Waffle. Honeycomb. Linen. These are a few of the unofficial names for captivating dial executions found on some vintage watches. Watch dials with strong textures can add a lot of character and help an otherwise conservative design stand out — and yet dial texture usually remains a subtle, overlooked element of watchmaking. The majority of watch dials are matte or semi-glossy, the texture itself usually less emphasized than the color.
Watches like those below, however, stand out from the crowd with striking dial textures. Not only does texture add visual interest, but it also tends to help legibility — the importance of which can’t be overstated. These two factors together can go a long way in contributing to the longterm enjoyment of a watch, and the following examples from Wittnauer, Bulova, and Tudor each take a very different approach toward this aesthetic differentiation.
What We Like: This Wittnauer from the 1950s has a “waffle dial,” so called for obvious reasons. It’s also got a crosshair motif, more commonly seen on watches from the ’50s and ’60s than on those from today. It measures 34.5mm wide with a 10kt gold-filled case (meaning a layer of gold, much thicker than gold plating, is bonded to a steel base) and a Swiss automatic movement. You’ve also got to love that very retro Speidel band.
From the Seller: The Swiss 17 Jewel movement & automatic system have been cleaned, oiled & timed. It is running strong and very accurately.
Bulova Jumbo Day Date Automatic
What We Like: This quirky but cool Bulova probably shouldn’t be compared to the far more expensive Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but the “APRO” is the most well-known representative of the “tapisserie” dial seen here. Bulova’s execution adds to that offbeat ’70s look when combined with the coin-edge bezel and sporty case shape. It runs on a Swiss automatic movement and would have been considered boldy sized for its time at 37mm wide.
From the Seller: Movement is cleaned and serviced, in excellent running condition.
Tudor Prince Date + Day 76200
What We Like: This watch has a silver dial that’s been embossed to give it its cloth-like, or “linen,” texture — resulting in an understated but quite unique and interesting look. At 36mm wide in steel, running an automatic movement with date and day-of-the-week displays, this offering from Rolex’s sister brand Tudor is a perfect confluence of tool watch utility and attractive design. It also looks killer on its steel bracelet.
From the Seller: Watch is unworn. Sale includes full box and papers.