Subdial is a mini-dial located on the face of a watch. Subdial has different functions, such as tracking seconds, minutes, hours, moonphase, second-time zone, and a power reserve indicator. This article will write down several types of subdials that often appear on mechanical watches and their functions.

Chronograph Subdials

Type of Subdials on Mechanical Watches

Subdials are most often found on chronograph watches. In the most basic terms, a chronograph is a stopwatch. The wearer can activate the chronograph or stopwatch functions by pressing the pushers on either side of the watch.

A chronograph subdial is sometimes referred to as a “register” that keeps track of the total minutes and hours on the chronograph. Other subdials also measure seconds, up to 1/10th of a second, for better accuracy.

Subdials are intended to improve the overall readability of the measured elapsed time by breaking down seconds, minutes, and hours separately. By adding up the numbers you read on the subdials, you can calculate how much time has passed since you started the chronograph.

Power Reserve Indicator Subdial

Type of Subdials on Mechanical Watches

Mechanical watches certainly have a power reserve to save energy from the movement, and that power will run out if you don’t use the watch or place it on the watch winder. Each watch has a different amount of power reserve, so some watches feature a power reserve indicator on the dial.

This indicator is handy to keep you aware of how much power is left on your watch.

Read: How to Choose The Right Watch Strap for Your Look

GMT Subdial

Type of Subdials on Mechanical Watches

Popularized during the 1950s, when commercial air travel became a thriving mode of transportation, GMT watches allow you to track a second-time zone.

Usually, the second time zone is set and read via the rotating GMT bezel and the GMT hand. However, certain GMT watches also come with a subdial to indicate their second-time zone.

Moonphase Subdial

Type of Subdials on Mechanical Watches

The moon phase is a watch feature that relays the lunar cycle for 29.5 days by showing the current moon phase on the dial. It is also known as a moon phase complication, meaning any feature on a watch that is not directly related to the time display.

Unlike the other subdials in the list above that display numbers, the moon phase subdial displays a depiction of the moon through apertures or windows that track the moon’s phases, such as the new moon, crescent and full moon.

So, there are several types of subdials and their functions. Are you interested in any of these features? To find a watch that fits your needs as well as your style, visit the nearest The Time Place boutique.