Watch Definitions

As Chubby Checker said in the song Limbo Rock, “How low can you go ?”

It used to be that watches could be classified as “Water Proof” but in these days of political correctness, I suppose that the concept that a watch could actually guarantee that water would not get in was just too much for manufacturers to be responsible for and thus the current terminology of “Water Resistance”.  So what is the magic of water resistance ?  Well … as with most things in the watch world, that depends.  For instance, if your watch is rated for 50 meters, I would not suggest that you do anything other than working up a good sweat with your watch on.  At 100 meters your limitation is probably the shower :-) and 300 meters will get you some scuba diving but don’t go too deep as helium buildup could cause your watch to explode.  So if you want a great watch that is really a “dive” watch to 1000 meters with a helium escape valve, check this out.  And on a completely different “note”, if you want to hear Chubby Checker’s Limbo Rock click here.

Don’t get screwed … get blued screws

Blue-ScrewsOne feature that I really like on automatic watches is an exposed movement where you can see the real timekeeping taking place.  This may sound a little childish but it is mesmerizing to me to watch the “action” and know that all the parts are working in unison to create the proper time on the face of the watch.  Maybe I am easily humored but it seems to me that the fact that all the parts in a watch work at all is close to a miracle.  One of the aesthetic features of some watches are blued screws in the movement.  While these blued screws do not serve any technical enhancement, they can be attractive.  And NO, someone does not sit with a blue felt tip pen and dab the heads of the screws :-) LOL.  Actually, the process is complicated and does add to expense of your desired watch.  Now I know some of you are saying “I did get screwed by my watch with blued screws because it never works right and the manufacturer screwed me blue on the repair.”  If that’s the case, check this out.

The “Ballet” of Watches … Movements

Man’s quest to keep track of time has always been a race about how fast one can get the time and the truthfulness of that result … speed and accuracy. This is demonstrated through the development of “telling time” over the ages. You can read more about that in our blog posts under “The History of Time …”. But the need for speed and accuracy is also demonstrated in the development of watch movements over the years.

The watch movement is the heart and brains of every watch. It is basically all the internal parts that are contained in a watch that makes the watch function. The term originated with early clock designs that had many moving parts and together were referred to as movements. There are basically three different types of watch movements: 1) Mechanical (more info here), 2) Automatic, and 3) Quartz. A Mechanical Movement uses a spring that is wound by hand using the crown on the watch. The spring slowly unwinds to release energy that powers the movement to maintain the time. An Automatic Movement has a mechanical movement which harnesses the energy to wind the spring by the movement of your arm as you wear your watch. A Quartz Movement receives its energy from a battery that vibrates a motor to move the hands. Speed and accuracy in whatever flavor you would like. Are you a traditionalist and like the Mechanical Movement ? Or do you just like all the technicalities of an Automatic Movement ? Maybe you prefer the pinpoint accuracy of the Quartz Movement ? The good news is that options abound. However, if you would like Luxury, Performance, and Affordability in one great package click here.

It does what ?

Chronograph-WatchesLet’s face the facts … most of us do not wear a watch just to tell time.  If that were the case, there are clocks in various shapes and forms around us all day.  We like watches for different reasons … some people like watches as a fashion statement while others like their watch for the different functionalities in addition to basic clock features.  We at Môntrèk Watches understand and THAT is what led to our Diver Collection.  But that is not what we are here to talk about today.  We feel the more YOU know about watches, the better chance there is you will buy a Môntrèk.  So today we are talking about Chronographs.  The Greek words “chronos” and “graph” stand for “time” and “writing”.  A Chronograph is a watch which contains a mechanism that allows you to stop at least one hand to facilitate reading of the elapsed time … that is to say simply a stop-watch function.  Originally, Chronographs were worn by the military as a portable way to time necessary functions.  Later sportsmen became enamored with them for obvious reasons.  As time marched on (yea … I did mean to say that :-) ), and fanatical precision became more important, quartz Chronographs were developed for their greater accuracy over mechanicals.  Take a look at the watches in the photo … high in style yet classic in functionality.  Do you like these ?  Feel free to let us know.   Let us know what you are thinking, MAYBE we will make one just for you so !!!!!

It’s just a balancing act

The balance wheel has been used in watches and clocks since the 14 century. Until the late 1970’s, balance wheels were used for various products in addition to watches such as bank vault time locks, timed fuzes, alarm clocks, and kitchen timers just to name a few. With advent of quartz movements the main use for balance wheels is now in quality watches. WARNING – Self Promotion – For quality watches click here. But I digress :-) On many balance wheels you can see a set of 16 screws that are mostly decorative … four of the screws are sometimes used for adjustments however, many watches have perfectly good balancing wheels that are smooth with no screws. The balance wheels rate of vibration is measured in “beats per hour” or BPH (not to be confused with same medical acronym referring to a situation that we hope no men encounter). Quality time pieces usually have at least 21,600 BPH like these … Sorry, forgot the Self Promotion Warning that time :-) If you would like to read more about balance wheels click here.

So where does that “Tick-Tock” come from



You hear it all the time on clocks or watches.  In fact it has so become a part of keeping time, you don’t even hear it anymore.  But just because you don’t hear it does not mean it is not there and if you stop for a moment, did you consider where that ubiquitous sound comes from ?  Well, let’s have a look or a listen as the case may be.  What you are hearing is the escapement doing its job of regulating the system that would otherwise unwind out of control.  In a simplified way, Tick Tock is the action of the escapement clutching and unclutching the teeth of a gear or letting the gear “escape” for a moment.  For a more detailed description click and the following link: Escapement.  If you would like to see a simple example of how this works, click on the picture.  Don’t delay … Tick Tock Tick Tock

From a “Royal” perspective

Today it can be easy to be blasé about technology.  Everything is evolving at such a fast rate that before we turn around to appreciate it … it’s gone.  So let’s talk about an invention from the mid-1800’s that is on your watch right now … the Crown.  You know, that little “whozie” on the side that you use to set the time, change the date (if you have that feature), and even wind your watch.  Well it wasn’t always so easy.  At one time you actually needed a key to wind your watch … remember the one that was hanging from your grandfather’s pocket watch chain ?  It wasn’t just decoration.  Or maybe you have a couple family heirloom watches and the keys have been lost, then you really understand.  Of course, not to fret … your watch will still show the correct time twice a day (sorry, I could not resist).  The basic function of the crown is unchanged over the past 200 years and when you start turning it for any function, what goes on inside could be best described as a miracle.  If you want a detailed description check out page 33 of Lucien F. Trueb’s “The World of Watches” or if you want to just discuss all the technicalities with like minded watch enthusiasts go to the forums at WatchUSeek.  Till next time … Happy Winding !!!!!

The “Main”spring

My watch keeps running how ?  Yes it is a complicated feat to say the least and while every part of watch is critical to keeping accurate time, it would be difficult at best without the thin piece of metal that is the power source in mechanical watches.  That thin strip of metal that keeps curling and unwinding for what seems to be forever is actually and engineering wonder.  Imagine trying to design a strip of metal thin enough but yet elastic enough (not the best quality of any metal) to make sure your timepiece functions accurately all the time.  While it defies imagination in both its simplicity and complexity … there it is, taken for granted right on your wrist.  If you would like more information on the history, structure, and design of mainsprings, click on the following link:Mainsprings.

Mechanical Movements

Mechanical-Movements-150x150The major component of a mechanical movement is the mainspring, a special gradually unwinding spring responsible for transmission of energy.  The oscillator of a  mechanical movement is the balance wheel, a small wheel moving very quickly.  In most watches produced at present day the balance wheel oscillates 28, 800 times per hour.  One more important component of the mechanical movement is the balance spring, also called the hairspring, a tiny delicate spring necessary for controlling oscillations of the balance wheel.  Mechanical movements are divided into two major groups – automatic, also called self-winding, and manual-wind, also known as hand-wound or wind-up.  More on that next time or click this link: Watches

We could all use a little more knowledge

Dictionary-150x150Like most industries, the watch industry has a language all to itself and in some case within the industry you are judged by your knowledge as those “in the know” toss around tems to see how befuddled you may become.  We are here to help you out.  Starting next week we will begin, in addtion to our other on going catagories, a new catagory entitled ” Watch Definitions”.  As we go along we will try and touch on everything from the obvious like chronograph, crystal, and movements to the more complicated like pallets, plates & bridges and more.  Most importantly, if YOU have something that you would like to know, please feel free to ask and we will try to satiate your thirst for knowledge while geeting a leg up on our own.