Glossary of watch terms

Glossary of watch terms

If you would like to know more about the different components of a wristwatch – the lugs, dials, bezels and everything in between – then we thought it would be a good idea to create a handy guide. Think of it as an anatomy of the classic wristwatch, complete with detailed descriptions of what each part is and what it does. Take a look!

Wristwatch terminology


The bezel is the outer ring that surrounds the watch face. It’s usually flat-edged and can sometimes be functional, and other times decorative. The bezel holds the watch crystal (more of that shortly) in place. Some bezels can rotate while others are fixed. Take a look at the illustration above to see where the bezel is.


The case houses the watch itself, holding the inner workings of the watch. It’s usually made of stainless steel to protect the watch, but can be made of numerous other materials like gold, silver or even rhodium. You can compare the case of a watch to the skin of our bodies in that the watch case holds all the contents in place. It may be a peculiar comparison, but it works!


Though you might not know its name, you’ll know what we’re referring to when we say the ‘little knob on the side of the watch’. The crown is responsible for setting the time and might also have other functions like winding the mainspring on mechanical watches. 


We mentioned it earlier but we’ll explain it here. The crystal part on a watch refers to the clear expanse of the watch face. This protects the parts behind the glass (the dial and hands) and can be made of plastic, glass, or other materials.


The dial displays the time, and it’s crucial to the primary time-telling function of a watch. If your watch is digital, your dial will show a numeric digital display. If you have a traditional wristwatch, there will be hour markers and hands.


Fairly self-explanatory! The hands move over the dial, indicating the time for the wearer.


Lugs are the part of the watch that connects to the whole watch itself to the watch strap. They’re located either side of the watch as the strap begins.


Talking of straps, the watch strap secures the piece to the wearer’s wrist. Its materials often come in leather or as a metal bracelet, both with optional adjustments.


As you’ll probably be aware, the buckle refers to the strap accessory with which you can tighten/loosen the watch as you like.

Is your watch protected?

Whether you’re a budding watch collector or just a general enthusiast, a good working knowledge of a watch can benefit you in many ways. Whatever level of expert you are, we all need watch protection, whether that’s a simple watch storage box or an impressive looking multiple watch case. Get in touch and we can talk through your options!

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for new content up on the Case Farm blog. We regularly update it with fresh content for the watch community, so don’t miss out.

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