20 Types Of Watch Hands {Hand Styles From A-Z}

arrow hands on watch face

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While many people just refer to the hour hand and second hand, people that appreciate the design of quality watches will have taken notice of the intricate designs of some watch hands and may be wondering just how many different types of watch hands there are.
The type or style of hand used on a watch may seem like a minor detail but it plays an important role in the aesthetics of a watch.  Some styles are so iconic that we automatically associate the hands with particular watch brands or models. For example, Mercedes-style hands are used on many Rolex models or Snowflake hands used on Tudor watches.
Below we outline the most common types of watch hands and some lesser-known ones with sample photos of each type.

Types Of Watch Hands

several watch types
Some ornate old-style watch hands.

Alpha Watch Hands

These watch hands narrow from a wide base at the center of the watch dial to a narrow and pointed stem. Examples of Alpha watch hands are the classic A. Lange & Söhne Datograph or the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Metrographe. Some of the Omega Speedmaster models also feature Alpha-style hands.

A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Mechanical (Hand-Winding) Black Dial Mens Watch 405.035 (Certified Pre-Owned)
A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Mechanical

Arrow Watch Hands

Arrow hands are rather obvious based on their name – the ends of the hands come to a pointed arrow shape. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Automatic watch is a nice example of the arrow style.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Automatic Mens Watch
Omega Seamaster with Arrow type hands

Other dive watches, such as the popular Seiko SKX series also features arrow hands.
Seiko Divers Automatic Deep Blue Dial Mens Watch SKX009K1
Seiko with arrow hands

Baton Watch Hands

These watch hands are thin, straight, and uniform in thickness. Imagine the thin stick that an orchestra conductor uses to direct the musicians or the baton that relay racers hand off to each other.
Many classic, minimalist designs use baton-style watch hands. Millennial watch brands, Danish watches, and other fashion watch brands such as MVMToften use them because of their thin profile.

Skagen Men's Sundby Quartz Titanium and Stainless Steel Mesh Casual Watch, Color: Grey (Model: 233XLTTN)
Skagen watch with baton-style hands


Breguet Watch Hands

Breguet Watch logo

Named after the well-known French watchmaker, Abraham-Louis Breguet, these watch hands feature a hollow round hoop near the pointed end.  Some watch aficionados also colloquially refer to them as “Pomme” (apple in French) Hands due to the resemblance of the loops to the round fruit.
But most agree that the proper name is to give credit to Breguet, who invented the shape along with many other watchmaking parts that still carry his name.
Not surprisingly, some of the best examples of these watch hands are seen on classic Breguet designs, such as the Breguet Marine Mechanical.
Breguet Marine Mechanical (Automatic) Silver Dial Mens Watch 5817ST/12/5V8 (Certified Pre-Owned)
Breguet Marine Mechanical

Although there are many affordable brands that also still use this hand style, like this watch by Akribos XXIV:
Akribos XXIV Men's AK898SS Round Silver Dial Three Hand Quartz Stainless Steel Strap Watch
Akribos XXIV

Cathedral Watch Hands

Most likely inspired by the stained glass of European cathedrals, these watch hands feature and detailed segmented design on a wider hour hand and slender minute hand. Several Mont Blanc models, including this 1858 feature this style. In some online watch forums, people refer to these as “Squelette” (skeleton in French)  because they resemble bones but this is confusing since “Skeleton watch hands” have part of the hand hollowed out (“skeletonized”) see below.

Montblanc 118223 1858 Automatic Chronograph
Montblanc 1858

Dauphine Watch Hands

These hands have a tapered diamond shape and have a distinct line down the middle. Dauphin was a phrase used from 1350 to 1830 as the given to the eldest son of a king of France, indicating that they were the heir apparent to the French crown.

Carl F. Bucherer Manero Mens Watch 0010909033301
Carl F. Bucherer Manero

Fleur de Lys Watch Hands

The Fluer de Lys is a decorative design or motif often seen in religious designs and many European family coats of arms, including the royal families. The stylized lily is often associated with the Catholic church, especially Saint Joseph. The one watchmaker that stands out is Swiss watch manufacturer Czapek & Cie which uses Fluer de Lys hands on several of their watches.
Fleur de Lys watch hands

Lance Watch Hands

Lance hands are very similar to the Alpha style, however, they tend to be more slender. Named for the long slender shape of the hands, similar to the long, pointed weapon used by horsemen in jousting. The lance hands gradually taper out from the center to a narrow pointed end. Similar to sword hands but a much more slender profile which makes them practical for dress watches.

Schwarz Etienne "Manufacture Roma" ASE GMT Micro-rotor. 4-Day Power. Black Dial
Schwarz Etienne “Manufacture Roma” ASE GMT

Leaf Watch Hands

Leaf or “feuille” in French is used to describe these watch hands that have a wide, flattened hour hand mimicking the natural, organic shape of a broad plant leaf. While not used as often as many of the types of hands used on this list, the leaf gives a watch a very distinguished feel.

H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Centre Seconds Mechanical (Hand-Winding) Black Dial Mens Watch 343.505-017 (Certified Pre-Owned)
H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Centre Seconds Mechanical

Lollipop Watch Hands

Just like the candy, the hands have large circles at the end of a stick. These are usually covered in luminous surface material. While they are not a very common hand used on the market, an example of this style is the hands on this Tudor Oysterday 76100 model.

Tudor Oysterdate watch with lollipop hands


Lozenge Watch Hands

Lozenge hands peak in width towards the middle and then narrow again at the end creating a diamond-like shape sometimes with a faceted face on the hand. This example below from Cartier is somewhat of a hybrid with the minute hour hand ending in a Breguet-like circle.

Cartier Pasha Automatic Men's Watch Model W31093M7
Cartier Pasha


Mercedes Watch Hands

Although there is no direct connection to the automobile manufacturer, the tri-sectioned circle on the end of the hour hand does resemble the car brand’s logo. Because of the surface area on the circle, these are sometimes used on luminous watch designs.

Stuhrling Original Mens Stainless Steel Automatic Self Wind Dive Watch Deep Black Dial 200M Water Resistant Unidirectional Ratcheting Bezel Screw Down Crown Sport Watch 792 Series
Stuhrling Original Automatic

Obelisque Watch Hands

Shaped like an obelisk with a pointed end. This Blancpain dive watch is a good example. Named after the narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape such as the famous obelisk at the entrance to Luxor Temple, in Egypt.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatic 5015-1130-52b
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatic

Pencil Watch Hands

Just like the shape of the classic wooden writing tool used in schools around the world, these are straight and end in a point, like a newly sharpened pencil. The hands themselves can be “lumed” or filled with a different color and the “tip” of the pencil. A good example of this would be the Panerai Luminor.

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 Automatic Black Dial Mens Watch PAM00722
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950

Plongeur Watch Hands

Plongeur is the word for diver in French, a more chunky and exaggerated sword shape. An example of this style can be seen below on this Omega Seamaster with large Plongeur with orange aluminum and varnished white hands that give the Omega Seamaster Mechanical a bold look and instantly recognizable face of an iconic dive watch.

Omega Seamaster Mechanical (Automatic) Grey Dial Mens Watch (Certified Pre-Owned)
Omega Seamaster Mechanical

Skeleton Watch Hands

Similar to skeleton watches, which have a see-through portion of the watch face showing interworkings of the gears and movements, skeleton watch hands have part of the hand hollowed out so that you can see through it. This Bulova watch is a skeleton watch, but you can see that parts of the hands are also see-through.

Bulova Men's Mechanical Hand Wind Stainless Steel Dress Watch, Color:Silver-Toned (Model: 96A187)
Bulova Mechanical Hand Wind Stainless Steel Dress Watch


Snowflake Watch Hands

Snowflake hands are the bold, angular hour hands that have become an iconic part of Tudor design that now goes back over 50 years. Currently, all Tudor Pelagos and Tudor Black Bay are made with this hand style. To read the full history of Tudor’s snowflake hands click here.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Men's Watch M79230B-0006
Tudor Heritage Black Bay

Spade Watch Hands

Like the digging tool and the suit on a deck of playing cards, these watch hands are a classic style of hand often used on pocket watches and old german watches and clocks. Still used today, this is a style that never seems to go “out of style”.

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Torpilleur Mens Watch 1183-310-7M/43
Ulysse Nardin Marine

Syringe Watch Hands

Just as the name suggests, these watch hands literally look like small medical syringes. The hands start out similar to a baton-style at the center but narrow “needle” that finishes off the end of the hands.

watch face with syringe shaped hands
Syringe Style Watch Hands


Sword Watch Hands

Sword hands can be sleek like the ones shown above on this Cartier watch or can be much thicker and bolder, more similar to a Plongeur style. They can be solid or on wider sword hand the middle is sometimes skeletonized.

Cartier Drive De Cartier Men's Watch WSNM0004
Cartier Drive De Cartier

Image sources: Featured image Cloudzilla

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