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FAQs

A. Lange & Söhne watches always have the 25th in the date windows and the hands are always set to 1:50 a.m. Why is this?

Firstly, because any number between 1 and 24 could lead to confusion, as some watches are equipped with a second time zone; so, it is better to show a number greater than 24 – between 25 and 31. Secondly, the first presentation of the Lange & Söhne range was made on 24th October, 1994, at a busy international press conference followed by very visible media coverage the next day (25th October). Also, a date with two digits is aesthetically more attractive and the numbers 1 to 9 leave the left window blank. As for the hour and minute hands, they make the display more attractive when they show 1:50 a.m.: they not only focus attention on the logo, but also represent a smile…

Should Automatic (self-winding) watches also be wound manually using the crown?

All mechanical watches – manual or self-winding – should always be working, as their continuous movement allows the mechanism to create its own routine and prevents the oils from drying out. In order for them not to stop, manual watches must be wound every day (preferably around the same time of day) and automatic watches should be worn, as the movement of the wearer allows the rotor inside the timepiece to wind the mechanism. However, if an automatic watch is not used for a certain period of time, it will stop (generally, reserve power is around 40 hours). To prevent this from happening, you can manually wind using the crown, like a manual watch, or even use a watch winder (a device that keeps automatic watches running). Also, if an automatic watch has stopped, you should wind it manually by turning the crown about 20 times and never shake it.

Are Baroque pearls natural?

The word “Baroque” only refers to the pearls’ irregular, non-symmetrical shape, and has nothing to do with their intrinsic nature. Despite these irregular shapes being common in natural pearls, they are also plentiful when cultured.

What is the abbreviation for Carat in jewellery?

The carat, sometimes known as a ‘metric-carat’, is the standard unit of weight for polished gems, as well as rough diamonds. One carat – international abbreviation ‘CT’ – is the equivalent of 200 mg, i.e. a fifth of a gram. This unit was officially introduced in Portugal in 1911 as a standard measure, approved and defined by the Comité International de Poids et Mesures at its General Conference in Paris in 1907.

Can a Chronograph be a Chronometer?

A chronograph is a watch with a stopwatch function that features totalizers and additional hands. A chronometer is a watch with a mechanism that has received a certificate after passing a number of precision tests administered by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC); it can be a simple watch (hours, minutes, seconds) or a chronograph.

What is a Calibre?

This is a technical term that describes the shape, size or specifications of a watch mechanism. The calibre can be wound manually or automatically, and comes in different shapes and sizes. Previously, the diameter of a calibre was measured in lignes, with a ligne equivalent to 2.256 mm.

What should we consider when it comes to a watch’s Crown?

It is the main button, generally located on the right-hand side of a watch case. It is used to wind the watch, set the hands and the date (by pulling the crown out). Many watches have a threaded system for the crown to ensure the case is tightly sealed, where it is necessary to unscrew it before using. Crowns normally carry an embossed brand logo and if they are decorated with (precious or semi-precious) stones, they are called a cabochon.

What is Sapphire Crystal?

The transparent cover of a watch case is sometimes called “crystal”. The crystal protects the display on the watch front, but can also be used on the back as a transparent background, which allows the wearer to see the intricate details of the watch’s mechanism, giving the impression that it is “open”. Most luxury brands use sapphire crystal, which has a hardness of 400, compared to 50 of window glass and 100 of quartz. Sapphire crystal is an extremely hard and scratch-resistant synthetic glass for watches. It is super transparent and offer excellent visibility.

As it appears on the crown of a watch, is a Cabochon a stone?

In Portuguese, the word cabução does not correspond to a stone, but rather a style of cutting where the stone is polished with a concave surface, with various contours (e.g. round, oval, pear-shaped, heart-shaped). In watchmaking, the cabochon encrusted on crowns are usually rounded sapphires.

Is there a Coloured stone for every academic degree?

In terms of different faculties and their various courses, there are certain colours, rather than specific stones, which are traditionally used. For example, for law, the colour is red; for literature, it is dark blue; for sciences, it is light blue; for pharmacy it is purple and for medicine it is yellow. The choice of gems of the same colour is therefore a question of the graduate’s taste and budget, with options that vary from synthetic stones to natural gems.

Diamond or brilliant?

The word brilliant is still used as a synonym for diamond, which, strictly speaking, is incorrect – although this expression is still part of professional jargon. In a commercial or informal context, we can use the word ‘brilliant’ for a cut diamond. However, ‘brilliant’ is the name given to a style of cut that is not unique to diamonds, although it was first developed for this purpose. It is very common to see small blue, pink and yellow sapphires cut in a round and brilliant style, as well as a range of synthetic stones that imitate diamonds (e.g. zirconia and synthetic moissanite), among others gems.
As such, it is more accurate to refer to a cut diamond as simply a ‘diamond’ (the real name of this gem-quality mineral) preceded by the name and form of its lapidary style, for example, ‘round brilliant diamond’, ‘oval brilliant diamond’, ‘princess diamond’, etc.
In conclusion: ‘diamond’ is the name of the gemstone material (whether cut or not, boasting gem quality or not: let’s not forget industrial diamonds) and ‘brilliant’ is just the name of a lapidary style that is not just for diamonds.

What does Gem mean in the world of jewellery?

Gems are all the natural and inorganic materials whose beauty, rarity and durability mean they can be used in jewellery or are suitable for personal adornment. Precious metals, artificial and other materials etc., such as plastics, wood and others very often used in signature jewellery, should be excluded from this definition. The term gem derives from the Latin gemma and, according to the J. P. Machado’s Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa (1967), was first identified in Portuguese to mean precious stone in Canto VII of Luis de Camões’ The Lusiads.

What is the relationship between Gold and carats?

For centuries, the carat has been the standard measurement for weighing precious stones, its value being related to the seeds of the carob tree. Only in 1907 did the carat become globally standardized as 200 mg (1/5 gram). The expression carat is invariably associated with the gold content in alloys for jewellery. The origin of this relationship is a ruling that ordered the minting of 24-carat pure gold coins (approx. 4.8 grams). For some reason, other metals (such as silver and copper) were added to these coins, which all weighed the same. From then onwards, the coins came to represent not their total weight, but their relative weight in gold, which is why the expression ’24-carat gold’ is still used for pure gold (theoretically 1000 ‰), and, by the simple rule of three, we still use the terms ‘18-carat gold ‘(750 ‰), ’14 carat’ (583 ‰), etc. In Portugal, and until 1998, only 800 ‰ gold was allowed for most items of jewellery. It is not clear why, but the expression ‘19.25 gold’ or ‘19 and a quarter gold.’ However, simple arithmetic demonstrates that the ratio of 24 to 1000, like X is to 800, the value is 19.2 and not 19.25! It is the fault of mathematics…

What distinguishes a Guilloché dial?

This is a francophone word to describe the decoration of certain dials using intertwined geometric shapes, in relief, carved on a metal surface by a specific tool.

What is meant by Jumping Hour?

A feature of a watch fitted with a mechanism in which the hour hand is replaced by a disc numbered from 1 to 12. A small module makes this disc move to the position (time) after 60 minutes, causing the following number to appear in the window of the existing time on the display.

What makes the Luminescent digits, hands and markers on watch dials glow in the dark?

The luminescent compound may be tritium or LumiNova – new regulations have recently banned the use of tritium. The tritium was mixed with luminescent paint: luminescent things need an energy source to glow and this came from tritium’s radioactivity. As tritium is a beta emitter, its level of radioactivity is so harmless that Beta particles can be nullified with a simple sheet of paper. The advantage of tritium is that glows continuously, even in daylight, although it has a limited lifespan of around twelve years, making repainting necessary. LumiNova is a passive light-emitting paint, which needs energy from natural or artificial light. Its brightness and longevity is superior to tritium, although it loses its luminescence after a few hours and needs energy (light) to glow again.

What is a Manufacturer in the world of watchmaking?

This is a watchmaking company that boasts all (or almost all) the stages of watch design. There are few companies with this status – they are usually brands that are highly respected in the industry for their autonomous capacity to devise, design, produce and test the Calibres (mechanisms or movements) of their own watches.

What kinds of Movements exist in watches?

There are three types of movement that keep a watch running.
Manual mechanical – energy is provided by hand winding via the crown.
Automatic mechanical – the watch is wound by a rotor, normally shaped like a half-moon that rotates due to the movement of the wearer’s arm.
Quartz – energy is supplied by a battery.

Why is Platinum more valuable than gold?

Platinum is a particularly rare and valuable precious metal. To obtain one gram of platinum it is necessary to extract more than 300 kg of ore – while ‘only’ 100 kg are needed to obtain a gram of gold. Platinum also melts at a higher temperature (1,773º) than gold (1,063º) or silver (960º) and is harder, heavier and more resistant than other metals used in jewellery and timepieces; a platinum object weighs 35% more than the equivalent in 18-carat gold. Platinum is almost always used in a very pure alloy (95% platinum).

What is a Perpetual calendar?

Name for the most elaborate calendar timepiece complication that indicates the date, day of the week, month and cycle of leap years. Mechanical complexity means that multiple parts and movements work together to calculate the months with fewer days and jump to the beginning of the next month, including the variation in leap years. Normally, perpetual calendars display the phases of the moon and, if they are always working, only need to be adjusted in the year 2100 – a leap year in which 29th February will be ignored for correction purposes.

Is sea water good for Pearl necklaces?

Although they originate from organisms that live in the sea (assuming that they are a particular type of cultured pearls), your necklace’s pearls should not be taken to the beach for a number of reasons: the hole in each pearl will expose the interior, including its organic content, to the risk of harm, with sometimes very visible consequences; the sand from the beach, particularly on the Portuguese coast, has a lot of quartz and other minerals that are harder than the pearl’s nacre (which is mainly aragonite) and this can damage its surface quality and shine; finally, skin products used for the beach, whether for sunbathing or protection, can also damage pearls – which are very sensitive to chemicals. So, it is inadvisable to use pearl necklaces at the beach, especially in the water. That said, there is no better summer combination than the silky lustre of pearls contrasting with tanned skin, but maybe not on the beach!

How are Precious and semi-precious stones distinguished?

This is an old question still asked regarding the jargon in our sector, but that has long been banished from the technical vocabulary of jewellery (according to the CIBJO – The World Jewellery Confederation, the expression “semi-precious stone” is considered incorrect and even misleading). The reason for this is because, as a question, it is not possible to distinguish between gems using criteria of monetary value because there are so many, so-called “semi-precious” stones that may cost considerable amounts in different markets (e.g. aquamarines, alexandrites, red spinels, tanzanites, tsavorites, tourmalines, etc.).

Can Rubies be pink?

The question regarding the colour of rubies is a very interesting and old one. A ruby is essentially a red sapphire, being the same mineral but of a different colour (just like amethyst and citrine are quartz but have different colours and names). The element that makes a ruby red is chromium. If there isn’t enough of this impurity, the gem is pink and lighter in colour, depending on this percentage. In this case, strictly speaking, the stone cannot be called a ruby, but rather a pink sapphire which, incidentally, have increased in popularity since the discovery of deposits in Madagascar in the 1990s.

Are Ceylon Sapphires always light in colour?

Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka, is one of the oldest regions for sapphires, not only blue ones, but also yellow, gold, pink and other colours. The expression “Ceylon Sapphire” became synonymous with lighter blue sapphires due to the quantity of this material that, at least until the 1980s, traditionally came from this island. As a merely commercial expression, it does not indicate the origin of the gem. Also, Sri Lanka has sapphires with a more saturated and intense colour, which are considered better quality in the market, making this expression even less relevant. In short, the expression should be understood as merely an old commercial term.

What is Tachymeter?

This is the scale usually visible on the dials or bezels of chronographs that measures the speed of a vehicle by timing it over a kilometre; the second hand of a chronograph gives an accurate reading of the average speed at which the vehicle travelled this kilometre on the watch’s tachymeter scale.

Is Topaz the same as citrine quartz?

Quite often (in fact, almost always …), citrine quartz is called topaz. This is misleading and, in some cases, may have negative consequences as, strictly speaking, they are two different things. This is because yellow topaz and citrine quartz are the same colour, and most come from the same country, Brazil. Currently, yellow topaz has a higher commercial value than citrine, and because the name is better known and catchier, unscrupulous traders are tempted to dupe less well-informed consumers and other traders.

What are paraiba Tourmalines?

Paraiba tourmalines are very rare and sometimes command astronomical prices (hundreds of thousands of euros). What distinguishes them from other tourmaline is their colour, which is an intense bluish green or a very distinctive bright blue, the best examples being extremely rare stones. Their name comes from the fact that they were discovered in the state of Paraiba, Brazil, in the 1990s. They are now also found in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte, in Nigeria and in Mozambique.