Watch Essentials

Watch Anatomy: The Different Parts of a Watch

Confused about the different parts of a watch and their names? Our guide explains the anatomy of a watch and the names of the major parts of a watch.

Watch Anatomy: The Different Parts of a Watch
Vacheron Constantin (left), Rolex (right)

While watches might have widely different looks, shapes, and complications, they all share many basic components. This guide focuses on the different names and basic parts of a watch. If you’re looking for a glossary of watch terms, you’ll find it here

The Different Parts of a Watch


A watch case contains the movement and the dial. 

Central Seconds

If a watch has three hands, the longest, thinnest one displays the seconds. This is called a central seconds hand. 


A watch’s crown usually controls the winding and time-setting of the watch. It typically appears at 3 o’clock. 

Date Window

Many watches display the date in a small aperture or window in the dial. 


The dial is the front of the watch where the time is displayed. “Dial” is the preferred industry term, but some people refer to it as a “face.” 


Central hour and minute hands indicate the time on the vast majority of watches. Additional hands can indicate the day, date, or power reserve or display information from a complication like a chronograph. 

Hour Markers

Hour markers are used in place of numerals on some watches. They are also called indices. 


Lugs extend from the watch case and secure the bracelet or strap to the case. 

Minute Track

Small lines around the circumference of the dial indicate the minutes on some watches for more precise time-telling. 

Small Seconds

Some watches have a small subdial that displays the seconds instead of using a central hand. 

Strap and Bracelet

All watches have either a strap or a bracelet that secures the case to the wrist. If it’s made of leather or fabric, it’s called a strap. If it’s made of metal, it’s called a bracelet. 

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