Can anyone think of a device that is more than 100 years old and is still being used in our day to day life? Well, you might have guessed it correctly, it’s a watch!
We live in a world where smartphones, smartwatches, and laptops can get outdated within a month but watches have remained timeless. How many of us wake up every day seeing that bedside alarm clock, wall clock, or good old wristwatch? Many of us, right?
Most of us while buying a new watch only focus on looks and features. While we understand the importance of that too as British actor Clive Owen once said, “Jewelry isn’t really my thing, but I have got eyes on peoples watches”.
We also need to remember watches are made up of at least 100 and more parts. We sometimes end up overlooking minute details that a watchmaker puts into the watch.
One such minute detail is watch hands. We simply refer to them as the hour hand, minute hand, and second hand, but there are dedicated names for different types of watch hands. And we will be telling you about some of them. So it’s about time to know our watches a little better (If you get our pun).
Watch Hands Types And Names
1. Alpha Hands
The first one on our list is Alpha hands. They are Delta-shaped, examples of delta-shaped objects are Jets, or the shape that the Nile river forms as it’s about to reach the Meditarian Sea.
Alpha Watch Hands have pointy ends that provide accurate readings. They are one of the most well recognizable watch hand designs.
To showcase this particular watch hand-design we have selected Parmigiani Fleuriar’s Tonda Metrographe.
We can see how this design looks elegant with the watch. Hands in this watch also have luminescent coating so the delta design is useful to see accurate reading even in dark.
2. Arrow Hands
As the name suggests, these watch hands are pointy like arrows. Just like an arrow it has a sharp triangle head that points towards the dial rings. They are commonly found in sports watches because a simple glance would help you to read the time.
We have chosen Omega’s CO-AXIAL MASTER CHRONOMETER CHRONOGRAPH 45.5 MM watch to showcase this watch hand.
It’s a sports watch for divers, the Luminescent coating on the arrowhead allows users to view the time with ease underwater.
3. Baton Hands
Also known as stick hands, they are shaped like baton used in relay races. They are straight uniform and minimalistic watch hands, perfect hands design for formal watches.
Skagen Men’s watch is a perfect example of baton type watches.
4. Breguet Hands
Abraham-Louis Breguet is one of the greatest horologists of our time. He is also the founder of the Breguet company which now comes under the Swiss Swatch Group umbrella. He was a great clockmaker and he is the inspiration behind the watch hands name.
Breguet Watch Hands have a distinct hollow loop near the end. They are also known as ‘pomme’ hands, which means ‘apple’ in French as the loop resembles an apple shape.
To showcase the design we have selected Breguet Classique 7337
5. Cathedral Hands
Cathedral Watch Hands derives its inspiration from medieval European architecture. The hour hand is better known as “bee hand”.
It is one of the well-known vintage watch hand designs.
In the past, it featured a more prominent skeleton-like design giving it an even more cathedral-like look. It is one of the most irresistible and elegant watch hands out there.
Montblanc’s 1858 watch perfectly captures the beauty of this watch hand design.
6. Dauphine Hands
Dauphine is one of the well-recognized vintage watch hand designs. Dauphine in French is the name given to the eldest son of the French king.
Hands have a triangle-like shape, as we can see in the picture above which shows Carl F. Bucherer watch sporting Dauphine Watch Hands and its design stands up to its name.
7. Fleur de Lys Hands
Fleur de Lys means stylized Lily in French. It is a well-recognized symbol with a deep history tied to the French monarchy. Throughout history, this symbol is used to represent the catholic saints of France. It is also considered a sign of French royalty
This iconic symbol starts from the middle of the watch hand. So next time you will spot these watch hands you will know the meaning behind them.
Czapek Quai Des Bergeus perfectly embodies Fleur de Lys in its design.
8. Lance Hands
They look a lot like Alpha but have small but unique differences. Lance watch hands follow a spear-like design, the base of watch hands is narrow like a stick, followed by a spear-like design.
These hands give this watch a classic and elegant look. Schwarz Etiennes watch is a perfect example of Lance watch hands design. This design is perfect for dress watches.
9. Leaf Hands
Leaf hands are also known as feuille hands. Feuille is a French word for leaf. This design takes its inspiration from a leaf. Just like a leaf, it is narrow at both ends and wide in the middle.
This design will give your watch a clean and minimalistic look. Goes on to show how much inspiration we derive from our surroundings.
The perfect example for the leaf hand design is H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Moon.
10. Lollipop Hands
As the name suggests, the hour hand is shaped like a lollipop. The width of the hands is uniform but has a lollipop-like circle towards the end of the hand followed by a small arrow-shaped design at the end.
The watch shown above has a Lollipop watch hand design. Most of these hands usually have a luminescent coating providing a better view in the dark and underwater.
11. Lozenge Hands
Lozenge watch hands are spear-like in shape. They have a sharp edgy design. These hands are wide in the middle and narrow at both ends.
They are elegant looking watch hand designs
This watch is not an accurate representation of lozenge hands as they don’t have a Breguet-like circle towards the end.
12. Mercedes Hands
This watch hand is also known as a three-pointed star design. Pioneered by Rolex in the mid-1950s, this hand made its first appearance in Rolex Sports watches.
When looked closely, it looks like the Mercedes logo. Mercedes logo consists of 3 pointed stars. Each star represents Mercedes’s strength in land, sea, and air. So some watch enthusiasts think Rolex is trying to do the same with a 3-star logo design. Meaning a sports watch from Rolex suitable for Land, sea, and air.
Some believe it’s an homage to British swimmer, Mercedes Gleitz. She continuously swam for 10 hours in the English channel while wearing a Rolex Oyster on her wrist. Even after swimming for 10 hours, the watch was still intact and working.
While we never know what’s the inspiration behind the design. It has become an iconic vintage watch hand design.
13. Obelisque Hands
This watch hand is named after an obelisk-shaped Luxor temple present in Egypt. Just like the monument, it has a narrow tapering design ending with a pyramid-like structure on top.
The perfect example of Obelisque Watch Hands is Blancpain’s Fifty Fathom, and they look beautiful.
14. Pencil Hands
This design reminds us of the pencil we used to use in school. Just like a freshly sharpened pencil tip this watch hand also has a pointy tip. Hands are generally filled with luminescent color for better visibility in the dark.
Panerai Luminor sports pencil watch hands which give the watch a clean and minimalistic look.
15. Plongeur Hands
Plongeur watch hands are shaped exactly like swords. Plongeur in French means diver. The hour hand is straight and small compared to the bigger minute hand. The minute hand is more noticeable and quirky.
This is one of the most distinctive and unique watch hand design. Seamaster Ploprof Iconic diver’s watch uses plongeur watch hands.
16. Skeleton Hands
Skeleton watches allow the user to see the inner workings of a watch as their dial is see-through. And the skeleton-like design of the watch hands doesn’t block the inner view of the watch. Most watches that have Skeleton watch hands also have a see-through dial.
Bulova men’s watch has skeleton watch hands which allows an unobstructed view of the dial.
17. Snowflake Hands
This more than 50 years old Snowflake watch hands design is synonyms to Tudor. This design has become a signature for Tudor diving watches. The tip of the hour watch hand has a snowflake-like shape. This wasn’t done just for the sake of being different but this design allows better underwater visibility of watch hands.
This is one of the most iconic vintage watch hand designs that can be found even today.
Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay uses a snowflake design. Its snowflake design accompanied by luminescent coating gives better underwater visibility to divers.
18. Spade Hands
If you are a poker player then you must be no stranger to spade. If not, Then the spade watch hand design is kind of shaped like a triangle with curves. From vintage pocket watches to modern watches they can be found anywhere.
Ulysse Nardin Marine uses spade watch hands, as you can see it gives the watch a classic and sophisticated look.
19. Syringe Hands
This watch hands look exactly what they sound like, Syringe! These hands have a narrow base then uniform width and have a narrow pin at the top.
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5320G sports syringe design and looks very stylish and graceful.
20. Sword Hands
Also known as Glaive in French, they share similar looks as swords and have sharp edge looking design on both sides, just like a sword. It is clean looking watch design.
Cartier Drive De Cartier has the same sword watch hand design.
21. Assegai Hands
Assegai is the spear used by tribes in Africa. These hands are the forte of Laurent Ferrier. Assegai watch hands are slender and gorgeous looking. They are slim, sleek, and minimalistic spear hands design and they look extremely gorgeous.
Laurent Ferrier The Galet Traveller has this amazing band that enhances the style quotient of the watch.
What Are The Hands On A Watch?
Watch hands are pin-like markers in the watch dial which points towards time. There are three types of watch hands, hour, minute, and second hand. The minute hand is longer than the hour hand, and the second hand is the longest and the fastest.
Why Are Clock Hands Called Hands?
Just like humans, watches also have a body and hands, hands allow watches to point towards the dial and tell you what time it is.
Why Do Rolex Watches Have Mercedes Hands?
Mercedes sign signifies its dominance in air, land, and water, so it depicts that Rolex sports watches are also dominant in air, land, and water. Or it gives homage to the British swimmer Mercedes Gleitz who swam for 10 hours straight wearing Rolex sports watch.