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What are Watch Jewels?

Why are there Jewels in a Pocket Watch?

Mechanical pocket watches have many moving parts. These parts can create friction as the parts move against one another. In order to prevent metal on metal friction, which would cause premature wear and failure, watch makers use jewels. These jewels provide a smooth hard surface that reduces friction and gives the watch years of operation.

The jewels used in the manufacture of pocket watches are usually made of a synthetic ruby but can also be made from sapphire or diamond. As stated previously, jewels are made very smooth or slick. This slick surface reduces friction and because jewels are very hard they do not wear out quickly.

The jewels are placed throughout the watch at various friction points. Often you will hear the term 17 jewels as referencing a pocket watch. This means that 17 jewels are used in the watch assembly. These jewels are placed at the most important friction points. This is also known as a fully jeweled watch and is considered a quality watch.


A watch with 21 jewels will have additional capstone jewels. These jewels further reduce friction and can improve the overall quality and accuracy of the pocket watch. When selecting a pocket watch you should look at several   factors. Considering pocket watch type, warranty, your budget and personal taste will help you find a watch that will be a pleasure to own. The jewel count is only one of many factors to consider. As a general rule the greater the jewel count the higher the quality of the pocket watch.

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