Watch dial is the front face of a watch, which displays the time. They are an essential part of a watch. Understanding what is a watch dial is important because they are a key indicator of a watch’s functionality and quality. A dial is a circular element on a watch that displays time information. It typically has numbers, letters, or other symbols that are read against a pointer or a minute hand.
    In this blog post, we will explore what is the dial on a watch, parts of a watch face, types of watch dials, watch dial material, watch dial color, and how to set the time on a watch with one dial. This knowledge is essential for any watch lover or watch brand start-up. 

Table of Contents

What is a watch dial

     Dial, also known as the face, is the part of a watch that shows the time. It can have several color and marking combinations and different function combinations. The watch face and the hands are combined to display the time and perform different functions. 

    We also read a lot of useful information from the dial. For example, on some watch dials there are Automatic, Mechanical, Quartz, which represent the type of watch movement. Or SWISS MOVT or Japan Movt, which show where the movement manufacturer is from, or GMT, Chronograph, or diving, which indicate the function of the watch.

what is a dial watch

Parts of a watch face

        Since most watch cases are round, most dials are also round. To read the time clearly, there are hour and minute marker on watch face, and some dial watch also have a calendar window to display the calendar. Some chronograph watches also have 2 or 3 small second dials.

      Take this chronograph watch as an example. You can see the common watch dial parts including hour marker, minute marker and date window on dial. The more important thing is there are 3 sub dial on this chronograph watches. What do these 3 dials do? The 24 hour sub dial measure the hours. The left sub dial measure the minute. The sub dial close to 6 o’clock position measure second. When the chronograph is activated, the second hand dial ticks, and if the chronograph is left on for an extended period, the second hand dial registers the minutes and then the hours.

Watch dial material

         Watch dial material can be brass, bronze, copper, fine silver and niobium. Most of watch dial can be made of copper or brass. Based on the copper dial mold, adding different materials or through different dial for watches production processes can get different dial effects, reflecting the tonality of the watch brand. 

    Common brass dial watch types are normal copper dial watch, sunken dial watch, printing watch dial, watch sunburst dialmother of pearl watch dial, marble watch face,lume dial watch, malachite dial watch, goldstone watch dial,3D watch dial, diamond dial, wood dial, enamel dial and so on. 

watch dial material

Watch dial types

  According to the hour and minute marker style on the dial and the different watch functions, there are about 16 watch dial design. Among the most common types of watch faces are stick, arabic, roman, and mixed (arabic/stick and roman/stick). Some of the more special watch face types are diving, california, konTiki and flieger, chronograph, moon phase, etc. The watch dial type depends on the design and concept of this watch. When you design a watch from scratch, the first watch parts to confirm his movement watch then determine the case, and finally determine the dial of a watch

watches dial types

Watch dial color

       Besides the dial type and material, the watch dial color determines one of the important factors in watch design and aesthetics. Different watch dial colors represent different meanings. So let’s look at the meaning of common dial colors.


Black symbolizes power, authority, professionalism, seriousness and is a powerful color. Black dials dominate the dial colors. Many watches, especially men’s watches, are paired with black watch dial. However, black dials are not easy to read in relatively dim conditions, so the dials of black watches usually need to have some kind of luminous feature.


    Pink is a more gentle color and is a symbol of femininity. Therefore, many women’s watches pair a pink dial, like the Rolex Oystersteel series.


    Blue is a color that makes people feel calm because the sight of blue makes them think of the boundless sea, so many times nautical watches are paired with blue watch dial.



      Green represents vitality and is a symbol of hope. In addition, the primary color of the US dollar is green, so green is also a symbol of wealth, so a gold case with a green face is also an excellent match.


      Red represents the concepts of warmth, passion, and joy. Red watch dial are not common in the watch industry and are more often used as a complement to other watch colors.


    Purple is a symbol of power, and in ancient times, it was popular in the royal family because it was expensive. So the purple watch dial gives a noble and mysterious feeling. The silver watch case with purple dial is a very classic match.


     White represents purity, light, freshness and simplicity, which makes it an ideal choice for dials. The white watch dial is the color that the eye notices most easily, making it easier for everyone to read the time. White dials are available in different styles and colors of watch cases.


      Orange is a vibrant color, a symbol of youth and enthusiasm. Orange dials look stylish and modern. However, orange dials do not go well with other colors. Orange watch dial is a good choice with a silver case and black case.


Brown gives the impression of vintage elegance, so when you see a brown dial, everyone can associate it with years gone by. Brown dials with gold cases and rose gold cases are paired to create a stark contrast, making this color a very interesting pairing for anyone looking to get noticed.

How to set the time on a watch

    If you want to know how to set the time, you have to know the role of the small second dial, the hour and minute marker and other watch dial parts and how to combine them with the hands to display the time.

How to set the time

     Pull out the crown to the second position. 

     Turn the crown clockwise to set the hour and minute hands.

     Push the crown back to its normal position.

How to set the date

   Pull out the crown to the first position

    Turn the crown clockwise to set the date

   Push the crown back to its normal position

* Do not set the day and date between 10:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., as this will interfere with the normal operation of the day and date change the next day.

How to reset(after battery change)

       Pull the crown out to the second click position.

       Press and hold button B for two seconds, then release the button.

       Push the crown back to its normal position

       The small second hand will move in two-second intervals for 10 seconds.

       Pull the crown down and press the (A) button to start the chronograph. The chronograph second hand will move.  

     After a period has elapsed, press the (A) button again to stop the chronograph. The chronograph hand stops to indicate the elapsed time.  

      Press button (B) to reset the chronograph. All chronograph hands will reset to the “0” position.

     *The chronograph can measure 60 minutes.

     *The chronograph stops after 60 minutes of measurement.

      Pressing button (B) during chronograph operation will reset it to the 0 position.

Conclusion:what is a watch dial?

       Through this blog, you will understand more about watch dial material, type and color and watch dial parts. So the next time you see a watch, you will notice what patterns, what text, etc. are on that dial. Or when you want to design a watch, you can know which dial details are customized, how to custom watch dial that fits the positioning of the watch brand.


24 hour dial watch

   Most of the dials on the market are 12 hours, the hour hand goes around is 12 hours, 12-hour dial means the hour hand goes around 2 times a day to represent 24 hours. The 24 hour dial watch represents the hour hand goes around is 24 hours, this definition refers to the hour hand rotates to go 360 degrees is the 24 hours of the day, the number from 1 to 24 on behalf of the 24 hours of the day.

Full lume watch dial

  Hiking, scuba diving and other outdoor activities have become increasingly popular over the years. Some outdoor enthusiasts have found that seeing a sparkling Full lume watch dial in a dark environment brings a smile to their face. As a result, the Full lume watch dial is becoming more and more popular. The lume here is short for a watch dial luminescent solution and the popular Lumë materials are mainly pigments of photoluminescent materials and tritium tubes.

  Most watches with 3 dial are multi-function watches like Chronograph, Date/Week/Hour. 3 dial watches represent hours, minutes and seconds respectively. If you press the button on the top, the second hand on the seconds dial will start to move and count, and when a certain amount of time has elapsed, the minute hand and hour hand will move to show the hour and minute time.

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