A watch is an intricate feat of engineering. In fact, did you know that one watch can have as many as 400 different parts all working together to keep it ticking? From the hands and dial to the bezel and lug, every part of a Timex is meticulously designed and assembled for a beautiful timepiece that will last you a lifetime. Whether you’re someone who simply likes to accessorize their look or a dedicated watch collector looking to add to your trove, you might be curious to know more about the parts of your watch and what they do. We won’t bore you with the inner workings of every cog, but read on to learn more about basic watch anatomy.


Anatomy of a Watch



The case of a watch is essentially the shell that holds all of its mechanisms together. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials depending on the style and design of your watch. At Timex, we offer watch cases in a range of different materials. Here are a few:

  • Metals – This includes materials like stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium.  All are popular, durable options and great for everyday wear.  

  • #tide recycled ocean material – Made in partnership with #tide, this innovative material is made from upcycled, ocean-bound plastic that’s both sustainable and durable.

  • Eco-ceramic – This planet-friendly material is made from a blend of bio-based resin and ceramic. It’s extremely hard-wearing and ideal for daily wear. 



The crystal is the transparent covering over the face of the watch. It protects your watch’s dial from damage from dust, dirt, and water. There are three different types of crystals used in watchmaking:  

  • Sapphire – Clear, synthetic sapphire crystals that are grown in a lab. They have the same makeup as natural sapphires, just without the iconic hue. They’re extremely durable and scratch-resistant. These types of crystals are the most expensive. 

  • Mineral – Mineral crystals are made from glass. They tend to be more affordable than sapphire crystals but can become scratched more easily and cannot be buffed out.

  • Acrylic – Similar to plastic, acrylic crystals are lightweight. They can show scratches over time but can be buffed back to perfection. They tend to be the most affordable option of the three types of crystals.


The face of the watch is also called the dial. This is the part of the watch that displays the time. Analog watches have hands that rotate around the dial and point to the time. These number displays can have many different designs: 

  • Arabic – Each marker is numerical. 
  • Stick – The markers appear as thin lines. 
  • Roman – The markers appear as Roman numerals. 
  • Roman & Stick – A combination of both Roman numerals and stick markers. 
  • Arabic & Stick – A combination of numbers and thin lines.
  • California – The dial shows half Roman and half Arabic numerals.


The signature is the watchmaker’s information that is printed on the dial of the watch. This is usually the brand’s logo, watch model or collection name, and other important information such as whether the watch is water-resistant or powered by quartz. You can see an example of our Waterbury signature just above 6 o'clock on the dial of our Waterbury Traditional GMT:


TW2V74000VQ Waterbury Traditional GMT 39mm Leather Strap Watch primary image


The hands are the parts on an analog clock face that rotate and point to the time. Typically, the shorter hand indicates the hour while the longer hand points to the minutes. The shapes of the watch hands can vary from a minimalistic “stick” design to more elaborate arrows and creative options. Some watch hands even have a luminescent in-fill to help you check the time in the dark.


Hour Markers 

These are the marks or numbers (depending on the type of dial your watch has) that indicate the current hour and minutes. See the 'Dial' section above to learn more about the different types of markers.



The bezel circles the edge of the crystal. It can be purely decorative or functional depending on your watch. For example, some bezels rotate and can be used as a timer, compass, or, in the case of diving watches, can be used to track how long you’ve been underwater.



The crown is the name of the device that sticks out the side of your watch (usually the right side) to allow you to wind the hands and set the time. If you have a mechanical hand-wound watch, it’s how you wind your watch and keep it running. Take a look at our Timex Standard x Peanuts Gang's All Here watch, and you'll notice it has an oversized, vintage-style onion crown:




The parts above and below the case that connect the straps. There are four lugs in total on each watch, protruding from the case to attach the strap securely. The brown leather strap of our Marlin® Automatic sits beautifully between its 20mm lugs:



Attachment - Bracelet/Strap/Band 

A piece with many names, the attachment (also called the strap, bracelet, or band) is the part of the watch that goes around your wrist and secures it in place. There are many different types of watch attachments, and some models even allow you to switch them out whenever you like for a customized look. But in order to be considered a bracelet, the band must be made of metal.





Without the buckle, your watch would fall straight off your wrist. The buckle is what tightens the band and keeps it in place. There are many different types of watch buckles, all with their own pros and cons.  

  • Ardillon or Tang buckle – a traditional buckle where one end of the strap is slipped through a buckle with a pin used to secure it.  
  • Folding clasps – Another secure type of buckle most often found on metal straps and sports watches. The buckle unfolds to allow you to pass your hand through the straps and secures easily with one hand. 
  • Deployment buckle – A more complex folding buckle that never comes fully apart and is considered more secure than other types of buckles. 
  • Jewelry clasps – A type of hinged buckle that's popular on more dainty metal straps and sits flush with the rest of the strap.  

 TW2W50000 Timex Legacy Tonneau 42mm Leather Strap Watch Strap Image

Key Takeaway  

Wristwatch anatomy is a combination of precision engineering, elegance, and innovation. With over 400 different parts in each of our timepieces, every watch is a feat of precision and dedication to design. Each of the above parts of watch anatomy can be found under the Specifications tab of our watches so that you can get a better scope on the specs of your watch, know exactly what we’re talking about when we say that a watch’s dial markings are 'Roman' or 'Arabic', and distinguish between the different types of crystals we offer.

Eager for more? Learn even more about the inner workings of our watches with our guide: How Do Watches Work

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