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Timepiece Education

CASE
CASE

Cases can be made from a variety of materials that include:PlatinumConsidered noble, rare and hardHard to work withStamped as "950"4.5 on Mohs Scale18K GoldYellow, rose and white. K is karat weight24K is purest and softest18K is 75% gold2.5 – 3 on Mohs Scale14K GoldRarely used in Swiss watches585 parts gold3.0 – 3.5 on Mohs ScaleGold PlateRarely used in Swiss watchesGold over base metalWears off over timeStainless SteelMost popularHarder than gold to scratchCan be refinished to original state5.5 – 6 on Mohs ScaleTitaniumLightweight and durable, space-age materialHypoallergenic6.0 on Mohs ScaleCeramicLightweight, man made, space-age materialScratched only by diamond8 – 8.5 on Mohs ScaleTantalumDark, dense, hardHighly resistant to corrosion6.5 on Mohs ScaleTungsten CarbideDense metal-like substanceHigh strength, hard and rigid7.5 on Mohs ScalePVDProcess by which a layer of material is bonded to base metalImproves hardness and wear resistanceDiamond-like Carbon (DLC)Bonded to the base watch metalNearly as hard as natural diamondSlicker than Teflon

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WATCH PARTS
WATCH PARTS

Movement - The engine of the watch. Crown - The mechanism that allows for the winding of the movement and adjustment of functions like date and time. To enhance water resistance, crowns can screw into the case to form a seal against moisture or water.Pusher - Case attachment that controls functions, such as the chronograph or date adjustment.Lugs- Case attachment that allows for a strap or bracelet to be attached to the watch case.Rotor - Oscillating weight that winds an automatic watch when worn.Strap - Commonly a leather or rubber attachment that secures a watch to the wrist. Metal attachments, generally made from stainless steel or gold, are referred to as bracelets.Subdial - A small dial set within the main dial, which is used to display an additional complication such as chronograph readout, seconds, or date.Exhibition Caseback - Fitted with a mineral or sapphire crystal to show movement finishing.Hour Marker - Hour indicator applied or painted on the dial. Case - Holds the movement and protects it from the elements. It can be made from different metals and comes in different shapes.

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LUMINOSITY
LUMINOSITY

Many watches have glow-in-the dark hands and hour markers. The substance used for this purpose has evolved over the years. Originally, Radium was used in the 1950’s but was found to be highly radioactive and was replaced with a substance called Tritium. Tritium had much lower levels of radiotoxicity and was considered a much safer alternative to Radium. You can tell if a watch has Radium or Tritium markers because it will have the letter ‘T’ or ‘R’ printed on the dial, usually flanking the country of origin(ex. T-Swiss Made-T, or R-Swiss Made-R). Recently a new substance, Super- LumiNova®, has been introduced, which has no radioactive properties and is three timesas bright as Tritium. It also does not discolor as Tritium does when it ages.

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HANDS
HANDS

There are many different designs used for the hands of the watch. Hands that are a dark navy in color are called “blued steel” hands and are the result of super heating steel until the color changes. This technique was first used by the famous watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet in the 19th century to help make the hands more legible.

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  ARDILLON BUCKLE
ARDILLON BUCKLE

Traditional type buckle in which one end of the strap is slipped through a buckle with a pin used to secure the fit.

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DEPLOYANT BUCKLE
DEPLOYANT BUCKLE

Leather strap attached to folding metal buckle that is considered safer to wear than a regular Ardillon buckle due to the fact that if the buckle should open up, the watch is still attached to the wrist. This was invented by Louis-Cartier in the early 20th century.

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DIVING BEZEL
DIVING BEZEL

A diving bezel enables a diver to visually keep track of his/ her air supply by measuring dive time using minute markers from 0 to 60 on a unidirectional rotating bezel. Unidirectional bezels only rotate in the counter-clockwise direction for safety reasons. Before diving, the diver sets the bezel according to his/her air tank supply.

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TIMING BEZEL
TIMING BEZEL

A diving bezel enables a diver to visually keep track of his/ her air supply by measuring dive time using minute markers from 0 to 60 on a unidirectional rotating bezel. Unidirectional bezels only rotate in the counter-clockwise direction for safety reasons. Before diving, the diver sets the bezel according to his/her air tank supply.

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SHOCK RESISTANCE
SHOCK RESISTANCE

In many ways, shock resistance is even more important to a watch than water resistance. A wristwatch is subject to a lot of movement, sometimes sudden, and with a great deal of force. If a watch is not properly shock resistant, it is incredibly easy to impact the movement and damage it. There are several methods watchmakers use today to make movements shock resistant. One of the most common is the Incabloc system introduced by Universal Escapements, Ltd. of Switzerland in 1933. The Incabloc system allows the most sensitive parts of the movement to move sideways when impacted by a shock and then return to its normal position under pressure of small springs above the movable carriage. Most other shock resistant assemblies work off a similar principle to the Incabloc, using springs as shock ab

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HELIUM ESCAPE VALVE
HELIUM ESCAPE VALVE

Many professional dive watches are equipped with a helium escape valve, a watch feature geared towards professional deep sea divers. It allows the extreme pressure from the depths of the sea to escape the watch via a valve that automatically opens when the pressure is greater inside the watch than outside.

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WATER RESISTANCE
WATER RESISTANCE

While not technically part of a watch’s anatomy, it is important to have a good understanding of what the phrase water resistance means and how it applies to a wristwatch. The term “waterproof” is not allowed by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. This is because under the proper conditions, anything can leak. The phrase “waterproof” is used in almost all of the rest of the world. A watch is generally considered water resistant if it can withstand the pressure of 30 meters (99 feet). Sometimes a watch’s water resistance is referred to in “atmospheres.” An atmosphere or “ATM” is 10 meters or 33 feet, therefore a watch that is water resistant to 3 ATMs is water resistant to 99 feet. Bar The Bar is a unit of pressure measurement that is essentially equivalent to an ATM. If a watch displays that it is pressure resistant to 3 Bar, it would be water resistant to 99 feet.

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