Have you ever wondered, what is the 21 jewels in my automatic watch means?
Well, heres your answer..
The jewel movement involves the use of jewels within the mens watches to act as bearings at the wheel train as well as around the escapement lever. These are areas within a watch component where wear and tear is the most prominent.
Tiny synthetic gem crystals are set between many of the gears, in order to reduce friction. These gems resist temperature better than metal, and hold lubricant much longer.
Firstly they are extremely hard (it can be as hard as diamonds) to withstand high frequency of abrasion and wearing. Secondly, its smooth surface is perfect for the various steel components in the watch to operate on with much reduced friction.
With the high load and high speed motions within watches, the two advantages of ruby clearly outweigh any possibility of using steel bushings.
There are many categories of jewel movement, for example, 17 jewels, 21 jewels, or 25 jewels. The actual meaning of these numbers is just a representation on the number of rubies used within the mens watches.
Qns: Does it mean that having a 21 jewel movement would equate to better quality than a 17 jewel movement?
Ans: Well, not really. The higher numbers reflects more jewels used for the parts to prevent more specific wearing. Or watches with more moving mechanical components would require additional rubies to be fitted in to reduce friction in these areas.In short, a cheap or poorly constructed 25 jewel movement can be less accurate and shorter-lived than a well crafted 21 jewel movement.
More jewels indicate a more complicated movement, which is why many watch enthusiasts are wiling to pay over the odds for them. Also, the more jewels used, the less wear there is on the watch parts.
But it does not necessarily mean better quality watch is being produced. Some watch enthusiasts would not be able to appreciate ridiculously high number jewels if the mechanisms of these mens watches do not require it.
In fact, these rubies are worth about $0.02 each. There is hardly any nominal value attached. Importantly, it is how the rubies are used based on the watch design and components to bring out its best in performance and reliability.