5 Reasons Why Jewels are Used in Watches

Fayyadh Sep 29, 2023
10 People Read
Image of jewels in watch movement

Why are there little gems in watches? The goal is to improve these timekeeping wonders' inner workings rather than add shine. In this article, we'll explore the five main factors artificial diamonds choose watch movements as their home.

These diamonds have a lengthy history spanning several centuries and have developed to be essential components in watchmaking. But what precisely are they, and how do they affect how your watch works? We'll talk about what they do, how their quantity influences a watch's quality, and why 17 and 21 are important numbers in the watch industry.

So, if you've ever wondered why watchmakers use these understated gems, keep reading to learn the fascinating secrets behind their inclusion in every tick and tock of a watch.

What Are Jewels in Watches?

Small, expertly cut gems made of plastic sapphires or rubies are jewels in timepieces. They are thoughtfully positioned within the watch movement to lessen wear and friction.

Imagine a tiny, complicated universe with many moving elements inside a watch. When you rub your hands together, friction can be produced as these pieces move near one another. This friction over time may deteriorate the watch and reduce its precision and dependability.

But here's where these little jewels come into play. They are carefully placed at specific points inside the watch where parts touch each other frequently. These jewels act as friction-reducers, like a lubricant for your car's engine, making all the moving parts work together more smoothly.

So, while these watch jewels might not have the glitz and glamour of traditional gemstones, they're essential for keeping the watch's insides running smoothly. They ensure that your watch keeps accurate time, which we can all appreciate.

But this is where these tiny gems are useful. They are specifically positioned inside the watch at locations where parts commonly come into contact with one another. The lubricant-like function of these jewels reduces friction, improving the efficiency of all the moving parts of your car's engine.

Therefore, even though these watch jewels may lack the sparkle and glamour of traditional diamonds, they are necessary to keep the watch's internal mechanisms functioning properly. We can all appreciate that they guarantee that your watch stays precise time.

History of Jewels in Watches

The use of jewels in timepieces dates back to the early 1700s. The Debaufre brothers, Peter and Jacob, and Swiss inventor Nicolas Fatio de Duilier were among the early adopters of jewel bearings in timepieces. A timepiece's price and rarity first increased since these jewels comprised natural gemstones like diamonds, rubies, or sapphires.

Watchmakers switched from friction-fitting gems into the main plates and bridges in the 1930s, making them simpler to swap out when necessary. Most sapphires and rubies used by contemporary watchmakers are synthetic, lowering prices without sacrificing accuracy.

Understanding Jewel Count

The "jewel count" refers to the jewels in a watch movement. This count varies from brand to brand and model to model, which is crucial to the watch's performance. The standard for completely jeweled watches is 17 jewels. However, some high-end models weigh 21 jewels for increased precision.

In the movement, jewels are inserted at key turning points. These pivot bearings are examples of wheels, calendar mechanisms, pallet stones, and other parts. They aim to reduce friction between moving parts because excessive friction might result in wear and impaired precision.

Do More Jewels Mean a Better Watch?

Discussing whether more gems make a watch better is similar to discussing whether more components inevitably make a cuisine more delicious. Well, maybe only sometimes. While having more jewels in a watch frequently denotes higher quality and accuracy, it's only one factor to consider.

Similar to this, additional elements, including the materials used, the design of the watch's internal components, and the brand's reputation, all affect how high-quality a watch is. So, while having more jewels is fantastic, there needs to be a more complete picture.

Why Do Watches Have 17 Jewels?

Consider a 17-jewel watch to be a healthy lunch. It achieves a fair mix of accuracy and affordability. These watches are regarded as fully jeweled and are dependable and long-lasting, much like the trusted family car. Because they provide an excellent balance of accuracy and price, these watches are frequently preferred. They resemble the unsung heroes of the watch industry.

What Does 21 Jewels Mean in a Watch?

Imagine a 21-jewel watch as a fine lunch when you see one. It's important to enjoy every bite rather than merely stuffing your tummy. A timepiece with 21 jewels is made with more skill and accuracy. These watches are loaded with extra features and complexity, similar to the high-end sports cars of the watch industry.

Are the Jewels in a Watch Worth Anything?

Think of these gems as the machine's nuts and bolts. They don't have the same value as sparkling jewels worn as jewelry. These jewels are artificial; thus, they are not genuine stones like rubies or diamonds. But don't be deceived by it. They might not have the flash and glamour, but when it comes to making a watch function properly, they're priceless.

5 Reasons Why Jewels are Used in Watches

Here are five key reasons why jewels are used in watches:

Friction Reduction:

To lessen friction, jewels, frequently made of synthetic sapphires or rubies, are positioned carefully within a watch's movement. The minute parts of a watch can produce heat as they move by rubbing against one another. These parts glide well over jewels' smooth, low-friction surfaces, reducing friction and limiting wear and tear. The accuracy and lifespan of the watch are contingent on reducing friction.

Improved Durability:

Due to their constant motion, watches experience significant wear and tear. The watch's internal parts stay in good condition since the jewels are incredibly strong and wear-resistant. This durability is especially crucial for watches that are supposed to endure a lifetime or perhaps generations.

Enhanced Accuracy:

The watch movement's accuracy results from the jewels' exact positioning. The watch can keep time more accurate by minimizing friction and guaranteeing smooth movement. This is especially important for people who depend on their watches for accurate timekeeping, such as professionals, athletes, or collectors.

Efficient Power Usage:

Without jewels, a watch's moving elements would produce more friction and require more energy from the mainspring. The watch's power reserve and overall longevity are increased thanks to jewel maintenance. Thanks to this effective power consumption, the watch will continue to work even when it is not worn frequently.

Craftsmanship and Quality:

The quantity of gems in a watch can frequently be used to determine its level of craftsmanship and quality. Higher jewel counts on watches often signify better craftsmanship, accuracy, and attention to detail. This is crucial for watch enthusiasts who value the creativity and engineering that go into making a premium wristwatch.


Jewels in watch movements have purposes beyond simple decoration. These modest manufactured sapphires or rubies are essential parts that greatly improve the functioning, durability, and accuracy of watches. They ensure that the complex internal mechanisms of a watch can function smoothly, which helps to increase its accuracy by decreasing friction.

The strength of these jewels also protects the watch from deterioration, enabling it to stand the test of time.

The watch's energy consumption is optimized by efficient power use, which leads to greater power reserves and longer watch lifespans. Finally, the quantity of gems is sometimes used as a gauge for the craftsmanship and quality of a watch, showing rigorous engineering and attention to detail.

If you find this article helpful, you might want to check out my other posts :

>> Movement Types in Watches

>> Methods for Selecting Appropriate Watch Sizes

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