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What is Watch Hacking, Anyway?

You already have a good idea of what a mechanical watch is and how it works. You’ve heard of watch movements that are automatic, hand-winding, or even both. But what about a watch that “hacks”? Watch hacking, otherwise referred to as the second hand halt mechanism or seconds stop function, is a feature that allows the watch wearer to stop the movement at will. This is normally accomplished by pulling the crown out to its time-setting position, causing the hacking lever to stop the balance wheel and gear train of the watch. Whereas an automatic watch will continue to run whether or not the crown is pulled, a watch with the hacking feature will have the seconds hand and movement stop completely. Although it is a still common feature in modern watches, the hacking movement was widely used in the early 20th century, particularly with military timepieces. It was especially useful and advantageous to synchronize watches during wartime. Nowadays, this feature is useful in maintaining timekeeping accuracy. For example, wearers can synchronize their watch with a highly accurate clock, such as an atomic clock. Many watches in the Orient collection feature the second hand halt function, including the full Orient Star collection, the M-Force collection, and watches such as the Explorer, GMT (shown above), and Monarch.

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