.
Parachute: Parachute watch straps are made from elastic webbing nylon material. You may have also head of "Marine Nationale straps" which is the same thing and originated from the French 'Marine Nationale' wearing these
Pepsi Bezel: Inspired by the soft drink, these watch bezels (the ring that encircles the glass face) are red and blue in color. The Rolex GMT-Master was the first watch to establish the "pepsi" theme in 1954. Since then, other watches have opted the pepsi bezel such as the Tudor Black Bay and Seiko SKX009.
Perlon: a type of nylon material that involves condensing nylon fibers to make bigger solid fiber loops and weaving them together. Perlon is lightweight yet very strong and resistant to fraying and tearing.
Pilot Watch: a type of watch designed for pilots. These watches tend to have large dials and crowns and luminosity to be able to see in the dark.
PVD: PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposition and is a black coating applied to the watch case or bracelet, as well as onto steel strap features like the buckle and keepers.
Quartz movement: Quartz watches and clocks will use an electronic oscillator powered by a quartz crystal to track the time.
Quick-Release: Also called quick-change, these two piece straps have built in spring bars that allow for the easy release and change of watch straps. The spring bars have a little knob on them to pull so that the pin retracts out of and into the watch lugs.
Rally Strap: Also known as a "racing watch strap", rally straps are characterized by perforations, or holes, to allow for ventilation and breathable material.
Rotating Bezel: The rotating bezel was originally designed for divers to keep track of time for up to 60 minutes.
Rotor: a half-circle weight that is mounted onto the movement, also known as an oscillating weight.
Sailcloth: Sailcloth is a type of woven marine fabric that is able to withstand harsh waters.
Silicone: a soft and flexible material used for water-proof and sweat-proof watch bands
Speedy: refers to Omega's Speedmaster line of chronograph watches
Spring Bars: small rods of metal that are used to hold the watch strap in place.
Sport: When it comes to sport watches, these are watches that are waterproof, shock resistant, and have stopwatch features. When it comes to straps, breathable material and perforations are ideal for sport.
Sub-Dial: These refer to the mini-dials that sit on top of the main dial.
Tactical: These types of watches are designed to meet the needs of military personnel and extreme sports fans.
Tropical: In the 1960's, swimmers and outdoorsmen wanted an alternative to the traditional steel bracelet, they found the solution in these waterproof and durable rubber Swiss-made TROPIC straps. The Tropical styled watch bands have been adapted by other brands.
Waffle Rubber: This is a rubber strap characterized by a studded design. In the 1960's Seiko's ZLM01 introduced their Waffle rubber watch strap.
Winding: This is what gives a watch its movement power. There is manual winding where one can wind by hand daily or opt for an automatic watch that self-winds.
Wrist Check: This is the phrase or hashtag a watch enthusiast would use when showing off their watch attire for the day.
Zulu strap: Similar in design to traditional nylon watch straps, these straps are single-pass and are identified by their thick, round and ring-like buckle and keepers.