The Watch Dial: Everything You Need To Know About Your Watch Dial

What's the first thing you notice when you see a watch for the first time? For others, it's the form and design of the casing. But for most people, it's most likely the watch dial. The dial is responsible for telling time and can also be a fashion statement as it takes up the majority of the watch face.

People are often fascinated by the different watch-dial designs. Some have a simple and classic look, some have additional watch complications. Some have your favorite movie or cartoon characters, and others are just a standout with their luxurious jewels or unique patterns.

In this blog, we'll talk about the parts of a watch dial and take a closer look at a few things you need to consider when choosing the right watch dial.

Timex Waterbury Watch Dial


What Is A Watch Dial?

A watch dial, also known as a watch face, is the part of a watch that displays the time. It is usually a circular plate with hour markers around the edge and the hands used to display the time in the middle.

Watch dials come in many styles, from simple and clean designs to more complicated and busy ones. Aside from the watch strap, case, and bezel, the type of the face often reflects the overall design of the watch.

They are usually made from different types of materials, such as brass, stainless steel, plastic, or precious metals and gems. Designs are often engraved or printed onto the dial surface.

But before we discuss the different types of watch dials, let us first define some of the essential parts of the watch dial.

What are the Main Parts of a Watch Dial?

It's important to get familiar with the major elements of the watch dial so you'll know what to look for in this year's model. The following are the primary components that you should remember while shopping for a watch.


What are Watch Dial Indices?

Dial indices are the numbers or letters around the edge of the face that indicate the hours. They can be either Arabic or Roman numerals and are often present on both the top and bottom of the dial.

What are dial hands?

The dial hands are the pointer-like elements on a watch that indicate the time. The most common type of hand is the hour hand, which points to the hour on the dial. The minute hand shows the minutes, and the second's hand indicates the seconds. Some timepieces also have a fourth hand that indicates the date or day of the week.

What are Subdials on a watch?

Subdials are small faces on a watch that track different measurements, such as elapsed time or seconds. They are typically located at the 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions. Most watches have three subdials, but some have more or less.

Subdials can be used to track different things, such as Elapsed time, Chronograph minutes and seconds, as well as the date and day of the week.


What Are The 3 Small Dials On A Watch?

The three small dials on a watch are used for the following:

  1. The seconds hand: It is used to track the seconds as they pass. It is usually located at the 6 o'clock position on the dial.
  2. The power reserve: This indicates how much power is left in the watch's battery or mainspring. It is usually located at the 9 o'clock position on the watch dial.
  3. The date: It displays the current date. It is typically located at the 3 o'clock position on the dial.

What is the Watch Crystal on my watch?

The watch crystal is the transparent part of a watch that protects the watch dial and hands from scratches and damage. It is made of either plastic or glass, depending on the type of watch. Most crystals are slightly curved to match the shape of the watch case and watch bezel.

There are two main types of crystals: plastic and glass. Plastic crystals are more scratch-resistant than glass crystals but are also more prone to cracks. Glass crystals, on the other hand, are more scratch-resistant but can break more easily.

Now that we know what a dial is and its main parts, it's time to learn about the different types of watch faces and their use cases.

Different Types Of Watch Dials

Simple Dial

As the name suggests, simple watch dials are those that only display the time. These are the most common type of watch dial and are usually found on dress watches or casual ones.

Simple dials usually have three hands on their watch face to indicate the hour, minute, and seconds hands on the watch face, making it easy to tell time. The hour markers and hands on simple dials are usually made of contrasting materials, such as white hands on a black dial.

Here are some types of indices that a simple dial could have:

  • Standard Dial

Standard dials are the most common type of simple watch dial. They have hour markers around the edge and hands in the middle to display the time which makes the design clean and easy to read.

  • Roman Numeral Dial

Roman numeral dials are similar to standard dials, but instead of hour markers, they have Roman numerals on the watch face. This gives the watch a more classic look.

  • Arabic Dial

Arabic dials are similar to standard dials, but the hour markers are Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals. This gives the watch a more exotic look.

  • Contemporary Dial

Contemporary dials are simple to watch dials with a modern twist. They often have unique hour marker designs and contemporary materials, such as wood or stone. These are typically fine watches that you can wear for everyday use.

Open Heart Dial

Open heart watch dials are similar to simple dials, but with a small window that allows you to see the inner workings of the watch. These types of dials are usually found on more casual or fashion watches.

Skeleton Dial

Skeleton dials are similar to open-heart dials, but with a more intricate design that allows you to see even more of the inner workings of the timepiece. These types of dials are usually found on more high-end or luxury watches and timepieces with an automatic movement. Check our Ingersoll watch collection to view our wide collection of skeleton-dial design timepieces.

Chronograph Dial

Chronograph watch dials have an additional stopwatch function built in. They usually have three sub-dials, each with a different function. The most common functions are minutes, seconds, and hours.

Guilloché watch dial

Guilloché watch dials are those with an intricate geometric design or with an engraved wave-like pattern that creates a dial texture on the watch face. The design is etched into the surface of the dial and can be either plain or engraved. This type of face texture is often found on high-end or luxury watches.

Tapisserie watch dial

Tapisserie watch dials are those that have an intricate, floral design. The design is etched into the surface of the dial and has a set of tiny square patterns. Audemars Piguet often use this type of design on their watch face.

Enamel Watch Dial

Enamel is a notoriously difficult material to work with, which is why enamel dials are so prized by the watch industry. The process of creating an enamel dial begins with fusing multiple layers of powdered glass to a substrate.

This is done at high temperatures in order to create a smooth and durable surface. Next, the enamel is fired with additive pigments in order to create the desired color. The enamel is then cooled and polished, resulting in a beautiful and unique watch face.

However, because the enamel is so difficult to work with, there are often small imperfections in the final product. These imperfections are what give enamel dials their charm and character.

GMT Dials

GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time, is the time zone that is used as a baseline by most of the world. GMT watches have an additional 24-hour hand that can be set to a different time zone, allowing the wearer to keep track of two time zones at once.

This is useful for travelers who want to stay connected to home or for business people who need to coordinate with colleagues in different time zones.

GMT wristwatches are also sometimes called world timers because they provide a convenient way to keep track of time anywhere in the world.

Crosshair dial

Crosshair watch dials are a variation of the simple dial. They are similar to simple dials, but they have a small crosshair or reticle in the middle of the face. This is used to help with accuracy when reading the time. Crosshair dials are often found on diving or sports watches.

Dual Time Zone Dials

Dual time zone watch dials are similar to GMT dials, but with two 24-hour hands instead of just one. This is useful for travelers who want to keep track of multiple time zones at once.

Day/Night Indicator Dials

Day/night indicator watch dials have a small window that shows whether it is day or night in a given time zone. This is useful for travelers who want to know whether it is day or night in multiple time zones at once.

Now that you know the many different types of watch dials, what should you consider when choosing the right one for you? Let's take a closer look at the few things to keep in mind:

Which dial watch is best: Categories to consider when choosing the right watch dial

  • The occasion: Is the watch for everyday wear or special occasions?

If you are looking for a watch to wear every day, then a standard or Roman numeral dial from Titan and Axis might be the best option.

If you are looking for a watch for special occasions, then a more decorative eye-catching dial from Guess and Esprit might be a better option.

  • The style: What is your personal taste?

It is also important to consider your personal style. If you are looking for a timeless and classic watch, then a simple watch dial from Timex and Casio is the best option. If you are looking for something more contemporary or fashion-forward, then more decorative dials from other brands might be better.

  • The color: What colors do you like?

The color of the watch dial is another important consideration. Wristwatches come in a wide range of colors, from classic black and white to more eye-catching shades like red and blue.

The color of the dial should complement the color of the watch case. For example, a silver watch case looks best with a white or black face and a rose-gold case looks good on a green dial.

  • The material: What materials do you prefer?

The material of the watch dial is also something to consider. Watch dials can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel metal, plastic, and even wood.

Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, a metal dial will be more durable than a plastic one, but it will also be heavier.

Check out our Nixon collection for your lightweight sports wristwatch.

  • The size: How big or small do you want the watch to be?

There is no one answer to this question as everyone's preferences vary. Some people prefer a small, delicate watch, while others prefer a larger, more masculine watch.

The size of the watch should also be proportional to the size of your wrist. A small watch on a large wrist will look out of place, and a large timepiece on a small wrist will look overwhelming.

  • The features: What features are you looking for?

Watches can have a variety of complications, such as a chronograph, day/date indicator, or moon phase indicator. The type of complication you choose should be based on your needs and preferences.

For example, if you travel frequently, then a dual time zone watch might be a good option. If you are an avid outdoorsman, then a timepiece with a compass function might be a better choice.

  • The price: How much are you willing to spend?

The price of a watch is an important consideration, especially if you are on a budget. There is a wide range of watches available at all price points, from affordable everyday watches to high-end luxury watches.

When deciding how much to spend, it is important to consider what features you want and what materials you prefer.

Which Dial watch is best for your new watch?

When it comes to choosing the right watch dial, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Consider what you want the wristwatch for and what your personal style is. From there, you can narrow down your choices and find the perfect timepiece for you! Continue shopping at our website and try our watch finder now. Click the button below.

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