Squaring the circle
In watch- making, aesthetics and mechanics go hand in hand and the dial enhances this relationship with off- centre, symmetric, interlinked circles. A circle. Because, apart from a few successful exceptions, round is the traditional shape for watches. It is also the shape used for the dial, the face of a timepiece that characterises its design. Over the years, many manufacturers have tweaked the mechanics, adding extra information and also playing with how the hours and minutes are represented. And circles on the dial have been the perfect shape for highlighting these changes. In some cases they indicate a watch’s additional functions, as well as showing the hours, minutes and seconds: there are circles that feature a spectacular tourbillon or give the movement’s power reserve, the date or chronographic functions. Sometimes these are arranged all over the surface of the watch: the hours shown in a circle at the top, the seconds at the bottom, and minute hands in the middle. Even more complex versions introduce the concept of jumping hours ( shown by numbers that ‘ jump’ from one hour to the next inside a tiny circular window on the dial) and retrograde minutes, where once the minute hand reaches 60 it leaps back to its starting point. All inside a circle.