The Watch Dictionary (F – J)

Haute horology is defined as the high art of watchmaking and here at Laings we are extremely proud of our portfolio of prestigious watch brands, all of which we consider to be high art! The world of watches is extremely extensive and sometimes it can be difficult to understand the ABC’s of it. Here we have the second instalment of a series of blogs, the Watch Dictionary. Throughout the series we will help you to understand different terminologies, horology houses and watch models.

Let’s look at F – J in the watch dictionary…

Here we’ll look at prestigious watch brands, founders of luxury watch-houses and also some horology terms!

watch dictionaryF for Fine Watchmaking

Very often we hear the term “Fine Watchmaking”, but what exactly is fine watchmaking? Whilst people presume that this is defined by a large brand name and a large price tag, fine watchmaking is actually more about tradition, matched with the modern exploration of craftsmanship. Let me explain further, fine watchmaking uses the traditional methods of crafting a timepiece, which hundreds of years ago originally made mechanical watches that require winding. If you were to investigate the structure of the watch it really is like a miniature machine with countless parts that result in the timekeeping ability of the watch. Due to the delicacy and complexity of skills required for making these timepieces, they were extremely time-consuming and labour intensive to produce, resulting in low levels of production and relatively high costs. As time has progressed, fine watchmakers have begun to take a more modern initiative and have added different functions to the watches to allow users to benefit from versatility within the timepiece. These added functions are defined as ‘Complications’. With every additional complication, the process of making the watch becomes even more lengthy and intricate. Why is this desirable? Because the appreciation for all the hard work behind the scenes will result in your fine timepiece lasting a lifetime, if not generations.

G for GMT

watch dictionary
Omega GMT

GMT simply stands for Greenwich Mean Time and in the world of horology it means that a GMT watch allows for two-time zones to be easily read. Whilst the timepiece may not look significantly different from an ordinary watch, you will often find that there will be a 24-hour mark bezel and it is this tool that allows a second-time zone to be read! For example, Hong Kong time is GMT + 8 meaning that Hong Kong is 8 hours ahead of the UK. Therefore, you would simply rotate the bezel 8 hours forward and it’s as easy as that! The internal dial will then show the home time, whilst the bezel will show local time in Hong Kong. GMTs are very useful and popular amongst frequent travellers, but as an accessory they also look good!

watch dictionary
Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex

H for Hans Wilsdorf

You may not have heard of Hans Wilsdorf, but you will 100% know Rolex! If you don’t know though, then in short Rolex is one the most respected fine watchmakers and one of the most valuable brand names in luxury accessories –  Hans Wilsdorf is their legendary founder. Born 1881, Hans Wilsdorf had the vision to supply and export quality timepieces to the global market. He first established the company in 1905 as Wilsdorf & Davis, only later re-establishing the brand name as Rolex for easy pronunciation worldwide. He quickly made an impact on the watchmaking industry, making his first mark by creating the only waterproof watch – the Oyster. After the launch of the Oyster Hans Wilsdorf’s pioneering spirits did not slow and Rolex have made many more significant contributions to the art of watchmaking, continuing to explore new technologies and methods over the years.

I for IWC

watch dictionary
IWC Watches

The International Watch Co., or IWC, was established by an American watchmaker, Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868. Florentine rightly recognised the skills of qualified Swiss watchmakers and produced timepieces infused with Swiss traditions and the American pioneering spirit.

IWC houses six iconic collections all of which have withstood the test of time, offering different functions and aesthetics. The specialty of IWC is the wide range of complications and materials available for each collection. Whatever complication or extra function you are looking for, IWC covers them all and does them so well! If you’re not into the complexity of added functions, the automatic calibres have a simple, yet sleek look that is suitable for everyday wear. All of the movements in the timepieces are in-house IWC calibres that are highly reliable and robust, so they’re definitely not just a pretty face!

watch dictionary
Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II

J for Jubilee Bracelet

The renowned Jubilee bracelet is the graceful five-link bracelet that you often find attached to the infamous Rolex Datejust and now the new Rolex GMT Master II. Following its introduction in 1945, the Jubilee bracelet has been a staple and an instantly recognisable aspect of a Rolex watch. But its style is not the only thing that makes the bracelet so popular. Due to the robust material used in watchmaking, wearers often complain of the weight associated with them. However, they are often surprised with the weight of the Jubilee bracelet, as it is very lightweight when compared with other steel bracelets. In addition, as each link is smaller than the average found in steel straps, the bracelet gently wraps around the wrist and hugs the contours so that it is very comfortable for wearers.


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