A Beginner’s Guide to the Different Watch Complications

A Beginner’s Guide to the Different Watch Complications

These days, most people find themselves reaching into their pockets or bags to bring out their smartphones and know the time. Although smartphones do have numerous functions aside from telling time down to the thousandth of a second, they shouldn’t stop you from owning a watch. Believe it or not, there are plenty of benefits to reap from buying a watch – from making great heirlooms to being convenient time-telling devices and many more. 

And one more thing you will love is the exciting shopping journey you will go through. From browsing through different physical and online stores to conducting online research to gain ample knowledge on Diesel Mega Chief or Tag Heuer timepieces, these will benefit you if you’re thinking of building your collection. Aside from brands and models, one more important thing to learn is the various complications present in these timepieces. 

What Is a Watch Complication? 

Upon hearing the term “complication,” it’s understandable to be alarmed and feel uneasy. After all, it has a negative connotation in the world of medicine. However, it’s the complete opposite in watchmaking. A watch complication means any function that does more than just telling the wearer the time – from the hour down to the minute and seconds. It means that the more complication the timepiece has, the more complex and sophisticated it is compared to other wristwatch products. From simple to more intricate to high complications, you will see numerous products bearing different complications that may or may not be useful to you. 

But before that, it’s essential to know that aside from the brand, complications can also affect the price of these products. Therefore, it’s a must to know what various complications are standard or sought after in timepieces today. 

What Are the Different Complications You’ll See in Watches Today? 

In addition to knowing what brands and models are available today, it proves beneficial to beginners to learn the different watch complications too. 

  1. Calendars

Calendars appear on different levels with the simplest being the day of the week and the month showing. Two small apertures opposite one another will display the month and the day of the week, which the wearer needs to set at the end of each month. This is because each month has a different length with February being the shortest. 

Aside from the simple calendar, there are also timepieces with annual or perpetual calendars. Annual calendars do not need to be adjusted monthly as they automatically adjust themselves. However, it must be manually adjusted once a year – every March 1st. On the other hand, you don’t need to manually set perpetual calendars until 2100 due to the leap years.

  1. Chronographs

To put it simply, the chronograph is a stopwatch. It allowed wearers to measure time intervals. With the use of the hand or subdial on the watch’s face, it can record the minutes and seconds elapsed. Today, there are three different chronograph types you’ll see in timepieces. The simple chronograph involves using the pusher (monopusher) or pushers found on the side to start, stop, and reset to begin timing the event like a stopwatch does. 

A flyback chronograph works by returning to zero automatically without the wearer having to push the button again. The last type is the Rattrapante, considered to be the most sophisticated, which can time numerous events starting at the same time but ending differently. This is due to the additional second hand on top of the first. 

  1. Moon Phase

Many watch enthusiasts desire this complication in their watches because of their beauty and technical prowess. It serves to help people who need to keep track of the moon’s current phase in the lunar cycle. It will tell the wearer in one glance whether the moon is full, new, half, or quarter. 

One essential thing to know is that the moon phase will be off by 0.3 days per month because the true cycle lasts for 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds. It will throw off the entire cycle by one day every two years and seven-and-a-half months. Wearers can solve it by manually adjusting the complication every two years or so. 

  1. World-Timer or Time Zone

This complication is proven to be beneficial to people working in the military and aviation industry, avid travelers, and people working remotely. Allowing wearers to view the time in two or more time zones from the world’s major cities. Aside from the dual time zone, some watches offer the world-timer complication wherein a rotating disc displays the 24 cities and each time zone will be represented on the watch’s face.  


Hopefully, this article helped you acquire useful knowledge on some of today’s sought-after watchmaking complications. There are plenty more complications that you will find aside from what’s mentioned here. Happy shopping to you!

David John