What are complications?

The word complication indicates something that is considered complex or difficult. As
regards watchmaking, a complication consists of additional functions that complement a watch.

What difference does a complication make?

These features added to a watch represent a serious challenge to skilled watchmakers who have to incorporate them in spaces as small as a wristwatch case.
The more functions a watch has, the more complicated it will be to manufacture.
Today, complications add value to watches and directly affect their price. There are many different types of complications, including chronograph, power reserve, tourbillon, etc.
Here we are going to focus on the tourbillon, the GMT and the chronograph.


What is a tourbillon? In basic terms, it is a feature that improves the accuracy of mechanical watches by offsetting the effects that gravity can have on certain parts of the movement when the watch changes position.

Tourbillon watches feature a tourbillon carriage that is often visible on the watch’s face.

One example is this Jaeger-LeCoultre…


This is a very useful complication, especially for frequent travellers, as it makes it possible to quickly see the time in the place you are visiting and at home. GMT stands for “Greenwich Mean Time”, thus giving meaning to the world time function. 

GMT is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, which marks the Prime Meridian that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole.

This Panerai features a tourbillon as well as a GMT function…


It is used to measure short time intervals. To do so, a watch with a simple chronograph has two push-buttons, one on each side of the crown, that are used to start, stop and reset the measurement. 

There are other kinds of chronographs: 

  • Mono-pusher: three actions are performed with a single push-button
  • Rattrapante: allows you to time different events that start but do not stop at the same time.
  • Flyback: allows the chronograph hand to return to zero and restart immediately by pressing the push-button once. 

The SEAMASTER below has a chronograph…

The world of watches is extensive and complex, which is why timepieces are considered highly complex works of art. 

Discover many more models with complications on our website

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