Precision in Practice: Fitting Hands on Seiko Watches with Care and Accuracy

When customizing a Seiko watch, replacing the hand set is a delicate procedure that can significantly enhance the watch’s aesthetic appeal and functionality. However, the process demands meticulous attention to detail to avoid common issues such as loose hands, scratches on the dial, or interference between hands. This guide focuses on the precise steps for replacing hand sets, paying special attention to watches with a GMT function due to their additional hand and the complexity it introduces.

Setting Up for Success

Begin with a clean, well-lit workspace and lay out a soft mat or cloth to protect the watch’s face. Gather the necessary tools: hand remover tool, wooden precision tweezers, and a loupe for magnification. Ensuring your hands are clean and free from oils or dirt is crucial to prevent transferring any residue to the watch components. Using finger cots are recommended!

The Removal Process

  1. Secure the Watch: Place it face-up on the soft mat. A movement holder can add stability.
  2. Align the Hands: Rotate the crown to align all hands at the 12 o’clock position, or only slightly off. Because if also the hands are aligned exactly at 12, the lume on the hands may scratch the polished surface on other hands when you lift them up together. This reduces the risk of bending or damaging the hands during removal.
  3. Lift the Hands: Using the hand remover tool, apply gentle pressure to lift the hands off their posts. Proceed with care to avoid scratching the dial. The use of a dial protector is recommended.
  4. After the hands are lifted and already loose, you should not try to pick them up with your tweezers, using tweezers that close to the dial increases risk of scratches. The best way is to simply invert the whole movement over and let the hands drop on to a soft surface.
  5. Organize Removed Hands: Place the removed hands on a clean cloth in an organized manner to prevent damage or loss.
  6. Please make sure you only pick up the hands on its two side, not its top and bottom surface.

Choosing and Fitting New Hand Sets

Selecting a hand set that is compatible with your Seiko’s dial and movement ensures a seamless fit and operation. Pay attention to the style, size, and post sizes of the hands for optimal compatibility.

Installation Insights

  1. Hour Hand Installation: Start with the hour hand, positioning it over the hour post with tweezers. Use the hand-setting tool to press it down carefully until it sits with a comfortable gap to the dial face, ensuring it is perfectly parallel to the dial’s surface. (If you are fitting hands to a dial with date/date window, you should make sure the date jumps over before you fit the hands. Make sure the hands are fitted at 12 at accurate as possible.)
  2. Minute Hand Installation: Install the minute hand next, making sure it does not contact the hour hand. Check for a sufficient gap to prevent friction or scratches.
  3. Second Hand Installation: Insert the second hand’s tube in to the second hand wheel tip, press it down slightly with the hand fitting tool, then gently tap down the second hand firmly with the end of your tweezers. Make sure there’s no contact with the minute hand.
  4. (If available, fit before hour hand)GMT Hand Installation: The GMT hand requires extra precision. It should be fitted without interfering with the other hands, maintaining clear separation.

Ensuring Precision and Avoiding Pitfalls

After fitting each hand, it’s crucial to check that it is parallel to the dial and correctly positioned in depth along the GMT, hour, or minute wheel. This check should be done at four critical points around the dial: 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. This step ensures there’s no dragging across the dial and that the hands are free from touching each other, which could lead to scratches or interference in the watch’s operation.

Final Checks for Flawless Function

After all hands are installed:

  • Rotate the crown to move the hands through a full 12-hour cycle, carefully observing their movement.
  • Ensure there is no contact between the hands at any point, paying close attention when they pass over each other at the quarter-hour marks.
  • Confirm that each hand remains parallel to the dial throughout its rotation, indicating correct depth placement.
  • Also check that the date and day clicks over at +10/-10 minutes to 12 o’clock midnight for correct operation.


The meticulous process of fitting hand sets on Seiko watches underscores the importance of precision in watch customization. By carefully selecting the right hand set, using the proper tools, and conducting thorough checks at every stage, you can avoid common modification pitfalls. This careful approach ensures that your Seiko watch not only looks its best but also operates with the reliability and accuracy that the brand is known for. Whether you’re working with a standard three-hand model or a complex GMT watch, patience and attention to detail are your best tools for success.

Please contact us directly if you require further help or more information.

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