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Glossary

Glossary - C

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CABOCHON

Any kind of precious stone, such as sapphire, ruby or emerald, uncut and only polished, generally of a half-spherical shape, mainly used as an ornament of the winding crown or certain elements of the case.

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CALENDAR, ANNUAL

An intermediate complication between a simple calendar and a perpetual calendar. This feature displays all the months with 30 or 31 days correctly, but needs a manual correction at the end of February. Generally, date, day of the week and month, or only day and month are displayed on the dial.

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CALENDAR, FULL

Displaying date, day of the week and month on the dial, but needing a manual correction at the end of a month with less than 31 days. It is often combined with the moonphase.

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CALENDAR, PERPETUAL

This is the most complex horology complication related to the calendar feature, as it indicates the date, day, month and leap year and does not need manual corrections until the year 2100 (when the leap year will be ignored).

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CALIBER

Originally it indicated only the size of a movement, but now this indication defines a specific movement type and shape (e.g. round caliber) and combines it with the constructor's name and identification number. Therefore the caliber identifies the movement.

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CANNON

An element in the shape of a hollow cylinder, sometimes also called pipe or bush, for instance the pipe of the hour wheel bearing the hour hand.

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CARAT (KARAT)

Unit of gold fineness (and gemstone weight). Pure gold is 24k. 18k gold is 75% pure.

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CAROUSEL

Device similar to the tourbillon, but with the carriage not driven by the fourth wheel, but by the third wheel.

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CARRIAGE or TOURBILLON CARRIAGE

Rotating frame of a tourbillon device, carrying the balance and escapement. This structural element is essential for a perfect balance of the whole system and its stability, in spite of its reduced weight. As today's tourbillon carriages make a rotation per minute, errors of rate in the vertical position are eliminated. Because of the widespread use of transparent dials, carriages became elements of aesthetic attractiveness.

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CASE

Container housing and protecting the movement, usually made up of three parts: middle, bezel, and back.

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CENTER SECOND HAND

See sweep second hand.

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CENTER-WHEEL

The minute wheel in a going-train.

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CHAMPLEVÉ

Hand-made treatment of the dial or case surface. The pattern is obtained by hollowing a metal sheet with a graver and subsequently filling the hollows with enamel.

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CHAPTER-RING

Hour-circle, i.e. the hour numerals arranged on a dial.

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CHIME

Striking-work equipped with a set of bells that may be capable of playing a complete melody. A watch provided with such a feature is called chiming watch.

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CHRONOGRAPH

A watch that includes a built-in stopwatch function, i.e. a timer that can be started and stopped to time an event. There are many variations of the chronograph.

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CHRONOMETER

A high-precision watch. According to the Swiss law, a manufacture may put the word "chronometer" on a model only after each individual piece has passed a series of tests and obtained a running bulletin and a chronometer certificate by an acknowledged Swiss control authority, such as the COSC.

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CIRCULAR GRAINING

Superficial decoration applied to bridges, rotors and pillar-plates in the shape of numerous slightly superposed small grains, obtained by using a plain cutter and abrasives. Also called Pearlage or Pearling.

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CLASP

The attachment used to connect the two ends of the watch bracelet or strap around the wrist.

- Deployment Buckle - A three-folding enclosure, which secures the two ends of the bracelet and allows enough room for placing the watch on the wrist when fully deployed. When closed, the buckle covers the two-piece folding mechanism

- Hook Lock - Two separate units each fitting on either end of the bracelet which allows the watch to be laid out. One end of the closure hooks onto the other to secure the two ends of the bracelet.

- Jeweler's Clasp - A closure that is generally used on better bracelets. Also allows it to lie flat.

- Sliding Clasp - Also a hook type method but allows for easy sizing of the bracelet by sliding up.

- Twist Lock - A closure similar to Jeweler's Clasp used on ladies jewelry bracelets.

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CLOISONNÉ

A kind of enamel work - mainly used for the decoration of dials - in which the outlines of the drawing are formed by thin metal wires. The colored enamel fills the hollows formed in this way. After oven firing, the surface is smoothed until the gold threads appear again.

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CLOUS DE PARIS

Decoration of metal parts characterized by numerous small pyramids.

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COCK

See bridge.

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COLIMAÇONNAGE

See snailing.

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COLUMN-WHEEL

Part of chronograph movements, governing the functions of various levers and parts of the chronograph operation, in the shape of a small-toothed steel cylinder. It is controlled by pushers through levers that hold and release it. It is a very precise and usually preferred type of chronograph operation.

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COMPLICATION

Additional function with respect to the manual-winding basic movement for the display of hours, minutes and seconds. Today, certain features, such as automatic winding or date, are taken for granted, although they should be defined as complications. The main complications are moonphase, power reserve, GMT, and full calendar. Further functions are performed by the so-called great complications, such as split-second chronograph, perpetual calendar, tourbilon device, and minute repeater.

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CORRECTOR

Pusher positioned on the case side that is normally actuated by a special tool for the quick setting of different indications, such as date, GMT, full or perpetual calendar.

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COSC

Abbreviation of "Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres" the most important Swiss institution responsible for the functioning and precision tests of movements of chronometers. Tests are performed on each individual watch at different temperatures and in different positions before a functioning bulletin and a chronometer certificate are issued, for which a maximum gap of -4..+4 seconds per day is tolerated.

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CÔTES CIRCULAIRES

Decoration of rotors and bridges of movements, whose pattern consists of a series of concentric ribs.

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CÔTES DE GENÈVE

Decoration applied mainly to high-quality movements, appearing as a series of parallel ribs, realized by repeated cuts of a cutter leaving thin stripes.

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COUNTDOWN TIMER

A function that lets the wearer keep track of how much of a pre-set period of time has elapsed. Some countdown timers sound a warning signal a few seconds before the time runs out. These are useful in events such all kinds of race.

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COUNTER

Additional hand on a chronograph, indicating the time elapsed since the beginning of the measuring. On modern watches the second counter is placed at the center, while minute and hour counters have off-center hands in special zones, also called subdials.

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CROWN

Usually positioned on the case middle and allows winding, hand setting and often date or GMT hand setting. As it is linked to the movement through the winding stem passing through a hole in the case. For waterproofing purposes, simple gaskets are used in water-resistant watches, while diving watches adopt screwing systems (screw-down crowns).

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CROWN WHEEL

Wheel meshing with the winding pinion and with the ratchet wheel on the barrel-arbor.

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CRYSTAL

The clean cover over the watch face. Three types of crystals are commonly found in watches: acrylic crystal, mineral crystal and sapphire crystal .

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