Glossary of watchmaking


Cadran | 文字盤/モジバン | 表盘

A plate of metal or another material which, in a standard Clock or watch, serves to indicate hours, minutes and seconds. Dials come in an almost limitless variety of shapes, decorations, materials, etc.

Indications are given by numerals, graduations or markers in different styles.

  • An aperture dial has openings (apertures) through which the time indications can be read.
  • A thirteen-piece dial comprises 12 enamelled cartouches for the hours set around a thirteenth central enamelled piece, often decorated and with the maker's signature.
  • A calendar dial gives calendar indications such as the day, date, month, year and religious festivals.
  • A multiple time zone dial (see complication) gives the time in two or more zones.
  • A dial with tide gauge (see complication) gives high and low tide times for a given location.
  • A regatta dial (see complication) has a countdown function enabling competitors to position themselves as near as possible to the starting line in the minutes leading up to the race.
  • An orienteering dial (see complication) features a hand which, driven by a specific wheel and making one complete revolution of the dial in 24 hours, shows North when the hour hand is pointed towards the Sun.
  • A diving dial (see complication) indicates surfacing time and possibly also decompression stops and times.