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What are the key terms used in watchmaking?

When it comes to watches, there is a rich vocabulary that watchmakers use to communicate with each other effectively. Understanding these terms is essential for anyone interested in the world of horology. In this blog post, we will focus on the terminology related to exterior watch components.

Case vs. Caseback: What's the difference?

One common confusion among watch enthusiasts is the difference between a case and a caseback. Let's clarify:

A case refers to the main body of the watch that houses the movement, dial, and other internal components. It is typically made of metal, such as stainless steel or gold, and provides protection to the delicate mechanisms within.

On the other hand, the caseback is the rear part of the case that covers the movement. It can be transparent, allowing a view of the intricate mechanical movements, or solid, providing a space for engravings or other decorative elements.

Understanding Watchmaking Terminology: Exterior Components

Now, let's delve into some other important watchmaking terms related to the exterior components:

1. Bezel

The bezel is the ring surrounding the dial of the watch. It can be stationary or rotating and is often used for measuring elapsed time or as a decorative element.

2. Crown

The crown is a small knob on the side of the watch case that is used to set the time, date, and wind the watch. It is an essential component for adjusting the watch's functions.

3. Crystal

The crystal is the transparent cover that protects the dial and hands. It can be made of various materials, including mineral glass, sapphire, or acrylic. The choice of crystal affects the watch's durability and scratch resistance.

4. Lugs

The lugs are the protruding extensions on either side of the watch case that connect the case to the strap or bracelet. They play a crucial role in securing the watch on the wrist and can vary in shape and design.

5. Strap/Bracelet

The strap or bracelet is the band that holds the watch on the wrist. Straps are typically made of leather, fabric, or rubber, while bracelets are metal-based. The choice of strap or bracelet depends on personal preference and the watch's style.


Understanding watchmaking terminology is like unlocking a secret language that allows you to appreciate the intricacies of timepieces. In this blog post, we explored some key terms related to the exterior components of a watch. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you'll be better equipped to navigate the world of horology and engage in meaningful conversations with watch enthusiasts and experts.