watch crown types
Steinhart Nav B - Monopusher 42 Blue

Watch Crown Types: A Distinct Key for Different Purposes

Fulfill the need of wearing a watch at its best

Date Published
June 29, 2022
Gnomon Watches
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There are many parts of a wristwatch, either the ones that function as the basic elements or the complimentary ones. Among these varieties, a watch crown is one of the main parts of a wristwatch. Introduced in several watch crown types, this element also has multiple functions depending on how the manufacturer designed it.

In terms of the design, a watch crown might not be everyone’s priority. Yet, it remains crucial to know the watch crown types. One type might not suit your preference and thus, you need to find the one that matches your comfortability while operating or wearing it.

Sounds confusing? Don’t worry! In this article, I’m going to talk in detail about what a watch crown is, watch crown types, and how each type functions. Do read the article until the end.

What is A Watch Crown?

The name “crown” in a watch might sound plausible for some people as it signifies something honorable and prestige. The same thing also goes for a watch crown that plays a crucial role in a timepiece, especially in making the overall functions of the watch go well. So, what is a watch crown?

The term itself is actually derived from its shape which somehow looks like a crown, the one used by a king or queen. In a mechanical timepiece, a watch crown is used to wind the watch and thus make the hands sweep. But it evolves to come with more diverse functions considering the advancement of features offered in a timepiece.

While a watch crown still functions to set the watch, it is also used to set other features, such as the day-date and moon phase feature. Therefore, you might find a timepiece with more than just one crown. They are placed in different positions so that the wearer can perform different functions.

Basically, most watch crowns will be put at the 3 o’clock position but in other cases, you can also spot it at the 9 o’clock or even the 4 o’clock position. Every watch brand has specific considerations to decide where to place the crown, such as when they create a left-hand timepiece.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that there are several watch crown types in order to perform different functions. Most watch crown designs would have a screw-down crown, recessed crown, and the regular one (push-pull crown).

I personally ever wondered if a timepiece can work without a watch crown. So, is that possible? The best answer I’ve got is that it depends. Talking about the movement itself, it doesn’t need the crown to perform its tasks. Yet, for the manual winding of timepieces, it needs the crown to generate energy. 

The movement will run out of energy and thus, it needs help from the crown as a tool to initiate another power reserve. However, this might be different for self-winding timepieces as they can generate energy automatically from hand movement.  

Yet, you definitely need a watch crown to set another function in the watch. Otherwise, you cannot use it at all. Now, you know the answer to how important a watch crown is.

Read also: How Long Do Automatic Watches Last? A Brief and How to Care

Functions of A Watch Crown

I’ve previously mentioned that there are some watch crown types considering the different functions that a watch has. Below are the most common functions from just a simple time setting to additional features like the hacking function.

Time Setting

Setting the time is the most basic function of a watch crown. It is used to set the correct time by pulling out the crown and moving the hands into the right time position. 

Hacking Function

A function to hack the time is like another level of just setting the time. It is done by pulling the crown out to its very last position and that will stop and hack the movement. This is a favorable function as the wearer can set the time down to the second once the crown is put in again. However, not all analog watches are equipped with a hacking function. 

Day-Date Setting

A timepiece with a day-date setting definitely needs a watch crown. The wearer needs to set the crown in the correct position so that you can adjust the day and date to the correct one.

Watch Winding 

Last but not least, winding the watch is another common function of a watch crown. Winding the crown means generating power for the movement to keep working. This function is definitely a must for manual winding timepieces.

Winding the crown is done by giving turns to the crown until you feel resistance. That way, the mainspring would be able to store energy and thus, make the watch sweep. Mostly, the crown is set in the first position to do this function and rotates in a clockwise position.

Read also: A Simple and Practical Guide on How to Wind a Watch

Watch Crown Types

Watch crown types are mostly divided into three as mentioned below:

Screw-Down Crown

Screw-down is one of the watch crown types that can be easily found in dive watches. As the name implies, this is a crown that can be screwed down into the case that works like a bolt and a nut. 

As it works that way, the crown also functions to prevent water or other damaging particles from entering the movement and crown tube. It also protects the case from dust.

Steinhart Nav B - Monopusher 42 Blue - Ltd Ed 100pcs
Steinhart Nav B – Monopusher 42 Blue – Ltd Ed 100pcs

That is why a screw-down watch crown is common for diving timepieces. But, you can also find this watch crown type in other watch types that pay much attention to water resistance.

Read also: Screw Down Crown Watch: What It Is and How It Works

Recessed Crown

Next on the list of watch crown types is the recessed crown that naturally is placed into the movement. This design creates some advantages in terms of comfortability, design, and safety. As the crown recessed into the movement, it doesn’t protrude much beside the case.

That way, it gives much comfort to the wearer. Also, thanks to this design, the crown doesn’t get in the way of the overall watch appearance. It creates a seamless look to the watch.

In addition to that, a recessed crown also gives protection to the crown itself. As the crown sits inside the case, it works as a crown guard without having a big thing extending from the case.

Regular (Push-Pull Crown)

The last common watch crown type on the list is the regular one which is a push and pull crown. It works exactly as how it is called. It works by pulling and pushing the crown to operate the movement without any exceptional thing about it. When done, the wearer can pull the crown to operate the watch and put it back into position.

This will end the article about watch crown types that includes a screw-down crown, recessed crown, and push-pull crown. Along with the different types of watch crowns, this element is also introduced with different functions depending on the feature provided in the watch.

With that being said, a watch crown is not merely just to adjust the watch but also a key to driving the overall features of the watch. It also protects what is inside the watch from outside damage. 

In addition to that, different watch crown types also have different designs as they might function distinctively. As an example, most pilot watches will come in oversized crowns to help pilots operate the crown while wearing gloves. Or in another case, most crowns in military watches would have a crown guard to protect them from bumps and shocks. 

With all of these in mind, it can be said that some crowns might be more functional than others. Therefore, a watch crown comes in different types and designs as well.

Are you interested in reading more articles about the watchmaking industry and anything related to the field? Visit our blog for another great insight.

You might also like: Through the Looking Glass: The Different Types of Dials Out There

Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.

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