The Three Levels of Watch Obsession: Where Do You Fall?

The Three Levels of Watch Obsession: Where Do You Fall?

How Many Rare and Unusual Watch Terms Do You Know?

Do you think you might know all of these rare and unusual watch terms? Read through to see where you fall on the watch obsession scale!

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When you get into the weeds of any particular subculture, there’s a moment when you start to recognize and use certain terms and jargon that are unique to that community. We’ve put together a handy guide to watch terms that you can use to assess your current level of watch obsession. Are you at Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3? If you can use all of the following words and acronyms with ease, you may be more into watches than you realize…   

Level 1: Basic Watch Terms 

The first level of horological awareness usually begins with understanding each of the components of a watch. This is our abbreviated list of the most common terms a watch newbie needs to know: 


Understanding the movement of a mechanical watch is usually what kickstarts an interest in collecting. At Level 1, you’re starting to understand the basics of how a movement works. Don’t worry, at this level you haven’t bought any watches with display casebacks...yet. 


While you might not know how to track 3 time zones with a GMT, you understand bezel basics, prefer either Pepsi or Batman, and have an opinion about Cerachrom on tool watches. 


You know enough about watches to know that Rolex calls its Oysterflex strap a bracelet because it’s molded elastomer over a flexible metal core. You may not have removed a spring bar yet, but you’re definitely thinking about it, since you recently ordered Everest Bands straps in 4 different colors. 


You’ve recently learned not to call the dial the face. That’s all you know at this point, but that’s all you really need to know right now. 


You’ve researched how Rolex manufactures their sapphire crystal, and you get the appeal of Hesalite, too. 


No matter which way you prefer to spell it, you are starting to understand the differences between movement types, movement manufacturers, and generations of specific movements. Well done! 

Level 2: The Obsession Begins 

At this level, you may find yourself browsing on Chrono24 “just for fun” fairly regularly. You read Hodinkee and the Everest Journal pretty much daily, and the random UPS packages that end up on your doorstep are almost always the same shape and weight. Anyone friend or family member who is considering purchasing a watch automatically checks with you first. You spread the Gospel of Balance Springs and warn against the Temptation of Quartz. 

cosc certified logo

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Chronograph vs. Chronometer 

One is for timing regattas and one is an official movement certification. At Level 2, you’ll never confuse the two phrases. 


You may not know how it’s pronounced, but you know exactly what it looks like, and you love it. 

grail watch collection

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Your grail watch refers to the watch you’d sell half of your current collection to own. Yours changes monthly, but you retain the same level of intensity no matter which watch you’re currently coveting. 

Gray Market 

You’ve heard tell of shady corners of the internet where unauthorized dealers sell new releases, but you haven’t yet purchased a gray market watch. Maybe for the right grail...


To be honest, even at Level 1 you’re still a little confused by what a tourbillon is and why someone might want one. You know it involves the escapement and negating the effects of gravity on a movement. But even a little confusion on the actual mechanics doesn't prevent you from wanting one. 

Level 3: Collecting Takes Over 

At this point in your obsession, you often wake up to the ping of alerts you’ve set on Watch Recon. But of course you can’t just look at them in the morning. Instead you scroll through high-res pictures of possible new acquisitions at 3 a.m., trying to turn your duvet into a cave-like structure so you don’t disturb anyone with the light from your phone. Your conversation has devolved into a slurry of acronyms that is difficult for anyone outside of horology to decipher. “I’m looking for a LNIB or MIB COSC DSSD FSOT with an intact HEV and records from RSC for any work done” is a sentence that reads as fluidly to you as “Jack and Jill went up the hill.” If you’ve memorized at least 6 reference numbers, congratulations. You’re now officially a WIS. 

Minute Repeater 

You’re not embarrassed that you can tell the difference between minute repeater chimes just by listening to an audio sample. 


Removing spring bars from SELs is second nature to you now, and you hardly ever gouge your finger these days. 

Perpetual Calendar 

You have one, you want one, or you hate them. Whichever way you lean, on Level 3 you have some Very Strong Opinions. 

rolex text on the rehaut

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You know where a rehaut is located, how to differentiate it from a chapter ring, and have specific preferences about if it should be engraved, etched, or left untouched. 


Not everyone can locate the LEC, but you’ve checked for it on every single Rolex you own that was manufactured past 2007. You’re an expert at angling your iPhone’s flashlight just so to see the faint outline. That tiny signature of authenticity still gives you a little thrill every time. 


You definitely own at least one, and you spend just a little too much time looking through it at your extensive collection, which now requires several watch portfolios to display. 

Everest Straps are Made By Watch Enthusiasts For Watch Enthusiasts 

We hope you’ve correctly located your current level of watch culture immersion, and maybe you’ve even learned a few things on the way. Embrace your favorite hobby by proudly displaying your Everest Bands rubber straps, designed by collectors who are just as obsessed as you are. Our five-star rated rubber straps for luxury watches have earned the respect and acclaim of serious collectors. Your Rolex deserves to be paired with a strap that respects the long history of Swiss watchmaking. 

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By Meghan Clark

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