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September 1999

Timepieces Data & Statistics

Selling Terms, Part V

Our series on timepiece definitions continues as a teaching tool for new sales associates and a review for longtimers

In this monthly series of timepiece facts, begun in May, we define basic watch terminology from A to Z. It's our reminder that product knowledge is a key ingredient to successful watch sales. All terms can be found in The Complete Guide to Watch Distribution and Service, available from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Rochelle Park, NJ; (201) 291-8811,

Stopwatch: A timer integrated into a watch.

Subdial: A small dial on the watch face that displays specific information such as time in a different time zone or the leap year cycle on a perpetual calendar.

Sweep Second Hand: A second hand mounted on the center of the dial. Also called the center second hand.

Tachometer/Tachymeter: Measures the speed at which the wearer has traveled over a measured distance.

Telemeter: Combination chronograph and scale in kilometers or miles used to determine distance through sound. For example, to measure the distance where a lightning bolt struck, the chronograph hand is started when the bolt is seen and stopped when the thunder is heard. If the thunder is heard 10 seconds after the lightning is seen, the number in front of the chronograph hand will indicate about two miles or a little more than three kilometers.

Tourbillon: The tourbillon corrects errors in timekeeping due to the effect of gravity on a watch in vertical positions. In a regular escapement/balance mechanism, the center of gravity shifts, depending on the position of the watch in space (horizontal, vertical), thus affecting its rate. With the tourbillon, the whole carriage rotates once per minute so the center of gravity is situated alternatively a little high for half the time and a little low for the other half. These errors cancel each other.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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