The Essential Components of a Mechanical Watch: A Beginner's Guide

Welcome to the fascinating world of mechanical watches! As you embark on your journey with the Cincinnati Watch Company, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the various components that come together to create these timekeeping marvels. From the artistry of the dial to the precision of the movement, each part plays a crucial role in the watch's functionality and aesthetic. Here's a beginner's guide to the basic parts of a mechanical watch.


1. Dial

The dial, often referred to as the "face" of the watch, displays the time through a combination of indices, numbers, and possibly other functions like date windows or subdials. It is the most visible component and comes in various designs, colors, and styles.


2. Crown

The crown is a small knob on the outside of the watch case. It is used to set the time and date on the watch. On a mechanical watch, it also winds the mainspring to power the watch.


3. Crystal

The crystal is the clear cover that protects the dial. It can be made from various materials such as sapphire, mineral glass, or acrylic. Sapphire is highly prized for its scratch resistance and clarity.


4. Case

The case houses the inner workings of the watch and provides protection. It can be crafted from a variety of materials like stainless steel, titanium, gold, or even platinum.


5. Lug Width

An important measurement for watch enthusiasts, especially when looking to personalize a timepiece with an aftermarket watch strap. Lug width is the distance in millimeters between the two lugs where the strap or bracelet attaches to the watch case. This size determines the width of the strap or bracelet that you need for your watch. It is essential to know this measurement before purchasing an aftermarket watch strap to ensure a proper fit. Straps that are too wide will not fit between the lugs, while those that are too narrow will leave unattractive gaps and may affect the stability of the watch on your wrist. Most straps are standardized to fit common lug widths, making it relatively straightforward to find a plethora of options to customize the look and feel of your timepiece.


6. Movement

The movement is the engine of a watch. In mechanical models, it's a complex assembly of gears, springs, and other components that power the watch's functions. Our movements are regulated and serviced right here in Cincinnati, ensuring top-notch quality and performance.


7. Rotor

In automatic mechanical watches, the rotor is a weighted semi-circular component that pivots with the motion of the wearer's wrist. Its movement winds the mainspring, providing energy to run the watch.


8. Micro Adjuster

Found on the clasp of the watch bracelet, the micro adjuster allows for small adjustments in the bracelet size for a perfect fit without adding or removing links.


9. Strap

The strap can be made of leather, rubber, fabric, or other materials and is used to secure the watch to your wrist. It's an element of both comfort and style, offering an array of customization options.


10. End Links

These are the metal pieces that connect the watch bracelet to the lugs. They can be solid or hollow and are designed to ensure a seamless transition from the case to the bracelet or strap.


11. Bracelet

For those who prefer metal over fabric or leather on their wrist, the bracelet is a series of metal links that are fastened together. It is durable and adds a different aesthetic to the watch.


12. Clasp

The clasp is a mechanism that allows you to open and close the bracelet or strap on your wrist. It ensures the watch stays securely fastened.


13. Bezel

The bezel is the ring surrounding the crystal on the outside of the watch. It can be decorative or functional, with some bezels rotating to track elapsed time or to perform other calculations.


14. Case Back

The case back is the rear part of the watch that secures the movement inside the case. It can be solid or have a see-through (often called exhibition) window to view the movement.


15. Spring Bars

These small metal bars are used to attach the strap or bracelet to the lugs of the watch case. They can be compressed to fit into small holes in the lugs, allowing for easy strap changes.



As you delve into the world of mechanical watches, each part opens up a new chapter in craftsmanship and design. At the Cincinnati Watch Company, we take pride in every piece we create, ensuring that when you choose one of our watches, you're wearing more than just a timepiece—you're wearing a work of art that represents a storied tradition of horological excellence. Whether you're a seasoned collector or just beginning your journey, we invite you to explore the intricate beauty and precision engineering that make each of our watches truly unique.