Rolex Daytona Cosmograph
22. April 2020

Watch Basics Part II – Most Common Functions

The Collectors Circle is happy to have a mixed fan base of watch and car aficionados, sharing the same passion for rarities. But because not all of you have the same knowledge of haute horology, we want to help out by sharing more ‘Watch Basics’. There has been a watch hype over the past few years and we want newbies to be able to understand what it’s all about and why watches are a must-have for every gentleman. So, here we go. Part II of IV.

Our first post about ‘Watch Basics I’ was about different types of mechanisms (read the full article here). Today, we will have a closer look at the most common functions of mechanical watch.

No Date & Date Watches
As you might guess, the “No Date” watches are the simplest watches a manufactory can produce. They display the hour and minute and nothing else. One of the most famous examples is the Rolex Submariner No-Date or the Rolex Milgauss.

Rolex Milgauss Ref.116400 by @watchrookiee
Rolex Milgauss Ref.116400 by @watchrookiee

On the other hand, Date watches display the date of the month in addition to the hour and minute. Normally, they have the date window on the dial that is backed by the date wheel which rotates one position every 24 hours and runs from 1-31. The watch owner is expected to manually correct the date on the first of the month following any months that have fewer than 31 days (i.e. 5 times a year). The most famous date watch model is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref.5711A by @watchrookiee
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref.5711A by @watchrookiee

Chronograph Watches
A chronograph is a watch with a stopwatch function built in to the movement. The chronograph typically has three sub-dials to record the time that has passed – an hour sub-dial, a minute sub-dial and a sub-dial for the seconds. Positions of the sub-dials can vary based on the manufacturer. One of the most famous brands for chronograph is Audemars Piguet.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograpgh Ref.26315ST by @watchrookiee
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograpgh Ref.26315ST by @watchrookiee

GMT Watches
The GMT watch function is just a second hour hand that rotates once every 24 hours — or exactly half as fast as the other hour hand. In the 1950’s, the aviation industry gained more and more popularity and pilots and their crew started to take more long-distance flights than ever before. This was the reason Rolex introduced the GMT Master. The bezel (24 hours indication) was an innovative key feature that allowed the wearer to simultaneously reference two different time zones. The fourth hand (24-hour display) enables the wearer to set the watch to any time zone for the main time view, then set the rotatable 24-hour scale bezel to a second time zone. For the ones who didn’t know, GMT stands for “Greenwich Mean Time” (often referred as Coordinated Universal Time or UTC). The time zone is used as a reference in aviation, weather forecasts or even on your iPhone’s schedule (for example Switzerland’s time zone is UTC‎ ‎+2:00).

Hopefully you enjoyed our second part of the Watch Basic series. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Rolex GMT Master II 116719BLRO by @watchrookiee
Rolex GMT Master II 116719BLRO by @watchrookiee

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