1. dial type

There are the following types depending on the type of characters that indicate the number of the time.

Roman index
Roman index

It is a type in which the numbers indicating the time are Roman numerals.
It has a classical atmosphere, and in fact many old watches up to the 18th century have Roman indexes.

arabic index
arabic index

It is a type in which the numbers indicating the time are Arabic numerals.
Since visibility is good, many practical watches such as railway watches and military watches have Arabic indexes.

bar index
bar index

It is a type that has a bar (scale) instead of numbers that indicate the time.
It is often seen in relatively new pocket watches from the 1950s or later.

turkish clock

There are also Turkish clocks that use Turkish numerals in clocks exported to Turkey, and those that use both Roman numerals and Arabic numerals.

2. dial material

Here are some representative dial materials.

It is difficult to distinguish the three other than the metal dial only by appearance.

porcelain (porcelain)
porcelain dial

A dial made by shaping clay and baking it at a high temperature.
It is transparent and beautiful, but it has the disadvantage of being susceptible to impact and cracking easily.

Enamel (enamel)
enamel dial

A dial made by firing a vitreous glaze onto a metal base plate.
Some have colorful decorations.

metal dial

A dial made from a metal plate.
Some of them are highly decorative with gold plating and engraving.

resin dial

A dial made of melamine resin or plastic.
It is light and hard to crack, and is used in relatively new popular pocket watches.

3. dial decoration

Here are some of the decorations on the dial.
Besides this, there are various decorations.

thunk dial
double thunk dial

It is a decoration that gives a stepped dial to give a three-dimensional effect and improve visibility.
There is a "single thunk" in which only the second hand (small seconds) is recessed, and a "double thunk" in which the central part of the dial and the second hand are recessed in two steps.

cartouche dial
cartouche dial

A dial with raised indexes.
Conversely, the one with a concave shape is sometimes called a "telephone dial".


A pocket watch has a larger dial than a wristwatch, so the "face" of the dial stands out.
We have introduced the most representative ones here, but there are infinite variations in character fonts, how to attach scales, colors, decorations, etc.
There are various needle designs, so I will introduce them in another article.

See our list of pocket watches here