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Chronograph Subdial LAYOUT

  • 3 -- 6 -- 9 (Valjoux 7753 standard)

    Votes: 65 61.9%
  • 6 -- 9 -- 12 (Valjoux 7750 standard)

    Votes: 25 23.8%
  • 12 -- 3 -- 9

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • 12 -- 3 -- 6

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3 -- 9

    Votes: 25 23.8%
  • 12 -- 6

    Votes: 1 1.0%
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

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I prefer two subdial chronos. Maybe an itty-bitty third for a “small seconds”, but two, as big as you can get them in the space, is good. My personal layout preference would be a 30 min subdial, an hours subdial, and the seconds around the edge of the dial can be marked off in fraction second increments.
 

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Gonna say it: I really like the dial layouts on some of the Timex Waterbury chronos. Clean, legible, pretty much hits all my criteria.

I’ve never liked the Timex “tick” though. I do have a Timex I love, but the movement in it is Seiko solar quartz.
 

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That does assume that when the minute hand broaches the top of the running seconds subdial at 9 that it's thin enough always to allow a clear view of the second had as it reaches the top of the dial, and the chronograph is for some reason not being used for fine timing.

FWIW both 3-6-9 and 6-9-12 variants of the ETA/Valjoux 775x family (now ETA A05 family) have running seconds subdials at 9.
Thin hands are an absolute must for chrono legibility. I’ve seen some that at first glance are nice looking watches, but then notice the fat hands that will do a lot of subdial blocking.
 

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Probably the worst chronograph on the market as far as blockage is concerned is IWC's new Pilot Chronograph. Super fat hands and a chrono second hand's counterweight that ALWAYS blocks the upper portion of the constant second hand. I have one.
While I’ve seen even worse offenders, that is a model I specifically had in mind when posting. Terrific looking watch that mimics instrumentation, but those same features aren’t doing any favors for the chrono, which seems like an added afterthought on the design.

I think you have to design a watch for the chrono, you can’t just add chrono to a nice design.
 

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I got my first chrono recently: a very attractive Citizen on a ridiculously low price Ashford flash sale. It’s a favorite from an appearance standpoint. It also got my brain going down the rabbit hole of design and legibility. My Citizen has lots of domed-crystal distortion, and shadow and contrast issues which impact legibility even for my 20/20 eyesight. (Though I know I’m getting close to reading glasses day…)

Since getting this watch, I’ve thought a lot about chrono usability and legibility.
 

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While I’ve seen even worse offenders, that is a model I specifically had in mind when posting. Terrific looking watch that mimics instrumentation, but those same features aren’t doing any favors for the chrono, which seems like an added afterthought on the design.

I think you have to design a watch for the chrono, you can’t just add chrono to a nice design.
This is a particularly egregious example. Those hands are thicc.
Watch Brown Analog watch Rectangle Clock
 

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Not knocking quartz chronos in general, most autochronos are expensive to service, delicate, and THICC, so I get the appeal. What I'm knocking is unreadable 60-minute counters, and pointless 24-hour indicators. Citizen is just as guilty on that front. A chronograph isn't much use if the minute counter is so tiny that I can't tell the difference between 7 or 8 minutes. Seiko can make a constant force tourbillon, but they can't make a quartz chrono movement that can count more than one hour? What sense does that make?

I'd take a Zodiac Grandrally over anything VK based just on account of the fact that I can actually read what it says.

I too tire of unreadable 60 minute counters. My Citizen, as attractive as it is, is a primary offender, but an unscientific survey of browsing seems like most chronos use 60 min subdials. I wonder why?
Here's a particularly bad example. Not only is the subdial 60 minute, but it doesn't even have individual marks. You just get to interpolate in between the 10 minute indices. Was that 4 min? 5? Maybe 6? Who knows? It won't matter until we get to 10!

Watch Brown Analog watch Clock Watch accessory
 
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