What Are Jewels in a Watch?

By Nic King •  Updated: 07/12/22 •  5 min read

When you hear people talking about jewels in a watch, you may assume they are talking about the diamonds, emeralds, or rubies on the face or dial. However, this isn’t the case. jewels in mechanical wrist watches have to deal with watch movements.

What We’ll Cover

What are jewels in a watch?

Jewels in regards to mechanical watches are referring to the movement itself. Within the movement, there are extremely tiny rubies and sapphires. When they were first implemented, precious stones were used. However, most modern watches use synthetic rubies or sapphires. Not only is this cheaper it is more sustainable.

Jewels in a mechanical watch

Why do watches have jewels?

The reason that mechanical watches have jewels is because they are mechanical. Now, it is worth a mention that battery-powered quartz watches often due have a few jewels. This is usually much less than the 30+ many mechanical watches have.

Before we can talk about exactly what a jewel does, we need to set the background of what parts make up a mechanical watch. All watch movements are made up of springs. levers, and gears. These different parts create a lot of pivot points that are constantly rotating.

If these metal pivots were rotating on metal, it would wear away the metal causing all kinds of issues for the watch such as metal flakes getting stuck in the movement and gears getting off due to being able to move more freely as things degrade.

However, with the addition of jewels, like ruby and sapphire, the moving parts don’t wear away from the pivots spinning in the movement. This means that, if well lubricated, there are no worries of degradation creating a longer lifespan and service interval for the watch.

You can also think of the jewels in a watch as a form of bearing as they take the friction created by the gears spinning and levers moving within the watch. For this reason, many people refer to jewels as jewel bearings.

What are the jewels in a watch made of?

Jewels in a wristwatch are made of either a ruby or an emerald in most cases. Back when these stones first started being used in watch movements, these were real concerns. However, modern watches use synthetic stones for a few reasons.

The first is that synthetic stones are easier to reliably acquire as well as more ethical to use. The second reason is that synthetic stones allow more quality control. Micro-cracks used to cause issues with some real stones. This can be eliminated with synthetic ones.

Omega 2640 Tourbillon 50 Jewel Movement

How Many Jewels Are in a Watch?

The amount of jewels a watch has is going to vary depending on the watch’s manufacturer and movement. Basic mechanical watches can have 15 to 20 jewels. However, high-end movements can have upwards of 50. For this reason, it is important to look at each watch and movement individually. There is no golden rule for the number of jewels a watch should have.

How Many Jewels Does a Rolex Have?

While Rolex hasn’t always made its movements in-house, Rolex has started creating all of its own movements in the last decade. With that being said, each Rolex model will have a different number of jewels depending on the movement.

Below, we will list the movements, the watches that use them, and how many jewels each movement has. It is also worth noting some Rolex watches may use a different movement depending on when they were made. This may cause some watches to be listed for multiple movements. We also won’t be covering ever Rolex caliber every produced. You can find a full list here.

Rolex Caliber 3135

Watches that use Caliber 3135: Submariner, Sea-Dweller, Oyster Perpetual Date, Datejust
Jewels: 31

Rolex Caliber 3285

Watches that use Caliber 3285: GMT-Master II, Explorer II
Jewels: 31

Rolex Caliber 4130

Watches that use Caliber 4130: Daytona
Jewels: 44

Rolex Caliber 3230

Watches that use Caliber 3230: Oyster Perpetual, Explorer
Jewels: 31

Rolex Caliber 3235

Watches that use Caliber 3235: Datejust, Sea-Dweller, Yacht-Master, Submariner
Jewels: 31

Rolex Caliber 2236

Watch that use Caliber 2236: Lady-Datejust, Datejust, Yacht-Master
Jewels: 31

How Many Jewels Does an Omega Have?

Another super popular watch brand is Omega. At the time of writing, Omega uses movements that are completely made in-house. However, much like Rolex, Omega does reuse movements in a bunch of different watches. This means that some watches may be listed twice, and many watches use the same movement. Additionally, we are just covering modern Omega calibers. Find the full list on WatchBase.

Omega Caliber 8800

Watches that use Caliber 8800: Seamaster Diver 300m, Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M, Constellation, Railmaster
Jewels: 35

Omega Caliber 3861

Watches that use Caliber 3861: Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
Jewels: 26

Omega Caliber 3330

Watches that use Caliber 3330: Speedmaster Racing, Speedmaster Mark II, Seamaster Diver 300M Speedmaster Co-Axial
Jewels: 31

Omega Caliber 1869

Watches that use Caliber 1869: Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side of The Moon
Jewels: 19

Omega Caliber 8900

Watches that use Caliber 8900: Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M, De Ville Hour Vision, Globemaster, Seamaster 300, Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, Constellation
Jewels: 39

Omega Caliber 9900

Watches that use Caliber 9900: Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m, Speedmaster Moonwatch, Speedmaster Racing, Seamaster Diver 300m
Jewels: 54

Omega Caliber 2627

Watches that use Caliber 2627: De Ville Prestige
Jewels: 29

Omega Caliber 8520

Watches that use Caliber 8520: De Ville Ladymatic, Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M, Constellation, Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M
Jewels: 28

Omega Caliber 2640

Watches that use Caliber 2640: De Ville Tourbillon
Jewels: 50

Nic King

My watch journey started when my dad gave me a quartz watch customized with the company he worked for on the face. From there, it evolved into other quartz watches and eventually to the world of mechanical watches. My first luxury watch was a 1960s vintage Omega, and the collection has only expanded from there.

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