C Chen As a watch writer, I often hear people mention the number of Jewels in a watch movement. To be honest, in my reading and writing, I usually ignore this fact and don’t pay much attention to it.Among other details like materials, case size, complications and performance specifications, the number of Jewels always seems a bit insignificant – a minor detail in the grand scheme of things.
Why jewels are so important for mechanisms. We often read about them in the product descriptions of luxury watches, but rarely do they mention their function. If I want to know these things, I’m sure some of you want to know them too. So here I will explain what I know about the jewels in a watch movement and why you should care about them.
What Are Jewels?
When it comes to jewelry in watches, C Chen really means ruby here. The hardness of rubies is second only to diamonds, making them the perfect friction-resistant watch component. In watchmaking, reducing friction is essential to keeping a watch running accurately. For this reason, watchmakers have moved away from metal-to-metal contact at high-friction points of the movement (such as the wheel train and escapement lever) and have turned to jewels.
Contrary to popular belief, the rubies used in watch movements have no real intrinsic value. Given the extreme scarcity of natural rubies, the rubies used in your watch are synthetic. In addition, these rubies are so small – sometimes as small as 0.5mm (0.02″) wide – and are cut and filed into a variety of specific shapes that they really don’t have any significant monetary value. However, when it comes to keeping your mechanism running smoothly, they are perfectly useful.
The Ruby in a Watch Actually Indicates Quality
The number of stones in a watch is usually a direct indicator of the complexity of the mechanism. A typical mechanical watch will use 17 stones. The vast majority of these are used as cap or pivot stones; however, the balance wheel uses an impulse stone and two pallets are used as teeth for the pallets’ forks.
However, watches with additional functions or complications, such as chronographs or moon phases, may use twice as many rubies, possibly even more. This is simply because there will be more contact points that need to be kept to a minimum in order to maintain friction. To give you an idea of what we mean, a modern chronograph like the Rolex Daytona has 44 jewels; however, there are also giants like the IWC Destriero Scafusia, which has a flying minute tourbillon and 76.
Conclusion: Jewels Make Your Watch Keep Time Better
Here, C Chen will answer your questions about more specialized watch expertise. While jewels do make your watch run better, they don’t necessarily make your watch more valuable. The number of rubies in a watch is an indicator of complications. In addition, a large number of jewels in a simple movement can be an indicator of precision or quality, as manufacturers choose to add additional rubies to maximize its performance. However, rubies themselves do not make your watch more expensive than others just because you have them. Therefore, the next time you read the product description and look at the number of stones listed in the movement, you will know exactly what they are there for.