Why Do Automatic & Mechanical Watches Have Jewels?

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Have you ever wondered why mechanical watches use jewels? It’s an amazing aspect that adds both beauty and functionality to these watches. In this article, I will unravel the captivating story behind the precious jewels that adorn the intricate mechanisms of automatic watches. So keep reading!

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Mechanical or Automatic watches use jewels for their durability, low friction properties, and ability to withstand constant movement, ensuring precise timekeeping and longevity of the timepiece.

Why Do Automatic Watches Have Jewels?

Why do Mechanical Watches use Jewels

Jewels are used in automatic watches because they are durable and reduce friction, enabling smooth and accurate operation for extended periods. They enhance the efficiency of the automatic winding mechanism, minimizing energy loss and maximizing effectiveness.

Additionally, jewels provide protection to crucial components of the movement, ensuring reliable timekeeping and optimal performance. Ultimately, the inclusion of jewels in automatic watches enhances durability, efficiency, and precision.

What Is The Purpose Of Jewels In Mechanical Watches?

Purpose Of Jewels In Mechanical Watches

Mechanical watches use jewels, typically synthetic rubies or sapphires, for several important reasons:

1. Reduced friction: Jewels are used as bearings to reduce friction and wear and tear between the moving parts of a mechanical watch. The jewels are carefully placed at key points within the movement where there is significant contact or rotation, such as the balance wheel, escape wheel, and pallet fork. By using jewels as friction-reducing bearings, the watch can operate smoothly and maintain accurate timekeeping.

2. Increased durability: Jewels are exceptionally hard and have a smooth, low-friction surface, making them an ideal material for watch bearings. They help minimize wear and tear on the delicate metal components, such as the pivots of gears and arbors, that interact with them. This enhances the durability and longevity of the watch’s movement, allowing it to function reliably over an extended period.

3. Lubrication retention: Another advantage of jewels is their ability to retain lubrication. A small amount of high-quality watch oil is applied to the jewels to ensure smooth movement. The oil adheres to the jewel’s surface and forms a thin film that reduces friction. Jewels are used because they have a non-porous and non-magnetic nature, which helps prevent the oil from escaping or being affected by magnetic fields, thus maintaining the watch’s performance.

4. Accuracy and stability: The reduced friction and wear provided by jewel bearings contribute to the accuracy and stability of a mechanical watch. By minimizing variations in movement caused by friction, the watch can maintain more consistent timekeeping. This is particularly important for precision timepieces or watches intended for chronometric certification.

Are More Jewels Better In Automatic/Mechanical Watches?

Automatic Watches

From a functional perspective, having more jewels in a watch is beneficial. A higher number of jewels indicates a more intricate and sophisticated design, which translates to enhanced performance. The intricate workings of a watch generate significant energy, and the jewels play a crucial role in reducing friction.

By incorporating numerous gem-studded bearings, including synthetic options, the movement of gears becomes smoother, and microscopic processes are better lubricated. A watch with a 17-jewel count is traditionally considered to be fully jeweled, as this number of jewels provides effective friction reduction and smooth operation.

However, certain Swiss, French, and German watch brands go beyond this standard and incorporate up to 21 jewels in their timepieces. The additional jewels aim to further reduce positional errors, enhancing the accuracy and precision of the watch across various orientations. By increasing the number of jewels, these brands strive to optimize the watch’s performance and minimize any potential discrepancies that may occur when the watch is positioned differently.


What Are The Jewels In A Watch Made Of?

Jewels found in watches are commonly crafted from corundum, which is predominantly available in the form of synthetic sapphire or synthetic ruby.

What Is The Highest Number Of Jewels In A Watch Movement?

Romain Gauthier - The Logical One contains 63 Jewels and it is the highest number of jewels in a watch.

What Is 17 Jewels Watch Meaning?

A timepiece with 17 jewels is commonly referred to as a fully jeweled watch. This designation indicates that the watch incorporates jewel bearings, typically made of ruby, in the mechanical movement.

What Is 21 Jewels Watch Meaning?

This is similar to 17 jewels watches but it contains some extra jewels which are used to reduce positional errors.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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