A-Z of Horology, Pt 2

Following on from part one, which as you may recall ended with ‘M’ for Miniaturisation, I’ve had a little extra time to think for part two, and we’ll start with:

N is for Nomos Glashütte

In the world of watchmaking, Nomos Glashὒtte are positively baby-faced and just learning to walk; created in 1990, Nomos have become world famous for their traditionally styled watches, and have won over 150 prestigious design awards and have gone on to win the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), the Oscars of the watchmaking world.

O is for Omega

It’s hard to mention Omega and not just reel off some achievements, that’s because they have some seriously impressive firsts and achievements: chosen as the official timekeepers for the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917, same for the American army in 1918, chosen by NASA in 1969 for the moon landing, and official timekeeper for the Olympic games since 1932.

Omega moon watch, speedmaster
The Omega Moon Watch

Further proof of their coolness? Omega watches have graced the wrists of the rich, famous and powerful – Buzz Aldrin, John F. Kennedy, Prince William and of course, the King (of Rock & Roll) – Elvis Presley.

P is for Power Reserve

All mechanical watches have a ‘Power Reserve’ – essentially, all it relates to is how long the watch would take to wind down and stop if left un-attended; most watches aim for a power reserve of between 40-50 hours, but the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari has a power reserve of 1,200 hours.

Just for fun, you should totally check out the MB&F LM1 power reserve indicator – this is a gentleman’s watch in every respect.

Q is for Quartz

The watchmaking world has been powered by quartz since December 1969, when Seiko unveiled the Astron. Quartz has gone on to become synonymous with timing instruments ever since, and is perhaps the most common form of time technology ever.

R is for Rolex

Of course, no A-Z of horology would be complete without a mention of Rolex, perhaps the most famous Swiss brand in the watch making world. Except … did you know that Rolex was originally founded in London? By a German? Not many people do.

rolex, deepsea, tiger woods
Rolex – synonymous with luxury

If you’d like to know more of the company history, read our ‘A brief history of time’ article.

S is for Screw-lock Crown

Also known as a screw down crown. Essentially, this is the ‘winder’ on the side of any watch, typically on watches that have a degree of waterproofing, the crown will screw down to lock into position, making water ingress virtually impossible.

T is for Tourbillon

Abraham-Lewis Breguet made the first tourbillon movement all the way back in the late 1700s (it was first patented in 1801). The tourbillon is a fantastically complex piece of engineering, but it does a rather simple job – it’s designed to lessen the effect of gravity on a watch movement, which could (in theory) affect the timekeeping ability.

Tourbillon movement, mechanical watch
Engineering beauty

U is for Universal Time Coordinated

The modern wonder of timekeeping technology – sort of. It’s actually the standard primary time that’s used worldwide to regulate clocks and watches, but some modern watches (like my Citizen Red Arrows) can detect the UTC signal and adjust automatically, for any time zone in the world.

V is for Vintage

It’s a vintage watch site … what did you expect?

Vintage watches just have a certain style, I also love the fact that you could be wearing a watch that has been somewhere remarkable, done a thousand different things, and still survived to tell the tale.

W is for Winder

If you own a watch with hands, there is a chance that it also has a winder, even if you don’t technically ‘wind it’. Whether it’s a screw down, knurled, bejewelled, plain or engraved, the job it does is essentially the same across all watches – adjusts the hands, and/or winds the mechanical movement.

X is for Xezo

Xezo is a relatively new brand, they produce some fine quality, handmade watches that are sensibly priced – a few hundred pounds upwards. Being perfectly honest, I’d never heard of them until I was racking my brains to find an ‘X is for …’ and I did.

Xezo air command
Xezo … for the X

Y is for Yema

Founded in France, in 1948, the Yema watch company has gone through some changes over the years; in the late 60s it was the leading exporter of French watches, being sold to Matra in 1982, then to Seiko in 1988, finally back to being French owned in 2004.

Z is for Zirconium Dioxide

Zirconium Dioxide is just fancy for ‘Technical Ceramic’, the chemical formulation being Zr02. A number of watchmakers are returning to ceramic for internal components, and even the case of the watch itself, which makes sense – it’s one of the ultimate hard-wearing materials that should last a lifetime.

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