Purpose of sector/scientific dials?
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  1. #1
    Member Alysandir's Avatar
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    Purpose of sector/scientific dials?

    Can anyone help me understand what the purpose of the sector dial (also know as the scientific dial) is?

    The best that I can find is that this was a dial type that was popular in the 30s/40s where the dial type either:
    A) A helped measure time by dividing it into sectors (presumably giving the eye a fixed starting point and ending point to make it easier to track a set period of time?); or
    B) Used to help soldiers define directions/areas when planning (presumably the same way 2 o'clock always meant to the front right of an aircraft and 6 o'clock meant your rear, as in "watch your six").

    I also find myself reading in a couple different places that sector dials are highly sought after variants, but it's not clear to me why. I would think that a dial with applied indices would be more desirable than a printed dial.

    Anyone else have anything they can contribute? I'm undecided on how the sector dial looks, but it helps me if I understand *why* something looks the way it does, if it serves a specific purpose.

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    Alysandir
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  2. #2
    Member Rocket1991's Avatar
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    Re: Purpose of sector/scientific dials?

    Do you have example of this dial on some picture?
    Also i can't imagine fighter pilot looking at his watch to get this 6 o'clock incoming direction.
    It should be special!

  3. #3
    Member Alysandir's Avatar
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    Re: Purpose of sector/scientific dials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket1991 View Post
    Also i can't imagine fighter pilot looking at his watch to get this 6 o'clock incoming direction.
    Uhhhh, okay.

    Example:
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    Regards,
    Alysandir
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    • Omega Grey Side of the Moon 311.93.44.51.99.001
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  5. #4
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    Re: Purpose of sector/scientific dials?

    Here’s what I found with a little googling (whether it’s correct or not, I don’t know)

    Sector dials were popular in trench watches in World War I, as they could be placed on a table and used to show which hour sector a direction corresponded to. Many officer's watches also have sector dials, as do marine watches, for the same reason.

    https://www.watch-wiki.net/index.php?title=Sector_dial

    Omega used the term scientific because of the 1/5 of a second and minute marker intervals on the dial that were native to chronographs and stopwatches, the same markings were also used on precision measuring and scientific instruments in the 1940's, hence the term "scientific".


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  6. #5
    Member Rocket1991's Avatar
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    Re: Purpose of sector/scientific dials?

    I don't think there is more than usual aesthetics. Like Patek example.
    Also, classic looking trench has no sectors.
    Although, it made some sense as substitute for chrono, until chrono become available. But it really pain to follow jumping second hand and notice which subdivision it falls on.
    So some merit in using more subdivisions between seconds as poor man stopwatch makes sense.
    They been staple of stopwatch to give measurement after decimal of the second.
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    Trained officer should deal with compass and actual azimuth but for subordinates it probably made sense to explain in hours to give direction. Let say you manning air defense gun. So you know your 12, 3,6 etc. They fixed relative to ship. There is no way you going to figure out what bearing relative to true north incoming target is. It really way more simple to have officer translate it from actual coordinates to more palatable ones. Can't imagine people using actual watch on the table on the ship, but i may be wrong.
    Last edited by Rocket1991; August 23rd, 2018 at 02:37.
    It should be special!

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