Dalil (“guide” in Arabic) watches are quite distinctive in the watch world – according to the brand’s advertisements, “Dalil is the guide of the traveling Muslim” – with the distinctive purpose to correctly orient Muslim faithful towards the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. As such, and part of their unique nature, this watch features a rather unique complication, namely, a center-mounted compass, an aesthetic and functional feature not found on almost any other watch.
Dalil watches were produced in the 1970s for devout Muslims to assist in the practice of praying five times per day in the direction of Mecca, which necessitates being aware of the cardinal direction to face. The most complex examples – like the one on offer here – also feature dual rotating rings at dial periphery, controlled by numbered crowns on the case side. The outer ring features different city names around the world (in Arabic, English, or French, according to the model), and the inner ring features Arabic phrases from the Qu’ran. The idea is to use the compass in combination with these features to find the direction of prayer from anywhere in the world.
Another Muslim-oriented feature on this Dalil is to mark prayer times throughout the day, based on astronomical phenomena like sunrise and sunset (which changes throughout the year) and performed within a certain range of time, rather than an exact time.
Dalil watches are a quite interesting instance of watchmaking influenced by culture and religion in a creative way. Although this watch may seem niche, there are more potential devout Muslim customers in the world than divers, pilots, or professional race car drivers — and how many watches are made each year for these?
This PVD Dalil comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
New-Old Stock 1970's Dalil Automatic Prayer Mechanical Watch
DIAL: Quite detailed Dalil-signed (in Arabic) black dial. Original hour, minute, and seconds hands. Two inner chapter rings rotate separately via two crowns at the two and four o’clock positions. Outside chapter ring features city names in Arabic, with the inner ring featuring Qu’ranic verses.
CASE: Original 40.5mm (43 w/crown) x 42.5mm stainless-steel case; PVD coating is fully intact, with no wear evident anywhere on case, which remains in great condition overall.
CRYSTAL: Original crystal in excellent and flawless condition.
BAND: This Dalil comes with a 20mm brown leather strap and a black nylon NATO strap – both feature stainless-steel hardware, with the NATO hardware being coated in black – both are great compliments to the unique nature of this prayer watch.
MOVEMENT: Original Swiss-manufactured A. Schild AS 2063 automatic mechanical movement.