Nobody likes a big, ol’ mess. But it seems this can sometimes happen on a watch dial when too many complications are in a movement. It gets to be too much of a dog pile. That’s not to say loading up a movement with a lot of functions isn’t impressive. Intellectually and theoretically it seems a great idea to have a perpetual calendar, chronograph, minute repeater, tourbillon, etc. all in one watch. What a lot of useful information all kept accurate by a tourbillon! But the practical result often defeats the purpose. It’s impossible to read the indicators to get the information you want. Sometimes even deciphering the time can be a challenge.
There is wisdom in the adage less is more and a great big KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) is what’s needed. This wisdom is prevailing in the world of horology of late and we’re seeing cleaner, more readable dials that highlight one or two functions in the service of legibility.
The Habring Central Minute Counter Chronograph eschews the usual chrono dials and instead uses the perimeter of the dial as the counter. The running seconds at 9 o’clock adds nice symmetry and balance. Following within the theme of simple lines, the chronograph is operated off the pusher at 2 o’clock.
Vacheron Constantin also achieves understatement with the Patrimony Traditionelle 14-Days Tourbillon. The highlights here are the tourbillon and 14-Day power reserve, but the time doesn’t get lost in the equation. The dial is nicely laid out with the power reserve opposite the tourbillon.
Even Richard Mille who tends to have dials that are a real pain to read because of all the skeletonization on the plates, has gone for a more painless backrop in the nifty Tourbillon G-Sensor RM-036 Jean Todt Limited Edition. Here the time is clearly visible along with the sensor gauge that’s supposed to make sure you stay within safe ranges of G-forces while you’re flying around a racetrack.