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A type of finger ring, used for determining time, that is in the form of a flat band having around the outside a channel in which slides a narrow hoop in which is a pin-hole. On the band are the initials of the twelve months. When the ring is suspended by a small fixed loop on the band and the hoop is moved so as to bring the hole to the initial of the month during which the observation is being made and held toward the sun, the sun's rays pass through the pin-hole; the rays then fall on the figure, marked on the inner side of the band, from 4 am to 8 pm, to indicate the hour. Such dials were used in Germany in the 16th century, but ceased to be used when the watch was introduced.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson