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Thread: Watch legibility - another consideration

  1. #51
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    Iíve owned dozens of watches and looked at a lot more. Iíve found no watch can compare to the legibility of the Speedmaster, especially when Iím without my reading glasses and everything within arms length is a blur. Itís one of the reasons Iím now a one-watch guy. I donít see the point of a getting a new watch (or keeping old ones - my Seiko divers were gifted to my sons) if I need to put on my glasses to quickly/accurately tell the time. Itís turned out to be quite the money saver. 

    This of course doesnít apply to all Speedmasters either. Panda dials are out, e.g. as much as I love the ST1, the disappearing hands over the sub dials is a no-go for me.

    Iíve also found that white on black is better for me. My buddy has a white dialed Damasko that I thought would be super legible when blurry, but itís nowhere near as good as the Speedmaster.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    Already mentioned, but it really doesn't get much better than a 2254.

    Great pic.
    I think all descendants of the original SM300's design style are going to do well for legibility

    (And I'm always a little perplexed that Omega , having hit an unmatched legibility zenith, then skeletonised the hands on subsequent models - taking away their visual mass.)

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kidsteruk View Post
    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
    Good to hear 👍

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanV View Post
    Iíve owned dozens of watches and looked at a lot more. Iíve found no watch can compare to the legibility of the Speedmaster, especially when Iím without my reading glasses and everything within arms length is a blur. Itís one of the reasons Iím now a one-watch guy. I donít see the point of a getting a new watch (or keeping old ones - my Seiko divers were gifted to my sons) if I need to put on my glasses to quickly/accurately tell the time. Itís turned out to be quite the money saver. 

    This of course doesnít apply to all Speedmasters either. Panda dials are out, e.g. as much as I love the ST1, the disappearing hands over the sub dials is a no-go for me.

    Iíve also found that white on black is better for me. My buddy has a white dialed Damasko that I thought would be super legible when blurry, but itís nowhere near as good as the Speedmaster.
    I've always been quite one-watch, but always on the hunt for the perfect one; and my new description of perfect includes this legibility at all times and without reading specs aspect! :D

    Never owned a Speedmaster, but as you say, black dialled versions have always struck me as readable - and the pandas as visual noise. I'm not sure why the Speedy works, I think the hands must have more visual mass than they 'appear' to have - I wonder if their length gives a visual impression of slenderness, but they're actually quite fat? They definitely work, though, and are a case-study illustrating how - to actually tell the time - hands are more important than indices

  5. #55
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    I like this thread. I absolutely agree that a watch has a sole purpose to tell the time and if I can’t see it well, it goes. I’ve just sold my GW-5000 purely because I couldn’t see it all that well, especially the date. I was sad to sell it but hey-ho.
    Tried the latest Citizen ‘Ray Mears’ as everyone says its super legible but the hands are small in comparison to the numbers. I also found when the hands hovered over the numbers I struggled to read a difference between the hour and minute hand.
    The most disappointing for me was the latest Seiko ‘Willard’. On the face of it great legibility but when the sun shone on the polished hands they disappeared leaving only a thin lumed strip. Any reflections on the hands and they vanished into the black dial. I felt like I was reading the time with just the narrow lume, shame because it has a lovely handset. Sorry I haven’t a photo as it’s long gone, I’m surprised no one has ever mentioned it because it annoyed the hell out of me. So I’m afraid polished hands are a no from me.
    Last edited by oiljam; 25th April 2021 at 07:22.

  6. #56
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    Afterthought on Speedy: are the hands brilliant gloss white at the edges, or polished?

    Looking at the pic below- the answer looks to be brilliant gloss white.

    Could that feature be the 'unlock' of visual mass?

    (There's a Steinhart McQueen watch that, in photos, always strikes me as surprisingly legible - I think that has brilliant gloss white hand edges too. I'll have a look later)

  7. #57
    Granted some watches have cleaner/clearer designs than others but a watch doesn't have a design fault or is "a failure of its sole purpose to tell time" if the wearer's eyesight has deteriorated! The issue lies with the wearer.

    Put your glasses on, or get a pair of glasses, and you can wear any watch you like.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dent99 View Post
    Granted some watches have cleaner/clearer designs than others but a watch doesn't have a design fault or is "a failure of its sole purpose to tell time" if the wearer's eyesight has deteriorated! The issue lies with the wearer.

    Put your glasses on, or get a pair of glasses, and you can wear any watch you like.

    To tell the time you need:

    A: Legible wristwatch
    B: Glasses + not legible wristwatch


    My favorite option is A.

  9. #59
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    Iíd agree on the 2254.50 and Speedie as being super legible . Purchased a Certina PH500 from this forum and is again super legible . I think the main reason is long baton and or sword hands . The Orange Monster from Seiko would pass the test as well except for the very short hour marker. At times Iíve found it difficult to tell if itís 04:00 or 05:00am ( occasionally cursed with waking up for no apparent reason )
    I had a lovely El primers c shape case watch which i ultimately sold as it was silver on silver . Iíve decided that silver on silver or gold on gold is also a non starter for me

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Dent99 View Post
    Granted some watches have cleaner/clearer designs than others but a watch doesn't have a design fault or is "a failure of its sole purpose to tell time" if the wearer's eyesight has deteriorated! The issue lies with the wearer.

    Put your glasses on, or get a pair of glasses, and you can wear any watch you like.
    Agree entirely
    Much fuss about a non issue

  11. #61
    Iím certain any watch that is easier to read without your glasses will also be easier to read Ďat a glanceí with perfect vision - stands to reason


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  12. #62
    Legibility seems to be something longines struggle with. I had a hydroconquest chrono which looked great but had to go because it took 30seconds to work out where each hand was on an otherwise busy dial. My legend diver is fine until you get it in certain light, and the hands just disappear into the dial - there isnít enough lume to keep them distinctive once it gets dark (even in terms of white against the black dial, as opposed to it glowing).

  13. #63
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    Iím short sighted and I will now campaign for train stations and church towers to make their clocks more visible.

    In fact I refuse to move somewhere where the local clocktower isnít sufficiently clear as I donít like putting my driving glasses on to read the time.

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Iím certain any watch that is easier to read without your glasses will also be easier to read Ďat a glanceí with perfect vision - stands to reason


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    100%

  15. #65
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    This is an odd place. A bunch of chaps say they're interested in watch legibility, then another bunch, rather than add-value, feel they have to decry the thread. Boring negativity. I know the 'haters gonna hate' thing is a sad part of social media, but why just post negativity? Go and post something positive in a thread that does chime with you. And try smiling.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt View Post
    To tell the time you need:

    A: Legible wristwatch
    B: Glasses + not legible wristwatch


    My favorite option is A.
    Spot on.

    Returning to the Speedy and the effect of brilliant white on hand legibility

    My old 2231.5 and a pal's speedy:




  17. #67
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    Inspired by this thread I thought I would do a bit of experimenting.
    First off I thought I would check which of the CWCs are most legible in anticipation of getting old





    SBS for the win in this case although...


    Honourable mention to the 89 Issued Precista

  18. #68
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    Next a coupe of divers watches that I think are legible








    All are pretty good but the U1 is the winner for me

  19. #69
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    Watch legibility - another consideration

    Some Chronographs next






    The contrast between the 2 903s is interesting
    Not only does a 24hr dial make it more difficult to tell the time at a glance but the white subdials make it even more difficult. The all black version above is much easier to read

    Sorry for the multiple posts Tapatalk is playing up.
    Last edited by Sinnlover; 25th April 2021 at 11:49.

  20. #70
    Iíve had a U1 and would agree they are really legible, even the date window. I imagine e the UX would be even better due to the oil fill but Iíve never had one. I am finding digital G shocks a bit of a struggle - funnily enough the cheaper Casio non Gís often have larger digits and clearer displays - itís almost as if the cheaper you go, the better they display the time!


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  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Some Chronographs next






    The contrast between the 2 903s is interesting
    Not only does a 24hr dial make it more difficult to tell the time at a glance but the white sundials make it even more difficult. The all black version above is much easier to read

    Sorry for the multiple posts Tapatalk is playing up.
    Quite a few very nice pieces I must say!

    Unsurprisingly, the best watches for the best legibility are most of the time divers and military issued watches or at least military inspired watches, where the function comes before the form.

    I will take some blurry pictures of some of mine today

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Inspired by this thread I thought I would do a bit of experimenting.
    First off I thought I would check which of the CWCs are most legible in anticipation of getting old





    SBS for the win in this case although...


    Honourable mention to the 89 Issued Precista
    Great pics!

    CWC-wise, I'd have put 2nd from top as the win (an 83?) I think the narrow minute hand on the SBS challenges it a wee bit. (Is the 80 dark vintage? with its bigger dial, I'd have expectedit to win)

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Next a coupe of divers watches that I think are legible








    All are pretty good but the U1 is the winner for me
    More great pics - and the chronos! 😊👍

  24. #74
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    My current number 1 watch -



    And a focussed pic. One of the reasons I love it so much is its legibility in low light.


  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qatar-wol View Post
    My current number 1 watch -



    And a focussed pic. One of the reasons I love it so much is its legibility in low light.

    Brilliant white hand edges seem to be a consistent winning legibility factor!

  26. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    Afterthought on Speedy: are the hands brilliant gloss white at the edges, or polished?

    Looking at the pic below- the answer looks to be brilliant gloss white.

    Could that feature be the 'unlock' of visual mass?

    (There's a Steinhart McQueen watch that, in photos, always strikes me as surprisingly legible - I think that has brilliant gloss white hand edges too. I'll have a look later)
    I thinks thatís the key for the Speedmaster. The hands are painted white (not bare metal like most other watches). That provides a solid mass to draw your attention, not a competing visual between metal and white lume. And as some have said, metal hands can Ďdisappearí in sunlight, so all youíre left with is the strip of lume. With the Speedmaster itís one homogenous strip of white.

  27. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanV View Post
    I thinks that’s the key for the Speedmaster. The hands are painted white (not bare metal like most other watches). That provides a solid mass to draw your attention, not a competing visual between metal and white lume. And as some have said, metal hands can ‘disappear’ in sunlight, so all you’re left with is the strip of lume. With the Speedmaster it’s one homogenous strip of white.


    I think that's exactly it.

    Scurfa popped into my mind as a brand offering the same dial, with hands in either brilliant white or polished.

    Pretty clear (pun!) outcome and tangible difference to speed of 'at a glance' legibility

    Last edited by Brauner Hund; 25th April 2021 at 15:56.

  28. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brauner Hund View Post
    I think that's exactly it.

    Scurfa popped into my mind as a brand offering the same dial, with hands in either brilliant white or polished.

    Pretty clear (pun!) outcome and tangible difference to speed of 'at a glance' legibility

    Thatís a perfect example.

    Last comment on the Speedmaster...

    Years ago on this forum someone said they bought or gave a Speedmaster to their father (who seemed to be well past middle age) but were worried that the gift would fall flat because of the thin hands and busy dial which would jeopardize legibility. Turns out his father loved it and wore it often specifically because of HOW legible it was.

  29. #79
    I may have taken this legibility criteria a little too far


  30. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanV View Post
    .Years ago on this forum someone said they bought or gave a Speedmaster to their father (who seemed to be well past middle age) but were worried that the gift would fall flat because of the thin hands and busy dial which would jeopardize legibility. Turns out his father loved it and wore it often specifically because of HOW legible it was.
    Great anecdote 👍

  31. #81
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    Even caked in salt with splashes on the dial the 58 has excellent legibility.

    Sailing with the 58

  32. #82
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    The 556 is a good one as well I think, I've had it for a while now, I can't fault the legibility.
    Good orientation, contrast, white hands, hour hand short enough to differentiate it from the minute hand...
    + double ar coating so the crystal allows pretty much no reflection on its surface (*even if it's scratched)

  33. #83
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    I can read the PRS-82 with my weak eye.

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  34. #84
    There's a few factors I'd say, in 'readability/legibility'.
    First of all is it intuitive? I'd argue most chronos [Speedmaster included] aren't that intuitive; you have a 30 minute scale while the rest of timekeeping is done with a 60 min scale - add to that you have to refer to a second [hour] hand to gauge whether it is 2:36 or 2:06 - add to that that the scale at 30mins on a tiny subdial which still leaves a lot of room for error as graduations are so fine.. Then, when do you use a chrono - maybe generally when you're moving - running, driving...some other activity perhaps - this means the watch you're looking at will be moving, and you may have only a glance - can you really take an accurate enough read? A final point as far as readability is concerned is the clutter that accumulates and distracts from picking out the essentials - shiny parts, colourful dials, dates, design language constraints etc. The Speedmaster gains its reputation for its simple presentation and uncluttered look in this area, albeit constrained by the necessary layout of the 30' subdal.

    The most legible chrono - at least to an hour - is the EZM1, I'd argue. 60' chrono scale - same as the watch itself, no shiny bits, full lumed hands [incl. chrono hands...how many chrono's are readable at night...?], script and date all in a low key red to fade into the background, only the necessary functions left for its purpose [no 24hr/hour/running secs subdials].



  35. #85
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    If you are going to use a Chronograph then any 5100 powered watch (or similar) is by far the clearest type to use.
    Nothing comes close.
    That said I think the day glo chrono hands on the Tutima NATO pip other versions
    I do not think it has ever been bettered



  36. #86
    ^ Absolutely.


  37. #87
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    A Thiery Naff special to compare.
    I can see a big red cog and thatís about all.
    Sorry for crashing the thread with this monstrosity, if anyone has that image of Nataf holding a falcon with those dancing birds please feel free to load it up

    top restaurants in wilmington nc

  38. #88
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    I absolutely hate watches with cyclops....

    As regards legibility. I think that my Sinn U2 and Sinn U1000 are awesome*.. easy to read with a split second glance in daylight and the lume is good enough at night (with a little charge from one of my custom flashlights). I can read the date no trouble in normal lighting despite being slightly long-sighted. I don't use or wear glasses and I'm 58 years young.

    *Back in 2007 I was shopping for a new watch and looked at countless brands in shop windows all the way up to Omega and Rolex... but nothing I saw was as legible as the Sinn U-series.

  39. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    and the lume is good enough at night (with a little charge from one of my custom flashlights).
    :D having to do that with post-tritium Rolex was the final nail in the Rolex coffin for me - I suddenly thought 'wait a minute, this is a £6k watch, and I have to shine a torch on it before I go to bed?!' :)

  40. #90
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    No lume left, but other than night time this Seiko is super legible. The numbers used to glow and the hands. Now a black face at night. Still love it. Never been serviced or opened up.


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  41. #91
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    For time legibility fantastic.....day date not so much.

  42. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by magpie215 View Post
    For time legibility fantastic.....day date not so much.
    Backlight helps, but agree the LCD is useless. Shame the indices are not lumed and the lume on the hands is weak. The World is ready for a "SuperCasiOak" - proper lume, solar power, sapphire crystal, legible LCD...

  43. #93
    I tend to wear the Pelagos or 2254 rather than the speedy as they beat it for legibility. I've got fine distance vision still, so having to wear glasses just to rad a watch doesn't make sense to me.

  44. #94
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    I've a Link with silver dial, silver hands, so I wear a Pelagos too :)

  45. #95
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    Iv got an 16year old tag formula 1 that i wear day in day out. I can honestly say iv never even looked twice!

    Its great! Only problem is the amount if time tag take to service... but thats a whole different story

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  46. #96
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    Mis-focused pic, or it doesn't count! :D


  47. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by Smileyguy70 View Post
    Iv got an 16year old tag formula 1 that i wear day in day out. I can honestly say iv never even looked twice!

    Its great! Only problem is the amount if time tag take to service... but thats a whole different story

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    Wholly agree - 20 years old and superb legibility




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  48. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushroon View Post
    Wholly agree - 20 years old and superb legibility




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    Saved by the brilliant white hand surrounds I would think?

    (Without blurring I would never have thought such a busy and multicoloured dial could be legible, but the legibility definitely shows!)
    [/url]

  49. #99
    The answer is varifocals or laser surgery.

  50. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBKBABAB View Post
    The answer is varifocals or laser surgery.

    Zero value added.

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