Know Your Watch Dials And Their Markers From Roman, Arabic, Stick, California

Watch Dials

Watch dials are the outward world facing expression of the timepiece you have converted and worked hard to afford so it’s only right that it reflects your passion for craftsmanship and style. With so many different styles available it’s always a difficult decision to make but here are a couple dial options that you will come across and may not be 100% sure what they mean.

Arabic Markers or Arabic Index

The Arabic markers were something of a mystery to me when I first heard the term, but if you look back at the history books you will start to understand that the western form of counting numbers has its basis in Arabic mathematics. So, this means the well know and common way of expressing numbers from 1 thru 9 and beyond is in fact described as Arabic markers on watch dials.

Take a look at the images below and you will see what I mean. In fact, the most unusual dial markings to my mind are the California markers that are an interesting mix of Arabic, Stick and Roman markers.


Luminous Markings

Most watches have ‘glow-in-the dark’ hands and hour markers. This luminescence has been with us for many years and materials have evolved over the years. The original luminescence from the1950s was Radium which as you can probably guess is radioactive so it was thankfully replaced with Tritium with much lower levels of radiotoxicity. The telltale sign of which materials are being used was the letter ‘T’ or ‘R’ printed on the dial…..


Modern materials are safer and recently a new substance named Super- LumiNova®, with no radioactive properties and three times brighter than Tritium has become popular.


Luminova and SuperLuminova are brand names of the Japanese company Nemoto & Co based on a compound called strontium aluminate mixed with a resin binder. Together they create a luminous compound that is safe, bright and long lasting.

luminova compounds


Guilloche Face

Guilloché is a French word to describe the ornamentation resembling braided or interlaced ribbons. The technique is used as a decorative technique on watch dials where the pattern is mechanically engraved in precisely, intricately, and repetitively into an underlying material using a machine of the same name.


Tapisserie Dial

The tapisserie or tapestry dial in English is a way to describe dial ornamentation that is carved into the dial of the watch as you can see below. The production of the tapisserie using a machine similar to a key cutting machine that traces a pattern template onto a dial blank is not a simple process.


It is difficult to appreciate the work that goes into producing a dial of this quality, so I have found a wonderful video that really hammers this idea home. Hope you enjoy.

Read My Best Discount Watch Stores Reviews

Was this useful or interesting to you? If you like it, please share it with your friends or anyone you think will benefit from this information. If you don’t like it or think it’s missing something I invite you to leave me your comments explaining what I’m doing wrong.

I look forward to hearing all your comments and thoughts.

carl scutt
carl scutt
Carl's the founder and editor of His background's in Technology and Internet Marketing. He currently lives in southern Spain. Learn more about him here, and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.