Watch Jewels: Why Are There Jewels In A Watch And What Do They Do?


Watch jewels are meticulously crafted and carefully placed within a watch’s movement. They serve as bearings for the rotating parts, reducing friction and ensuring smooth operation.

With their exceptional hardness and durability, watch jewels can withstand the constant motion and wear that watches endure daily.

Importance of Jewels in Watches

Reducing Friction

Watch jewels are important in watch movements because they reduce friction. They act as lubrication points, making the parts move smoothly.

By using jewels, watches last longer and perform better. The jewels prevent metal-on-metal contact and create a smoother surface for the parts to glide on, making the watch more accurate and reliable.

Manufacturers use advanced techniques to place the jewels in specific spots and smooth them.

Enhancing Precision

Using high-quality watch jewels in watchmaking reduces friction and improves precision. Rubies and sapphires are chosen because they are hard and durable, making them perfect for jewel bearings.

Jewel bearings are used as pivots for rotating parts in a watch movement. Watchmakers can make the watch more accurate by using these jewel bearings in important areas like balance wheels and escapements.

The watch jewels create a smooth and stable surface on which these parts can rotate, ensuring consistent and precise timekeeping.

Watchmakers use calibration methods during assembly to ensure the watch keeps accurate time.

This involves carefully adjusting the position and tension of different parts to get the best performance. Jewel bearings help with this by providing stable reference points for fine-tuning the movement.

Longevity of Watches

Taking care of your watch is important to keep it working well for a long time. Moisture, dust, and changes in temperature can damage it.

Regular maintenance by professionals helps prevent problems and keeps your watch running smoothly.

You can also do things at home to care for your watch. Avoid extreme temperatures and magnetic fields, and store your watch in a case or box when you’re not wearing it.

Taking good care of your watch will make it last longer and look nice.

Types of Watch Jewels

Ruby and Sapphire

Rubies and sapphires are gemstones used in watches. Rubies are red and very hard, while sapphires come in different colors and are also hard.

Rubies regulate timekeeping accuracy, while sapphires help reduce wear in the watch movement.

Using high-quality rubies and sapphires improves watch performance by making them durable, stable, and accurate.

Synthetic vs Natural

When choosing between synthetic or natural jewels for watches, there are some things to consider.

Synthetic watch jewels are made in labs and have the same quality and properties. They are also more consistent in hardness and durability.

On the other hand, natural jewels can differ because of their form. Some people like natural jewels for their beauty and rarity. They might have a better look because of their refractive index.

The choice between synthetic and natural jewels depends on what you care about most. If you want consistency and availability, go with synthetic watch jewels. If you like the uniqueness and natural beauty, choose natural jewels.

Significance of 17 Jewels

Watch Jewels: Omega 17 jewel Cal. 321 Chronograph movement
Omega 17 jewel movement. Credit: Omega

Basic Timekeeping

Understanding the importance of 17 jewels in watches is about knowing how mechanical watch movements work. These movements have gears and springs that keep time.

The jewels in the watch help reduce friction and make it work better. Jewel bearings are small rubies or sapphires in the watch.

They act as tiny pivots for moving parts like the balance and escape wheel. Using jewels as bearings reduces friction and makes the watch more accurate.

The escapement is a critical part of the watch movement. It controls the release of energy from the mainspring and ensures it goes to the rest of the watch. The escape wheel and pallet fork work together to keep time by creating a ticking motion.

Having 17 jewels in a watch means important parts have been carefully made with precision bearings. This makes the watch last longer, work better, and need less maintenance.

The jewels also protect the watch from dust and debris. Buying a watch with 17 jewels means you will have accurate timekeeping and a reliable watch. The jewel bearings make the watch perform better, and last longer, so you won’t have to fix it often.

Significance of 21 Jewels

Advanced Features

The number of jewels used in watches is important for how well they work and how long they last.

In the last section, we talked about why 17 jewels are significant.

Now, let’s look at watches with 21 jewels. Watches with 21 jewels have special features that need precise jewel bearings.

These features go beyond telling time and include things like a stopwatch, a display of the moon’s phases, and even fancy mechanisms called tourbillons.

These complicated features need smooth movement, which is helped by jewel bearings. Adding more jewels makes these features more accurate and reliable. New techniques have been developed to put jewels in watches, making them work better.

Some watches use synthetic rubies because they are hard and don’t cause much friction. Other improvements include better ways to put the jewels in place so they fit perfectly. The number of jewels in a watch affects its features’ complexity. More jewels mean more fancy functions.

This is because adding jewels reduces friction and helps the parts move smoothly. By putting extra jewels where there’s a lot of friction, watchmakers can make the watch more accurate and last longer.

Watches with 21 jewels often show higher skill and attention to detail. They are carefully assembled, and every part is checked to fit perfectly. This shows how dedicated and knowledgeable the watchmaker is.

More Jewels, Better Performance?

The number of jewels in a watch is often seen as important in determining its quality. These jewels are synthetic rubies that help reduce friction and make the watch work smoothly.

However, thinking that more jewels automatically mean a better watch is a common mistake. While more jewels can make a watch last longer, the connection between jewel count and performance isn’t simple.

Other things like how well the watch is made and what materials are used also affect how well it works.

So, when looking at the jewel count, it’s important to consider other factors that make a watch good.

Quality vs Quantity

When choosing a watch, it’s important to focus on the quality of the jewels instead of just the quantity. More jewels don’t always mean a better watch.

Some high-end watches with complex movements have fewer jewels because they prioritize using high-quality watch jewels in important areas.

Watchmakers can ensure the watch works well by balancing the quality and quantity of jewels. Each jewel has a specific purpose and helps reduce friction in key areas.

This means the watch will run smoothly and need less servicing. Remember, the number of jewels is just one factor to consider when choosing a watch.

Ideal Jewel Count

Standard Recommendations

Industry standards play a big role in determining the number of jewels in a watch. The size and complexity of the watch movement affect the number of jewels needed.

Smaller dress watches usually need fewer jewels, while sports or chronograph watches need more. The jewels are placed in different watch parts, with larger ones used for important parts like bearings and escapements.

Synthetic rubies are commonly used because they are durable and reduce friction, but fancy watches might use diamonds or sapphires for looks.

Watch Types Variation

Different watches require different amounts of jewels. Diver watches need more jewels to be strong and accurate in water and tough conditions.

Pilot watches need jewels in the right places to be precise and readable, even in challenging situations like changing altitudes or extreme temperatures.

Dresswatches care more about how they look, so they have fewer jewels. However, the type of jewels used is important because they can be seen through the watch’s back.

Jewels in Quartz Watches

Comparing Mechanical and Quartz

Jewels are used differently in mechanical watches and quartz watches. In mechanical watches, jewels are used as low-friction pivot points for the gears, helping the watch run smoothly.

High-end models may have more jewels for better accuracy. Quartz watches, on the other hand, use fewer jewels because they have fewer moving parts.

They may have one or two jewels to reduce friction at important spots. Jewels in mechanical watches improve accuracy but add complexity and cost.

Quartz watches are simpler and cheaper but may be less durable without as many jewels.

Choosing the Right Jewel Count

Jewel bearings are important in watches because they make the parts move smoothly and accurately. Experts say that using high-quality jewels can make the watch work even better.

They also recommend buying watches from trusted brands that know how to use jewels well. It is important to take care of the jewels by cleaning them regularly.

There may be new ways to use jewels in watches to make them even better.

Maintenance of Jeweled Watches

Watch Jewels: Servicing and Maintaining Jeweled Watches

Regular Servicing

Regular servicing is important for jewel-bearing watches, which have tiny jewels that are essential. Regular servicing keeps your watch accurate and in good condition.

Servicing a watch with jewels is a careful process only professionals should do. How often you need servicing depends on the brand, type of movement, and how you use it. As a general rule, it’s recommended to service your watch every 3-5 years.

During servicing, the watchmaker disassembles the watch and checks each jewel component. They clean the parts to remove dirt and check for damage, then fix any issues they find.

Getting professional servicing has many benefits. It keeps your watch accurate and makes the jewels last longer. Regular servicing also helps find problems early and prevents bigger issues.

Avoiding Common Damages

While regular servicing plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of jewel bearings, it is equally important to take precautions to avoid common damages.

Here are some tips to protect your jewel components during everyday wear and usage:

  1. Avoid exposing your watch to extreme temperatures: Extreme heat or cold can cause thermal expansion or contraction, which may damage the jewel bearings. Remove your watch before entering saunas or engaging in activities where extreme temperatures are involved.
  2. Handle your watch carefully: Be mindful when wearing or removing your watch to prevent accidental knocks or drops that could damage the delicate jewels. Avoid wearing your watch during activities that involve intense vibrations or impacts.
  3. Keep your watch away from magnetic fields: Strong magnetic fields can interfere with the accuracy of your timepiece and affect the performance of jewel bearings. Avoid placing your watch near magnets, speakers, or electronic devices that generate strong magnetic fields.

If your watch does experience damage to its jewel bearings, repair options are available.

Professional watchmakers can assess the extent of the damage and replace worn-out or damaged jewels with precision.

It is important to address any issues promptly to prevent further complications and ensure the continued functionality of your timepiece.

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