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The time display on a watch may differ from one model to another, on each of them.
Indeed, we are a long way from the simple needle watch of yesteryear.
The different types of dials
Here are the 4 different types of watch display:
On this type of model, the time is generally indicated by 3 hands: the hour hand, the minute hand, and the second hand (called the “seconds hand”). There are also watch models with only 2 hands, the hour hand and the minute hand.
It indicates the time and date in the form of numbers and letters on the watch face. This display can be done through light-emitting diodes (LEDs), liquid crystals or small mobile mechanical panels.
Without hands, the digital watch displays the time using numbers. For this, different means are possible: liquid crystals, light-emitting diodes or miniature panels. In addition to the time, this type of dial also has the option of displaying the date and even the day of the week.
This style of dial is particularly futuristic and original. In fact, watches with a binary display have neither hands nor numbers. The time is displayed in the form of a binary code using LEDs (light diodes) on or off. Each line corresponding to a value, just add the top digits to get the hour and the bottom ones to get the minutes.
Discover the different watch faces
The dial is the main part of a watch since it is he who will indicate the various information (hours, minutes, seconds, brand, etc.). There are different types of dials depending on the shape, presentation or material.
- Aperture dial: it has several windows to indicate the time.
- Time zone dial: it displays the times of several time zones.
- Calendar dial: it indicates the time but also the current day, date and year (sometimes even religious holidays)
- Dive dial: it is equipped with a dive time indicator and can even signal stop times during decompression stops.
- Orientation dial: thanks to a specific mechanism, it indicates the direction of north when the hour hand of the watch is oriented towards the sun.
A chronograph watch is equipped with an additional mechanism, visible on its dial, allowing the duration of an event to be counted. The objective is to measure an elapsed time, by triggering the system on demand.
The chronograph is composed of a central hand, sometimes the counter displays the minutes and more rarely the hours. Indeed, it is supposed to measure only short time lapses.
The mechanism of the chronograph is independent of that of the watch, so they do not interfere with each other.
The first chronograph watches appeared in racetracks. Indeed, the first uses of these types of watch were related to the timing of horse races but also to the calculation of the range and the power of the guns.
The push button present on chronograph watches thus makes it possible to start the stopwatch but also to stop it and reset it to zero. Generally, push buttons are located at 2:00 and 4:00 on the watch bezel. On some models, however, there are mono-pushers.