Clock dial glossary

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The following is a helpful glossary of terms and names given to clock dials and associated parts.

Arch dial - a dial with a full arch to the top
Automaton - a dial may have an automaton - a moving figure, animal or object either on the dial or in the arch. Most commonly seen are ships, swans, adam and eve and the grim reaper.
Bezel - This describes the brass or wooden surround that contains the glass covering a dial. Also see 'sight ring'
Break Arch - describes a partial arch to either the dial, hood or door
Cartouche - an applied tablet or scroll normally engraved
Chapter ring - the ring carrying the hour numbers
Collet - a collar holding parts in place
Dial - sometimes referred to as the 'face' of a clock
Dial Feet - legs on the back of the dial which are fixed onto the movement or falseplate.
Enamel dial - Painted longcase dials are often referred to as 'enamel' this is not strictly correct, as the surface is paint. Enamelled dials are powdered silica fired in a kiln and most commonly found on french clocks or carriage clocks..
Falseplate - An extra plate sandwiched between the dial and movement to which the movement is fixed.
Hands - This are sometimes referred to as 'fingers'. They can be made of brass or blued steel, on modern clocks they are more likely to be aluminium or plastic.
Moon dial - These dials have a subsidiary dial either in the arch or an aperture in the dial body, which records the phases of the moon. The waxing and waning of the moon is recorded for a full cycle (29.5 days). Traditionally the dial will feature 2 moon faces, and 2 scenes depicting 'home and away' possibly a ship and a country house scene.
Numerals - The numbers on a dial are generally either in Arabic ( 1,2,3 etc) or Roman (I, II, III etc) form, depicting the hours or minutes. To be correct the Roman numeral for 4 should be IV, but it is generally seen as IIII to balance the visual aesthetics.
Sight ring - This secures the glass in place, normally made from silvered brass, but can be of wood. They are fixed in place by either, screws, a plaster based cement or are of the push fit type.
Silvered dial - This describes a brass dial that has a thin layer of silver nitrate applied. The picture shows a silvered chapter ring and subsidiary dials,
Spandrel - the gaps in the corners of dials either painted, engraved or with applied brass decorations.
Subsidiary dials - These extra dials can be either painted onto the surface, applied rings or extra dials located behind the main dial, normally depicting either seconds or dates
Tidal dial - Tides are recorded for the area in which the clock was made. i.e Bristol, Plymouth etc. These tidal measurements can normally be found on the arch.