The 3-Phase Process for Replacing Watch Hands

The hands of a watch translate not only time but also its beauty. As a vital component to the whole device, these must stay in good shape and maintain their accuracy. However, there will come a time when you may decide, or it may become necessary to swap them out.

This guide takes on the 3-phase process of replacing a watch’s hands.

Phase 1: Choose the Correct Sizes

The most important thing to note about watch hands is their measurements. These measurements are of the hand’s length and the diameter of the hole at the centre. To measure, use a pair of callipers with an accuracy of up to 0.1 millimetres. Measure from the hand’s tip to the centre of the hole.

For the distance between the markings around the watch and the tips of the hands, follow these measurements:

  • The minute hand should touch the inside of the minute markers
  • The hour hand should touch the inner edges of the hour markers
  • The second hand should touch the outside of the second markers 

These spaces make your watch easy to read with one glance and will maintain its visual appeal. Note all your measurements and use them in placing an order of new hands. 

Phase 2: Remove the Old Hands

When it’s time to remove the hands, protect the dial with a plastic film or a special protector. With the Presto tool, securely rest the centre guide on the top of the hand. Keep your index finger on the upper edge to keep everything steady. 

Next, press the bowed arms in as you manoeuvre to the belly of the lowest hand. Remember always to mind the dial. Then, slowly apply force until you can lift it up and off the face of the watch.

With the lever, place one edge below the arms until it rests against the centre post. Exert minimal force on the other end, and you’ll be able to lift the hand off slowly.

Phase 3: Install the New Hands

For this part, you will need a top hand press and a handled pressing tool.

Ideally, the chosen tip should be a similar size to the hub of the new hands. The material must also be scratch-free and soft. You can use your hand for pressing, but it’s best to place the dial on a bench press so that the new hand can easily slide inside.

Choose a movement holder made specifically for your watch. It should have a supporting base for the jewel to hold it in place. This prevents the hands from going in the wrong positions. When you press the hands in place, ensure that the hand sits flush with the mounted post and that they all run on the same plane throughout the whole length. This will make sure that the hands don’t brush against each other and the dial. Painted hands are often thicker, so make the necessary allowances.

In watches with curved dials, provide proper clearance by curving the tip. Use flat-tipped tweezers or a small round bar. Bend it towards the direction that fits it to the curve of the dial.

Now that you have everything in place, check and see if the hands move correctly. Use a timer beside it to ensure that the timing is perfect!


Replacing the hands of a watch is strictly a by-the-book procedure. This ensures a proper fix, with no damage done to your beautiful timepiece. With the correct measurements, tools, and techniques, replacement is easier than it sounds. Just consider all the notes and warnings mentioned in these 3 phases.

Are you looking for suitable hands for your watch? A variety of Seiko watch parts are available for you to choose from! Just visit our website and remember to take note of your measurements. Precious pieces require precious replacements too.

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