Watch dial materials by Extropian

#lacquered dials
Hesili New York
Astor Banks
Watch dial materials by Extropian

What’s the first thing you notice when you look at a watch? Maybe you have a thing for case shape or material. Maybe it’s the bezel. But for most of us, it’s likely to be the dial that catches our eye. Indy and micro brands are well aware of this and go out of their way to create dials in a dizzying range of materials all designed to make telling the time an aesthetic joy!

Mineral dials

Looking for a totally unique dial? Then you need to explore minerals. As each dial is individually cut and polished, no two are ever going to be exactly alike!


If you want something truly out of this world, Meteorite dials incorporate thin slices of actual meteorite! They make a great feature of the complex patterns of crystalized iron and nickel found in these unique lumps of space debris, as seen in something like the Zenea Ula Diver.

Tiger Eye

Tiger Eye is a quartz gemstone with a golden or reddish-brown color and a beautiful silky luster, so when cut and carefully polished, it gives a stunning finish to any watch dial. Check out something like the Signum Cuda if you want proof!

Capture D’écran 2023 03 14 À 21.14.41


A feldspar mineral with a deep blue or purple color, Labradorite has an iridescent quality which looks divine on watch dials. Flashes of blue and yellow, or gold and purple, appear at certain angles and in certain lighting conditions so the dial constantly changes in appearance. Try the Signum Cero if you want to experience this magical effect for yourself!  




Aventurine is characterized by its translucence and a seriously gorgeous shimmering, glistening effect created by the presence of platy mineral incursions. The sublime midnight blue version used on the Sólás Starlight twinkles like stars in the sky. 




Loved by the Greeks and Egyptians, Malachite is a green, secondary copper mineral whose concentric color banding looks awesome on watch dials. If you take a peek at Signum Cuda Titanium, we think you’ll agree!




A milky white glass, that as the name suggests, resembles an opal, opaline is used to create the kind of elegant, sophisticated dial that can be seen on the Norqain Freedom 60 GMT.


Shell dials

With their stunning iridescent qualities, it’s no surprise that watchmakers love to use shells as a dial material!  

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is so named as it is the material that surrounds the growing baby pearl. Aw! Its shimmering nature has long made it a favorite choice for dress watch dials, but as the Astor Banks Fortitude proves, it also looks great paired with a chunky metal bracelet.  



Abalone has the same iridescent qualities of Mother of Pearl but in a cool deep blue shade which we think is kinda hypnotic. Have a look at the Signum Cuda. We have a feeling that you too are gonna be drawn in!  




Forged carbon is a forged composite carbon fiber. It may sound like a somber choice for a watch dial but, trust us, it’s really not! It can actually result in a quite mesmerizing mix of shades of black and gray. The Zelos Blacktip is a really striking example! 


Enamel dials

In its simplest form, enamel is a soft glass containing silica red lead and soda. When heated at a super-high temperature it liquifies and can be bonded to metals, making it great for watch dials. It’s a complex process, however, with no margin for error, so watches with enamel dials can sometimes be on the pricey side! Thankfully, Anordain do a range of affordable models in glorious jewel-like colors, including the Model 1



Lacquered dials

Lacquered dials have a depth of color like no other and can be subtly enhanced by special shading effects. It’s not a simple process - the dial had to be sprayed with multiple layers of colored varnish, either by hand or machine. But if you check out the lush beauty of Hesili‘s New York Original Series 1 we think you’ll agree with us that it’s worth the effort!



We told you there was a seriously great range of dial materials out there, didn’t we! And you know what, you can find even more on Extropian’s database! Why not go and explore?!

Created the 2023-03-14

Modified the 2024-06-03

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