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Spot-on Sundials - contemporary, scientifically accurate* sundials

The original brass Spot-on Sundial was designed by Piers Nicholson and introduced to the market in 2001. Since then, many customers all over the world have bought them as presents for big occasions or simply for their own pleasure.

The brass horizontal Spot-on Sundials are made in 3 different sizes, either on square baseplates measuring 17, 27 or 34 cms., or on round baseplates measuring 15, 25 or 32 cm. diameter.

The main feature of the Spot-on Sundial is the divided gnomon* constructed of two parallel plates with a small air gap. This permits a ray of sunshine to pass through for a few minutes at solar noon.

We offer you the option to make your sundial completely personal by having your own message engraved on the side of the gnomon.

*The Spot-on Sundial can be read to within a minute or two (it is marked in 5 minute intervals). Unlike many sundials, the Spot-on Sundial is scientifically accurate and, if set up accurately, will display True Time with complete accuracy - see explanation below centre.




sundial in brass - horizontal

We have added an updated website in order to allow you to navigate the process of learning about and purchasing our sundials easier, please visit here.


A guide to the Spot-on Sundial

Spot-on Sundial models

Polar Spot-on Sundials

sundial, 34 cm square, brass

What makes us special


The big innovation with Spot-on Sundials is the slit in the gnomon (which casts the shadow) When the sun is at its highest, a shaft of sunlight shines through this slit and across the noon circle on the dialplate. This enables you, the customer, to set up the sundial with great accuracy so that you can read it to the nearest minute or two.

The Spot-on Sundial combines modern functional design with unrivalled accuracy.

We offer multiple models and sizes of the Spot-on Sundial to suit all situations from small urban gardens to large open spaces and public areas.

All models can have an engraved message on the side of the gnomon to give a unique gift for an anniversary, birthday, wedding, or special event.

sundials

Custom-made stainless steel Spot-on Sundials

An interesting dial which gives excellent reflections in the mirror-finished stainless steel, and, with the contrasting matt circle on which the hour lines are shown, gives the appearance of "floating on air"

These stainless steel dials are individually designed for their precise location and incorporate engraving text, logos, or drawings agreed with the client.

(below) 30 cm. stainless sundial with a simple inscription, showing the reflections

(centre middle) 42 cm. sundial in our Epsom show garden showing noontime "line of light"

sundial in stainless steel - 42 cm.

Stainless steel Spot-on Sundials incorporate the "line of light" feature shown in the picture (left); this enables them to be set up with great accuracy. They also give interesting reflections of trees, clouds and buildings. The surface is mirror-polished apart from the shot-blasted matt circle which gives a strong shadow for the hour lines.

The custom-made dials (24 cm. and larger) are individually designed for the exact latitude of their location, and the engraving can be simple or elaborate to suit the needs of the customer.


(left) 42 cm. sundial in Horniman Museum garden mounted on a wooden post and with a more elaborate inscription

(below) The standard 15 cm. standard stainless sundial, designed for small gardens and balconies, with a special engraving on the side of the gnomon. This can be supplied with a stainless steel plinth.

sundial in stainless steel  - 30 cm. sundial in stainless steel  - Horniman Museum sundial in stainless steel  - 15 cm.

The brass polar sundial (right) is so-called because the dial plate is in the same plane as the gnomon, which points to true North on the earth, and the north celestial pole in the sky. This dial is a domestic version of the much larger Tylers and Bricklayers Millennium Sundial near the Millennium footbridge in central London.

polar sundial in brass

The shadow of the oxhead gnomon in the middle just skims the left-hand upright at 6 in the morning, and then advances as a paralllel line along the dial plate. At noon, the shadow is immediately under the gnomon and the line of light appears, as shown in the picture. The shadow continues across the right hand side of the dialplate and finishes on the edge of the right-hand upright at 6 pm

Universal Polar Sundial - suitable for any latitude

The sundial that can travel the world with you!

Our new Universal Polar Sundial is adjustable, and so can be set exactly for any latitude between the Equator and the Arctic Circle. And, if you move house, you can just reset it to your new latitude!

The Universal Polar Sundial is available in two models, one with a large baseplate which can be engraved with a substantial message, and the other with a small baseplate. It will shortly be available in a Southern Hemisphre version with the hours increasing from right to left.

The Universal Polar Sundials also feature the split gnomon, which gives the line of light shown in the right hand picture

picture of sundial

Complete List Of Our Sundial Models

Prices are in £ (GBP). see xe.com for live conversion rates.

Product Material Dimensions
cm. (ins. approx)
Weight kg
(lb. approx)
Suitable for:
Latitude range
Price (£) excl delivery
despatch time
Original Spot-on Sundial
        (8 models)
Brass 17 x 17 x 12H
6½ x 6½ x 4½H
1.9 (4.3)  26 to 58 N
and 27 to 41 S
£145
2 days (note 1 & 5)
Standard 27 cm. Spot-on Sundial (1 model) Brass 27 x 27 x 18H
10½ x 10½ x 7H
5.0 (11) 48 to 54 N £225
2 days(note 1)
Standard 25 cm. dia. Spot-on Sundial
(Round Base)
(1 model)
Brass 25 dia x 18H
10 dia.x 7H
5.0 (11) 48 to 54 N £225(note 1)
Standard 34 cm. Spot-on
Sundial
        (1 model)
Brass 34 x 34 x 24H
13½x 13½ x 9½H
7.0 (14.4) 48 to 54 N £325
1 week (note 1)
Spot-on Polar Sundial
        (4 models)
Brass 32 x 13 x 12H
12½ x 5¼ x 4¾H
5.25 (11½) 44 to 54 N £315
1 week (note 1)
Universal Polar Sundial
       
Brass 30 x 10 x 12H
12 x 4 x 4¾H
6 (13.2) 0 to 65 N/ 0 to 65S
adjustable for latitutde
the sundial which can
travel the world with you
£395
2 days note 7
Universal Polar Sundial
       
Brass 30 x 30 x 12H
12 x 12 x 4¾H
8.5 (17½) £495
3 weeks(note 7)
24 cm. Stainless Spot-on Sundial Stainless
Steel
24 x 24 x 14H
9 x 9 x 5H
9 (20) any latitude;
custom-designed
£660
5-9 weeks (note 3)
42 cm. Stainless Spot-on Sundial Stainless
Steel
41.8 x 41.8 x 21.5H
16½ x 16½ x 8½H
12 (28½)

any latitude;
custom-designed

£1350
5-9 weeks(note 3)
Circular 42 cm. dia. Stainless
Spot-on Sundial
Stainless
Steel
41.8 dia. x 21.5H
16½ dia.x 16½ x 8½H
12 (28½)

any latitude;
custom-designed

£1350
5-9 weeks

(1) plus £45 for up to 60 letters of special engraving if required, + 3-7 days (3) typical - can be quicker for urgent orders(5) Can be supplied with a round baseplate of 15 cm. diameter - £5 extra (7) also available in a Southern Hemisphere version.



Brass sundial with the "line of light"

Plinths

All our sundials are designed to stand on any horizontal surface. If you want a plinth please click here for for some suggestions

Note from the Designer

People often ask what is so special about the Spot-on Sundial and how it came to be designed. If you too are interested in this, here is the full story!

Setting up

Detailed instructions are provided for brass and stainless steel sundials, advanced set up for super accuracy, indoor set up.


The Spot-on Sundial is easy to read

The shadow of the top slanting edge of the gnomon travels round the sundial in a clockwise direction (for our Northern Hemisphere models). This shows the shadow falling exactly on an hour line . The time is 8 am winter time (indicated by the VIII Roman numerals) or 9 am in Summer Time/Daylight Saving Time, more...

The Spot-on Sundial is easy to read

The shadow of the top slanting edge of the gnomon travels round the sundial in a clockwise direction (for our Northern Hemisphere models). This shows the shadow falling exactly on an hour line . The time is 8 am winter time (indicated by the VIII Roman numerals) or 9 am in Summer Time/Daylight Saving Time, more...

Choosing the correct model for your location

Horizontal sundials need to have the angle between the gnomon (which casts the shadow) and the dialplate appropriate to the latitude where they are to be used. The original 17 cm. square Spot-on Sundial is made in seven models suitable for most of the Northern hemisphere, and there is also one Southern hemisphere model - use this page to help you decided which is the correct model for you. If you want the gnomon angle to be exactly right for your latitude, you can use our advanced setup, but this is not necessary for most practical purposes unless you can be certain that the base is accurately horizontal to better than a half of one degree.
Three of our larger models (two in stainless steel and one in brass) are custom-made for the latitude where they will be placed.

 
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