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Glossary

Glossary - M

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MAINSPRING

This and the barrel make up the driving element of a movement. It stores and transmits the power force needed for its functioning.

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MANUAL

A mechanical movement in which winding is performed by hand. The motion transmitted from the user's fingers to the crown is forwarded to the movement through the winding stem, from this to the barrel through a series of gears and finally to the mainspring.

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MARINE CHRONOMETER

A large-sized chronometer watch enclosed in a box (therefore also called box chronometer) mounted on gimbals and used, on board of ships, to determine the respective longitude.

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MARKERS

Elements printed or applied on the dial, sometimes they are luminescent, used as reference points for the hands to indicate hours and fifteen- or five-minute intervals.

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MEANTIME

The mean time of the meridian of the Greenwich Observatory, considered the universal meridian, is used as a standard of the civil time system, counted from midnight to midnight.

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MEASUREMENT CONVERSION

A feature, usually consisting of a graduated scale on the watch's bezel, that lets the wearer translate one type of measurement into another - miles into kilometers, for instance, or pounds into kilograms.

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MECHANICAL MOVEMENT

A movement powered by a mainspring, working in conjunction with a balance wheel. Most watches today have electronically controlled quartz movements and are powered by a battery. However, mechanical watches are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

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MICRO-ROTOR

See rotor.

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MICROMETER SCREW

Element positioned on the regulator, allowing to shift it by minimal and perfectly gauged ranges so as to obtain accurate regulations of the movement.

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MILITARY TIME or 24-HOUR TIME

When time is measured in 24-hour segments. To convert 12-hour time into 24-hour time, simply add 12 to any p.m. time. To convert 24-hour time into 12-hour time, subtract 12 from any time from 13 to 24.

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MINERAL CRYSTAL or MINERAL GLASS

Watch crystal that has been tempered (heat treated) to increase its hardness and scratch resistance.

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MINUTE REPEATER

See repeater.

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MODULE

Self-contained mechanism, independent of the basic caliber, added to the movement to make an additional function available: chronograph, power reserve, GMT, perpetual or full calendar (s).

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MOONPHASE

A function available in many watches, usually combined with calendar-related features. The moonphase disc advances one tooth every 24 hours. Normally, this wheel has 59 teeth and assures an almost perfect synchronization with the lunation period, i.e. 29.53 days (in fact, the disc shows the moonphases twice during a single revolution). However, the difference of 0.03 days, i.e. 44 minutes each month, implies the need for a manual adjustment every two and a half years to recover one day lost with respect to the real state of moonphase. In some rare case, the transmission ratio between the gears controlling the moonphase are calculated with extreme accuracy so as to require manual correction only once in 100 years.

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MOTHER OF PEARL

Iridescent, milky interior shell of the fresh water mollusk that is sliced thin and used on watch dials. While most have a milky white luster, mother-of-pearl also comes in other colors such as silvery gray, gray blue, pink, and salmon.

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MOVEMENT

The entire mechanism of a watch. Movements are divided into two great families: quartz and mechanical; the latter are available with manual or automatic winding devices.

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