How to Use Sub Dials on a Watch: Unlocking the Secrets of Timekeeping
Watches have come a long way since their inception, evolving from simple time-telling devices to complex horological masterpieces. One notable feature found on many timepieces is the presence of sub dials, which add functionality and aesthetic appeal to the watch face. In this article, we will explore how to use sub dials on a watch and discover five unique facts about these fascinating components.
1. Understanding the Basics
Sub dials, also known as “chronographs,” are small subsidiary dials found on the main watch face. They serve various purposes, such as measuring elapsed time, tracking seconds, displaying additional time zones, or offering calendar functions. To utilize these functions effectively, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the layout and functionality of the sub dials.
2. Using Chronograph Functions
Many watches feature sub dials with chronograph functions, allowing you to measure elapsed time. The main seconds hand is usually replaced by a central chronograph hand, while the sub dials display minutes, hours, and even fractions of a second. To start, stop, or reset the chronograph, use the accompanying pushers located on the side of the watch case.
3. Tracking Additional Time Zones
For frequent travelers or individuals working across different time zones, sub dials can be immensely useful. Some watches have sub dials that display a second time zone, typically indicated by a smaller hour hand on a 24-hour scale. Adjusting this hand allows you to keep track of time in a different location simultaneously.
4. Utilizing Calendar Functions
Certain watches incorporate sub dials to display calendar information, including the day of the week, date, or month. These sub dials often have dedicated pushers to adjust the respective functions. To set the day, date, or month, refer to the watch’s instruction manual for specific instructions, as the process may vary across different models.
5. Enhancing Aesthetic Appeal
Sub dials not only add functionality but also contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of a watch. They can be symmetrically placed around the main dial or asymmetrically positioned, depending on the design. Some watches even feature unique sub dial shapes, such as squares, hexagons, or other geometric patterns, adding a touch of artistic flair.
Now, let’s explore five unique facts about sub dials:
1. The Speedmaster Moonwatch:
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, famously worn by astronauts during the Apollo moon missions, features three sub dials. These sub dials measure hours, minutes, and seconds, making it an essential tool for astronauts in space.
2. The Flyback Chronograph:
Some watches equipped with a flyback chronograph function allow you to reset and restart the chronograph with a single push of a button. This feature is particularly handy for quick and continuous timing.
3. The Tachymeter:
A common sub dial found on chronograph watches is the tachymeter scale. It measures the speed of an object over a known distance. By starting the chronograph at a specific point and stopping it at the end, one can determine the speed based on the scale displayed on the tachymeter.
4. The Moon Phase Indicator:
Certain luxurious timepieces incorporate a sub dial that displays the current phase of the moon. This intricate feature adds a touch of elegance and fascination to the watch, appealing to collectors and enthusiasts alike.
5. The Regatta Timer:
Specialized sailing watches often include a regatta timer sub dial, which assists in timing the countdown before a sailing race begins. This feature allows sailors to precisely time their maneuvers and maximize their performance during races.
Answering Common Questions about Sub Dials:
1. How do I know which sub dial performs which function?
Refer to the watch’s instruction manual or contact the manufacturer for detailed information about the specific functions and corresponding sub dials.
2. Can I adjust the sub dials on any watch?
Not all watches allow adjustments to their sub dials. Some sub dials are purely decorative and serve no functional purpose. Check the watch’s specifications or consult the manufacturer to determine if the sub dials are adjustable.
3. Are all sub dials on a watch chronograph-related?
No, sub dials can serve various purposes, including tracking additional time zones, displaying calendar information, or even functioning as a moon phase indicator.
4. Do all watches with sub dials have pushers?
Not necessarily. While most chronographs have pushers to control the sub dials, other functions, such as tracking additional time zones or displaying calendar information, may not require additional pushers.
5. Can sub dials be customized on a watch?
In some cases, manufacturers offer limited customization options for sub dials, allowing you to choose different colors or materials. However, extensive customization may not be available for all watches.
6. Can I use the sub dials underwater?
The water resistance of a watch depends on its specifications. Submerging a watch with sub dials in water without proper water resistance can damage the internal components. Refer to the watch’s water resistance rating and guidelines before using it underwater.
7. How often should I service the sub dials?
Sub dials do not typically require separate servicing. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and lubrication during the watch’s recommended service intervals, should suffice.
8. Can I replace the sub dials on my watch?
Replacing sub dials is a complex task and requires professional expertise. It is recommended to consult an authorized service center or watchmaker for any dial replacement needs.
9. Do all chronograph watches have sub dials?
Yes, most chronograph watches feature sub dials to measure elapsed time. However, the number and arrangement of sub dials may vary across different models.
10. Can I use the sub dials simultaneously?
Yes, you can use multiple sub dials simultaneously, depending on the functions your watch offers. For example, you can track elapsed time on one sub dial, while using another to track a second time zone.
11. How do I read the information displayed on the sub dials?
The information displayed on sub dials varies depending on the watch’s functions. Refer to the instruction manual for detailed information on reading the specific sub dials on your watch.
12. What should I do if my sub dials are not working correctly?
In case of any issues with the sub dials, it is recommended to have your watch inspected and repaired by an authorized service center or qualified watchmaker.
13. Are sub dials only found on mechanical watches?
Sub dials can be found on both mechanical and quartz watches. The mechanism behind their operation may differ, but the functions offered by the sub dials remain the same.
14. Can I use the sub dials as a stopwatch?
Yes, the sub dials on a chronograph watch can be used as a stopwatch to measure elapsed time precisely. Start, stop, and reset functions are typically controlled using the pushers on the watch case.
In conclusion, sub dials on a watch offer a multitude of functions, from measuring elapsed time to tracking additional time zones and displaying calendar information. Understanding the layout and functionality of these sub dials enhances your overall watch-wearing experience. Whether you possess a chronograph watch or one equipped with other sub dial functions, exploring their features and utilizing them correctly will unlock the secrets of timekeeping on your wrist.