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WIS Glossary

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WIS Glossary

I'm collecting definitions of all the slang, jargon and technical terms you may find when you're among watch collectors.  If you have an additional term you'd like to add, please email it to me at Dan.the.WIS@gmail.com

  •  Adjusted - A watch is 'adjusted in 5 positions' if it has been rated in at least 5 positions.

  •  Atomic watch - a watch which sets itself automatically via a radio signal from a centralized time keeping point

  •  Automatic or auto - a mechanical watch which automatically winds when worn via a weighted rotor

  •  Beast - Orient M-Force 200m diver

  •  Beater - Junky watch or much-abused daily-wear watch.

  •  Bezel - in all watches, the rim around the crystal that holds the crystal in.  A rotating bezel is marked with information, such as time, world time cities, compass headings, or a slide rule, and does not function to hold the crystal.  A rotating bezel can be external or internal.

  •  Bling - Flashy or jeweled.

  •  Broadarrow  - a term used to describe British military watches. It dates back to British history where all Government or military property was marked with an arrowhead design such as the following:  /!\

  •  BUBAR - Blinged up beyond all recognition

  •  Center seconds - a hand indicating seconds which rotates about the same axis as the minute and hour hands.

  •  Chapter ring - a ring around the outside of the dial on which the hour and minute markings are printed or engraved.

  •  Chronograph - a watch which includes a time counting function separate from the regular time, which can be started, stopped and reset at will.

  •  Chronometer - The contemporary use of this word generally indicates a watch whose movement has received a rating certificate from a Swiss observatory.  Earlier use of the word indicated a large, boxed marine timepiece which had a particular type of escapement and was very accurate.

  •  Complication - a watch function which is in addition to regular time keeping.  Technically a second hand is considered a complication, but since they are so ubiquitous, we usually don't consider them as such.  Popular complications include chronograph, alarm, second time zone, and power reserve.

  •  Desk Diver - a dive watch that is worn to the office and never used for diving

  •  Ebauche - a movement in a rough, unfinished state.  In the 19th century it referred to a movement provided to a watchmaker which was incomplete and needed to be finished.  The word later took on the meaning of a finished movement provided to a watchmaker by a company specializing in movement manufacture.

  •  Eco-Drive - Citizen Watches name for their solar powered watches.

  •  Eco Zilla - a Citizen 300M Professional dive watch that looks is about the size of a Hockey Puck

  •  ETA - one of the major Swiss makers of mechanical and quartz watch movements

  •  Fixed spring bars -  spring bars that are permanently attached to the watch lugs.  Generally used for military watches.  You can only attach one-piece straps such as Natos or Zulus, or straps with snaps or tabs to fold over the spring bar.

  •  Flip - WIS one-night stand, aka WIS catch-n-release

  •  GermAsian - Asian watch with dubious German provenance

  •  Grail Watch - The single watch that a WIS aspires to, chases after, and seeks to own, above all others, i.e. a "Holy Grail".

  •  Hand-wind - a mechanical movement that needs to be manually wound to keep running.

  •  Jewels - pivot points in a watch made from synthetic sapphire. Prevents wear at the pivot points

  •  Keeper - A favorite watch that will be kept, not traded or sold.

  •  Lume - Luminosity; various materials i.e. tritium, luminova used to make watch faces "glow in the dark".

  •  Mechanical - a watch movement that keeps time with the power of a spring driving an escapement

  •  Mil-Watch - term used to describe watches that have a utilitarian purpose such as those issued by various military forces. Generally have a dual time dial (12 and 24 hour)or Government specification dial, superiour lume, hand wind, quartz or automatic.

  •  Minty - (Slang - Min tee )a term used by sellers who know little about watches except that it appears to be in very good to excellent condition.

  •  Miyota - the division of the Citizen watch company that makes movements, both automatic and quartz.

  •  MoD dial - a dial that originated with the Omega Seamaster 300 to fit a British Military specification. Generally is distinguished by a number of broad markers with a large triangle at the 12 o'clock. Currently used on the CWC Royal Navy issue watch.

  •  Monster - Seiko model SKX781 (orange) or SKX779 (black)

  •  NATO strap - a 4 ring strap designed to retain a watch if a spring bar breaks or that fits military watches with fixed spring bars. Used to define a strap that is built to NATO specifications for military watch bands.

  •  Nine-eater - a watch with subseconds at 9:00

  •  N.O.S - an acronym for New Old Stock. Generally describes a watch that has been tucked away in some jewelers cupboard for years and years after the company that produces the model has gone out of business or no longer produces it in their model line-up.

  •  One-Watch Nirvana (or "OWN") - A condition occuring when a WIS wears only one favorite watch.

  •  Puck - colloquial term for a Seiko Prospex dive watch that has a large shroud around it

  •  Quartz - a watch that uses electricity and a quartz crystal to keep time. Usually battery powered.

  •  Rayla - a Far Eastern version of a Ruhla dive watch. Quite good value but poor lume

  •  Screw-down crown - a crown which threads onto the crown tube and securely screws onto it.  Offers excellent water resistance for the crown.

  •  Six-eater - a watch with subseconds at 6:00

  •  Solar - a quartz watch which is powered by a solar cell in the dial.

  •  Super Luminova - a luminous material with strong lume properties and very long lasting. See Lumibrite (Seiko)

  •  Sub-seconds - a hand indicating seconds which is in a small subdial separate from the main minute and hour hands.

  •  Tough Solar - Casio Watches name for their solar powered watches

  •  Tritium - a luminous material that is mildly radioactive and is being replaced worldwide by Luminova.

  •  Tritnite - a paint that is supposed to be luminous

  •  WABI - "Wear And Break In". Visible scuffs, scratches, dirt, on a used watch.

  •  WISease - a chronic disorder which strikes all who love watches.   If you are not sure you have this, check the following to see if you can relate.  If you can answer yes to at least two questions, you need to seek help!

    1.  Do you have multiple windows open that are watch related?

    2.  Do you have accounts at auction sniper websites?

    3.  Are you tracking more than one incoming package at the same time?

    4.  Have you opened a secret bank account?

    5.  Have you gotten a post office box no one knows about?

    6.  Has your family seen nothing but the back of your head in the last three weeks?

    7.  Have you Made a fool of yourself straining to see another person's watch?

    8.  Have you had to quickly close a watch-related website window (at work, etc) because "eyes" were walking by you?

    9.  Have you ever made a statement such as "Naw, I've had this watch for a long time"?

    10.  Do you spend time typing silly stuff such as this?

     Although there is no known cure, there is Rx which keeps this enjoyable disorder in check. 

    • Some treatments include straps, bracelets, horo tools, modifications, cameras, and trades to mention a few.  

    • Ultimately, there is almost always a relapse.  This is chiefly the fault of watch manufacturers and forums.  Say you are  doing fine, haven't bought a watch in six months, then someone posts a "Wow! Have you seen this new model?"

    99.9% of people on this planet do NOT understand ... but to a WIS, it's pure love!!

  •  Wrist Cheese - Deposits of yellowish brown yuck lodged in the metal bracelet and caseback of a used watch.

  •  Wrist Time - Amount of time a watch is worn.

  •  Valjoux - a maker of watch movements, now owned by ETA. Famous for the 7750 automatic chronograph movement

  •  Zulu/Rhino/Maratec/Waterbourne/Scuba Strap - a brand name watch band that can be described as similar design to a NATO strap but made of thicker stronger material with larger metal fittings. Generally quite long to enable the wearer to strap the watch OUTSIDE a dry suit, clothing or forearm armour.

Thanks to the following PMWF members for their help compiling this list: Paul December, Plonky (Grant), Mike D, Wen, WB1GFH,