If hearing the words "watch jewel" conjures up images of watches blinged out in dozens of diamonds, then this post is for you.

Yes, watches can have jewels embedded in the dial or bezel that drive up the price and make a statement. But it's the jewels inside the watch that we are about to discuss here.

So, what are jewels in watches? Who had the idea to put jewels in a watch and why the heck are those jewels inside watches where they can't be seen anyway?

Keep reading to learn more about what watch jewels are and what their purpose is.

5 Things You Need to Know About Watch Jewels

1. What do watch jewels do?

The main purpose for watch jewels is to reduce friction within a watch movement. Within the watch movement, jewels are placed at pivot points and the smoothness of the jewels reduces friction between all the moving parts. Reducing this friction helps the watch maintain a high level of accuracy and reduces the amount of energy needed to keep the watch ticking.

2. What jewels are used in watches?

Most watches use synthetic rubies or sapphires as jewels. Synthetic jewels such as these are more readily available and affordable for use in watch movements. And since we're not talking about real jewels, they're inexpensive to replace if needed.

Shop Nixon Fully-Jeweled Automatic Watches

3. How many jewels are in a good watch?

The amount of jewels in a watch can vary. Entry-level mechanical watches may have 17 jewels while higher end mechanical watches can have jewel counts in the mid 20s, or even 30 or more. For reference, the Nixon Spectra automatic watch has 21 jewels.

But keep in mind that more jewels doesn't necessarily mean better watches.

4. Do all watches have jewels?

No, not all watches have jewels. Mechanical watches make use of jewels in the movement because of the complexity within that must be in continuous motion with as little friction as possible. Many quartz watches do not use jewels at all, and definitely not to the extent mechanical watches do.

Watch jewels in the back of the Nixon Supremacy Automatic Watch

5. When were jewels first used in watches?

Jewels were first used in watches in the early part of the 1700s by a watchmaker named Nicolas Fatio de Duillier but it wasn't until the 1900s that the technology became part of the mainstream (around the same time field watches became popular, in fact).