Types Of Watch Hands | All Hand Styles Used on Watches From A-Z

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.  Below we outline the most common types of watch hands and some lesser known ones with sample photos of each type.

Overview of Watch Hand Styles

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 (Image: Amazon.com)

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 215.30.44.21.03.001
Omega Seamaster with Arrow type hands (Image: Amazon.com)

Other dive watches, such as the Seiko SKX is also a popular series that features arrow hands.

Seiko Divers Automatic Deep Blue Dial Mens Watch SKX009K1
Seiko with arrow hands (Image: Amazon.com)

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 MVMT often 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 (Image: Amazon.com)

 

Breguet Watch Hands

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 (Image: Amazon.com)

 

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 (Image: Amazon.com)

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 (Image: Amazon.com)

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 (Image: Amazon.com)

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 manufacturer Czapek & Cie that uses Fluer de Lys hands on several of their watches.

Fleur de Lys watch hands

Lance Watch Hands

Lance hands are very similar to Alpha, however, they tend to be more slender.

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

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.

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

Lollipop Watch Hands

The hands have large circles at the end, usually covered in luminous surface material. Not a very common hand used on the market.

Lozenge Watch Hands

Diamond shaped

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

Obelisque Watch Hands

Shaped like an obelisk with a pointed end.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatic 5015-1130-52b

Plongeur Watch Hands

Diver in French, a more chunky and exaggerated sword shape

Omega Seamaster Mechanical (Automatic) Grey Dial Mens Watch 227.90.55.21.99.001 (Certified Pre-Owned)

Skeleton Watch Hands

Like a skeleton watch that has a see-through portion of the watch face where you can see the 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)

Snowflake Watch Hands

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Men's Watch M79230B-0006

Spade Watch Hands

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

Syringe Watch Hands

 

Sword Watch Hands

Cartier Drive De Cartier Men's Watch WSNM0004

Image sources: Featured image Cloudzilla