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Crowning Glory

NOT MERELY A KNOB ON A WATCH, THE CROWN REMAINS A KEY COMPONENT OF A TIMEPIECE, ONE WHICH HAS EVOLVED WITH THE TIMES

NOT MERELY A KNOB ON A WATCH, THE CROWN REMAINS A KEY COMPONENT OF A TIMEPIECE, ONE WHICH HAS EVOLVED WITH THE TIMES

When it comes to watchmaking, the crown remains one of the most important features and components of any watch. It has been that way since the mid-1840s, when a permanent knob began replacing the winding key as an effective way to interact with the movement. Shaped like the royal headgear of kings and queens, watchmakers called the new component a crown and since then, it has gone on to become a permanent and essential watch feature.

The traditional watch crown is used predominantly to wind and stop the watch, change the time and set the day and date. Some watchmakers have effectively incorporated other functions into it, such as a mobile pushbutton to operate a chronograph mechanism. It also remains the only part of the movement wearers can actually touch and because of that, advancement of technologies such as o-rings and gaskets, extended functionalities such as waterproofing.

Although purely functional, some watchmakers have also utilised the crown to be a signature piece of their creations. Rolex certainly comes to mind with the brand’s iconic logo embossed on each crown. There have also been some watchmakers who have used the crown to also be a part of the overall design to help enhance the design and functionality of their watches.

Jewelled Crowns

A favourite for dress watches, jewel crowns are used to expand the appeal and look of the watch, whilst giving it a bit of contrast over the overall design. Hence the jewelled end is normally featured in blue, black or red. These are normally seen on high grade watches like the Bvlgari LVCEA Tubogas Watch. Cartier has also made jewel crowns a key feature for some of their most well-known range of ladies watches such as the Tank and Panthère.

Screw Down Crown

A common feature on dive watches, the screw down crown aids in providing additional water resistance. The threaded winding crown screws tightly into the case and prevents water and dust from entering. The screw down crown is a vital component of deep dive watches such as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and the Tudor Black Bay.

Oversized Winding Crown

A main feature of Pilot’s watches, the oversized nature of the crown is due to functionality rather than form. The creation of this particular crown was due to the need of pilots and aviators who required adjusting their watches without the need of removing their gloves during flight. Today, it has become a staple feature of Pilot’s watches, seen on models such as the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch and the Oris Big Crown ProPilot.

Crown Monopusher

A feature of chronographs, some watchmakers have managed to integrate the chronograph button into the crown of the watch. It is not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly complicated as it affords the wearer to access all chronograph functions with just a single button. The IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher, Longines Avigation Oversize Crown Monopusher Chronograph and Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph are the perfect examples of this.

Crown Protectors

Panerai is one particular brand that has utilised the crown guard as a calling card of sorts for both their Submersible and Luminor range. The feature not only helps ‘brand’ the models but also protects the crown from damage and to provide an extra measure of protection from water seeping in. Some pieces like the Cartier Ballon Bleu incorporate a protective arch, which helps lend a more ornate design to the model.

When it comes to watchmaking, the crown remains one of the most important features and components of any watch. It has been that way since the mid-1840s, when a permanent knob began replacing the winding key as an effective way to interact with the movement. Shaped like the royal headgear of kings and queens, watchmakers called the new component a crown and since then, it has gone on to become a permanent and essential watch feature.

The traditional watch crown is used predominantly to wind and stop the watch, change the time and set the day and date. Some watchmakers have effectively incorporated other functions into it, such as a mobile pushbutton to operate a chronograph mechanism. It also remains the only part of the movement wearers can actually touch and because of that, advancement of technologies such as o-rings and gaskets, extended functionalities such as waterproofing.

Although purely functional, some watchmakers have also utilised the crown to be a signature piece of their creations. Rolex certainly comes to mind with the brand’s iconic logo embossed on each crown. There have also been some watchmakers who have used the crown to also be a part of the overall design to help enhance the design and functionality of their watches.

Jewelled Crowns

A favourite for dress watches, jewel crowns are used to expand the appeal and look of the watch, whilst giving it a bit of contrast over the overall design. Hence the jewelled end is normally featured in blue, black or red. These are normally seen on high grade watches like the Bvlgari LVCEA Tubogas Watch. Cartier has also made jewel crowns a key feature for some of their most well-known range of ladies watches such as the Tank and Panthère.

Screw Down Crown

A common feature on dive watches, the screw down crown aids in providing additional water resistance. The threaded winding crown screws tightly into the case and prevents water and dust from entering. The screw down crown is a vital component of deep dive watches such as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and the Tudor Black Bay.

Oversized Winding Crown

A main feature of Pilot’s watches, the oversized nature of the crown is due to functionality rather than form. The creation of this particular crown was due to the need of pilots and aviators who required adjusting their watches without the need of removing their gloves during flight. Today, it has become a staple feature of Pilot’s watches, seen on models such as the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch and the Oris Big Crown ProPilot.

Crown Monopusher

A feature of chronographs, some watchmakers have managed to integrate the chronograph button into the crown of the watch. It is not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly complicated as it affords the wearer to access all chronograph functions with just a single button. The IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher, Longines Avigation Oversize Crown Monopusher Chronograph and Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph are the perfect examples of this.

Crown Protectors

Panerai is one particular brand that has utilised the crown guard as a calling card of sorts for both their Submersible and Luminor range. The feature not only helps ‘brand’ the models but also protects the crown from damage and to provide an extra measure of protection from water seeping in. Some pieces like the Cartier Ballon Bleu incorporate a protective arch, which helps lend a more ornate design to the model.