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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
PP 5070, Lange 1815, Longines Master, Vacheron Harmony, are all beautiful watches, BUT, the dials look unbalanced and somewhat off-putting to me because of the truncated dial numerals.
A minor point, perhaps, just wondering why a designer would choose partial numerals to other more aesthetic options.
On the other hand I am a fan of: Stowa1938 ( date ) ; Omega Speedmaster ; Longines Heritage ; and PP5004.
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I can live with truncated indices but when a designer sees fit to lop great chucks off Arabic numerals off it really grinds my gears.
 

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I'm not quite on the opposite side of the fence, but I think ALL the watches look great, and am not bothered even a little bit by trimmed numerals--in fact, I think the Lange & Sohne is the best of the bunch. Not sure why the Speedy is included, though, as it doesn't have numerals to begin with...
 

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This is only a "mild" annoyance to my watch OCD, so I can live with it most of the time.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not quite on the opposite side of the fence, but I think ALL the watches look great, and am not bothered even a little bit by trimmed numerals--in fact, I think the Lange & Sohne is the best of the bunch. Not sure why the Speedy is included, though, as it doesn't have numerals to begin with...
Fair point ,I should probably have said, indices rather than numerals.
I think it is an example, in my mind ,of a balanced chrono dial.
 

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You missed the king of cut off arabics. I personally don’t like it either.



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The Stowa whilst very clean looking looks clinical in comparison to the other watches where the cut numerals adds some character, but I can understand why it may irk some people.
I think they all look good, the VC being my pick of the bunch.
 

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That's why the Speedmaster Professional and those that copy it's dial layout are elegant while many high prices chronos look awful. It may be a Patek but that 5070 is a mess. The only other chrono I own is my Seiko Sports 100 Moonphase from the 80's. A nearly perfectly designed dial IMO:
 

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I am sure many man hours and much expertise were devoted to this problem when the subdial design was first introduced.

I'd like to know WHY this was done at all, when it obviously could have been avoided, and sometimes IS avoided with ease.

Does anyone know?
 

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Interesting discussion thread!

I have to defend the "designer" in some cases. One time, one of my design managers was convinced by a sales manager that these overlapping dials are just part of the classic look of chronographs, and that it's accepted that these subdials can cut into other parts of the dial or indices. I never liked the "chopped" look either myself. But in this case, even as the individual designer, I would have been overruled by the managers. So it is not always a case of [designer wanted watch to look like this] -> [watch ends up exactly like designer's vision]. Of course, hearing design feedback is all part of the development process, and usually produces a better design ultimately.
 

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Was the overlapping subdials an unavoidable feature in the beginning that became a "tradition" with time?

After all, a lot of what is accepted as tradition got started as some necessity-turned-into-virtue, and later solidified as sacred.

overlapping dials are just part of the classic look of chronographs, and that it's accepted ...
 

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Overlapping dials I don't mind, providing that numbers are either shown, or not, but not cut off. This was a main reason for choosing between two longines chronos recently, the more popular traditional model had chopped (Arabic) numerals that I really didn't like.
 

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This Hamilton is nearly perfect as far the dial layout. I love that they designed the bottom sub dial to be smaller so as not to interfere with the numeral 6. Three & nine have markers. A well designed balance.
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I’m in complete agreement. I hate when the Arabic numeral is cut off. Which is why I prefer batons or something else. Even if those get cut off, it doesn’t bother nearly at all.
 

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I am sure many man hours and much expertise were devoted to this problem when the subdial design was first introduced.

I'd like to know WHY this was done at all, when it obviously could have been avoided, and sometimes IS avoided with ease.

Does anyone know?
I am sure many man hours and much expertise were devoted to this problem when the subdial design was first introduced.

I'd like to know WHY this was done at all, when it obviously could have been avoided, and sometimes IS avoided with ease.

Does anyone know?
:unsure: Something for the wags to whine about on watch forums in future years.
 

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Have we somehow forgotten what number goes where on a dial? There are not a lot of options on a Chrono if the maker uses arabic numerals. For some it is actually a design choice even as opposed to a necessity. The other option is just to eliminate those numerals at the markers where the sub-dials are ...





 

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In principle I agree. I also don't like date windows at 4.30pm.

And yet I recently bought this 1997 Zenith El Primero Chronomaster, full kit. As you can see the subdials shave a little bit off from the 2 and 10.

At 38mm you'd think that so much detail would be overwhelming. It's not. I love how it pulls off the finely printed detail on its enamel dial to a level comparable to the Breitling Navitimers of a similar period. The folks who designed this dial - J. Borges Freitas of Portugal - knew what they were doing.
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