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6 watch features explained

Owning a fancy watch is not enough—you need to be able to know, understand and use its features too, discovers Shweta Gandhi.

A watch is now as much a tool for timekeeping as a status symbol. Luxury collectible watches are valued for their elaborate craftsmanship, aesthetic appeal and artistic design. But do you really know what those features in your watch do? Here’s a quick guide.

Complications
Most watches have various extra features—apart from showing the time and date—and these are called complications. Simple complications are a chronograph and moon-phase displays, while an intricate one is tourbillon (prevents errors due to changes in gravity).

Chronometer
Watchmakers put the mechanisms through the chronometer test to validate that the watch is designed for the highest accuracy. This involves 15 days of severe tests and checks to confirm the watch works in five different positions at varying temperatures. It acts as a certification to ensure the watch has met specific and precise standards.

Chronograph
A chronograph watch is one with a stopwatch or a timer function in it. A watch can have between one and three buttons, and these start, stop and reset the chronograph function without disrupting the watch. Some watches can only go up to 30 minutes while others can go as long as 12 hours.

Tachymeter
This is an instrument that helps rapidly determine distances, directions and differences in elevation. It’s a scale inside the watch that measures the speed based on travel time or distance based on speed. If you start the zero seconds reading and end it, the reading of your tachymeter would show you your travelling speed. Once you have your travelling speed, you can easily calculate your distance.

Substitute compass
In the absence of a compass you can ascertain the north-south direction with the help of your analog watch. In the northern hemisphere, if you point the hour hand of a 12-hour clock towards the sun, the point right between the hour hand and 12 o’clock will show you the southern direction. In the southern hemisphere, point the 12 on your watch dial toward the sun. The point between the 12 and the hour hand is the north.

Water resistance
The resistance level of every watch differs and is measured in meters. Regular watches usually come with 30 meter resistance, which means they can only withstand splashes of water. You cannot submerge them fully. Those that are 100 meter and above can be used during shallow swimming. While those that are 200 meter and above can be worn while swimming, snorkelling and surfing. For diving, you need a watch that has 500-meter or higher resistance.

Photograph courtesy: Shane Lin/Creative Commons

Categories:   Style, Accessories

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