Why Do Watches Have Jewels: Everything You Need to Know


Here’s a quote that goes like, “Unlike Diamonds, watches were practical.” That goes to show how essential watches are. In fact, it is the #1 accessory that elevates the style and also is very functional for use. But, why do watches have jewels?

As much as watches are used to have a sense of timing, it’s also used as a styling accessory nowadays. The ratio of people using it for fashion purposes is even higher than the rate of people using watches for having a sense of time.

And that’s why there are materials used in it to make it even more stylish. But it’s not just about the style. Is it? Are jewels used in watches only to increase the price tag? Or is there another reason?

Let’s discuss the topic in greater detail down below so that you have a clear idea of it.

watch mechanics with jewels

Why Do Watches Have Jewels Explained

Jewelry on a watch can serve a lot of purposes rather than just being there as a fashionable accessory. But it’s nothing complicated. For example, they prevent the friction between the surfaces of the metal parts inside the watch.

As you know, when metal is contact with another metal, if there is lack of lubrication, the parts may worn out very quickly. As a result, it might lead the watch to malfunction or even break apart. That’s why the watchmakers use synthetic stones to prevent that from happening.

Back in the days, expensive stones like rubies, emerald, or sapphires were used inside a watch. But that makes the watch jewels value too much to bear for most of the people. The alternative are the above mentioned stones that are relatively cheaper so that it's affordable for most people.

Jewels also protect your timepiece from the friction, which may lead to a slight delay in the watch movement. That can grow over the years and create a pretty big gap between the time. So, generally, it is better to get the timepieces that have jewels inside them.

The friction can also wear out the components of a watch, reducing its lifespan. However, the jewels prevent the friction in the moving pieces of the watch, making it more durable. Speaking of durability, check out our list of the best digital watches for some amazing timepieces. 

Expensive Jewel vs. Synthetic Stones

To be honest, it’s a tricky question to answer. The synthetic stones used inside a watch actually do a pretty good job in that case. So, it’s tough to say that which of these are worse than the valuable materials such as sapphires or rubies.

synthetic stones watch jewels value

Synthetic stones used in watches

watch jewel ruby

Ruby: A precious gemstone used in watches 

The biggest downside of the expensive jewels is that they increase the price tag so much that people can’t afford them. It was the same back then. But at that time, a watch was pretty much an accessory of the rich only.

Expensive materials such as diamonds, rubies are still used in some of the high-end watches. But they usually will cost you over a million dollars. That’s insanely pricey considering the watch jewels value. But if you are someone who wants to go for it, feel free to get a watch with those costly stones.

Caliber Watch Movement

Credit: Commons Wikimedia

Jewels Inside the Watch

Jewels are commonly used inside the watches these days. Watches these days contain different kinds of jewel in the pivot points as well as the gear train. That helps to give a modern, classy look on the watch. Anti-shock mechanism also might have jewels on them.

Some of the watchmaking companies use jewels in the watches where there is no need to use them. But as they are pretty expensive, they will surely increase the price of the watches significantly. 

Not only that, but the excessive use of jewels can also lead to issues in the moving part of the watch. For that, an inexpensive watch is pretty good when it comes to getting the most out of your money and even using it.

You might find that different watches use different amounts of jewels inside. It depends on the complications of the watch movements. For example, the orient star classic AF02001S uses an  in-house built 22-jewel movement. 

Generally, you’ll see more jewels used in the automatic watches. The balance wheel that keeps the watch moving relentlessly performs its best when screwed with a ruby or sapphire. The mechanical wheel of any regular or mechanical watch works better with jewels as well.

That said, jewels are mostly used on the inside to reduce the wearing of the moving parts. That allows your watch to get more longevity and maintain its quality so that you don’t have to take it to a repair shop often.

Mechanical watch showing jewelled movement

Credit: Ron Neumeyer, Canada

Do jewels increase watch accuracy?

People go after watches with high accuracy. It’s a very crucial part of a watch. If it had been used for styling purposes only, it would gradually lose its popularity and usability. So, accuracy is a very important factor when it comes to watches. So, can a jewel increase the accuracy of a watch?

Some of the watches available in the market offer really great accuracy i.g Swiss-made timepieces. You would not have to correct them in months or even years. These types of watches use jewels for accuracy.

The quality and the numbers of jewels used in a watch helps to determine the accuracy of a watch. As you can probably tell by now, one of the most common yet concerning factors in the functioning of a watch is the friction. Whenever the friction increases, it leads to a slight slowdown of the watch mechanism.

Although this small change seems insignificant, over time it can create a difference of a couple of seconds or even a minute. To reduce the friction of time in the watches, many jewels are placed into the critical parts. For example- the mechanical wheel. That increases the accuracy of your watch by a lot.

So, we can come to the conclusion that these jewels are pretty valuable when it comes to maintaining the movement of your watch. 

We already knew that sapphires are used to make watch glasses. And now, we've come to know that they are used as watch jewels as well. So, as a bonus, we decided to include some interesting facts about the precious gemstone that's associated with the world of horology! You can check out some more facts about sapphire if you wish to. 

Interesting Facts About watch jewel sapphire

Interesting facts about Sapphire

Final Thoughts

Now that you have an answer to why do watches have jewels, you can see that the jewels are actually more than just a fashion accessory. In fact, it is quite crucial for a watch to have a good number of high-quality jewels.

Most of the watches come with synthetic stones used as jewels. They are not bad at all as they get the job done pretty well. As for the higher-end jewels, such as diamonds, emeralds, or rubies, are quite expensive to buy. The stones can be an excellent alternative to these costly materials.

Hopefully, this information will help you by giving you the answer to the question that you were seeking. And maybe, you can see the various implementations of these small jewels inside the watch now.