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Watches typically use moving hands to indicate the time and for other functions. There are many styles and types of hands. Hands used for non-timekeeping functions are often referred to as pointers.

Skeleton and Luminous

Many watches feature skeleton (squelette) hands, which are hollow. If only a feature of the hands is hollow, it is typically referred to as open. Manufacturers can apply luminous material to the back of a skeleton or open hand, filling in the gap and creating many classic sport watch looks, including the Mercedes hand.

Hand Shapes


A. Lange & Söhne Jubiläums-Langematik features alpha hands

An alpha hand has a long pointed end with a short fluted base.


This Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe features a baton minute hand and an arrow hour hand
© Breitling

An arrow hand features a prominent arrow head. These are typically used on dive watches and other types requiring high levels of legibility, especially with lume. Some watches, notably the Omega Speedmaster, feature broad arrow hands, which are wider.


As the name implies, baton hands feature a broad and uniform shape, coming to a point or rounded tip. There are also tapered baton hands which narrow as they come closer to the center.


Logo of the watch manufacturer Breguet with Breguet hands

Also known as pomme (“apple”), the Breguet hand style is a classic curved shape with a hole in the top. Named after the brilliant watchmaker and watch inventor Abraham-Louis Breguet. The Breguet brand has this pointer type in their company logo because it is so well known. Breguet hands can also include an additional flare below the “apple”, making them antique Roman hands.


See: Gothic


Glashütte Original fitted dauphine hands to their Senator
© Glashütte Original

One of the most popular hand styles, dauphine hands are tapered diamond-shape with a distinct line down the middle.


TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 36 Limited Edition with cathedral hands
© TAG Heuer

A style inspired by european gothic architecture. Typical for a lot of vintage watches.

A variety of gothic hand styles are used, including solid diamond (also called kite) and open diamond (also called cathedral), fancy trefoil and quadrifoil clovers, solid and open lance, and spear tips. Most gothic hands feature a crossbar just below the main above-named decoration.


Bell & Ross chose to use leaf hands on this Instrument BRS

Leaf (feuille) hands have a gentle tapered profile, wide in the middle and narrow at the end and base.


Hands with large circles at the end, some without a terminal point, are called lollipop.


Lozenge hands feature a diamond shape, often with a concave taper along each edge.


The famous Rolex Submariner includes a luminous Mercedes hour hand and baton minute hand
© Rolex

Although not associated with the famous carmaker, many dive watches feature a three-pointed star inside a circle, reminiscent of the Mercedes logo. These were initially designed as a way to hold a large amount of luminous] material in place inside a circle for added visibility.


A pencil hand is uniformly long and thin, with a roughly rectangular profile and triangular point.


A plongeur is a wide, exuberant pentagon shape resembling a sword but with a flat, defined base.


This Speake-Marin Resilience features wide spade hands
© Speake-Marin

Spade hands resemble the playing card suit, and are sometimes tapered to become pear hands.


This Sinn U1 has sport or paddle hands
© Sinn

Sport or paddle hands are wide rectangles, often with a large amount of luminous material inside them. Some feature a pointer at the end.


This Nomos Tangomat GMT has blued steel stick hands
© Nomos

Much like the pencil, a stick hand is long and thin with a rectangular profile but without the triangular tip. A central contrasting line is often featured.


This Omega Seamaster 300 has classic sword hands
© Omega

Like a plongeur, a sword hand has the shape of an elongated pentagon, but the base is integrated with the hand or hub.

See Also

hand.txt · Last modified: 03.07.2022 15:34 by

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