August 16, 2022

Please take a look at our eye-opening overview of mechanical watches. We will explain why watches have jewels and how watchmakers use them in their centuries-old craft.

Have you ever wondered, “What are the jewels on a watch?” “

Spring-wound watches don’t need a battery because they use spring-wound movement. What are watch jewels? And what does a watch’s jewel do? Many gears can move or rotate, just like any mechanical device. Watches also use bearings. These bearings can be found in higher-end watches, such as hand-wound and automatic. These precious stones have a smooth surface that doesn’t cause friction and are used to facilitate the movement of precious metal gears and metal gears.

Yes, there are precious gems within the movement of your watch. Usually quite a few!

Watchmakers used to use natural rubies in their creations. However, more recent developments have seen the adoption of lab-created rubies or sapphires. These jewels support various parts of the watch, including those that make contact with the outside and could wear easily, like the escape lever or the impulse jewel.

 

What number of jewels should a watch contain?

The majority of jeweled watches are made with around 17 jewels. 

These jewels can be used in multiple areas:

Balance Wheel

The assembly where the escapement level hits the assembly contains one impulse jewel.

Staff Pivot

On staff pivots, two pairs of jewels are used: a hole jewel and one cap jewel x 2.

Center Wheel

The pivot bearing of the center wheel is made up of two jewels, a hole jewel and a cap jewel.

Escape Lever Pallet

The escape lever pallet uses two pallet jewels.

Escape Lever

The escape lever uses two jewels, a hole jewel and a cap jewel, to pivot the bearing.

Fourth Wheel

The 4th wheel uses two jewels, a hole jewel and a cap jewel, to pivot the bearing.

Third Wheel

The 3rd wheel has a pivot bearing that uses two jewels, a hole jewel and a cap jewel.

Escape Wheel

The escape wheel uses two jewels, a hole jewel and a cap jewel, to pivot the bearing.

What do 17 jewels mean?

A watch that has 17 jewels is called a fully jeweled watch. It uses jewel bearings (usually ruby) in the mechanical movement, starting at the balance wheel and ending at the pivot.

What do 21 jewels in a watch mean?

A 17-jewel watch with a fully jeweled movement. However, it also has a few additional capstones that reduce positioning errors. These extra stones are usually found in watches of higher quality.

Is it better to have more jewels in your watch?

Ask yourself, “Why are jewels in watches?”. They reduce friction between watch components and prevent them from being worn out. A standard mechanical jewel watch uses around 17 stones. However, some watches may use 21 jewels to reduce positional errors.

Watches with high complications, such as a perpetual clock watch, a chronograph (a watch with a stopwatch function) or a tourbillon watch, will need more components and therefore require more bearings. Ultra-thin watches will also have a greater number of jewels. The number of jewels does not determine the watch’s quality. This can indicate how complex or thin the watch is mechanical.

While it may seem difficult to find the highest number of jewels in a watch, super-complicated watches often have excessive jewels. Our article on the World’s most complex watch, which contained 242 jewels, is worth a look. The watch’s movement will have more complications than you might expect. This is because more bearings are required to reduce friction between the various components.

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