A Simple Guide to Watch Complications – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

A Simple Guide to Watch Complications

Watch Complications

Have you ever realized an analog watch could do a lot more than simply tell time?

The sub-dials aren't for show, you know? This date function is unique. So are the others. 

The watch complications are the results of great craftsmanship and years of engineering. For this magical-level craftsmanship, the complications take up valuable space on the dial of your luxury watch. Enthusiasts often look for watch consultancy just to figure out these timepieces with significant engineering. 

Let’s get to know more about the watch complications. The results may take you by surprise! 

A Sneak Peak On The Watch Complications 

Here we list all of the main complications of watches, starting with the most basic and working our way up to the most complex mechanical ones.

  • Chronograph
  • Moonphase
  • Perpetual Calendar
  • Annual Calendar
  • GMT
  • Jumping Hour
  • Planetarium

Understand Watch Complications

Simply put, complications are functions of a watch that are not directly related to displaying the time. In contrast, a watch with basic movements is one that just displays the time. Any feature that does more than maintain the time is considered a "complication" in the watch industry. 

For example, the beautiful white gold wristwatch from Vacheron Constantin beat out the Patek Philippe as the most difficult watch. It has 57 distinct complications that work together to make it tick. Debuting in 2015, this watch outshines the Patek Caliber 89's 33 complications.

It's okay if you're zoned out already. Watch complications may easily go into geek territory, which is one reason mechanical watches attract only a handful of people. 

Watches are often very technical, which is different from most fashion items. You begin to see timepieces as more than just something that looks nice on your wrist. It is exciting to wander into past stories of the watch. Looking below the surface makes them more interesting. 

Let's Know A Few Watch Complications

You will find many types of complications, from the common ones to very rare ones. Though not all these types of watch complications are practical, it is fascinating to have them. 


One of the most famous complications is the chronograph, which you would see on some of the most remarkable timepieces. Two examples of straightforward chronographs are the Rolex Daytona and the Omega Speedmaster Professional. This feature works like a timer in addition to a regular wristwatch, letting the user keep track of and measure the time periods. 

Types of Chronographs:

  • Monopoussoir: One Button Chronograph; 
  • Retour-En-Vol: Flyback Chronograph
  • Rattrapante: Split-seconds Chronograph


One of the oldest known watch complications is the moon phase, whose function is to show the moon's current phase. In particular, it reveals, as seen from Earth, the lunar surface illuminated by the sun. 

Perpetual Calendar

Regarding calendar problems, perpetual calendars are at the very pinnacle. along with the current date, a perpetual calendar also shows the current month and whether or not it is a leap year. As a result, you won't have to change the date on your watch until the Gregorian calendar skips a leap year. A "set it and forget it" kind of complexity, as this won't happen again until 2100. 


A watch's Day-Date complication is among the amazing features. It displays the current date as well as the current day of the week, just as its name suggests.

A large date, also known as a "big date," "grande date," or "panorama date," is simply a larger version of the conventional date display. The main differences include a double window with separate framed apertures for the tens and ones numerals, and the use of two date discs instead of one. 

Annual Calendar

The Annual Calendar, first introduced in reference 5035, is another addition to this list of complications. It was created in 1996 by Patek Philippe. Monthly calendars with 30 or 31 days only need a yearly adjustment in February to show the current date and account for leap years. 

It strikes a reasonable balance between being too complicated and being too simple. 


With a GMT complication, the user may keep track of just one, but two (or even three) time zones at once with the use of a 24-hour scale on the bezel and a fourth hand that spins the dial once every hour. 

Jumping Hour

To make the time more clearly readable, the jumping hour makes a change that would normally be smooth into one that is sharp. Within an hour, the hour hand on a standard mechanical watch will slowly move to the next hour as the minutes pass. 

On the other hand, the jumping hour hand stays on for one hour until the sixty-minute mark, at which point it will quickly move to the following hour. This extra feature keeps you from reading 4:58 as 5:58 by chance.


Do you want to deepen your understanding of the universe? 

The Planetarium is perfect for those who find the moon phase complications on their reliable wristwatches to be insufficient.

This intricate watch movement does more than simply display the time. On top of that, it shows you the specific situations of each planet in our solar system! You can see the planets' actual, real-time orbits around the sun by looking at the dial.

Ready to Unlock the Secrets of Your Watch?

Understanding watch complications can be tricky. But fret no more! At Great Lakes Watch, Consultants are there to guide you through the intricacies of these fascinating mechanisms. Contact and let their watch experts decipher your timepiece, helping you discover its true potential. Great Lakes Watch - where watch passion meets expert advice.

Final Note

Being the proud owner of a very intricate timepiece is an intriguing experience. Creating, designing, and fixing a complex timepiece is not easy. Hence, the watch's worth increases with time.