Dial size as a % of case size

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Amor Vincit Omnia
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Dial size as a % of case size

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

I’ve been thinking about this for some time, but was prompted to do it by a comment made by @nbg in @missF ’s thread on Lug-to-lug length. That is certainly one of the factors affecting wearability (or “how a watch wears”). Case height is another. However, let’s leave those aside and focus on the dimension everyone goes on about (case diameter), and the one hardly anyone mentions (dial diameter).

I dug out the watchbox and the vernier calipers while watching the footy. I think I did the maths properly on the spreadsheet (GCE scrape) - please tell me if I’m wrong!

IMG_3783.jpeg
I find all of these watches very wearable, and have no problem telling the time on any of them. The fact that they are in my watch box rather indicates that I like them all. However, a couple of points…

The final column is the one that interests me, because it reflects how a watch looks to me. The lowest figure is the Orient, the only diver I have left. The Glycine also has quite a broad bezel, in this case the lockable 12h bezel for a second time zone.

I expected the C9 to have the highest percentage – I have always thought of it as “all dial”. I remember when I first received the MeisterSinger, and I commented straightaway that it looked and felt (“wore”) more like 40 mm than 38 mm…something I remember @downer picking up on very quickly. I hadn’t really thought about why, but perhaps it’s true that watches with a bigger dial area just look bigger to me irrespective of the case diameter.

Because I only have the one dive watch (as you will know, it’s a genre I’m not that fond of) I would be really interested to see measurements from people who have several of them (chronographs and pilot watches as well), to see whether these findings are borne out.

I wonder what the largest and smallest percentages are among the watches that we own?

Get measuring, folks. 8)
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by jkbarnes »

Great idea for a thread. I’ll be interested to see these numbers for a broad selection of dive watches to see what trends emerge as to what I like most.

Another number I’d be interested in seeing is the ratio of bezel to dial. That proportion was brought up by @rkovars in the thread I started about the BB54. I know for me personally, that’s a significant factor in how I perceive a dive watch.
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by welshlad »

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote: Sat Jul 22, 2023 12:38 pm perhaps it’s true that watches with a bigger dial area just look bigger to me irrespective of the case diameter.
This is certainly my theory, Steve. Within reason, I don't think the case size is relevant to how large a watch wears, so the % of it covered by dial doesn't matter either. My brain simply disregards anything outside of the dial when assessing how large a watch is*. As a result, the key metric is the dial size in absolute terms, i.e. your 3rd column of figures.

Excluding the outliers of the C9SS and Orient Mako, you have a fairly tight range of dial sizes, i.e. 32.0-34.0mm, so it would seem that is your sweet spot regardless of case size (assuming that is abnormal and that L2L and height are normal-ish too).


* The exception to this sometimes is if the case is black, e.g. PVD/DLC, as my brain sometimes sees that as an extension of the dial, so assesses the watch as much larger. Regular stainless steel or coloured bezels it just ignores as invisible. I fully accept that my brain may be abnormal in this regard! :)
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by iain »

Steve, how did you measure your Speedmaster? I seem to recall the 42mm case size includes the crown guards in the official measurements, whereas the actual case if measured the same as other manufacturers would be closer to 40mm. I don’t have a speedie anymore to check but wonder how this would affect the percentages as the external tachymeter bezel makes it more in proportion with some dive watches.

As for my watches, case and dial measurements rounded to the nearest half mm.

El Primero
42mm case, case area 13.8cm
39mm dial, dial area 11.9cm,
% = 86%

IWC MKXVIII
40mm case, case area 12.6cm
35mm dial, dial area 9.6cm
% = 76%

IWC pilot chrono
43mm case, case area 14.5cm
37.5mm dial, dial area 11cm
% = 76%

IWC Ingenieur
43mm case, case area 14.5cm
34.5mm dial, dial area 9.3cm
% = 64%

CW Pro300
42mm case, case area 13.8cm
33mm dial, dial area 8.4cm
% = 60%

The EP has the highest ratio but has an internal tachymeter bezel which visually reduces the size of the dial.

Edit, just double checked my measurements and have amended the dial size on the CW
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

welshlad wrote: Sat Jul 22, 2023 1:22 pm Excluding the outliers of the C9SS and Orient Mako, you have a fairly tight range of dial sizes, i.e. 32.0-34.0mm, so it would seem that is your sweet spot regardless of case size (assuming that is abnormal and that L2L and height are normal-ish too).
Interesting observation. It would also appear that excluding anything vintage and the Speedmaster, my sweet spot for case diameters is 38 mm to 40 mm.

Bang in the middle of both ranges we have the C63 GMT (39/33). And let’s be honest, it feels and wears pretty perfect.
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

iain wrote: Sat Jul 22, 2023 1:32 pm Steve, how did you measure your Speedmaster? I seem to recall the 42mm case size includes the crown guards in the official measurements, whereas the actual case if measured the same as other manufacturers would be closer to 40mm.
I measured the cases between 12 & 6. However, I didn’t measure the Speedy because I have always gone with the given figure of 42 mm. You’re absolutely right, it’s a whisker under 40 mm the way I measured the others, and 42 mm from 8:30 on the case to the crown guard at 2:30. Measuring that way, the figure comes out at 72.3%, a little lower than the C9 and the MeisterSinger but ahead of the rest. Thanks for the clarification.
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by timor54 »

As a geek it should be of no surprise that I've been recording this type of data for some time. This is my current collection sorted by dial/case ratio in descending order. Clearly watches without rotating bezels score highest on relative dial area.

Image

The other thing I calculate is a 'chunky-ness' metric for case volume as I feel this is as important as diameter when judging how a watch wears. This is a simple calculation of case and crystal volume: (πr² x d)/1000 (this calculates cubic mm's which is big, so divided by 1000 to get a sensible number for comparison).

I've also got the same data for all the watches I've sold over the last 2-3 years. It's embarrassing to show all of them but this is a snippet to illustrate how chunky some dive watches are.

Image

I also find this approach quite useful when appraising a watch that I might be interested in purchasing. I'm amazed at how large the dial is on the 35mm Nomos Tangente; it could be the second largest dial area after my Metris.... albeit so slight it might disappear on my wrist.

Image
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by nbg »

I certainly don’t have time this afternoon to go out and retrieve some watches just to measure them. :shock:

However a quick cut and paste from a note that I started keeping in about 2015 will hopefully suffice. :)

It certainly indicates that my sweet spot for watch size/proportions has remained constant over the years.

The measurements are L2L, case size and dial size. Measured with a tape measure, to the nearest mm.

Other than the Bel Canto I have excluded my CWs as none were, or are worn as regularly as I wore, or wear the equivalent style watches shown below.

As an example, whilst I like my C63GMT I prefer the case, dial and bracelet proportions of the Explorer2. To me the bezel of the C63GMT is too narrow, relative to the dial.

As regards the BC. Yes the dial is large, relative to case size. However it needs to have a large dial, due to the style of the watch.

Exp- 43.36.30
DJ - 44.36.30.
GMT - 47.40.30.
Exp2 - 47.40.31.
MG - 48.40.33.
SubC - 48.40.29.
BB58 - 47.39.30.
SM300 - 48.41.31.
Pel - 50.42.31.
NF - 50.40.34.
Mos - 45.38.33.
GS - 48.41.33
PinA - 48.39.34.
PinP - 50.42.34.
Lud - 44.35.32.
C1BC - 48.41.36

Neil
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by Viognier »

Very interesting post Steve…..now looking for friends with micro adjustment callipers to measure mine
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by JAFO »

I would be interested to see the calculation for a C65, hand wound, as they had a noticeable thin bezel. I might do it myself,but the sport is currently an attractive proposition.

The other issue is the size of the movement, especially with a date wheel. If the case is too large, then you need a movement holder, and the date can need to be placed too far away from the index marker for comfort.
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by thomcat00 »

It’s an interesting metric to consider, and I suppose it’s part of what I judge with a watch without the benefit of actual numbers. I’m less diver, more dress in my tastes, though I don’t fully limit my exploration. In my head I’ve called this dimension “aperture” to differentiate the dial perception.
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Re: Dial size as a % of case size

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

@thomcat00 Aperture is a good analogy when you think of a camera shutter.
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