Many early time
keeping devices came in the form of pocket watches that were bought
from a jeweller. The jeweller would assemble the customer’s choice of
movement and then set it in a case.
A 21 jewel movement
was – and still is - used to help keep the watch running smoothly. Tiny
synthetic gem crystals are set between many of the gears, in order to
reduce friction. These gems resist temperature better than metal, and
hold lubricant much longer.
industrial-grade or synthetic rubies, which are used to make a watch
movement's bearings. Basically, the jewels hold the end of the axel for
each major gear. If you look closely at the movement, you can actually
see them; they look like tiny red doughnut shapes.
Rubies are almost as
hard as diamonds, and as long as the watch is properly lubricated,
these gems can reduce friction and keep your watch running perfectly
for many years.
You can actually hear the gems working. The ticking noise of mechanical watches are actually made by two rubies banging into the steel teeth of the escape wheel.
You should make sure
to have your watch serviced every five years, as the toughness of the
rubies can erode the steel if not properly looked dafter. Whats the difference between 21 jewel movement and 25 jewel movement watches?
The number of jewels
used in a watch movement is an indication of the design of the
movement, not its quality. In fact, a cheap or poorly constructed 25
jewel movement can be less accurate and shorter-lived than a well
crafted 21 jewel movement.
A 25 jewel movement is used by companies such as ETA as a style preference, rather than a practical one. ETA SA
was set up at the end of the 18th century, and their movements quickly
established themselves as being accurate and of a superior quality than
most movement manufacturers.
However, the main difference in the number of jewels used is dependant on the type of watch. For example, automatic watch or self-winding watches and other complicated models may have 24 or more jewels because of the additional moving parts.
In other words, more
jewels indicate a more complicated movement, which is why many watch
enthusiasts are wiling to pay over the odds for them. Also, the more
jewels used, the less wear there is on the watch parts.
movements are extremely varied. Some basic watches only have five
jewels in them, whereas more complicated watches can have over 25
The gems used in the
watches are actually worthless – with a value less than a few cents
each. So, the number used is dependant on the style of movement, the
number of parts in the watch, and the watchmaker’s personal preference,
as opposed to cost. However, because Swiss watch-making is renowned for
its high quality and innovative designs, Swiss 21 jewel movement are sought after by many collectors.
A Swiss movement is
one that has been assembled in Switzerland under the supervision of a
Swiss factory. It is also important that the parts of the movements that are Swiss in origin make up at least 50% of the movement's total value.
When looking for a Swiss movement, you should look for the stamp that says one of the following things: "Swiss Made," "Suisse," "Produit Suisse," "Swiss Quartz," or "Fabrique en Suisse." This is proof that you have bought a watch with a Swiss movement.
Watches with this
stamped on the case have been entirely manufactured in Switzerland.
However, watches with the marking only on the inside just have a Swiss
Choosing the right swiss watch
can be taxing at the best of times, but knowing about the various
movements can help you to make the right decision. If you are in any
doubt, talk to your local watch specialist.