The Ultimate Guide to Types and Styles of Watch Hands

The hands of a watch indicate how much time has passed in an analog timepiece. Aside from the watch hand's main function, it's also the watch face's focal point, making it a great place for showing off your timepiece's superb craftsmanship. That's why you have come to the right place if you are looking for interesting designs for your watch hands.

We've rounded up some types of watch hands for you. They come in various shapes and sizes, and each type has a unique function. Knowing about different types of watches will help simplify your search for a new watch style.

Before we identify the different parts of a watch, here are some essential information you need to know:

  1. What are the main parts of the hands on a watch?
  2. Can you change watch hands?
  3. What are the tools needed to replace the watch Hands?
  4. How do you use a watch hand presser tool?
  5. 10 types of hand styles that you need to know

What are the main parts of the hands on a watch?

The hands on a watch are the indicators that tell you how much time has passed. They usually come in three-pointers: hour, minute, and second hands. Here are some details on the 3-hands on a watch:

The Hour Hand

The hour hand is the shorter of the two main hands on a watch face. It points to the hour markers around the dial to indicate the time. It usually has the same color as the minute hand.

The Minute Hand

The minute hand is the longer of the two main hands on a watch face. It goes around the dial once every hour and points to the minute markers to indicate how many minutes have passed.

The Second Hand

The second hand is the thinnest hand on a watch face. It goes around the dial once every minute and points to the seconds marker to indicate how many seconds have passed. In most cases, the second hand is colored differently from the other hands, or there's a significant color at the edge of the second hand, which makes it easier to tell them apart.

Can you change watch hands?

The answer is yes; you can change your watch hands. Many people do it to give their watches a new look or to match a new outfit. You need to keep a few things in mind before changing your watch hands, though.

  1. First, ensure that your new hands are compatible with your watch's movement. There are two types of watch movements: quartz and mechanical. If you have a quartz watch, you can use any type of hand as long as it's compatible with the battery size. For mechanical watches, you need to make sure that the new hands fit the watch movement.
  2. Second, consider the size of the new hands. The new hands should be proportional to the size of the watch face. They will look out of place if they're too small or too big.
  3. Finally, think about the style of the new hands. There are many different styles of watch hands available, from traditional pointers to more unique and modern designs. Choose the ones that best reflect your personal style.

What are the tools needed to replace the watch Hands?

To replace the watch hands, you'll need a few basic tools: a screwdriver, a pin tool, a hand presser, and pliers. If you're not sure how to use these tools, there are plenty of online tutorials that can walk you through the process. Below is a short overview of how to use the hand presser.

How do you use a watch hand presser tool?

A watch hand presser is a tool used to push the watch hands back into place. It has a small, cylindrical barrel pressed against the hand's back and two arms extending out to hold the watch hands in place. The arms are usually bent at a 90-degree angle so they can be inserted between the watch case and the movement. We've summarized below the step-by-step process to use a watch hand presser tool.

  • To use the presser, first, insert the arms into the space between the watch case and the movement. Then, holding the presser barrel in one hand, use the other hand to push the arms down onto the back of the watch hand. The pressure from the arms will hold the hand in place while you press the barrel against it.
  • Once the barrel is pressed against the hand, rotate it clockwise until it is snug against the case. Then, while holding the presser in place, use your fingers to push the watch hands back into their rightful position.
  • Finally, remove the presser and admire your work!

10 types of hand styles that you need to know

The history of the watch hands can be traced back to the 15th century when it was difficult to read the time on clocks. In 1691, British watchmaker Daniel Quare developed the Minute hand, which made it easier to read the time. By the mid-18th century, the watch hand had become softer and more refined. Today, many types of watch hands are available, from traditional pointers to more unique and modern designs. Here are some of the most popular hand styles you need to know.

Mercedes hands

The 3-point star in the Mercedes-Benz logo is the fastest-growing icon in the world. The Mercedes-style hand does not suggest a connection between any watch model or the most famous carmaker. However, Mercedes's emblems have become nicknamed "Swedish hand". Rolex is a manufacturer of Mercedes watch Hands. They usually only feature the design on the hour hand and also use light-colored paints. This makes the hour hand distinct from a dim background. You can find it in a classic submarine watch.

Breguet hands are some of the most popular hand designs available today. Their slender shape and tapered tips characterize them. Breguet hands are often used on dress watches and other formal occasions.

Here are popular watch brands with the Mercedes hands:

Breguet hands

Breguet hands are named after the French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, considered one of the most important and influential horologists in history. He developed many of the techniques and styles that are still used in modern watchmaking.

Breguet hands are some of the most popular designs for luxury watches. This delicate hand features rounded edges and an angled point. It has a hollow ring on its hands, similar to a lunar crescent moon shape. Breguet hands are often used on watches that are meant to be worn for formal occasions.

Cathedral hands

Cathedral hands' hour hand features are more intricate and geometric, often resembling the stained glass window design in churches. They are also called "sword" hands because they look like sword watch hands. Cathedral hands are more for looks than function and usually have an aesthetic edge over other quartz hands. This type of hand is often seen on military watches.

Plongeur Hands

Plongeur hands are a type of watch hand used to indicate the time on a watch. They are named for their resemblance to the hands of a scuba diver. The most distinctive feature of Plongeur's hands is their shape. The hour hand is typically a simple, straight line, while the minute hand is much more prominent and often sword-shaped. The minute hand is also usually colored brightly, such as orange. This combination makes Plongeur's hands very easy to read, even at a glance, perfect for dive watches.

Syringe Hands

Their shape was the source of inspiration for the elegant syringe hand name. Syringe hands are shaped like barrels with small needle points at the tip. This elegant style adds to the attractiveness of the timepieces.

Fleur de Lys hands

The French Fleur de Lys hand carries an exquisite floral arrangement, a well-known folklore symbol. This sign is also used to represent the French royal family. They are often used on watches with Roman numerals, as the hands' shape can help make the numbers more visible. Fleur de Lys hands are typically made of gold or silver and can be quite ornate in design.

Snowflake hands

You may discover some unusual names for particular timepieces, and the snowflake hands are a fantastic example. They're only available on Tudor Timepieces. It's said that Snowflake hands were created to differentiate them from Rolex Submariners made by the mother firm. However, owing to their distinctive appearance, they were swiftly dubbed as the snowflake for their special design.

Dauphine hands

The Dauphine's hand is the most widely used and popular style. They have a triangle-shaped form that tapers on the tip and has facets along the length.

Dauphine watch hands have many variant variations as well. Some are rounded, and some are tapered, like the JLCC versions. They feature varying finish options for improved readability.

They have a name that appears to be enigmatic. They are frequently called after French royal male descendants. Others believe that since the term "Dauphine" implies woman, he was a woman.

Sword hands

A sword hand is a watch component that resembles a sword. Sword watch hands are often found on dive watches, which need an immediate distinction between minute and hour hands, frequently in conjunction with vivid colors.

Alpha hands

Alpha hands are a specific type of watch hand typically used on chronographs. They are named for their shape, which is reminiscent of the letter "A". Alpha-type hands have wide bases and narrow stems that attach to their centers. They are often seen on Parmiganis, fleuiers, and tendenec watches.

Baton hands

The baton watch hands are a staple design for most formal watches. Baton's hands are thin, straight stick hands often used on dress watches. Their stick hands have a minimal style that looks good on smaller vintage and dress watches.

Arrow hands

Some watches' hand names are named after their shape. Typical examples are Arrow watch hands.

It has an arrow shape, as its name indicates. The makers of watch hand have crafted the watches to give you an immediate view of the current time.

Nevertheless, the letters are legible but typically heavier and bolder in weight. Arrow hands usually appear on technical or sports watches, like OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean.

Leaf hands or feuille hands

Leaf hands or Feuille hands, French words meaning leaf, is another style of leaf whose name represents their shapes. They have wide middles and narrow ends, with an edge with a slope and a point. Unlike many designs, this leaf looks like an enormous slender leaf. Its minimalist lines are clean and elegant.

Spade hands

The spade's hands are shaped like the symbol on a playing card. The spade hands are likewise formed with a spade logo built in. The design is a stylized form inspired by a digging tool, hence the name.

Lance hands

Lances’ hand watch resembles alpha-type, although they generally are thinner. Here are some examples of lance hands: Schwarz Etienne Roma Power Reserves.

Lollipop hands

Like arrow hands, the lollipop hand is known for its shape. Their style resembles the classic candy, with curved corners shaped like circles. In the case of the watch, it can be opened or filled. The OMEGA Seamaster is just another model with such hand designs.

Paddle Hands

Like Arrow or Lollipop hands, paddle hands take shape and name from paddles. They have a straight hour hand shape, with larger rectangles at their ends and points at their tips. Blancpain Fifty Fathom watches have paddled hands.

Obelisque watch hands

The obelisque hand is somewhat similar to the Alpha hand. It has a broad base, narrow to a small tip. They don't have a long point located in the center. Instead, the large base is extended until the hour hand meets the minute hand.

The different types of watch hands can be difficult to remember, but they are all important in telling time. The shapes and names of the hands come from various places- some are named for French royals, others for their resemblance to everyday objects. No matter their source, these unique names help make sure you always know what time it is.

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