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Got Time? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Watch Complications

Written by Anna Currell
March 8, 2024

Watches can do so much more than tell time. Not only are they a fashion statement and a work of art, but they can also give you tons more information than what time it is; in the jewelry business, we call those additional functions complications. When you’re getting a new watch, it can help you to know about how many different watch complications options you have so you can make the best choice. In this article we’ll lay out all the possible watch complications you can consider for your next watch purchase. 

Date

One of the most popular watch complications is a date counter, which simply shows the date in a tiny window on the watch face. This helps the wearer check the date at a quick glance without having to check their phone or calendar. It's a very convenient and useful complication for people who like to stay organized and on top of their schedule, or for professionals who wear a watch every day. To get even more granular, another possible date complication is the day of the week. A calendar complication takes it a step further by showing the day, date, and month, all visible on the face. High end watches can get even more detailed, displaying the year and phases of the moon. 

Chronograph

A chronograph is essentially a stopwatch function built into a standard watch. A chronograph looks like a tinier, simpler clock within the watch face, and you can use it to time events down to the second using a start and stop button. Chronographs are useful for timing your morning run or exercise routine. They allow you to easily time events on the go when you don't have access to a separate stopwatch.

Heart Rate Monitor 

A heart rate monitor is a specialized type of chronograph that allows you to measure your heart rate. You can use this by placing your finger on your neck or your wrist to find your heart beat, and then looking at your watch — by starting the pulsometer when your heart beats, and stopping it after counting 30 pulses, you can calculate your beats per minute. This is a good way to measure your cardiovascular health.

Dual Time and World Clock

For frequent travelers or people who do business across time zones, a dual time complication is extremely useful. These watches have extra hour and minute hands that can be set to a different time zone. This allows you to track two time zones on one watch. You'll always know both the local and home time as you jet around the globe; track the time zone you’re in and the time zone of wherever you call home while you’re on the road. Or know at a glance what time it is where your family, friends, or coworkers are. 

Taking dual time even further, a world clock complication lets you track several time zones at once. By using subdials or a rotating bezel marked with major cities, you can quickly see the time anywhere in the world. Frequent jet setters will love this complication.

Power Reserve Indicator 

A power reserve indicator shows how much longer your watch will run before needing to be wound again or recharged. Much like a gas gauge in a car, it tracks how much energy is stored in the watch so you know when it needs fuel. This complication is mostly found in mechanical watches so you know when your watch needs to be wound.

Alarm

A watch alarm is great for timing work breaks, setting a reminder for yourself, or waking up in the morning. This is especially useful when you’re trying to keep your phone away from your bed to stop scrolling before you fall asleep, so you don’t have to rely on your phone’s alarm clock. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you go to the movies or the theater!

There you have it! These are the main watch complications you’ll come across. When choosing your next timepiece, think about which complications would actually be useful for your lifestyle. There's no need to pay for complications you won't use. Focus on the ones that would enhance your daily life (and keep you on time, too). Sign up for our newsletter below for more information on jewelry and watches delivered straight to your inbox.

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