The movement, or inner workings, of a watch are what make up the main timekeeping mechanism. This mechanism measures the passage of time and displays the current time and other information including date, day and month. These movements can be entirely mechanical, entirely electronic or a combination of the two.
Mechanical movements, such as hand wound or automatic watches require winding in order to run. An automatic watch uses the force of gravity to constantly wind itself. Automatic watches have a greater consistency of power and therefore can be more accurate.
An electronic watch employs the use of a tiny quartz crystal that vibrates in the presence of electricity. This type of watch is powered by a battery and its time is regulated by the tiny quartz crystal. This is why most electronic watches are also called quartz watches. Solar powered watches convert energy from light into electricity which is then stored in a rechargeable battery. These watches do not need to have the battery replaced as long as they are regularly exposed to a fairly strong light source.
Kinetic powered watches use a combination of mechanical and electronic elements. Usually a weight rotates with the motion of the wearer's arm which turns a generator to supply power. It is similar to an automatic watch except that electrical power is generated by the mechanical motion.
The crystal is the protective cover on the face of the watch. A crystal can be made out any material that allows the face to be seen. The most common crystals are made of glass, acrylic or synthetic sapphire. Acrylic crystals are made from a plastic composite that is generally less expensive than glass or synthetic sapphire crystals. Glass crystals are hard and difficult to scratch but can shatter, while a synthetic sapphire crystal can be shatter-resistant and nearly scratch-resistant.
The bezel is the surface ring that surrounds and holds the crystal in place. It can be made out of almost any metal. On many luxury watches the bezel may contain diamonds or gemstones, while on sportier models the bezel may have calibrated markings on it and rotate in a unidirectional manner.
A complicated watch is any watch that features one or more utilities beyond the basic function of displaying the time and date. The two most popular complications are chronograph and moonphase. Chronograph is the ability of the watch to function as a stopwatch, and moonphase displays the phases of the lunar cycle. Many calendar types are considered to be complicated.
Calendars can appear in many different forms on a watch, from the basic date display to a more evolved design displaying the day, date, month, year and moonphase. For many watches, these functions need to be adjusted slightly to account for fewer days in a month or leap year. However, a perpetual calendar feature will automatically adjust to account for lengths of months (28 to 31 days) and leap years. Watches with perpetual calendars are usually powered by quartz or mechanical movements are programmed to be accurate until the year 2100.
Watches come in many different shapes and styles. Most watches will fall into three main categories; casual, dress, and sport watches.
- Casual Watches : Casual watches are usually made from stainless steel and have a relatively plain face. They are watches that can be worn everyday. They have a durable strap or medium to heavy bracelet band.
- Dress Watches : Dress watches are characterized by a case made from gold or other precious metal. They typically feature a basic, light colored dial with simple hands and a plain bezel with no markings. They usually have an elegant, thin, leather strap.
- Sport Watches : Sport watches are heavier and more durable than dress or casual. They feature a heavier bezel with markings and a bold or complex looking face featuring thicker hands. These watches have a casual type strap that can be a rubber based band, padded leather band with prominent stitching, or a heavy bracelet. Most of these watches are water resistant to at least 50 meters. Sport watches have more functionality than the other types of watches.
Most watches feature some type of resistance from water. This is determined based on the amount of water that the manufacturer has successfully tested their product in. The amount of water that these watches can withstand is rated in depths, ranging from 30 meters (100 feet) to 200 meters (660 feet). Below is a listing of each level of water resistance and a description of the amount of water they typical can withstand.
- 30 meters (100 feet): Watches that are water resistant to 30m will withstand splashes of water and rain, but should not be worn wile swimming or diving.
- 50 meters (150 feet): Watches that are water resistant to 50m are suitable for use around kitchen sinks, and while showering or swimming in shallow waters.
- 100 meters (330 feet): Watches that are water resistant to 100m are suitable for most swimming and poolside diving. These watches are not suitable for diving.
- 150 meters (500 feet): Watches that are resistant to depths of 150m are suitable for swimming diving and snorkeling. These watches are not suitable for skin or scuba diving.
- 200 meters (660 feet): Watches with a rating of 200m are suitable for most water sports including snorkeling and skin diving. These watches can be suitable for recreational scuba diving and scuba diving at depths not requiring helium gas.