A type of escapement housed in a rotating cage that is meant to counter the negative effects gravity on a movement. While the movement was originally intended for pocket watches, they’ve moved to wristwatches as a way to showcase the height of a manufacture’s watchmaking abilities, and as such, they command exorbitant prices. (Learn more about tourbillons, here.).
The inner-working mechanism of a watch that can be either mechanical (automatic or hand-wound) or quartz (battery powered). Most watch manufacturers refer to their movements as “calibers.” In a mechanical movement, the main components are a mainspring, a gear train, an escapement and a balance wheel. In a quartz movement, the main components are a battery, a microchip circuit, a quartz crystal and a stepper motor. Many high-end movements (both quartz and mechanical) are manufactured in Switzerland by either watch brands themselves or from large movement makers like ETA and Valjoux, though Japan and even China have their own thriving watchmaking industries.
An internal component in a mechanical watch that transfers the power from a wound-up watch into the movement of the watch’s seconds hand by driving the balance wheel. This component is responsible for a watch’s ticking noise..
Synthetic rubies (sometimes synthetic sapphires) used as bearings at the heaviest points of wear in a watch movement in order to reduce friction between moving parts and increase a movement’s lifespan. Jewels have a naturally slicker surface than metal — for example, the coefficient of friction between two pieces of steel is about 0.58, while the coefficient of sapphire on steel is about 0.15. Jewels are only used to increase the accuracy of the movement and are not for decoration.
The clear protective cover that shrouds the watch face, made from either synthetic sapphire, acrylic or glass. Synthetic sapphire is the most expensive to produce, though it is considerably more scratch resistant than either acrylic or glass crystals.