off-the-shelf components - ring dial?

Hello all, thanks in advance for any advice or guidance you can give me.

I'm new to Arduino and the maker world, so I'm not sure what components are available off-the-shelf, and I haven't yet found what I'm looking for - and I'm not sure if I'm using the right keywords to look for it.

Imagine, if you will, a circular LCD or even just a basic push-button, surrounded by a rotating ring. For example, an aviator's watch or diver's watch will have a rotating ring around the watch face. In such a case, a wheel with a central axle wouldn't be practical.

Are there any off-the-shelf parts or techniques that would be available to accomplish such a feature?

The only thing I can think of right now is 3d-printing a ring with an inner gear that engages some sort of volume wheel or mouse ball type sensor, with some other support mechanism like a track or contact points to maintain concentricity.

Any ideas?

Thanks again.

You would need three inner gears (two "idlers" and one active) on fixed axles to maintain the central position of the ring.

or you could use the same idea as for watches where the ring rotates freely on a circular hollow axle.

You could attach an optical encoder to determine the disk position.

Tell us more about your project and we may have more appropriate suggestions.

Optical Encoder sounds like the right choice to detect the dial's position, for sure. Thanks.

The basic concept is a table-top disc that has an outer dial and a central button. Imagine the Bose C3 control pod. The black part is a rotating dial used to set volume, and the button in the middle can mute/unmute the audio. I'm not trying to reproduce the Bose pod, it's just mechanically similar to what I'm imagining.

My device would use the outer dial to adjust a timer setting, and the button would start/stop the timer. I'd have a wifi module in there to send the start/stop and timer values to another device or server.

I have access to 3D printing if required, but I was hoping there'd be something available off-the-shelf.

If you printed the base could you use an optical mouse to track it?