Watch Terminology


Using hands to show the time, not LCD display.


Automatic watches are exactly the same as mechanical except they do not need winding as long as they are being worn on a wrist. The movement of the wrist is sufficient to move an oscillating weight which keeps the mainspring wound up.

Base metal

A non precious metal such as brass.


Also known as cell. The battery number is found on the case back. The volt in a quartz analogue watch is 1.5V. The volt in a digital watch is 3.0V.


The ring on the outside of the watch case around the dial. The bezel can be rotated.


The metal is the same throughout but the plating finish juxtaposes white and yellow side by side on the bracelet.


A metal bracelet which holds the watch to the wrist. Made up of links which allow the bracelet to articulate to mould itself comfortably to any wrist.

Bracelet sets

Bracelet sets are matching watch and bracelet designs, usually for ladies evening wear.


The fastening for a strap, consisting of a rim and tongue. The rim of a Rotary buckle incorporates the winged wheel design.

Rotary bracelet sets

Rotary bracelet sets

Rotary watch buckle

Rotary watch buckle


Degree of purity of gold: pure gold is 24 carat, 18 carat is an alloy of which 18/24 is gold, 14 carat is an alloy of which 14/24 is gold and 9 carat is an alloy of which 9/24 is gold.


The body of the watch to which the bracelet or strap is attached. Cases are available in a wide variety of shapes and metals.

Case Back

The cover on the back of a watch which protects the movement. A case back normally snaps back into place or in the case of a waterproof model will be of the screw down variety to ensure water cannot permeate the seal. The case back has some important information about the watch engraved on it e.g. battery number, back number and water resistancy. All Rotary case backs are stainless steel except 9ct gold and sterling silver watches which have precious metal case backs.


A watch which tells the time and acts as a stopwatch.


A watch which has passed stringent tests at an official watch testing centre and carries a certificate.


Used for setting the watch hands (often called the button).


The fastening mechanism for bracelet watches.

FHS - Trade association for Swiss watches

To find out more about how watches work visit, the leading trade association for Swiss watches

Dial or Face

The dial sits on top of the movement and is one of the most important ways of giving a watch its own distinctive personality.

Dolphin Standard

Rotary watches marked 'Dolphin Standard' on the case back have been upgraded to offer this exclusive waterproof specification meaning that you and your watch can swim and dive all day. Dolphin Standard watches are suitable for: Swimming, shallow diving, yachting, all water sports (excluding scuba diving) and showering.

Duo Time or Travelcentric

A watch has two movements instead of one. Useful to keep time in two different time zones when travelling.


The authorised stamp impressed on gold or silver watches. Hallmarking has been in existence for nearly 700 years and can therefore justly claim to be one of the oldest forms of consumer protection. Under the British hallmarking system precious metal articles are tested independently of the manufacturer at one of the official assay offices at London, Birmingham, Sheffield or Edinburgh.

London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh Assay Office Marks

London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh Assay Office Marks


Hands come in different styles:

Sword hands

Sword hands

Dauphine hands

Dauphine hands

Straight flat hands

Straight flat hands

Breguet hands

Breguet hands


The leather loops on a leather watch strap which keeps the end of the strap in place once it has been fastened.


Metal projections at either side of the case to hold the spring bar onto which the bracelet or strap is attached.


A mechanical watch is powered by a mainspring in a housing called a barrel. The mainspring when wound by hand, unwinds very slowly, transmitting power to a system of interconnected gearwheels called the gear train. This in turn is connected to the escapement mechanism consisting of a wheel and a pallet fork which transmits impulses to the balance wheel, making it oscillate. This is the element which makes the characteristic ticking noise. There is a further train which moves the hands of the watch.

Mineral glass

Hardened watch glass (or crystal) that is scratch resistant.


The complete unit inside the watch that makes it work; sometimes called calibre or modular.

Nickel content

Many people are becoming allergic to nickel which was once used underneath gold-plating to smooth out imperfections in the base metal. Ever since nickel was found to be an allergenic substance, the amount of nickel used has been reduced. Now one or two layers of copper are used underneath the gold or rhodium plate to do the job that nickel used to. All Rotary watches are well within EEC guidelines but no watch can be called 100% nickel free.

Power cell

Another term for battery.

PVD plating

PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) is an alternative solution to electroplating (gold plating) and offers superior robustness and durability of colour and composition. The PVD process involves placing the watch in a high pressure sealed chamber in which the gold evaporates to create a saturated atmosphere. This allows the stainless steel to be completely penetrated by the gold molecules, ensuring an even and deep distribution of gold. Whereas traditional gold plating sits on the surface of the base metal and can therefore wear and tarnish with UV exposure and moisture, PVD plating does not discolour thanks to the total permeation of colour throughout the metal.

Watch winding process

Watch winding process

Rotary Revelation™

Two times, two faces, one watch...the Rotary Revelation™
By rotating the case, this watch can be set to two different times, allowing frequent travellers and those dealing with international colleagues in different timezones, the opportunity to remain abreast of different times. In addition, the two different dial designs offer two looks with just one watch.

Sapphire Glass

Sapphire crystals are made from synthetic sapphire and are practically unscratchable.


Sapphirite glass is a toughened mineral glass coated with a layer of sapphire glass for extra durability.

Swiss Made

In order to qualify as "Swiss Made" a watch must have been assembled, adjusted and subjected to official tests in Switzerland. At least 50% of the value of all parts, and its movement must have been made in Switzerland.

Sterling silver

Contains at least 92.5% pure silver.

Stainless Steel

A dense, extremely durable, and rust-resistant metal, which does not require electroplating. It can be given either a matt or a polished finish or a combination of the two.


A leather, simulated leather, plastic, rubber or nylon band that holds the watch to the wrist. All Rotary watch straps are made from plain leather which is then embossed or printed with patterns to imitate animal skins.

Spring Bar

A metal pin, telescopic in design is used on most straps to fasten them to the watch case. The spring bar slots into the lugs of a watch case.

Screw down crown

Watches which are Waterproof have screw down crowns to prevent moisture entering the case.


Rotary watches marked 'Waterproof' on the case back have been upgraded to offer a specification meaning that you and your watch can swim and dive all day. Waterproof watches are suitable for: Swimming, shallow diving, yachting, all water sports (excluding scuba diving) and showering.

Rotary Revelation™ watch

Rotary Revelation™ watch