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Thread: Watch legibility - another consideration

  1. #1
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    Watch legibility - another consideration

    To my mind, a watch is no use if you can't use it to tell the time: By day. By night -and, I now realise... (and if you use them) without needing to put on your reading glasses (such as, out on a dog walk, or just waking etc !)

    So, here's my starter for 10. If you need reading glasses, is your watch readable without them?



    The answer here is 'yes'!

    Anyone care to post wrong-focus legibility brand comparisons?

  2. #2
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    I know I can't read the date on my sea dweller anymore without moving my wrist a lot further away than I used too!!!!

  3. #3
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    Yes,any that donít allow easy reading are moved on.

  4. #4
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    I find analogue dials easier to read than digitals, that's why I don't wear my Gshock. DJ41 aside, dates aren't easy to read anymore but I can read most dials without glasses. Even if the picture is a bit fuzzy I can figure out where the hands are pointing.

  5. #5
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    I gave up on dates long ago, even with a cyclops - I have a pal who doesn't even bother setting the date on his sub anymore, because it's pointless!

  6. #6
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    I donít need my glasses for the Seawolf
    IMG_0021.JPG



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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogDen View Post
    I donít need my glasses for the Seawolf
    IMG_0021.JPG



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    👍

  8. #8
    At 52, totally agree! Iím also considering dumping digitals as I now find them a bit tiresome to read. On the current Tudor release thread people are banging on about the new white dialled chrono and its legibility is terrible imho! - you canít beat a nice clean dial, I love watches for their design and imho if they are not instantly legible, theyíre poorly designed!


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  9. #9
    Craftsman Pupp's Avatar
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    Z-blue Milgauss - fantastic in sunlight; unreadable in an artificially lit bar!


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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    I gave up on dates long ago, even with a cyclops - I have a pal who doesn't even bother setting the date on his sub anymore, because it's pointless!
    I hate knowing that the date is wrong even though I can't read it. So many watches seem to squeeze in an unreadable small date (for my eyes) spoiling what would otherwise be a lovely clear dial. A cyclops is not the answer for me, as for me they are even worse than a small date I can't read. On the fairly rare occasion I have forgotten the date and actually need it for something, I don't mind taking out my phone with its large display to check (with the added bonus it reminds me of the day ...).

  11. #11
    Master Kaffe's Avatar
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    I think there are two issues that affect the legibility of a watch. The ease of time reading and the ease of day/date reading. I find it difficult to read the day/date without my glasses but have no problem if there is a cyclops with decent magnification. Examples would be my Submariner and Seiko Monster.





    The problem with the cyclops is that it obscures the dial so if the hands are near to or under the cyclops, it takes more than a quick glance to see their position. A date function is very useful for me so I am happy for the compromise. With regards to the legibility of the dial, I find that large hands and small hour markers are the best. Good contrast is important. So a black dial and white hands are best. Large hour markers/numbers distract the eye from the position of the hands. An example of this would be my Citizen.



    When I glance at the watch, the first thing I see is the 3,6,9,12. Then I see the hands. I donít see the point of the large numbers as you kind of know where they will be anyway. Itís the hands you want to see first. Sword hands are my favourite for this. Like the Omega 2254.50.



    However an exception would be my Sinn 104. I think the A/R coating comes into play here.



    The lume helps a lot here though. Unfortunately reading the date on either of these is difficult without glasses. I must say I find day/dates more legible if they are white with a black background. For my old eyes anyway. I suppose the simple answer would be to make the day/date window much larger. Iím not sure I would like the look. Itís a bit like the telephones with large buttons you get for people with poor eyesight. Extremely practical but would remind me of my age every time I looked at it. 

    For me, the most legible watch I have is the Steinhart OVM. No day/date to squint at. White lume would be better perhaps.



    Legibility is only a small factor when I am considering a watch. For the time being anyway!

    Just my meandering thoughts.

  12. #12
    One of my favourites for legibility - 39mm Fortis Official Cosmonaut diver - double sided AR coating and superb contrast between the hands and dial.




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  13. #13
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    Some lovely legible dials/hands.

    I was hoping for some deliberately mis-focussed pics as a visual simulation to compare 'without-specs readability'.

    Such as this:



    (A CWC dive watch)

  14. #14
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    I think a lot of chronos suffer with this, stuff like the Zenith El Primero tri colour looks superb and I love them but they arenít so easy to read compared to say a moonwatch.

  15. #15
    Master Kaffe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    Some lovely legible dials/hands.

    I was hoping for some deliberately mis-focussed pics as a visual simulation to compare 'without-specs readability'.

    Such as this:



    (A CWC dive watch)
    Then take your glasses off! :D

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaffe View Post
    Then take your glasses off! :D
    :D

    As soon as I do, Rolex minute hands, for example, just cease to be 'leap-out-obvious' - an aspect which mirrors real life and just doesn't come across in a 'proper' photos

  17. #17
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    Legibility is important. And as old age creeps on and I start to forget what month and day it is (let alone date) - I plan to keep this one with me into my senior years. Somehow the applied gold catches the available light so it's visible even in low light conditions.



    white on black though with full lume is the obvious choice:

    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 23rd April 2021 at 13:32.

  18. #18
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    I just don't think HD pics with optimal light angles tell the whole long-sighted legibility story.

    Eg, an old watch of mine with sub-optimal lighting, with and without specs:




  19. #19
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    Yema maxi dial
    (Found an online blurring tool!)

    To my eye, minute and hour hands almost indistinct and impossible to tell which is which




  20. #20
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    Frankly, for those who use reading glasses, pretty much any chrono's registers are nigh on impossible to read without them. I think the classic Speedmaster is about as good as it gets in that regard, which is why I think it's a great aviation watch let alone a space watch.

    A high contrast dial/hands combo is usually best for legibility, but good polishing on watch hands can be really useful. I've got some watches with detailed dials whose legibility is saved by polished hands.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shubs View Post
    Frankly, for those who use reading glasses, pretty much any chrono's registers are nigh on impossible to read without them. I think the classic Speedmaster is about as good as it gets in that regard, which is why I think it's a great aviation watch let alone a space watch.

    A high contrast dial/hands combo is usually best for legibility, but good polishing on watch hands can be really useful. I've got some watches with detailed dials whose legibility is saved by polished hands.
    I agree on chronos - any 'busy' watch in fact, And also agree on Speedmasters bucking that trend. Point taken on polish/reflection, but that's 'off/on' depending on light.

    I think a lot of watches simply have hands that have insufficient visual mass.

  22. #22
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    I love full-lume white dials but at 4am the hands are lost unless they are VERY bold


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  23. #23
    Craftsman Wandril's Avatar
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    Good thread and very valid point to my eyes! (pun unintended)

    I've been developing quite a bit of interest for watches with good legibility in all conditions in the past few years, even if I still have fairly young eyes...


    In that regard, offers from sinn usually, or the omega speedmaster for example, are great examples of high legibility, and definitely my type of watch
    Good lume, hands easy to differentiate, and dial orientation easily recognizable, all that on a high contrasting dial, is my usual set of criterias when I'm selecting my potential next watch

    That being said, my recent latest acquisition is I think great for that, namely the tudor bb58.
    The massive snowflake hand and long minute hand are helping quite a lot

    I think you can't go wrong with a well made no date diver, I tried to take a picture showing that:
    Last edited by Wandril; 23rd April 2021 at 19:48.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandril View Post
    Good thread and very valid point to my eyes! (pun unintended)

    I've been developing quite a bit of interest for watches with good legibility in all conditions in the past few years, even if I still have fairly young eyes...


    In that regard, offers from sinn usually, or the omega speedmaster for example, are great examples of high legibility, and definitely my type of watch
    Good lume, hands easy to differentiate, and dial orientation easily recognizable, all that on a high contrasting dial, is my usual set of criterias when I'm selecting my potential next watch

    That being said, my recent latest acquisition is I think great for that, namely the tudor bb58.
    The massive snowflake hand and long minute hand are helping quite a lot

    I think you can't go wrong with a well made no date diver, I tried to take a picture showing that:

    Perfect post and pic!! :)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandril View Post
    Good lume, hands easy to differentiate, and dial orientation easily recognizable, all that on a high contrasting dial, is my usual set of criterias when I'm selecting my potential next watch

    That being said, my recent latest acquisition is I think great for that, namely the tudor bb58.
    The massive snowflake hand and long minute hand are helping quite a lot

    I think you can't go wrong with a well made no date diver, I tried to take a picture showing that:
    Just thinking on (it's my birthday and I'm prosecco-slowed!)
    That pic, and your points are precisely the point I'm trying to make
    As you say, as well as hand-visual-mass, vertical orientation is vital.
    (And great vertical orientation in that Tudor dial from the markers at 9, 12 and 3. )
    Last edited by Brauner Hund; 23rd April 2021 at 21:23.

  26. #26
    Craftsman Wandril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    Just thinking on (it's my birthday and I'm prosecco-slowed!)
    That pic, and your points are precisely the point I'm trying to make
    As you say, as well as hand-visual-mass, vertical orientation is vital.
    (And great vertical orientation in that Tudor dial from the markers at 9, 12 and 3. )
    Haha happy birthday mate!

    Yes, the tudor is quite good in all that, and even if I know snowflake hands are not for everyone, I think that's one of the most legible handset in the industry at the moment

  27. #27
    I remember in my Panerai owning days - back when they were worn by every Hollywood actor, Stallone etc - watching a tv interview with the actor Richard ĎI donít believe ití Wilson - who was wearing a 44mm luminor and it struck me as the perfect watch for an older man who wants an easily read watch! Felicity Kendall also wears a large Panerai, makes more sense than one of those stupid little ladies datejusts, about a centimetre across the dial with gold hands on a champagne dial, whatís that all about??!!


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  28. #28
    This mornings blurred timekeeping view!


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  29. #29
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Fortunately my eyes still work (well my one good eye does at least)
    This watch is not as legible as I thought it would be, either sober or with tired and emotional eyes.

  30. #30

    Watch legibility - another consideration

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post


    Fortunately my eyes still work (well my one good eye does at least)
    This watch is not as legible as I thought it would be, either sober or with tired and emotional eyes.
    My initial thought when I saw these was Ďthat dial would give me a migraineí (and I donít get migraines!) - then having seen a few in the forum Iíve thought Ďthey actually look amazing, I want oneí but that photo has put me firmly back in the migraine camp and probably saved me upwards of £1k!


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  31. #31
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    These photos are excellent - they tell a new truth!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    My initial thought when I saw these was Ďthat dial would give me a migraineí (and I donít get migraines!) - then having seen a few in the forum Iíve thought Ďthey actually look amazing, I want oneí but that photo has put me firmly back in the migraine camp and probably saved me upwards of £1k!
    Ha! Itís a cracking watch for the money to tell the truth. Itís been on my wrist pretty constantly since it arrived and they does not happen often.

  33. #33
    Craftsman Wandril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    I remember in my Panerai owning days - back when they were worn by every Hollywood actor, Stallone etc - watching a tv interview with the actor Richard ĎI donít believe ití Wilson - who was wearing a 44mm luminor and it struck me as the perfect watch for an older man who wants an easily read watch! Felicity Kendall also wears a large Panerai, makes more sense than one of those stupid little ladies datejusts, about a centimetre across the dial with gold hands on a champagne dial, whatís that all about??!!


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    I think it's Hugh Grant as well who said he is a Panerai man as his eyesight is poor and he therefore needs a very legible watch.

    I'd fancy a panerai for that reason, but I find it hard to justify the price for a quite simple 2 or 3 hander, no matter how good it looks

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandril View Post
    I think it's Hugh Grant as well who said he is a Panerai man as his eyesight is poor and he therefore needs a very legible watch.

    I'd fancy a panerai for that reason, but I find it hard to justify the price for a quite simple 2 or 3 hander, no matter how good it looks
    They strike me, although big, as having fairly fine hands and fine markings, so I'm a little on the doubtful side that they would provide great legibility.

    - it'd be great to see a mis-focussed pic of one to assess that.

    ...meanwhile, Felicity Kendal is now stuck in my mind 😍

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    They strike me, although big, as having fairly fine hands and fine markings, so I'm a little on the doubtful side that they would provide great legibility.

    - it'd be great to see a mis-focussed pic of one to assess that.

    ...meanwhile, Felicity Kendal is now stuck in my mind ūüėć
    Not a bad lady to obsess over imho! - and I can assure you it is possible to read a 44mm Panerai from across a room, neither the markers or hands are Ďfine markingsí at all!


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Not a bad lady to obsess over imho! - and I can assure you it is possible to read a 44mm Panerai from across a room, neither the markers or hands are Ďfine markingsí at all!


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    😂👍

  37. #37
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    (Do my emojis garble? That was a laugh and a thumbs up)

    Anyway.. I think you may have hit on a part 2, to the 'real' legibility test:

    1: mis-focussed pic
    2: pic at >6ft away.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    (Do my emojis garble? That was a laugh and a thumbs up)

    Anyway.. I think you may have hit on a part 2, to the 'real' legibility test:

    1: mis-focussed pic
    2: pic at >6ft away.

    Ah.. maybe not, the >6ft works in real-life, but not a photo.

    (Was trying optimal light, sub-optimal light and 6ft)


  39. #39
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    If you have a 6ft long arm legibility will always be a problem

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    If you have a 6ft long arm legibility will always be a problem
    :D good legibility assessment/comparator though!

  41. #41
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    Legibility is a critical factor for me - not just because of eyesight, but because I just can't live with a watch that isn't good at its one - pretty-simple - job.

    As soon as you start looking at watches with legibility in-mind, you start noticing bad design everywhere - especially with more complex dials, notably chronographs, where all too often not enough consideration is given to contrast and chrono-function specific colours for hands, for example.

    I suppose the creeping-acceptance of watches-as-jewellery has meant that aesthetics are now more important than functionality for the majority of designs.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    Legibility is a critical factor for me - not just because of eyesight, but because I just can't live with a watch that isn't good at its one - pretty-simple - job.

    As soon as you start looking at watches with legibility in-mind, you start noticing bad design everywhere - especially with more complex dials, notably chronographs, where all too often not enough consideration is given to contrast and chrono-function specific colours for hands, for example.

    I suppose the creeping-acceptance of watches-as-jewellery has meant that aesthetics are now more important than functionality for the majority of designs.
    Couldn't agree more. A watch really does have to do only one thing!

    The watch that epitomises the loss of understanding over legibility is the Yema maxi I pictured below.... Big maxi dial dots, but spindle hands... if anything the design requirement should be exactly reversed: Indices actually matter less than hands - it's the hands that deliver the watch's one function: time.

    (And look at my old 16710 further down - the minute hand is barely fit for purpose in anything less than good light)

    I'm finding these mis-focussed pics very interesting, I hope more are posted.
    Last edited by Brauner Hund; 24th April 2021 at 16:37.

  43. #43
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    Not as good as real misfocussed photos, but still interesting.









  44. #44
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    Watch legibility - another consideration

    I have been fortunate to find the answer recently: Rather than buy another watch for my collection I spent the money getting lens replacements....and now i am back to my youth with no glasses at all for anything....and i can read them all just fine! Miracle operation and one month in i am rediscovering watches that i had put away because i simply could not read them easily.

    Voila, problem solved, the only limitation now is the depth of my pockets.
    Last edited by Rich; 24th April 2021 at 17:56.

  45. #45
    Master Caruso's Avatar
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    High contrast dial and hands, hour hand much shorter than minute hand, coloured seconds hand and lume that lasts all night.



    I give you the Marathon Navigator

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caruso View Post
    High contrast dial and hands, hour hand much shorter than minute hand, coloured seconds hand and lume that lasts all night.



    I give you the Marathon Navigator
    Good pic. Far more legible than I would have assumed 👍

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    Good pic. Far more legible than I would have assumed 
    Thanks, it's blur of the original to represent how it looks without my +2 reading glasses on.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caruso View Post
    Thanks, it's blur of the original to represent how it looks without my +2 reading glasses on.
    👍

  49. #49
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    This thread has been a littoral eye-opener for me

    Just never thought about watch selection in this way, which is just stupid given my slowly worsening eyesight

    Coloured and fancy dials really don't help and the cyclops might just actually earn its keep

    Might have to buy a speedie back given its pretty legible vs most
    Last edited by Kidsteruk; 24th April 2021 at 23:03.

  50. #50
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Already mentioned, but it really doesn't get much better than a 2254.

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