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How many types of Watch Indices can you name?

June 21, 2021 3 min read

Arabic numerals watch dial, Hindu-Arabic Numerals watch Dial

Buying a watch today can be such a headache.  Not only are there so many watch models to choose from, but there are many types of watches with costs range anywhere from ten bucks to the price of a mansion that costs millions of dollars.  Putting the money factor aside for a moment and look at it from an aesthetic perspective.  This time around, you might prefer a brand name, a particular design, case material, dial color, bracelet style, something similar or totally different with the timepieces you already have in your collection.  An element that is often overlooked is the watches indices.  In recent years, one of the hottest watches from the RX Crown, is the platinum chronograph - Middle East Edition” Glacier Ice Blue Hindu Arabic Dial 116506. Depending on which type of indices you choose for your next watch, you'll be surprised the impact it has on the overall look on a watch.  Here are a few common and popular indices you may consider for your next watch. 

Arabic Numerals Watch Dial

Sailcloth watch band on the Hamilton Khaki-H70455733

Arabic Numerals are perhaps the most commonly used symbols display on a watch.  You often them used on each hour marker from one to twelve.  Sometimes, you may see them used at the three, six, nine, and twelve-o’clock positions.  It all depends on the design, or the name brand of a certain watch company as a distinct design of watch models.

Baton Indexes

Navy Blue FKM watch band for the Seiko Prospex King Samurai SRPE33

Baton indexes is another design that is often used as the display for the hour markers on watches.  Baton indices are normally thick, in a rectangular shape. Because of it, baton indexes are highly legible, even in low light surroundings, especially if the indexes are filled with lumibrite, you'll find the baton indexes are often used on sport and tool watches.  

Breguet Numerals

Italian Leather of Art  watch band on the Orient Bambino V5

Breguet numerals is a similar design of the Arabic numerals, but with a modified font.   This particular design was developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet, which first introduced back during the French Revolution.

Dagger Indexes

Navy Blue Nubuck leather watch band on Seiko Presage Starlight Cocktail SSA361

With the name dagger, this particular design greatly resembles the shape of a dagger pointing toward the middle of the dial .  You often see this type of watch indices on old vintage watches.  

Round Indexes 

Orange Rhombus FKM rubber watch band on Seiko Marinemaster 300mm SBDX017

Much like the baton indexes, round indexes are highly legible to use as hour markers, which is why you'll have often see them used on sports & tool watches. 

Roman Numerals

Classic Superfine Mesh Watch Band on Seiko 5 Sports SNKL51K1

Roman numerals was the standard ways of writing numbers up until the middle ages.  This particular design consist of a combination of letters from the Latin alphabet.  Using Roman numerals give the watch a more vintage aesthetic. It gives the watch a more classier and elegant appearance.

Tombstone Marker

Quick Release nylon watch band on Seiko Prospex Zimbe Mini Turtle SRPD17

Taking a closer look at Seiko's mini turtle watches, you'll find the 12 o'clock hour marker is a bit different which you don't see often,  This particular design is knows as 'tomestone markers', which is a combination of the square markers that can be found on the Seiko 6105 and the round ones found on the Seiko 6215, 6159, 6309, and SKX007.  

Stick Indexes

Canvas Quick Release watch band on Seiko Recraft SRPC13

Stick indexes are much thinner versions of the baton. They can either be painted on or applied. The long and thin shape of these markers give the dial a sleek and refined look, so they are often seen in dress watches.

Hindu-Arabic Numerals / Eastern Arabic Numerals

Orient Arabic Dial Watch SAB0D0058-B

Black Quick-release Italian Suede leather watch band on Orient Arabic Dial SAB0D0058-B

Limited edition watches that were designed especially for the Middle East have been a favorite of watchmakers in recent years with steady growing demand for fine watches in the region.  To be a little more specific,  it is the watches with Eastern Arabic numerals for the hours, which are often labelled as “Arabic dials”.  The next time you are planning to buy a new watch, be sure to also consider the different options of indices that are available.  You'll be surprised the impact it has on the overall look on a watch. 


Written by Sam , image by Toni


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