Watch Related Terms & Terminology

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Term Definition
Amplitude

The greatest angular displacement a balance moves - measured from the zero or rest Position to position of maximum displacement, expressed in degrees.

Breguet

Abraham Louis, 1747 - 1823 Horological genius / inventor. The name given to the type of balance spring which has its outer coil raised above the body of the spring & curved inwards.

Chronograph

A watch with hands that display hours, minutes and seconds, together with an additional mechanism for measuring continuous or interrupted periods of time and set to zero independently of the watch movement.

Chronometer

A watch that has obtained a certificate from an official neutral testing center such as "COSC" (Controle Officiel Swiss des Chronometres) or "SOCC" (Swiss office for chronometric controls) after having passed strict precision tests for accuracy. These tests are performed in a laboratory over a minimum 15-day period. They test the movement alone, using successive daily rate figures at different temperatures and with the movement in different positions.

Dynamic Poise

Poising a balance by observing its errors on a timing machine while the watch is running at a reduced amplitude and at various positions.

Ebauche

French term for a movement blank, i.e. an incomplete watch movement which is sold as a set of loose parts, comprising the main plate, the bridges, the train, the winding and setting mechanism and the regulator. The timing system, the escapement and the mainspring, however, are NOT parts of the "ébauche".

Elinvar

A nickel, steel alloy containing other additions such as chromium, manganese, titanium, tungsten or beryllium, which has a very low thermoelastic coefficient over the range of temperatures commonly encountered by a watch. Used in modern balances and springs, derived from the words "elasticity" and "invariable".

Escapement

Provides the balance with fresh additions of energy at regular intervals, and simultaneously prevents the movement from racing ahead and expending all its energy in a few mad seconds.

Frequency

Number of complete oscillations made by the balance & spring in one second. Example: 18,000 Vibrations per hour = 2.5 cycles per second, (Also referred to as "Hertz" - 2.5Hz).

Galling

Galling is a cold welding phenomenon which can occur when uncoated stainless steel (or aluminium alloy parts), such as the threads of the case and case back are forced together. These materials owe their corrosion resistance to the ease with which they passivate, forming a thin protective oxide layer. The friction scrapes off this oxide layer from the surface asperities and exposes clean reactive metal. If the mating parts are of a sufficiently similar material, no additional activation energy is needed to cold weld them together. Galling can occur even if the parts are brought together slowly, and it is prevented by the presence of grease or surface coatings, even if the surface coatings increase friction. It does not occur when joining dissimilar materials (for example threading 18-8 stainless into 17-4 stainless) even though both of those materials are susceptible to galling. Galling does not occur on carbon steel.

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