The Anatomy of a Watch: Understanding Its Parts & Functions

Watches are hard to resist. We all adore them not just because they make it easy for us to track the time, but for the most part, they complete our ensembles and our fashion needs as well. 

In the world of horology, there's more to time-telling than meets the eye. Having a deep understanding of the captivating mechanisms inside these tiny wearable devices allows us to appreciate watches even more. 

Watches are a great blend of art and science that we wear on our wrists for different occasions and even for everyday use. Putting on a wristwatch is satisfying because it feels like having a piece of history with you wherever you wind up. 

It is important that as a watch lover, you also know the ins and outs of a watch. In this blog, we are going to take a closer look behind the curtains - the anatomy of wristwatches. Let us appreciate altogether the symphony of craftsmanship, engineering, and precision of a wearable masterpiece. 

The Anatomy of a Wristwatch

Just like every little thing in this world, every gear, spring, and cog in a watch plays a crucial role in the entire orchestration of time-telling. It is not just the mechanics, and the materials, but the science and art behind them. 

Let’s break them down. Here are the parts and functions of a wristwatch.

Dial or watch face.

It is basically the face of the watch where you can see all the displays and the time itself. The dial can come in several color markers and designs. It is the main canvas that shows us the passage of time or provides us a glimpse of extra information like date, day, moon phase, meter bar, and other complications depending on the features of your watch. 


The bezel is the ring material around the dial which secures the watch crystals in place. The bezels can provide a GMT indicator, compass, or countdown timer too. They feature markings that are in line with their functions and can be rotated in one direction.


As mentioned above, bezels secure the crystals in place and this is what we are talking about. Basically, the crystal is the clear portion of the watch face that is tasked to protect the insides of the watch face including the hand markers and the entire dial details. It can either be made of plastic, glass, or synthetic sapphire.


They are sometimes called horns. Their main function is to secure the strap or bracelet of a watch in place. It can also impact how the watch would sit on your wrist. 


Jewels are bearings that can be made from synthetic rubies or sapphires placed in different parts of the inner workings of a watch. They are set there not for design or added value but they are meant to be there to ensure that the friction in the moving parts or the watch movement is highly reduced for longevity and reliability. 

It can be seen in mechanical watches for the most part. For additional information, higher-end watches usually have a minimum of 21 jewels in place. You’ll know it is engineered well enough when there are several jewels set. Luxury watches often have more.


The very heartbeat of the watch. The watch movement, also known as the caliber, is the main power that is responsible for keeping time and comes in mechanical or quartz type. Mechanical movements have intricate gears, springs, and escapements, while quartz relies mainly on the oscillation of the quartz crystal to ensure precision in timekeeping.


It is the control center that sits on the sides of the watch face. It is the thing you turn to set the alarm, set dual time zones, and other features. 

Back case

It is basically the Chamber of Secrets of a watch. It is where the magical inner workings are kept together. Some watches though have a back encasement that gives a glimpse of the gears inside to showcase the intricate craftsmanship.

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